Sunday, January 17, 2016
An Interview with Ann Michelle
Ann Michelle is a treasure for our community. She's been one of the longest active writers in the genre and I can honestly say I wouldn't be writing my stories now if I hadn't been blown away by the first story of hers I red, Grounded in Heels. With the release of the sequel to that book, I conducted an email interview with her:
Kylie: I make no bones about the fact that Grounded in Heels was the first book that I found on Amazon as good as anything on the free sites like Fictionmania and Storysite. It had a big impact on me writing feminization. What inspired you to start publishing your own feminization stories?
Ann: Thanks Kylie! I’m glad it inspired you!
I started writing my own stories originally because there just weren’t many stories that excited me. This was before the internet and most of what existed was pure junk, often having no TG content at all despite the title. Then I found Sandy Thomas. I liked Sandy’s books a lot, but they never quite went where I wanted them to. So I decided to write my own books so that I had stories that included what I wanted to see.
Eventually, I posted a story or two on the free sites, like Fictionmania. Then, one day, I realized that Amazon was actually selling TG fiction and I decided I would add mine to the list and see what happened. The rest is history.
Kylie: Oh, I know what you mean about Sandy Thomas. The ads would have such great premises and the stories would be well-written, but they just never went in the direction that I wanted. There were a lot of unsatisfying conclusions in those books. How has self-publishing changed since you began?
Ann: It’s changed a lot! The biggest change is the flood of quick-buck authors who hit our genre. When I first posted on Amazon, there were few authors in our genre and those who did were genuinely interested in it. When you read their stories, you could immediately see that they spoke our language. Then, a couple years ago, there was this massive influx of people whose books were just generic sex stories which they made into TG stories by adding a throwaway line here or there and a suggestive title. If you checked out these people’s home pages, you would find that they wrote in every kink basically... from gay to tentacle sex to vampires to us. Unfortunately, these people flooded the market and made it hard for people who genuinely cared about our genre to get noticed. We lost several good authors at that point.
Today, I would say that a lot of those people are gone from our genre because Amazon changed some rules that made it hard for them to manipulate the system – specifically, they could no longer change the publication dates on their stories to make their stories appear to be new every week or so.
Kylie: Oh, I used to really hate that. There is a book that's supposed to be a very good forced feminization tale that I simply won't read because the writer was guilty of changing the publication date every couple of days. I even changed a few dates myself trying to keep up.
At the beginning of Grounded in Heels 2, you mentioned that you had received a lot of comments on the original Grounded in Heels. What was the best comment you ever received on a story that you wrote?
Ann: Yeah, I received hundreds of emails. I think the best comment I ever got came from someone who told me that the story made them feel like they weren’t alone in this world. That made me happy.
Kylie: When did the plot of Grounded in Heels 2 come to you? Was it something you always thought would happen with these characters or was it something new?
The overall plot to “Grounded in Heels 2” came to me when I originally wrote the first story - Tracy and Sam getting together for example. But the details didn’t come to me until I wrote the story itself. I find that a lot, that I can’t say how a story will go until I get into it and I find where it leads me.
Kylie: On the KBoards, they call that "pantsing". I tend to plot an ending, but my characters don't always behave. I think my best stories are when they take me in a totally unexpected direction. My favorite characters are the ones that don't listen to me and do whatever the heck they want.
Not counting either Grounded in Heels book, what's your favorite story that you've ever written?
Ann: “Humiliation At The Office.” I love how that one develops. I love how Andrew is feminized little by little and how he’s being subjected to ever increasing humiliation as the story progresses. I particularly love how he becomes a non-entity to his own staff, who stop seeing him as someone to respect.
Kylie: That's probably my second favorite from you as well. I think I read it either right after or right before Fiona Piper's Feminizing Her Bosses.
How about your favorite story that somebody else has written?
Ann: This goes way back, but “Leslie’s Adventures In Petticoats” by Nan Gilbert. Of more recent vintage, I would go with Dominque Silk's "Sissy House Sitter".
Kylie: What were your favorite books written this year in our genre?
Dominque Silk's "Sissy House Sitter"
Crystal Summers "Caught by His Roommate"
Crystal Summers "The Model Sissy"
Domina Dixon's "Feminization Therapy"
Your own "Sam's Shopping Trip"
Lilly Lace "His Roommate’s Dress"
Kylie: Are there any writers who haven't published in awhile whose work you particularly miss?
Ann: Aimee Allison. Aimee’s stories were both punchy and fulfilling. They were complete stories with interesting plots and well-thought-out turn ons. I do miss her writing.
Kylie: How did you get interested in feminization?
Ann: It’s something I’ve felt my entire life and experimented with.
Kylie: What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
Ann: There’s no harm in doing themes that have been done before, just make sure you put your own spin on them. Give your reader a new take on these old ideas.