Today, I am so very excited to welcome author Michelle Griep whose book, The House at the End of the Moor, won our April Book of the Month. A Christy award winner, Michelle has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The House at the End of the Moor, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, The Noble Guardian, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.
For this interview I opened up the floor to the I & R Review Team, so these questions all come from them. In addition, Michelle is giving away one print copy of The House at the End of Moor to one lucky winner in the U.S.!
How did your interest in the Regency era evolve?
Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I’m an Anglophile at heart, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to write in that era.
How much research goes into a Regency novel?
Lots! If I get so much as a single word that wasn’t in use during the early nineteenth century, I’ll hear about it from one of my readers. Good thing I love to research, eh?
Have you ever traveled to England?
Yes, I’ve been to England five times—and every time I’m there I don’t want to come back home. My favorite place in all of England is a village called Ironbridge. It was just kind of a pit stop on one of my first trips but I fell in love with the picturesque little town situated on the banks of the Severn Valley River Gorge.
It sounds lovely. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space…which did not make my mom very happy. I was the sort of nerd that chose to go to a poetry class in the summer instead of camp like all the other junior highers.
What's the strangest thing you came across while researching for The House at the End of the Moor?
Whisht (or Whist) Hounds are pretty interesting. Sometimes they’re called Yellhounds. Whatever you call it, it’s a cryptid, which is an animal such as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster that’s been claimed to exist but never proven). I learned about them when I went hiking at Wistman’s Woods in Devon, which is said to be populated by these creatures. Apparently, if you’re unfortunate enough to meet one of these headless, glowing black hounds then you’ll die within a year, if you live past the night, that is. It’s particularly dangerous to meet one head-on. If you do, you must immediately lie face down with your arms and legs crossed and repeat the Lord’s prayer until it has passed you by. Thankfully, I didn’t happen to see any during my hike.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
That’s tough! So many! Here are some random off-the-top-of-my-head writers I love: Lori Benton, Shannon McNear, Joanna Davidson Politano, Jocelyn Green, Laura Frantz, Travis Thrasher, James McGee, Jessica Dotta, John Steinbeck, Carl Sandburg, Emily Bronte.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Historical romance is my fave, but I love to read in a wide variety of genres. Just finished with Steampunk recently.
How do you come up with these beautiful stories, and how long does it take you to write one?
Life is story material. My next book coming out was born from a seed of an idea from the animated kid’s movie Zootopia.
It takes me about 9 months to write a full-length novel. I can squeak one out in 6 months, but that doesn’t give me much time to polish it up. Obviously a year would be awesome, but readers don’t like to wait too long between books.
Finally, who was the most challenging character to write about in The House at the End of the Moor? Who was the easiest?
Most challenging: Mr. Groat was a tough one because I think he was by far the creepiest of the several villains in this story.
Easiest: Believe it or not, Mr. Barrow was super easy to write. Every time I penned one of his scenes, I thought about all the ways people twist things in scripture to suit themselves, and there’s no better place to find that out than going to scriptures themselves. The Pharisees were champions at this.
Thanks for asking all these questions. I LOVE talking books and reading.
Thank you, Michelle!
And now Dear Readers, if you live in the U.S. and would like to win a copy of The House at the End of the Moor, just fill out the form below. This giveaway ends May 18, 2020. The winner will be notified via email, through an announcement on this website, and on Facebook. Failure to respond within three days will result in another entry being chosen.
Congratulations to Joy Isley!