We are thrilled to welcome popular Gay Romance Author Annabella Michaels to the BL Xpress.
Annabella is an obsessive reader and a complete sucker for a good love story. She loves to feel a broad range of emotions throughout a book. Annabella feels that real life is hard enough and so her books offer twists and turns, but always with a happy ending. Join us as we strike a conversation with the popular writer about the thought process involved in the making of her novels and their imaginative worlds!
1) Your novels are hugely characterized by an inflammable chemistry between sexy men. How do you visualize your characters and their quirks?
I typically visualize my characters based off of things I know will happen in the story. What type of job do they have? Is one older than the other? Where does the story take place? Those things help me to see what they look like. Quirks are often formed through the things I know about their backstory. Was their childhood happy or was there trauma of some kind? Are they an introvert or extrovert? With those things in mind, I’m able to clearly see what little quirks they might have developed.
2) You have created an enviable universe in “Souls of Chicago Series” wherein two lost souls find their way to each other while working through their insecurities. What did you have in mind while writing about them?
The funny thing is, I had no idea the series would grow into what it did with so many characters. At the beginning, I only planned on telling the story of the three Greene brothers, but then all these side characters started popping up, and demanding to have their stories told too. Haha. I’m a huge lover of stories with found families as well as stories where the drama is external, so it’s the couple against the world. I feel like that’s what I created with the Souls. Everyone should be lucky enough to be taken in by the Greene family.
3) Who is your favorite couple from this book series? Did you feel an emotional connection with any of these characters?
Oh, man that’s hard!!! LOL. If I absolutely HAD to choose, it would be Carter and Ryan from Music of the Soul. They were fun, adventurous and oh so sexy!
4) “Hamilton’s Heroes Series” the spin-off series to the Soul of Chicago Series, focuses on the employees of Hamilton Security. How different are these couples from each other and how much fun did you have writing their stories?
These guys are so much fun to write. They’re a bit edgier since they’re all former special ops, but they also have that softer side that they show to the men they love. The Heroes, while not related, are definitely family to each other which makes them so special to me.
5) “My Heart Series” promises an intriguing romance between Garrett Sullivan and Dean Wilder. One is heartbroken and the other is looking for meaningful relationship. How did you envision this love story?
Garrett had his heartbroken in Constructing the Soul when he mistook friendship for love. I knew then that he needed to find his HEA. Their story was especially fun to write because it was the first time I got to leave Chicago as a setting and base my story in beautiful Hawaii. And I mean, you’re on the beach, alone…what better person to meet and fall in love with than a gorgeous movie star? Haha!
6) I’m also a huge fan of your standalone novels “The Swap”, “Picking Up The Pieces”, “More To Life” and “New Hope”. These books have a recurring motif of second chances and lonely hearts unexpectedly finding love. Where did you draw inspiration for these books?
The idea for The Swap came to me in a dream. I woke up, typed everything into my phone so I wouldn’t forget then called my bff who said, “This is the story I’ve needed!” Picking Up the Pieces is my heart and soul. The inspiration for this story was drawn from the losses I’ve had in my own life and how I’ve dealt with grief. When I wrote More to Life, I just needed something light-hearted and low angst at the time. New Hope was inspired by my background in early childhood education. I wanted to write child characters who were more “on page” than the children in my other stories, so I created two single dads and their little girls.
7) I have noticed that you enjoy writing characters that are invariably different. Why are you drawn to such subjects? What do you have in mind when you normally conceptualize a storyline?
For me, one of the best things about being a writer is getting to step into other people’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. When plotting my stories, it often really depends on what’s happening in my own life at the time. If things have been stressful, I’ll want to write low angst to experience the opposite and get a break from the real world. If things in my life have been great, I may be in the mood to explore heavier topics.
8) Do you have any favorite book, drama or movie that has left an ever lasting impression on your mind?
I have several. My favorite books include Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen, Axios by Jaclyn Osborn, and the Cut and Run series by Abigail Roux. The characters in these books have all burrowed their way into my hearts where they will stay forever. My favorite movies are Where the Heart Is and The Color Purple.
9) Do you enjoy reading MM Romance novels written by your contemporary authors? If yes, then who is your current favorite author and why?
Absolutely! One of my all time favorite authors is N.r Walker. She writes a large variety of characters, but each one draws me in completely. She is definitely a one-click author for me and I will often buy her books without even bothering to read the blurb first because I know whatever journey she takes me on will be phenomenal.
10) Being a Gay Romance Author yourself, what is your opinion about the current status of LGBTQ representation in books?
I’m proud of how much our genre has grown in both authors and readers over just the last year. I’m also thrilled to see more parts of the rainbow community being represented in books. Where they were once mostly focused on gay characters, now readers can easily find books with bisexual, transgender, asexual, and pansexual characters as well as many others. It’s so important to have everyone represented in positive ways.
11) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future books?
I’m so excited about my story ideas for this next year. While I still plan on adding to the Hamilton’s Heroes series and My Heart series, I’ve had a new series in mind whose characters are screaming at me that it’s their turn. So, my focus for 2022 will be this new series of ultra-sexy characters who love to push ALL the boundaries. I hope you’ll all take this new journey with me.
The BL Xpress would like to thank Annabella Michaels for taking the time to answer our questions!