Interview with YA Author, Michelle I. Mason
Updated: Feb 7
I am so excited to have my good friend, critique partner, and former Pitch Wars mentee on the blog today, sharing about her debut YA novel, YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, that released in September 2021. It's about a teenage girl who gets on a plane in 1995 and gets off 25 years later, and she hasn't aged a day.
Now, this was not the book I read/critiqued when Beth Ellyn Summer and I chose Michelle to be our Pitch Wars mentee back in 2017. It was another amazing book. However, I did get to read an early draft of YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED and fell in love with the concept and story. It's such a unique premise (and it was actually written BEFORE the show Manifest even came out). I loved all of the 90's references and differences between then versus today. And then there's Michelle's VOICE, which is spectacular and so perfectly YA.
Okay, enough gushing, let's get on to the interview! Thank you, Michelle, for agreeing to come on my blog and be grilled. :)
INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE I. MASON
First question: How long have you been writing or when did you start?
For as long as I can remember. I loved writing stories when I was a kid, especially when they’d bind them for you at school. For some reason, I was especially fond of horror stories when I was young (must have been all those RL Stine books!). Then as a teenager I was into romance novels and thought I might write those, but I didn’t truly find my niche in YA until I was, ironically, an adult.
Your writer's origin story sounds a lot like mine! :) If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?
Organized, Encouraging, Persistent
I wish I was a little more organized! What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
Isn’t that the million-dollar question? Honestly, my to-do list—and it’s most effective if I have deadlines associated with every item, including drafting/revising/submitting manuscripts.
I love a good to-do list. If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?
Ally Carter! I’ve met her at signings a couple of times, and she’s so fun. I’d love to hang out with her for a whole day and pick her brain about all her books.
Ally Carter would be a great person to hang out with! In YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED, what was the hardest scene to write, and why?
The climax of the book, which is technically a few scenes. I had a lot of fun writing it originally, but it was a bit… over the top. That’s about all I can say without spoilers, but my editor warned me before offering on the book that we’d need to change it, and I was fine with that. But it still took three tries before we landed on the right climax for the book. I didn't realize you wrote the climax three different times! If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters? I was totally picturing Melissa Joan Hart as Jenny while writing—but as she was in the nineties, of course ☺. For Jenny, I’m going to say McKenna Grace in a couple of years (since she’s only 15 right now) or maybe Kiernan Shipka. I had absolutely no actors in mind for Dylan while writing, so I just now went and searched teen actors on IMBD. Maxwell Jenkins or Jace Norman would work! I had to go and search those actors, lol. I can totally see them as Jenny and Dylan! :) Okay, if you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick? It would probably be someone else from Flight 237, like Valerie Wen, who returned to find her husband remarried with kids. On top of that, one of her former students asks her out. It’s such a great setup for a romance novel! Alas, I am not the one to write this story. Me! Pick me! I volunteer as tribute. That would be such a cool concept to write about. ;) Let's get into the nitty gritty. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing? Favorite: Notes from readers who love my book. It’s the best feeling ever! Least favorite: Waiting! Everything just takes a long time. I agree, the waiting is the worst. But those notes from readers sure do make it all worth it! I know you're an avid book reader. What book (or books) are you currently reading? Right now I’m working through my Christmas book haul. I just finished (and loved) SUNKISSED by Kasie West. Of course, I may have read three more books by the time this posts, so check my Instagram to see what I’m loving! Ooh, I haven't read that one by Kasie West yet. Thanks for the rec! What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? Find other writers you trust to exchange manuscripts with and work together to improve your craft. When you’re first starting out, that’s the most important thing you can do. And finish writing that book! For me, getting to the end was one of the hardest parts with the first book.
This is great advice! Thank you, again, Michelle, for sitting in the hot seat and answering my burning questions! Let's take a look at Michelle's book info, including where you can purchase your own copy.
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? BUY THE BOOK!
About the Author:
Michelle I. Mason is the author of Your Life Has Been Delayed and
the forthcoming My Second Impression of You (September 2022), both from Bloomsbury YA. 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, and color-coordinated pets. CONNECT WITH MICHELLE! Website Twitter Instagram