Three years ago, Michelle Torlot decided to retire early from her IT career in order to spend more time with her show dogs. When she tragically lost one of her beloved pups, she found solace in writing. What began as a comforting hobby unexpectedly turned into a wildly successful second career for this UK based author. Initially, Michelle wrote fanfiction, but she soon gained enough confidence to pen original stories. Several of her Inkitt titles have been published on GALATEA, including the blockbuster Wolf Wars series. I’m thrilled to feature Michelle on today’s Inkitt Author Spotlight!
Welcome, Michelle! Let’s start with some background. Can you tell us about your pre-writing career?
Sure. I worked for the UK government at a research facility in the IT department. I covered a wide range of IT related tasks including fixing computers, troubleshooting software, ordering hardware, and database management.
That’s about as far away from writing as one could get! I’ve captured a little about your creative journey in the introduction, but your readers would love to learn more. Can you give us a bit more detail on how you went from an IT specialist to a best-selling paranormal romance author? What inspired you to begin writing?
As part of my retirement gift, from the money that was collected, I brought a PlayStation and the game Red Dead Redemption 2. I could play as a cowboy, which was totally awesome! The game was brilliantly written, and motion capture really brought the characters to life. Without any spoilers, the game didn’t end as I expected, so I checked online to see if there was an alternate ending. That’s when I found out about fanfictions. I read a few and thought, I could do that. So, I did, and people seemed to like it. At that point, I didn’t quite have the confidence to start writing my own work. Then, one of the people who I had befriended through my fanfiction writing persuaded me to give it a shot.
During the early stages of my writing, I lost one of my dogs, Charlie Brown. He was my long-time companion, being born in the bedroom and with me through several ups and downs. We did everything together, and his sudden loss hit me hard. I found solace in my writing, so I guess you could say something good came out of a dire situation.
Our animals are like family, but you found a really positive way to process the loss. Your grief- inspired writing and fanfiction experience eventually pushed you toward original storytelling. Where did the idea for your first book come from? Did you have the ending in mind when you began, or did it surprise you?
The first book I completed was The Wolf Inside. I had the idea for the story when I found some old black and white photographs of family members, but I had no idea who they were. One of the photographs had been torn in half. I figured there must be a story behind it, which got me thinking about families and skeletons in closets.
I always liked the werewolf genre, and I began to think what would happen if there was a big secret that the protagonist didn’t know about. I really had no idea where the story would go. In fact, it went in a completely different direction than what I expected. I think it’s one of those books you either love or hate. It’s like that with all my books, I never plan them out, I just let the story flow. I also like that my characters can either be loved or hated, depending on the viewpoint of the reader.
You’ve become one of Inkitt’s success stories! Did you ever expect your werewolf books to become so popular?
I honestly couldn’t believe, and still can’t believe, that my work is so popular. When I first started writing, I did it as a hobby. I found I enjoyed it enormously. Having people enjoy it too was a huge bonus. I never expected to have any of my work published.
I still struggle at times to come to terms with the fact that people want to read what I have written. I guess I’m a little old school and thought of writers having to send numerous manuscripts off to publishers, only to get rejected! With the advent of reading apps like GALATEA, it doesn’t have to work like that anymore. The goal of being a successful writer is even more achievable.
What is your writing routine like? Do you have a favorite place to work? Do you write every day?
I try to write every day, but I don’t force it. If I try and write when I’m not feeling the vibe, then I’m never happy with the result. I think I’m my own worst critic. I have a laptop and a desktop, but I prefer writing at the desk. I usually find I do my best work late into the night. It isn’t unusual for me to be writing at one am in the morning.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how to you move past it?
Writers block. I guess we’ve all had it. Usually when it happens, I do a couple of things. Firstly, I get out of the house. I take my dogs for a nice long walk in the countryside. There is some nice woodland close to where I live, which is perfect for trying to imagine werewolf territory. Haven’t seen one yet though!
The other thing I do is write. I know it sounds crazy, but it is the reason I have so many works in progress. I find that writing something different and completely new will sometimes help with the current blockage. It’s also how some of my other works have come about. When I was writing The Wolf Inside, I got completely blocked, and didn’t know where the story would go. So, I started writing something else. That idea ended up turning into The Alpha’s Guest. It can be a little annoying for my readers though, waiting on chapters for one story when I randomly start another book.
What are you working on now or planning for your next project?
Currently, I have several works in progress. Mainly, I’m working on book three of The Wolf Wars trilogy, but also Stolen, a werewolf romance, and Heal Me, a biker story, which is more thriller/drama than romance, although there is a little of that too. There are also other books that need to be completed but are on the back burner for now including The Hunter Prophecy and A Rogue’s Choice. I know some of my readers are champing at the bit for a sequel to Choose Me or Lose Me, and I will start it at some point, but I want to clear the decks a little first.
Wow, Michelle! You’ve got a lot going on. Good luck with your upcoming projects, and thank you so much for sharing your personal story.
Check out Michelle Torlot’s Inkitt profile with links to her stories!