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November 15th Author Stalker - Michelle Dalton!

The dynamic and multi-talented Michelle Dalton.

This is my longest ever episode of The Author Stalker, but I promise you it will be worth every moment of your time.

I first came to discover the dynamic and lovely Michelle Dalton, whilst listening to an interview with her on author Sandie Docker's brilliant weekly Facebook live event called Friday Book Bites (FBB)

The title of the episode was Writing through Adversity. The episode was so raw and honest, and totally came from the heart. It has to be one of my favourite episodes of Book Bites so far. It was actually quite profound and is a definite 'must watch', but make sure you have the Kleenex handy!

Michelle is a nurse who also writes romance with suspenseful threads, and her new novel Road to Redemption

was just released in October.

Michelle is also dyslexic. As a child growing up in South Africa, Michelle said she felt her dyslexia was a burden but her mum, gran and Gogo (Zulu for great-grandmother) taught her to use her dyslexia as a Superpower, instead of a barrier she had to overcome.

She says she comes from a long line of storytellers and sought to share her stories. Over the years she found an online writing community where she felt safe enough to share her words and grow her ability. It is now her mission to give back and help other writers facing adversity and trying to break into the publishing world.

On Friday Book Bites, Michelle said 'When we stand together, we remind each other of that magic. And when you make magic together, it's ten times more powerful.' She speaks of kindness, believes we are all connected, just as I do.

Michelle says she needs to find the balance when introducing any darker themes into her stories, as the violence she witnessed growing up in South Africa has left scars. 'South Africa is in your bone marrow, and while I now call Australia home, my soul is on a different continent, along with the rest of my family. The violence changes you. It changes your very DNA.' (excerpt from FBB interview).

So without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the amazing Michelle Dalton.xx

Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?

A: Erm, I’m weird, I don’t have something I wish for. I joined a very cool online writer’s community early on in my career and was given all the advice and encouragement a lot of writers wish they had received early on.

I was told and shown what a hard road it would be. I was shown how to accomplish my goals and my rose glasses weren’t worn for very long. I can impart this, a writer Jeff Elikin, (an American preacher who writes excellent thrillers and suspense novels) told me one day when I was very down, “Never give up, Never surrender,” it’s a quote from one of my (and apparently his too) favourite space movies – Galaxy Quest. It’s stuck with me all these years and to this day is my coping mechanism for the dark moments in my writing life. 😊

Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?

A: Okay, sorry, weird me again. Never wanted to write any books but my own. I love my stories (oooeee sorry very proud and arrogant I am), I love many other books and am stoked there are writers that have written them. Perhaps what I do envy are some author’s ways with words. Being dyslexic I battle with that and I always feel SO sorry for my editor!

'The beach is my spesh place. I love the sand and sun and water. It soothes the darkness inside and inspires me.'

Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?

A: Anna Karenina!

Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…

A: Used to be Wine and Whiskey but I recently stopped alcohol consumption so I'd have to say a very spicey chai latte 😉

Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?

A: The Matriarch by Annabelle McInnes (and a gazillion others)

Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?

A: Epona.

Sadie – Margo Robbie

Blane – Tom Hiddleston

Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?

A: Beside my philistines (triplet teenage sons) and the hubster – my WRITING!

'It’s all about family, outdoors and always having fun. My family and pup (Lady or Lolo depends on my mood 😉) are absolutely my something special. I lovingly refer to my triplet boys (who are now moody teens) as my Philistines. The ‘Hubster’ is super spesh.'

Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?

A: Don’t have one. I’ve travelled extensively, doubt I’ll ever return to Africa, so probs twenty minutes form here – Bribie island 😊

Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?

A: I nurse, so that…oooo no wait, Horse Trainer.

Q10: What's the hardest scene you have ever written and why was it so hard?

