Friday, August 25, 2006

RUN MICHELE RUN

interview with michele hauf
by anne frasier


















Back in the horse and buggy days Sandra Brown spent ten pages letting us watch
a sexy hired hand hang a picture on a wall. We loved those slow, sensuous
scenes, but it’s a new, faster world out there.


Enter Michele Hauf and GETAWAY GIRL

Anne: I have to confess I haven’t read that many romances lately, and was surprised to find that GETAWAY GIRL was written for the most part in first person. I loved that. Do you often write in FP?


Michele: First, I'm always surprised when someone who has read the book, a Bombshell
story, calls it a romance. Does it feel like a romance to you? Because
Bombshells are first and foremost action adventure stories. I never feel
like I've got enough romance in there to actually call it an official
romance, but it's cool when readers feel that it is.

Anne: I think the focus on the relationship made it feel like a romance to me, but I’m not a good judge of such things.


Michele: This is my first attempt at writing first person! I had no choice, it
just wouldn't be written any other way. The heroine really wanted front and
center stage, so I just followed along. I had fun with it, and I've since
written one other story in FP. I think it's effective for the Bombshells,
because it really gets you inside the heroine's head.

Anne: First time? You did a fantastic job!
The book is set in Paris. What came first? The plot idea or the visit?

Michele: The plot idea. I visited Paris after I had handed this story in to my
editor, but was able to make some important changes to locale during the
edits. Whew! Otherwise, in the scene where I've got the heroine jumping
over into the river to rescue the princess, she would have landed with a
bone-crunching thud on the sidewalk below. I walked the area while there,
took notes, and made the appropriate changes.


Anne: Jamie is one cool, tough chick who put me in mind
of the main character in Run Lola Run. Do you tend to write that kind of kick-ass female protagonist, or is this something Bombshell was going for?

Michele: I do tend to write kick-ass women. Even in my past historical romances,
I've never cared to have a woman who NEEDED a man. She should at least try
to do for herself, you know? But Bombshell absolutely demands that the
heroine be a take-charge kind of gal. I like the idea that this woman
doesn't need a man, and yet, she'll take him if he treats her right and is
sexy. But I had to have her rescue him in his boxers and galoshes just
because who can resist a half-naked man in a bathrobe and galoshes who's
just called out for his mommy?

Anne: I laughed out loud at the scene where the guy in the car
asks if she’s being kidnapped.

The driver rolled down his window and shouted to me, “Mademoiselle, you are
kidnapped?”


Michele: It stuns me every time someone says I'm funny. Because I'm not. The humor
is never intended, it just happens, but when it does occur, it's always
something where I think "Oh, that'll never come off the way I wish it
would." And then it does seem to work. Funny, eh? :-)


Anne: A lot of funny stuff going on in that area, and in the entire book. This
story really moves full-throttle from cover to cover. Would you care to
discuss that? Was putting so much energy on the page exhausting?
Invigorating? Or just plain fun?

Michele: I knew from the start this had to be a speedy, fast paced book to match the
heroine's need for speed behind the wheel. So I was always aware of making
it so, and trying to have as little down time as possible. Also, having it
in first person seemed to move the story along much faster. I'm big on
'quest' stories, following the protagonists from one challenge to the next
as they make their way to the final big moment. Though I did stick in a few
snippets of the hero's POV in third person because I wanted readers to be
able to relate to him as well. It wasn't exhausting, it was fun! And I
hope I pulled off the car chase stuff, without making it too boring. It
always looks so good on a movie screen, but to make it work on the written
page?

Anne: The car chases were fantastic!
You had a great double entendre in the book.
In checking my spelling I came upon something I had to share:

One of the earliest examples of double entendre in American culture was the
late 19th-century vaudeville act, the Barrison Sisters. They danced, raising
their skirts slightly and asking the audience: "Would you like to see my
pussy?" After an enthusiastic response, they would raise up their skirts,
revealing live kittens secured over their crotches.
From wikipedia.

Poor kitties!!

A-hem. But back to GETAWAY GIRL:

When your character is being chased through bushes, she thinks:

“Normally, I can appreciate a nicely trimmed shrub, but…”

Hilarious! And I have to say Silhouette has come a long way, baby. If I were
to compare this to older romances, I would say it has the energy and balls
(Michele said it first!) of early Loveswepts.


