Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Michelle Crichton about her writing and recently released children’s early read The Adventures of Vylette Bunny and Michie: Love at First Bite, a fun story about a young girl and her mischivious pet bunny. (Read the reveiw here.)
Michelle Crichton was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario and comes from a Caribbean background. She attended the University of Ottawa and holds Bachelors Degrees in both General Arts and Teaching. Currently, Michelle works in a local credit within the financial services industry. Michelle has been an avid writer since she was very young and began with writing poems at an early age. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about topics of interest, reading, writing, watching some tv shows, listening to music and going for long walks outdoors.
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Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
As a writer, I have found myself going between the extremes of feeling very confident about my work to having some self-doubt at times. It is difficult because in every genre, there are so many books, and you must know what makes your book unique. You need to believe that you are a good writer (which might appear as having a “big ego” to others, but it is not. A big ego stems from the belief that you are the “best” and truthfully, there is always room for improvement in some area. A big ego can cause a writer to believe that they have mastered their craft, and this could prevent them from taking heed and learning from others. In essence, I would say that it hurts writers. Stay humble inside!
What is your favorite childhood book?
I remember reading ‘Superfudge’ by Judy Blume in Grade 6. That novel kept me hooked for a few hours! Back then, I only enjoyed reading books that truly interested me (I always loved writing though). The story revolved around sibling jealousy and the plot was very engaging.
Are you a feeler or a thinker?
I am a good mix of both. I am always observing what is happening around me and analyzing situations and experiences. I see patterns and form deep connections in my mind quickly. However, I tend to be more subjective when making decisions (I mostly rely on my personal feelings).
What inspired the premise of your book?
‘The Adventures of Vylette Bunny and Michie: Love at First Bite’ was inspired by a pet bunny named Bugs, who lived with me for 9 years. Before the bunny, I mostly had tropical fish as pets. I had the bunny as an adult, and I had to learn how to properly care for her. Bunnies are often misunderstood pets, but they are very sweet. They require a lot of patience in the beginning! I wanted to share some of my experiences with bunny ownership to parents and children who may be considering bringing a pet home. Over the years, I had many humourous memories with Bugs and I saw her a creature with a mind of her own. I wanted to bring some of those stories and lessons learned in the form of an illustrated children’s book.
Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?
There is one illustration in the book where Michie is wearing a night cap on her head, while comfortably sitting on the sofa while Vylette Bunny is doing a binkie (leaping for joy). ‘Smarty Pants Animals’ (Vylette’s favourite show) is playing on the television. It is my favourite because it represents happiness and fun times. Michie and Vylette are bonding like friends, which is marvellous!
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think that a common trap for aspiring writers might be for them to secretly compare themselves to others and not pursue their writing careers because they feel inadequate. They might also become discouraged due to constructive criticism or feedback.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
As a writer, I have always enjoyed the creative aspect (bringing my ideas to life in the form of a book). Once your book is published, it can feel like your baby has grown. You are no longer nurturing the creative side because the focus will shift onto marketing and getting the public familiar with the book. The challenge for me was learning to care about an area that I knew very little about (the marketing aspect) but not becoming too obsessed in excessive numbers and sales etc. There are many numbers in marketing (social media followers, sales ranks, views on posts etc.) While it is important for me to put myself out there and promote my work, I also realize that if I only focus on the numbers- the experience will not be as enjoyable for me. As an author, I enjoy branding myself and engaging others with my social media posts. I want to keep writing for a long time and maintaining a fan base who will want to read my books!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I like to be original and maintain my own essence in my work. I want readers to hear my voice and catch a glimpse of who I am as a person. I want readers to become deeply intrigued with my writing and have the desire to keep reading on to discover what happens next!
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