A Taste Test Blog Tour- Michelle A. Hansen

Today is my day for the Taste Test blog tour. The coolest thing about A Taste Test is that it was an independent collaboration of authors without publishers, agents or editors. I have really enjoyed working with these authors and getting to know them. We are spread across the world, and that makes it even more fun. I was given a few topics for today’s post.

1.  What was the inspiration behind Painted Blind?

Each year when I taught freshman English, the classes started The Odyssey after Christmas break, and for Valentine’s Day I bought a picture book of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, which I read aloud to my classes. As I read it, I wondered how the story would translate into our day. There were so many things the Greeks accepted—like gods who could make themselves invisible and fly—that we as a society do not accept.  I was particularly intrigued by the idea of a girl who was too beautiful to find real love in her own society, a girl who was lonely while being admired by everyone around her. Eventually, these musings became Painted Blind.

I was repeatedly told by agents and editors that girls would never relate to a character whose “biggest problem was her beauty,” but I couldn’t change Psyche. Her beauty was such an essential part of her character, and it had to be problematic for her. I knew readers were astute enough to understand Psyche. How would you feel if people were always staring at you? I would start asking myself, “What is wrong with me? What’s on my teeth? Is something hanging from my nose?” Compound that over the span of her entire adolescence, Psyche becomes a character that  has been repeatedly told she is beautiful, but she feels self-conscious and exposed. I loved that dichotomy. I also loved the idea of a girl who has been judged by her looks her entire life facing the decision of loving someone blindly.

2. Tell us about yourself.

Since this is on my own website and my biography is right there on the Bio tab, I decided to give you my reader autobiography. This was an exercise I used to make my high school students do. I had them write about their experiences with books. Most people distinctly remember when they were turned on or off to books.

As soon as I started attending writing conferences, I realized I was different from most authors, agents and editors. They all grew up loving books and reading voraciously. I was a non-reader. I could read well as a child, but I didn’t enjoy it. However, I loved stories. I always told myself stories. I mean that literally. I talked to myself all the time when I was growing up, creating scenes in my head and talking through the dialogue aloud. (When my daughter was two, I heard her wandering around the house whispering, and I realized she was mimicking me. I still talk through scenes of dialogue aloud, I just try to be a little more covert about it.)

I became a reader in the seventh grade. Mrs. Cole, my reading teacher, took me down to the library and introduced me to Lois Duncan, not the author herself, but her eight books on the library’s shelf. I read them all. It was the first time I remember enjoying books.

I became an English major not because I loved to read, but because I loved the dialogue of literature classes. I loved discussing books, and I loved seeing how different books meant different things to different people. I was intrigued by the fact that a story could enchant me at sixteen and fall flat for me as an adult. I grew into a reader in college. For me today, half the pleasure of reading a book is discussing it with someone else. And half the pleasure of writing a book is having people talk about it.

3. What do you love about writing?

Writing feels much like reading in that you immerse yourself into another world, but when you are the writer, you’re driving the car instead of riding shotgun. I like driving.

My husband jokingly asked why he wasn’t in any of my books. I answered, “Honey, you’re in all my books, but in the books you say and do what I want you to do, so you don’t recognize yourself.” That is fun of writing. I love meeting these wonderful characters and then having the freedom to steer them down the path I choose.

Read more about me and my novel Painted Blind at these blogs today:
http://can-duu.blogspot.com – CJ Duggan’s Blog
http://heather.bishoffs.com – Nolia McCarty’s Blog
http://yalicious.blogspot.com – Brenda Howson’s Blog
http://lmpreston.blogspot.com – LM Preston’s Blog
http://melissapearl.blogspot.com – Melissa Pearl’s Blog

Also, don’t forget about our awesome giveaways! Check out these great prizes.
CJ Duggan Summer Pack – Beach bag, lip balm, bookmark, autographed The Boys of Summer print

Michelle A. Hansen A printed copy of Painted Blind, a signed Painted Blind 8×12 cover enlargement, a Painted Blind promo pack containing bookmark, postcard, hand made soap and lip balm

Nolia McCarty Digital copies of Heaven Below and Eternal Youth

Brenda Howson The same type of necklace worn by Mica and Lexy in Forbidden Territory, a bookmark and a digital ARC of Forbidden Territory

LM Preston A keychain, a magnet and an ARC paperback copy of The Pack – Retribution

Melissa Pearl The same type of necklace worn by Mica and Lexy in Forbidden Territory, a bookmark and a digital ARC of Forbidden Territory

A Taste Test Prize Pack Digital copies of: The Kiss Off by Sarah Billington, My Enchanted Life by Laura Eno, Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen, Eternal Youth by Julia Crane and Nolia McCarty, ARC of Forbidden Territory, ARC of The Pack: Retribution by LM Preston, Golden Blood by Melissa Pearl, Paperback copy of: From Fame to Shame by Veronica Blade Bookmark and lip balm from CJ Duggan

And, WOO HOO! I got the rafflecopter widget, but I couldn’t get it to show up on the sidebar, so you have to scroll ALL THE WAY down to the bottom of the page. While you are down there, you might as well enter to win a copy of Painted Blind from Goodreads, too. One scroll and two clicks. Might bring awesome results.

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