Story Behind the Story
How fun! I was invited to do a guest post on I Smell Sheep’s website. To read the “Story Behind the Story,” please click here.
Interviewed by Tina Hogan Grant
A fellow writer, Tina Hogan Grant, is in the process of publishing her debut novel, “Reckless Beginnings.” It’s fiction based on actual events that occurred in her life. Her father, James P. Hogan, is a famous science fiction author.
Tina is smart—before launching her novel, she’s established her website (https://www.tinahogangrant.com), and she’s already promoting on FB, Twitter, Instagram, as well as Goodreads.
When asked if she could interview me, I was flattered. The following is an excerpt from her interview.
The interview with Michele I. Khoury
Question 1 – How long have you been writing and why do you enjoy it?
Michele – I’ve been writing for ten years and started my novel when I attended UCI’s Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Novel Writing Class through their extension program in 2007. I enjoy the creativity, the research, experimenting with different sentence structures, words, characters, descriptions, and experiences. I love everything about writing—the solitary endeavor, getting critiques from my professionally-led writing group, editing, digging deep, and rewriting.
Question 2 – Other than writing, what else do you like to do?
Michele – My most favorite thing to do is read. I’ve been an avid reader all my life.
My next favorite thing is spending time with my husband and walking our two rescued dogs.
Question 3 – What inspired you to write “Busted”?
Michele – One of the first assignments in the writing course was to plot a novel. We’d received a lecture on the key components, and while driving home from class the plot for Busted came to me. When I got home, I sat at my computer, typed my thoughts, and then massaged the key points throughout the week. When I shared my outline in class the following week, my writing professor said, “Oh, that’s good. The story has legs; you have to pursue it.” Encouraged, I stuck with it.
Question 4 – What was the hardest part to write in “Busted”?
Michele – The most challenging part of writing Busted was creating the protagonist, Gina. Miguel (the antagonist), and Bobby (the good guy) were easy. Their chapters flowed. Gina evolved, and I didn’t really nail her character until after I’d finished the first couple of drafts. Her development evolved over time.
Question 5 – Who as an author, inspires you and why?
Michele – This is a tough question. I’m inspired by many authors, so it’s difficult to choose just one. Whenever I read good writing, I take notes and study what it was that impressed me. I learn something from almost every book. I’ve been doing this for the last ten years, and I have accumulated 276 pages in a Word document.
Question 6 – Name six of your favorite books and authors. Explain why these are your favorites.
Michele – Oh, my. This is another difficult question. I’ve read hundreds of books, and while I enjoyed the majority, very few are memorable. When a book sticks with me—i.e., when I remember it long after I’ve read it, then I consider it a favorite.
- James Clavell’s Shogun. I read this book in 1986, and still remember many scenes.
- John Grisham’s The Firm. I found this book fascinating. I love legal stuff.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is another all-time favorite. His story is vivid, emotional, and unforgettable.
- While I love Stephen King’s The Misery, The Shining, The Green Mile, my favorite is a less popular novel: Duma Key. It’s part suspense, part paranormal, and just plain weird. Stephen King also wrote a book called On Writing—one of the best writing books I’ve read.
- J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. Every single book was a creative adventure that I couldn’t put down.
- I recently read Kathy Bennet’s A Deadly Blessing. It’s a police procedural; a genre that I enjoy. Kathy is a retired LAPD Detective, and her writing is most impressive.
I also read and enjoy many literary authors: Liane Moriarity, JoJo Moyes, Graham Simsion. Just finished Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling. Whoa. The story is as gruesome as it gets; however, his writing is poetic and the narrative is so engaging, I’m willing to forgive the most grizzly and horrific father-daughter abuse just to keep reading.
My list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, and David Balducci. Their early novels are what inspired me to write. And I also read non-fiction; whatever captures my attention.
Question 7 – What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Michele – Read, research, write, get feedback, and rewrite. Writing groups can be very helpful or hurtful; make sure the person leading is knowledgeable, employs positive feedback as well as constructive criticism, and gives each individual equal time.
I’m excited to share the following press release, which my publisher, Page Publishing, sent to over 3800 major metropolitan newspapers, news organizations, TV, and radio broadcasting companies on June 27, 2017.
Author Michele I. Khoury’s new thriller “Busted” is about three people who collide over cocaine causing crime, sex, and the law to intersect with explosive results.
Recent release “Busted” from Page Publishing author Michele I. Khoury is a suspenseful novel in which a struggling female artist is seduced by a successful businessman, who turns out to be a ruthless cocaine supplier. She becomes ensnared in a drug trafficking ring, and when a dealer believes she’s a DEA snitch, she’s forced to fight for her survival.
Michele I. Khoury, an award-winning entrepreneur in the technology industry, lives in Orange County, California with her husband and two dogs, Bubbles and Thriller. While attending the University of California Irvine’s Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Novel Writing program, she created “Busted.”
Impacted by the recession, twenty-four-year-old artist Gina McKenna is down to her last few dollars and days away from living in her car when a successful businessman buys a painting and commissions another. As their relationship evolves, she’s seduced by his charm and mesmerized by his luxurious lifestyle until she discovers he’s a drug kingpin. Her world turns upside down, and she struggles to survive vicious brutality.
Miguel Lopez is a cocaine supplier with a weightlifter’s physique and “the rules do not apply to me” attitude. Maniacal and ruthless, he has no qualms about killing anyone who interferes with his distribution network, including Gina.
Dedicated to eradicating illegal drugs, DEA Special Agent Bobby Garcia spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars working undercover to buy his way up the dealer chain to identify the moneyman. When his fourteen-year-old daughter overdoses on cocaine, he traces the blow to Lopez. As Bobby’s mission becomes personal, he makes emotional decisions, which negatively impact civilians and his job. Unable to let go, he risks his career to orchestrate the biggest drug sting in Southern California. What happens isn’t what he expected.
When a deputy district attorney meets Gina at a party, he is smitten. As his attraction grows, so does Gina’s involvement with the DEA’s case, of which he is the designated prosecutor. Mindful of his professional ethics, he tries to stifle his feelings.
Sex and violence permeate the twists and turns of this cautionary tale about choosing one’s friends well.
Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Michele I. Khoury’s riveting debut novel shows both sides of the drug debate.
Readers who wish to experience this potent drama can purchase “Busted” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play or Barnes and Noble.
For additional information or media inquiries, contact Page Publishing at 866-315-2708.
About Page Publishing
Page Publishing is a traditional New York-based full-service publishing house that handles all the intricacies involved in publishing its authors’ books, including distribution in the world’s largest retail outlets and royalty generation. Page Publishing knows that authors need to be free to create – not bogged down with the logistics of eBook conversion, establishing wholesale accounts, insurance, shipping, taxes, and the like. Its roster of accomplished writers can help authors leave behind these tedious and time-consuming issues and focus on their passion: writing and creating. Learn more at www.pagepublishing.com.
BUSTED’s LAUNCH PARTY
On a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California, 125 people joined me in celebrating a momentous milestone. After spending eight years writing, one year of agent rejections followed by acceptance with Page Publishing, Busted was officially launched, ten years and seven months from the time I began. The May 13th, 2017th party wasn’t about me; it was about acknowledging all the people who were instrumental in helping to create Busted.