Thursday 8 August 2013

Guest Blog - Writer Events Q&A with Cara Michaels

Returning again to my Writer Events Q&A, I approached one of my favourite Independent Self-Published Authors, Cara Michaels. 
I was captured by Cara’s lead character Gemma Bryant in her series ‘Gaea’s Chosen: The MaydayDirective’, and ‘Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon’. They are fast paced Heroic Science Fiction novellas. I loved them so much I read them twice, and now I’m eagerly awaiting the third: ‘Gaea’s Chosen: Heavenly Bodies’, which is due out soon. 

Cara has also written ‘Their First Noelle’ – a steamy, fantasy romance, and is about to release a new novella, ‘Black Out’ – a paranormal thriller.

Here’s what Cara has been up to in the Writing Events world.

What was your first writing event? (writing group, writers conference, book fair etc.)

My first writing event actually took place here in my town. Color me shocked when I discovered a town best known as “that place where Tampa and Orlando commuters live” held its first Authors and Illustrators Festival in September 2010.

I’ve also been to MegaCon, which is more an all-around festival packed with cosplay, movie and TV stars, writers, artists, and all sorts of craziness. There was even speed dating. Apparently that’s a big thing at these events, since I’m heading to ComicCon Tampa in a few weeks and they’re having it, too.

Most recently, I attended Arizona Dreamin’. I tagged along with one of my writing besties, Siobhan Muir. AZ Dreamin’ is a writer/reader event where readers get to interact on a much more social and intimate level with writers. I had an excellent time and met some amazing folks. Again, it was educational for me to see how more established writers interacted with readers and learn about their creative processes.

Did you go alone (to the Writers conference)?

For my first, I almost didn’t go at all. I’m not much for diving into new events with lots of people, especially alone. But it was a free, street fair shindig, so anyone could just show up and browse. I figured it would be fairly painless. 

When you went did you go with a specific plan in mind, or focus? Did you structure the day, or did you just go and see?

I mainly went to see. Call it burning curiosity. I had just completed the early drafts of Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive. I was considering going out on a limb and independently publishing the title. So I gathered my courage and headed downtown to meet the local talent pool and find out a bit about their experiences.

Can you go to a writers conference without a specific focus? Can you just go and look?

As an attendee, absolutely. The writers are eager to meet potential readers and even make new friends. As a writer featured at this year’s Hot Mojave Knights conference in Las Vegas, I’m learning there’s quite a bit to prepare for when you’re part of the event.

What did you gain from it personally?

As a writer on the cusp, so to speak, it was a great experience for me. I was surprised to discover so many new and established writers living around here. I also learned about some local writing groups. I’m still friendly with a few folks I met, too.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, going to the festival broke my writers’ conference/fair/convention cherry, lol. I could see myself being one of the authors myself. And I could imagine attending bigger (and air conditioned) gatherings.

Have you ever gone on a writing retreat? If so, what are your thoughts/experiences?

I have not. They sound fun in theory, but I’m not certain how much I’d get done.

For someone starting out, or wanting to go to one and not being sure, what advice would you give?

Check for local events. They are a great and generally inexpensive way to dip your toes in the conference/fair waters. I found out about the one in my town the day it was happening and jumped in my car thirty minutes later. I had a great afternoon for the cost of five minutes in gas and a pint at the Irish pub on the same block as the festival. September in Florida is still wicked hot enough to drive a girl indoors for a cold libation. ;)


  1. Thanks so much for inviting me to dish about my experiences, Miranda!

  2. Great post! Best of luck on your upcoming releases, Cara!

  3. A good read with some useful tips; least of all the Irish pub. xx

    1. Thank you, Lizzie. I'm rather fond of that pub. :)