Please welcome Micah Persell, paranormal romance author extraordinaire. Micah is also an accomplished violinist, has the “sexy librarian” look goin’ on – she’s got it all, right? I adore her writing. Usually I stalk her website, so I’m honored she’s visiting today to talk about “Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” book two in The Middle of the Garden series releasing November 19, 2012 from Crimson Romance.
Moriah Densley: What’s your favorite scene?
Micah Persell: My favorite is the pivotal turning point between Dahlia and Jericho. It’s hard to describe without giving anything away, but it happens right after the maroon car pulls up to the house. It’s where we find out the biggest reason Dahlia is the way she is. As I was writing it, my heart was in my throat. Even still, when I go back and read this scene, I get choked up, and I can’t believe that I actually wrote it—it’s one of those scenes that feels too good to have come from me, if that makes sense.
MD: Jericho is both the “quiet strength” type and a tortured hero. Tell us more about him.
MP: Jericho was a challenge for me. He’s not an in-your-face alpha like Eli was in Of Eternal Life. It actually took me quite a bit of time to warm up to him—he’s nice. Really, really nice. I was shocked how hard that was to make sexy. And then I got to the first bedroom scene, and Jericho surprised me. All of his “nice” disappeared. That was when things started working. I ended up loving his many contradictions. He’s a great guy, a fierce protector, a take-charge lover, and an incredible friend. What’s not to like?
MD: I remember Dahlia was a bad girl in “Of Eternal Life.” How did she end up the heroine in “Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” How does her character evolve?
MP: Dahlia is the sole reason I turned into a plotter instead of a “pantzer” (writer-speak for someone who writes by the seat of her pants). I had no plans to make Dahlia the villain in Of Eternal Life. She did that on her own. She was Abilene’s friend, and I knew at some point I was going to give her a book, but as far as I was aware, she was on the up-and-up. It wasn’t until Abilene made that phone call in Of Eternal Life that I realized Dahlia was on the other end waiting to betray her. I panicked. And then I heard a speaker at a conference say, “Every hero has weaknesses; every villain has reasons.” I knew I had to find out what Dahlia’s reasons were. And who would she drive the most crazy? Jericho. They would be so fun to put together, like sticking two cats in a paper bag and shaking it up. Dahlia’s journey is unique. She doesn’t really evolve, she just has to come to realize that she’s not what she thinks she is. Her story is one of self-redemption, and she was such a joy to write. But, I am now a meticulous plotter, all thanks to her.
MP: I love this question. Believe it or not (after reading my steamy books), my dad is a pastor. He would read to my brother and me every night—The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time—any fantasy book he thought we would like, but also Bible stories. And because he’s amazing, he was sure to read me stories of strong, biblical women and put emphasis on the extra-juicy parts: how Esther’s blinding beauty and quick thinking helped her save her people, how Jael killed her nation’s enemy by driving a tent peg through his temple while all of the men roamed the land trying to find him, how Boaz swept Ruth off of her feet and healed her broken heart. I don’t know any way to think of Bible stories other than as compelling, action-packed thrillers. My books were bound to be about the stories I grew up loving. Granted, my sexy take on the Garden of Eden gave my sweet, conservative parents a mini-stroke, but they’ve been sure to let me know they’re proud of me.
MD: I’m pretty jealous you went to RWA nationals in Anaheim last summer. What did you think of it?
MP: Well, it wasn’t nearly as fun as it would have been had you been there! Next year we’re going to tear it up. But I did have a blast, and I learned a lot.
MD: What authors inspire you?
MP: My biggest inspiration is Kresley Cole. I will read anything that woman writes, and I literally block off my calendar when I know one of her books is coming out. She is a powerhouse!
MD: What’s your day job?
MP: I teach! I’m a high school English teacher, and I also teach a special class called “Puente,” which is a language arts class for low socio-economic students who will be the first members of their families to go to college. Most of our students are Latino (thus the name “Puente,” which means “bridge” in Spanish). It’s an extremely rewarding, challenging job, and I love my kids to pieces!
MD: What’s your next project?
MP: I’m juggling two projects right now. I’ve started writing Of Consuming Fire, book three in the Operation: Middle of the Garden series, and I’m under contract for a twist on Jane Austen’s classic Emma, which will be called Emma: The Wild and Wanton Edition. I’m so excited about both.