Michele: Again, I did a funny! And without even trying! But my favorite line is "Be
one with the stone, baby." That one kills me every time. (So yeah, I'm
weird; I can laugh at my own stuff.)

Anne: Oh, yeah. That WAS a good one!
CARS: You claim to not be a car person, and yet…. Did you love to drive some
sporty little number at some point in your life?

Michele: Cars mean nothing to me. Not as status symbols, but merely as a safe means
to get me from point A to point B. Just ask my Nascar-nuts hubby. It
drives him insane that I ALWAYS drive the speed limit.

But I did take a BMW driving course while writing this book. It was just an
afternoon of safe driving courses. But when it came to driving the track
with the tight curves at high speed (60-70 mph), and taking those curves
without hitting the brakes? Oh man! That was awesome. But then when it
was time to hand over the wheel to another participant, and me sit in the
backseat? I get sick sitting in the backseat, so I had to cut out of the
class early. (Hey, that's why I write about some things, because it's the
only way I'll ever get to experience the high speed and action.) And
another confession: I still like to take my curves fast. It freaks the
family. I love it.

I did develop a major crush on BMWs while writing this. So I was thrilled
to see one on the cover. But will I ever own one? Probably not. Though I
wouldn't entirely rule out a Mini Cooper. ;-)


Anne: You’re obviously a music person. GETAWAY GIRL had an ever-changing
soundtrack. Care to talk about that?

Michele: I got an iPod while writing this. And yep, music is very important to me.
Can't go a day without it; really feel the loss if I haven't heard tunes one
day. So of course my heroine had to have an iPod. And she started giving
people theme songs, and then there was that trip into the club to see Dove
with Ballroom Blitz blasting in the background. (I adore Dove; sexy,
androgynous charmer that he is.) I used a lot of 80s songs, because France
is big on the old American stuff. But there's also—surprise!—Daniel
Powter's recent hit, Bad Day, in there, which is weird. It just became a
hit, but I picked that song out in the summer of 2005. (I have such
premonition for hits.) Anyway, I actually DO have a soundtrack for GETAWAY
GIRL after all is said and done. If you have iTunes, go online to the Music
Store, and search iMixes for 'Getaway Girl Book Soundtrack'. I thought it'd
be fun to gather all the songs I mentioned into one place, so if you're
reading, you can listen as well.


Anne: I find action scenes take me much longer to write because they
require so much choreography. He’s doing this. She’s doing this. Other
stuff going on over here. Yet this book is practically action from cover to
cover, and you seamlessly work in internal and external dialogue, plus humor!
How do you juggle like that? And do these scenes take you longer to write?

Michele: Erm....no? You know the toughest scenes for me? The romance scenes. Sex
scenes. Anything where there is no physical, running-for-your-life action.
That's why I enjoy Bombshells so much. My hero and heroine barely have time
to slow down to have sex! Of course, they do. But it'll never be where you
expect it. ;-)

The fight scenes can be fun because I like to baffle my family with
questions like 'I wonder how long it would take to bleed out if you were
stabbed in the kidney?' or my favorite, 'I need a gun that'll blast a hole
in a guy's head, but I don't want splatter, just a nice neat hole.'


Anne: You mentioned the yellow jumpsuit on the cover of GETAWAY GIRL a couple of weeks ago
and I thought it looked fine. Kind of Avengers’ campy. Now that I’ve read
the book I have to wonder about it. The main character wears short plaid
skirts with Doc Martens. I imagine the yellow jumpsuit was a marketing
ploy. We don’t want her dressed too young, but not too old. I know. Let’s
put her in a yellow jumpsuit. Makes sense to me. But I have to give them
credit for using a car. Now that Bombshell has announced funeral plans, care
to comment more on the cover? No comment?




Michele: Yeah, and there's a scene in there where the heroine freaks because she goes
to this guy's house, and it's all YELLOW. She hates yellow! So if you look
at the cover, you'll be confused. All I can say is, I sent the description
of plaid skirts and Doc Martens in with my cover art fact sheet--and I got a
yellow jumpsuit. Go figure. Maybe the artist had a Kill Bill fixation on
Uma, eh?

Over all though, I think the cover rocks. I looks eyecatching and fast.
Conveys the story well.


Anne: I don’t know much about Bombshells, and as I was reading
GETAWAY GIRL I wondered about the target audience. I loved the book, but I got the
feeling it was targeting… maybe 16 – 35 year olds.

