2021 Debut Author Interview: Michelle I. Mason!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and to spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun for years to come! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2021 debuts and chat with them about their writing process and what it's like to be a new author. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats, and more!

At the end of 2020, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Michelle I. Mason and her novel YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, and we have been interested in it ever since! We are so excited to have Michelle on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Michelle I. Mason is the author of Your Life Has Been Delayed, forthcoming from Bloomsbury in 2021, as well as a second untitled young adult novel in 2022. Michelle 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 husband, two kids, a dog, and two cats.

Keep up with Michelle: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?

Michelle: Thank you so much! As for how it feels--amazing and terrifying and surreal and so many other emotions wrapped up all together. I queried six books over seven years before YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, and then signing with my agent and editor was a whirlwind. Fast forward two and half years later and… it’s here? That’s the surreal part. You’re not completely sure it’s happening until it does, but I have an Advance Reading Copy sitting on my desk. It’s real. It’s amazing. But it’s also terrifying, because now I’m giving the book to actual readers to either love or hate, and I know there will be some of both.

The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?

Michelle: For me, the best part is revising. I hate drafting, and it took quite a while to find a system that worked for me to get a working draft of a manuscript finished. When I finish a first draft, there’s celebrating—with cupcakes. After that, though, I’m in my happy writing place. I could revise over and over. Probably best for me not to read my finished book, as I will likely still want to revise it.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED?

Michelle: I’ve always been fascinated by time travel, from when I first watched all the Back to the Future movies. Then, a few years ago, I tagged along on my husband’s business trip to Australia. On our return flight, we left Sydney on Feb. 27 at 11:30 a.m. and arrived in L.A. on Feb. 27 at 5:35 a.m. Sure, we were flying across international time zones, but it felt like traveling back in time. And I thought: What if you got on a plane, but when you landed it was many years later? You’re still the same age, but everyone else has moved on. The rest of the story just came from that central idea.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?

Michelle: Jenny, the main character, was my favorite to write, perhaps because I spend the whole book inside her head and know her better than any of them. It was a journey to figure out how she would react to all the awful situations I threw at her and help her find ways to grow and adapt in unbelievable circumstances. As for most difficult, the answer to that is a bit spoilery. I rewrote the ending a few times, and there’s a character who has a significant role in the climax. It was tricky getting that character’s motivations and actions just right.

The Book Bratz: Are there any other books or authors who give you inspiration for your own writing?

Michelle: I grew up reading romance novels, and you wouldn’t believe how many time travel romance novels there are! One in particular I remember was called Breath of Magic by Teresa Medeiros, about an aspiring witch who traveled to the 20th century. While it’s very different from my own book, I still recall how funny and awkward and strange it was for the character to navigate different technology, fashion and life, and I remembered how that book felt as I was writing. My favorite genre to read now is YA contemporary—or sometimes light sci-fi or fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Ally Carter, Kasie West, and Marissa Meyer, along with new favorite Debbie Rigaud. And I also really enjoy historical YA like Stacey Lee or how The Lady Janies twist it. I’ve read some really outstanding books by other debut authors this year that I know are going to turn into favorites as well.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED? 

Michelle: YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED is about a crazy time jump and all the ways the world has changed, but it’s also about all the ways it’s still the same. Like how finding people you trust and holding onto them is what will get you through the unexpected things life throws at you. But I also hope readers just leave the book thinking, “Wow, that went by fast!” Those are always my favorites 😊.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?

Michelle: YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED is a stand-alone novel, and I don’t have any plans to return to the world (although those other passengers have some interesting stories!). I have another stand-alone YA novel coming in 2022 with Bloomsbury, and I’ll share more about it as soon as I can! Until then, I hope you enjoy YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, arriving in bookstores September 7th! Thank you again for having me and showcasing so many debut authors!

Title: Your Life Has Been Delayed
Author: Michelle I. Mason
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021

Summary: Jenny Waters boards her flight in 1995, but when she lands, she and the other passengers are told they disappeared . . . 25 years ago. Everyone thought they were dead. Now contending with her family and friends fast-forwarding decades, Jenny must quickly adjust to smartphones and social media while being the biggest story to hit the internet. She feels betrayed by her once-best friend and fights her attraction to a cute boy with an uncomfortable connection to her past. Meanwhile, there’s a growing group of conspiracy theorists determined to prove the whole situation is a hoax. Will Jenny figure out how to move forward, or will she always be stuck in the past?

Thank you so much to Michelle for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED and can't wait for it to be out in the world on September 7th -- and be on the lookout for Jessica's review of the book, coming soon! 

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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