The second installment in the Genie Chronicles is called Solomon’s Bell, and I’m working hard to finish that. I’m getting requests daily from readers of Heir to the Lamp for more about Ginn and her adventures.
What's your pre-writing ritual?
When I’m writing at home I prefer to do so in a room that’s been tidied—clutter distracts me and before I know it I’m cleaning instead of getting words onto the page.
What is one of the most surprising/interesting things you've discovered while doing research for a story?
I was truly amazed to discover how many fantasy/folklore/fairytale creatures can trace their origins to genies, or djinnis—as they’re called in some of the oldest traditions. Angels, demons, ghouls, sprites, faeries, and even leprechauns are thought by some to be genies under a different name.
Tell me about your favorite story that you've published. What inspired it, and what does it mean to you?
In 2012 I won first place in a national writing contest for the category of First Chapter in a Novel for a coming-of-age story set in 1960’s Alabama called Daddy’s Girl. The story was inspired by my mother and her siblings’ real life experiences after the sudden death of their father the summer of 1968.
The loss of my grandfather was very difficult for my 28 year-old grandmother, suddenly on her own with three young children to support and all the limitations that existed for uneducated women in the South, but she would be shepherded through this most difficult time in all their lives by an African American housekeeper named Queen Esther Crump that did ever-so-much-more than keep house.
Daddy’s Girl is a fictionalized account of a pivotal time in the lives of several members of my family and revisits an interesting time in the history of Alabama: the last year of the Civil Rights Movement. It can be found in the 2012 edition of Alalit.com.
You can have lunch with any writer, living or dead. Who would it be, and why?
My editor, Eileen Wiedbrauk. Eileen is also a writer -- I enjoyed her retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in Garbage to Gold Spindle very much. Living so far from one another, she in Michigan and I in Alabama, we've never had the opportunity to meet in person. I think it would be neat to sit across a table from her and listen to her talk about her own writing projects. I bet she's got some fantastic ideas and concepts!
What's one of the best novels and/or short stories you've read recently?
I’m currently reading Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane and LOVING it! It’s steeped in myth and old magic and I adore Gaiman’s style. I’ve listened to so many of his audio books that I can practically hear him reading the novel in his delicious accent.
Writing is a sedentary endeavor. What do you do to stay healthy and active?
I coach little league soccer in the spring and fall. I live in a rural area with lots of winding roads I enjoy walking. Fellow WWP writer Susan Abel Sullivan happens to be local to me and a water Zumba fitness instructor. I've recently promised to join her classes.
Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat, and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group. You can find her online at MichelleLoweryCombs.com, Faceb
ook, Twitter @miclowery77, Google+, and on her blog Through the Wormhole: Confessions of a Bookworm.
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