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The Valquez Seduction by Melanie Milburne

The Valquez Seduction

by Melanie Milburne

Giveaway ends December 03, 2014.

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Michelle Fayard is Under The Spotlight!


Today we have Michelle Fayard answering some questions!
But before we give over to her...a reminder! My Blog's sidebars on both sides have links to follow Tracy Sumner and Nina Jade Singer! Please follow on and comment on the blogs to go in mega draws! Tracy is giving away a KINDLE and Nina has a $100.00 Amazon Gift Certificate. As well as BOOKS to give away on all the stops!
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So over to Michelle now....

What inspired you to be an author?

I was a Type A writer who needed a Plan B.

I’d been working as a news reporter when a medical condition forced me to give up this sleep-deprived lifestyle. I enjoyed my new job as a desk-bound editor, yet that special magic was missing—the reaching out to others with words that can inspire new ways of thinking and feeling.

Then, a few months later, I had a serendipitous encounter that changed my life.

My husband and I were house hunting when our Realtor, in an apparent non sequitur, turned around and asked, “Did you know coded quilts might have played a role in the Underground Railroad?”

The idea sounded so intriguing, I began researching the subject. I was instantly hooked and soon had pages of notes. When my husband suggested I take what I’d learned and use it as the inspiration for my first book, I knew I’d found the right way for me to still be a writer—even though at first I was intimidated about writing something 80,000 words long!

Why did you write this book?

When I was in sixth grade, a teacher came up to me and grabbed the book I was reading out of my hands. It was Bette Greene’s 1975 Newberry winner Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe, and the cover featured a smiling black girl.

“Hmph!” the teacher snorted, as she let go of my dog-eared paperback. “I hope the boy she likes is black too.”

My jaw dropped. Even though my family and I had moved from Chicago to the mid-South two years earlier, I still hadn’t gotten used to comments like this. The school I attended was segregated, and you knew which families were loyal to the Ku Klux Klan.

Writing this book was my way of trying to make sense of hate crimes and racial prejudice—crimes that are still occurring today both in our country and throughout the world. It’s also about victims having the strength and courage—both individually and collectively—to rise above oppression.

How did you come up with the title?

The Underground Gift started off as my working title. I still love it, because it alludes to the gift that is within all of us, that strength to overcome troubling times.

How did you choose your genre?

Historical fiction and mysteries fill my bookshelves, so I combined the two to write edgy historical novels. I also decided to write books that would appeal to young adults as well as older readers, because teens have the passion and energy to make a difference. They’re also at a crossroad in their lives when it comes to deciding whether to be part of the solution regarding hate crimes and racial prejudice.
  
What were you doing before going into writing?

In addition to being a news reporter and editor, I’ve also spent several years as a public relations specialist, which has been an enormous help as I prepare and start working a marketing plan for The Underground Gift.

Thank you very much, Nas, for inviting me to be here today. It’s an honor to be on such a highly respected blog.

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK AND MICHELLE

In one of the most notorious pro-slavery towns on the Kansas–Missouri border, sadistic Bushwhacker Benjamin Michaelson becomes fixated with destroying two teens who come under his control—Josepha, a slave acquired as payment for a gambling debt whom he despises for her beauty, and Reeca Fitzgerald, the daughter of a New England abolitionist who refuses to marry him and who he suspects is following in her father’s footsteps.

When Reeca encourages Josepha to help conceal coded messages in quilts for those riding the Underground Railroad, both of their lives will be caught up in a web of fear and revenge when Josepha attempts to solve a mystery only hinted at by her former mistress.

You can find Michelle at Bird's-eye View, on Facebook and on Twitter.




38 comments:

  1. I haven't read a lot of historical fiction, but this sounds like an amazing read.

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  2. @Karen, the slave narratives provided so much of the conflict and emotion that brought this book's characters to life, I truly agree with you that they and their strength are amazing. Wishing you a great day!

    @Nas, thank you very much for the opportunity to be on your blog today and connect with your followers and other romance/historical readers. You and your blog are the best!

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  3. Love historical fiction. The Underground Gift is now on my TBR list. I grew up in the segregated South and can relate to what Micelle said. My first self-pub, "Remy Broussard's Christmas," has a happy ending, as it's a Christmas story, but the focus is on the old sharecropper system. Remy's selling nicely; I hope to involve him with the kids of black sharecroppers in my next pub. What went on Back Then wasn't pretty, oh, no!

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  4. Hello Michelle, welcome to my blog! I'm happy to have you here and share with us about The Underground Gift!

    Hi Karen and Kittie! Thanks for coming along!

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  5. @Kittie, it's so nice to meet you. Even my dad, who was born and raised in the South, said he'd never encountered such segregation as the area my family and I moved to. I think fear had much to do with it. I would love to read your book REMY BROUSSARD'S CHRISTMAS and have added it to my TBR list. And of course I'm curious whether it's set in Louisiana.

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  6. Michelle, great to see you on Nas's blog. I love the idea of your novel. Good luck!

    Nas, thanks for hosting Michelle.

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  7. Michelle, I love the sound of your book. My mom and I make quilts and I can see exactly why that was a good message system. I abhor hate crimes and prejudice. There's plenty of room in this world for everyone.

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  8. I like the cover of The Underground Gift, Michelle. And it was lovely reading about it!

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  9. Hi Nas! Hi Michelle! This sounds wonderful!

    Denise

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  10. Yes and forgot to say, the girl on the cover is haunting. I also adore historical fiction and it's especially great when it's well researched.

    Denise

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  11. This sounds amazing and I'm glad the comments of that horrible teacher helped spur you to write what you're passionate about.

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  12. Hi Michelle. Your book sounds wonderful. You've certainly chosen an interesting time period with loads of inbuilt conflict & emotions. All the best with your release.