Michele: Yep, I think it's early 20's and onward. I'm never surprised at my signings
for both Bombshells and Lunas to see teenagers. I think I write for a
younger audience at some point in my stories, though not consciously. I'm
hoping it'll appeal to those older than 35 as well, because I am (of the
older persuasion), and I love that sort of action stuff.



Anne: What’s coming up? I know you have a vampire book coming out
fairly soon. And you’re also the mastermind behind the The Ultimate Vamplist,
a compilation that staggers the mind.



Michele: Got FROM THE DARK out this November. It's one of the launch books for
Silhouette's new paranormal romance Nocturne series. It's dark, sexy
and...well, dark. But there is romance! And sex! No chases, so the hero
and heroine have lots of time to get to know each other better. Oh, and the
hero is a vampire rock star. Gotta love that.

Anne: Ooh, yeah! I can’t wait to read that! Anything you’d like to add? About GETAWAY GIRL or upcoming projects?


Michele: Getaway Girl is actually the second book in the Network series. The first
was ONCE A THIEF. Oh, don't worry, they're both stand-alone stories. You
don't have to read the first to get the second. But there was a third story
planned (Sacha's sister) but that one will now not be released because of
the demise of the Bombshell line. Of course, I'm not giving up on the
story, but it will be set aside for a while.

Thanks so much, Michele. Very cool backstory to a delightful and fun read!! And if I remember correctly today is a special day for you.




HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MICHELE!!

12 comments:

Betina Krahn said...

Happy Birthday, Michele! Twenty eight never looked so good! What a great interview! I'm itching to read Getaway Girl.
Michele, I had no idea you were such an action-writer! I'm just learning-- I may have to call you up to ask for advice!

And LOL at the family thing. Yeah, having your mom ask about what kind of gun would leave a head wound "without a lot of splatter" would tend to make the kids sit up and take notice. I bet they're little angels these days. Wish I had had that when mine were younger!

Nicole said...

Happy Birthday! I'm really looking forward to reading Getaway Girl that I won from you, it's sitting right here on the desk. Looks like a great book.

Betina Krahn said...

Hi, Nicole!
(g)

Michele said...

snickering at my answer about the car...
I think I did this interview with Anne about two weeks ago. I stand by my conviction that cars mean nothing to be regarding status. But. Well, erm...I did go buy myself a birthday present. There's a Mini Cooper sitting in my garage right now, and no I'm not driving it today because it's raining, and I don't want to get my baby wet. :-)

I LOVE the action stuff, Betina. You need to kick a hero in the face? I'm your girl.

Now, since it is my birthday, I'm doing a contest!

Anyone who's read this far, you're in luck! I'll draw a name from everyone who posts today, and send that person a copy of Getaway Girl.

M

Helen Brenna said...

That is a great interview!

I would love to write a first person book. Did you find it different in any way, Michele, writing from that POV?

Can't wait to read it. What's the exact release date?

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, oh, oh - and Very Happy Bday to you, Michele!

anne frasier said...

that's so funny about the car. i had the feeling you liked cars in maybe a fun-to-drive way. but i've noticed that sometimes a story will trigger a NEW interest for me. if a character has an obsession, pretty soon i've picked it up.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Happy birthday, Michele!

Fabulous interview. Gotta tell you, I've got duelling books going at the moment. Reading GETAWAY GIRL and PALE IMMORTAL both! They were dukin' it out for my reading time, and both have hooked me. So I have GG in the fam room--my hour of reading before picking up the grands from preschool. Gets me going on the highway. PI is on the bedside table. It was dark and stormy last night. Perfect!

Michele said...

I can't wait to pick up a copy of Pale Immortal! Looking forward to it.

And talk about obsessions formed while writing a book! I did the It Girls thing last year that featured a billionaire heroine who carried a $30K cell phone and wore Louboutin shoes. I SO want a pair of Louboutins now. But I'm not sure I'd ever have occassion to wear a $600 pair of shoes anywhere. Xmas time in the Cities, anyone? Slush and dirt and snow? Yikes!

M

Y said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELE! :)

Betina Krahn said...

Louboutin shoes? Dare I ask? No, don't tell me. It'll be just one more thing to crave.

Oh, heck, I'm off to the internet to look 'em up. . .

Thanks Michelle. I owe you one. . . heh, heh. . .

Maureen said...

I enjoyed your interview. The book sounds great.