A: The Farm Attack in Epona. Because it’s so damn real and happens every single day in my country of birth. That is honestly fiction based on a wicked evil truth! (That would really tug on your heartstrings Michelle. Shelley.xx)

I was so keen to share with you more of Michelle's experiences of Dyslexia, the formation of Heart & Craft, a community she created this year to help support emerging romance and women’s fiction writers, and her creation 3 Umfana Publishing, that I asked her to write a special piece on them for me. So today, you get a bonus section of The Author Stalker. Enjoy. Shelley.xx

About my super power – Dyslexia!

I was diagnosed fairly early in life thanks to my awesome mom. Kindergarten was spent with other kids who had learning disabilities. Missus Zenolli, was my teacher and I will never forget her. Much taller than my five year old self, grey soft short curly hair and round framed glasses with a smile that lit up the darkest room, and life. I clearly remember those years because she filled them with so much fun. Learning was fun!

There were dark moments too. Kids sniff out a child who is different to the crowd, like hounds sniff out a fox. And I had a primary school teacher who, looking back now, had no idea how to teach a dyslexic child so instead labelled me stupid and I missed out on an entire years’ worth of English lessons. But that’s okay. It didn’t damage me, it made me strong and determined. Teach your kids how to use adversity to their advantage and the world is their oyster! (Thanks Mom, Nan and Gogo)

Besides tenacity, Mrs Zenolli’s special school and the special people who crossed my path, there were other techniques and coping mechanisms I’ve used and still do to hone my special gift. My mom sat for hours with me using special games to enhance and improve my spatiality issues and right to left brain connection.

The fear of failing returned when I decided to write my first book. Fortunately, and unfortunately, in the beginning I ran in to a plethora of asshats (am I allowed to use this word?) – at first it hurt and I almost gave up. But thanks to those early years, and the love and strength given to me by my mom, Nan and Gogo, I pulled up my big girl undies and stomped down the path toward with Destiny at my side. (Gogo is a Zulu word meaning grandmother pronounced Goh-goh and is what we called my great grandmother).

And as any writer will tell you – your story will never give up on you. Every moment I could spare I used to practice my craft. I joined a thriving online writing community filled with people from all walks of life, many who didn’t care that I was dyslexic, and showed me that really it doesn’t affect my writing abilities one little bit. I’ve come a long way since, and know I have a longer way ahead – but I do look forward to it.

Heart & Craft (see link to FB page at the bottom of the post to find out more) is probably the biggest most intimidating bull I decided to grab by the horns and all that in 2020! Heart & Craft is a community I created for emerging romance and women’s fiction writers.

It’s so easy to get lost in the quagmire of the writing world. I remember as an emerging writer how overwhelmed and lost I felt, how much money I wasted, and how people took advantage of my naivete.

And then I happened on an amazing writers group. This is what made me.

Now it’s time to give back.

Heart & Craft is a nurturing online community. A safe space for new writers to grow and blossom without spending a small fortune. I hope to get a platform where I can present workshops for emerging and newbie writers all the way through to self-published authors up and running in 2021.

3 Umfana Publishers vision is to create a boutique independent publishing house away from the stressors of self and traditional publishing. The foundations of 3 Umfana are laid on integrity and always putting the Writer before the bottom line.

3 Umfana Publishers is an independent book marketing, sales and distribution company, offering opportunities to authors of women’s fiction, romance of all genres and heat levels, as well as biographies, memoirs and certain non-fiction writers. It is also a member of Australian Publishers Association.

'Do second chances count when it’s your heart that’s on the line?

Raymond sold his soul to protect the only woman he’s ever loved. The consequences of his actions leading him down a path of absolute destruction.

Mina vowed she’d never love nor need a man ever again. A self-made business success and single mother, her life is up ended when her past returns.

Dangerous forces are at play and everyone’s safety is at stake when poachers threaten all she’s worked so hard to achieve, labelling those closest to Mina as suspect.

Will Ray truly be able to take the redemption handed to him and make it work, or will Mina lose her heart and possibly her life to the only man she’s ever loved, a second time?'

Thank you Michelle for being my November 15th Author Stalker victim. xx

Road to Redemption, both digital and print editions, are available from online booksellers.

If you would like to find out more about Michelle, you can find her here:

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