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  13. Oh my, this sounds absolutely wonderful Michelle. Congrats on the release!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog Nas, adding you to my reader :)

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  14. What a wonderful interview. I love the 'Type A writer who needed a Plan B'. I totally get that!

    Congrats to Michelle on what looks like a wonderful book.

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  15. @Theresa, it's great seeing you on Nas' blog too! I'm lucky to have had you cheering me on since ever since I started shopping GIFT to editors and agents.

    @Lorraine, I can tell we have much in common, for my mom and I used to make quilts together too. And as for hate crimes? You said it perfectly when you said there is plenty of room in this world for everyone.

    @Romance Reader, Tirzah Goodwin of A Clever Whatever found this art for me. She and it blew me away, as it captures Josepha's pain and strength.

    @Denise, the girl on this cover haunts me as well. And I know what you mean about research. I read dozens of books as well as several hundred slave narratives in order to immerse myself in my characters' personalities, emotions and conflicts. I still have shivers over what I learned ...

    @Lydia, you're so right that no moment is ever truly wasted.

    @Shelley, you're so right as well that this time period and the characters involved come pre-built with intense conflict and emotions. Thank you very much for your well wishes.

    @Raelyn, it's very nice to meet you, and I thank you as well for you well wishes.

    @Talli, I think I might be an A-/B+ student. Going from an A to a B is as bad as giving up chocolate (or coffee or ...)

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  16. I love historical fiction and this story sounds really intriguing, Michelle. Congratulations!

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  17. A great story. I'll have to add it to my list. All success to you, Michelle.

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  18. What an interesting interview. It sounds like a great story with really fascinating plot.

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  19. Hello to all my lovely friends! *waving*

    Thank you all for coming along to meet my friend Michelle Fayard and to read about THE UNDERGROUND GIFT!

    I wish Michelle much success!

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  20. @Theresa, it's great seeing you on Nas' blog too! I'm lucky to have had you cheering me on since ever since I started shopping GIFT to editors and agents.

    @Lorraine, I can tell we have much in common, for my mom and I used to make quilts together too. And as for hate crimes? You said it perfectly when you said there is plenty of room in this world for everyone.

    @Riya, Tirzah Goodwin of A Clever Whatever found this art for me. She and it blew me away, as it captures Josepha's pain and strength.

    @Denise, the girl on this cover haunts me as well. And I know what you mean about research. I read dozens of books as well as several hundred slave narratives in order to immerse myself in my characters' personalities, emotions and conflicts. I still have shivers over what I learned ...

    @Lydia, you're so right that no moment is ever truly wasted.

    @Shelley, you are so right that this is a time period filled with conflicts and emotions.

    @Raelyn, it's very nice to meet you, and I thank you as well for you well wishes.

    @Talli, I think I might be an A-/B+ student. Going from an A to a B is as bad as giving up chocolate (or coffee or ...)

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  21. @Kiru, thank you so much for your support ... I saw your Twitter RT as well. :)

    @M Pax, thanks for the congrats!

    @Olga, from your blog comment to an agent's/editor's in box. :)

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  22. Michelle, the combination of historical subject matter and YA sounds challenging and the storyline intriguing. I think that based on the subject matter your book will be an attention-getting and make good reading for youngsters.

    Nas, thanks for hosting.

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  23. Great interview! I love learning more about your writing journey, Michelle.

    And thanks for hosting, Nas!

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  24. Wow, I love how you came up with the story and started writing!

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  25. I found your website through a random stroke of luck. It helped me do my research on this topic. I have spent lots of time looking through your site. You have something good going here, keep it up!

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  26. Best wishes to Michelle and her book The Underground Gift! Inspiration can come from anywhere. Even when house hunting. Who knew?

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  27. @Joy, Alexia, I don't know where I'd be without your support either!

    @Jennifer, I always love learning something serindipitously--although I'm not sure that's a word. :)

    @Stephen, that is so true about inspiration being everywhere and anywhere.

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  28. Wow, this book sounds great. And I love the story behind it as well.

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  29. This sounds like such a interesting topic! I think the Underground Railroad is so fascinating.

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  30. It's great to hear the background behind your book, Michelle. I love historical fiction :-)

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  31. @Lynda, your words give me heart, as I enter my next round of editorial tweaks. :)

    @Susan, I never thought when I first studied the Underground Railroad in school I'd one day be doing research on this fascinating topic for a novel.

    @Deniz, I've always loved reading historical fiction too!

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  32. Hi Michelle,

    Great to "meet" you at Nas's :)

    Loved the title, blurb and the cover for "The Underground Gift"!

    It's so inspiring to see what made you start the story..and coded quilts + racial prejudice - I'm sure the book is a must read :)

    Wishing you the best for many more books!!!

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  33. @Ju, yours is such an uplifting comment; thank you!

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  34. My parents both taught & I cannot fathom them EVER treating a student in such a manner.

    Historical Fiction is my favorite genre.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  35. @marybelle, the crazy thing is that in every other respect this was a teacher I could love; she was a product of her time and location, although I didn't fully understand this at the time. I don't know if I'll ever fully understand, to be honest. It's so nice to "meet" another historical fiction fan.

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  36. That's a great cover and description. I enjoyed reading about how you came to write The Underground Gift.

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  37. My jaw literally dropped at that teacher's comment! Yikes!

    The book sounds fantastic - I'm off to check it out :)

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  38. Hi all my lovely friends! Thank you for coming along and reading about Michelle Fayard!

    And thank you to Michelle, for being with us here chatting and sharing!

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Flirting with Dr. Off-Limits by Robin Gianna

Flirting with Dr. Off-Limits

by Robin Gianna

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