Your Life Has Been Delayed by Michelle I. Mason
1- What did you do on your summer vacation?
Our immediate family from across the state of Missouri gathered at Lake of the Ozarks to spend time together at a rented house. It’s become a tradition over the past few years. I enjoyed reading on the deck and playing lots of games!
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Work on the next thing while you’re waiting, because there’s a lot of it in publishing. This advice got me through 7 years of querying and pandemic delays for the release of my debut book.
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
I have a list of auto-buy authors, but beyond that, I’m usually initially drawn in by a hooky premise. Then I’ll keep reading if the characters draw me in.
4- The tabloid Weekly World News created a story of Pan Am Flight 914 from New York in 1955 with 57 passengers, disappeared for 37 years, then reappeared and landed in Miami. Manifest is an American supernatural tv show where a flight lands in NYC five years after it went missing. Are either of those inspirations for YOUR LIFE IS DELAYED, or do they share a fanbase you hope to reach?
I had never heard of the Pan Am Flight 914 story. That is fascinating! Now that I have, I’m totally going to share it. As for Manifest, I wrote this book in 2018 and learned about the show right as I’d finished drafting. I was concerned that it would be an issue. However, the show just finished its third season and was recently added to Netflix. My publisher—and a number of readers—have been marketing my book as YA contemporary meets Manifest. So, yes, on trying to reach the fanbase!
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a travel setting?
YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED on a plane to New York!
6- Would you please share a recipe or tips for some amazing autumn brownies?
I’m very secretive about my main brownie recipe, but my second-favorite recipe is perfect for autumn, particularly if you like s’mores. This recipe is slightly modified from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking and technically called “Surprise Brownies” but my family has always called them “Marshmallow Brownies.”
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
1 cup margarine, plus 6 tbl.
½ cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 large package mini marshmallows
1 pound powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour and salt. Melt 1 cup margarine in saucepan over low heat; blend in half the cocoa. Beat eggs until light; beat in sugar gradually. Stir in cocoa mixture and flour mixture. Add vanilla; mix well. Turn batter into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Turn oven off.
Spread marshmallows evenly over hot cake. Let cake stand in oven until marshmallows are softened. Wet fingers with cold water and press marshmallows against cake, smoothing top. May need to rewet fingers a few times as marshmallows get sticky!
Cool cake. Soften 6 tablespoons margarine; blend in powdered sugar, remaining cocoa and milk. Frost brownies. Cool again.
Use a plastic knife to cut! This tip is true for any kind of brownie.
I gotta ask -- why a plastic knife to cut brownies?
I don’t know why it works, but if you cut warm brownies with a metal knife, they stick to it. If you use a plastic knife, they don’t. The marshmallows make it a bit trickier but still better than the metal knife!
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
Absolutely! @atrueblood5 @kiperoo
8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
There are so many to choose from! But my favorite is @jfkillsdarlings , an author/costume designer who makes the most fabulous dresses to match book covers. I’m in awe of her designs! Photo of the dress she made to match my cover.
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
I started out as a Pantser with my first book, years ago, and it took forever to write a first draft. It was agony! Since then, I’ve turned into a Plotter, and it’s made drafting so much easier! I use Scrivener, and I plot out scenes for the entire book, then set a deadline and usually knock out a first draft in about two months. Then I get to the fun part—revising!
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
When I’m drafting, I write until I reach my word count goal for the day. When I’m revising, it depends on whether I have a deadline or not. If something’s due to my editor, I might be writing at all hours! But if there’s no deadline, I’m a horrible procrastinator. It’s very easy to get distracted by the other things involved in promoting the books already out or in the pipeline instead of working toward the new one.
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: Sarah Dass @SarahDassAuthor
Title: Where the Rhythm Takes You
Love because: I devoured this Persuasion retelling set in Tobago in a single day. Sizzling romantic tension, complicated family/friendships, an evocatively drawn setting—this book has it all!
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
Mostly, I hope readers won’t be able to put it down! But aside from that, I hope they’ll feel at times frustrated, heartbroken, and ultimately hopeful for Jenny’s future.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I hope my book will provide an enjoyable and thought-provoking escape for readers.
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
Playing the violin! I took lessons as a kid through college. I mostly played at church for a number of years and then joined a community orchestra in 2017. It’s a wonderful outlet to be playing classical music again. One of my favorite concerts of the year is at Halloween, when we all wear costumes.
15- diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?
Do I have to choose just one? Recently, SIMONE BREAKS ALL THE RULES by Debbie Rigaud, which follows a girl whose strict Haitian immigrant parents send her to an all-girls school and choose her prom date. Loved this one so much! But I could also list so many books by fellow debut authors: A PHO LOVE STORY by Loan Le, SISTERS OF THE SNAKE by Sarena and Sasha Nanua, THE SUMMER OF LOST LETTERS by Hannah Reynolds, MADE IN KOREA by Sarah Suk. I could give you many more!
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
What a great question! I don’t think it occurs to the everyday reader to go out and review books. I know it didn’t occur to me before I started seriously pursuing publication. So I have relied on my publisher to send the book out to reviewers, but I also have tried to educate my friends and family that it’s helpful. At the same time, I won’t keep asking if they’re not comfortable doing so.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
One of my primary goals was to see my book in bookstores and libraries. I’ve visited the book already in several bookstores and have seen it reserved in the online app at my hometown library, so I’ll eventually visit it there too. That’s truly a dream come true and would have been harder—although not impossible—to achieve if I’d chosen a different path. Seeking traditional publication was long and not without missteps, but it was the right path for me. I really value having the support of both my agent and publisher.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
Other than seeing my book on shelves in actual stores, which already happened? Goal achieved! But, you know, a movie deal would be awesome! In all honesty, I just want my book to find readers who love it.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
Would you want to time travel? If you said yes, would you change that answer if you wouldn’t be able to return?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
It’s August 1995, and seventeen-year-old Jenny Waters is flying back home from an exciting trip to New York City. The biggest things on her mind are applying to Columbia and reuniting with her brand-new boyfriend. But when she and the other passengers disembark in St. Louis, they’re told that their plane disappeared . . . twenty-five years ago.
The world has fast-forwarded. Three of Jenny’s grandparents are gone, her parents are old, and her “little” brother is now an adult. There’s so much in the world she’s missed out on.
When a shocking revelation comes to light, she feels betrayed by her family and once-best friend. She’s also fighting her attraction to Dylan, a cute and kind classmate who has an unusual connection to her past. And then there are the conspiracy theories, coming from a group of people determined to prove that Flight 237—and Jenny’s own existence—is a hoax. Will she figure out how to move forward or will she always be stuck in the past?
Your Life Has Been Delayed is Michelle I. Mason’s debut book. She spent ten years as a PR manager promoting everything from forklift rodeos to Hotel Olympics before deciding she’d rather focus on made-up stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, watching too much TV, cross-stitching, baking amazing brownies, or playing the violin. Michelle lives in St. Louis with her family. You can find her at http://michelleimason.com, on @michelleimason or Instagram @michelleimason .
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Your Life Has Been Delayed by Michelle I. Mason