BIO: Born and raised in
Santa Fe, New
Mexico, Michelle Shocklee is a
girl at heart. But after living in Rocky Mountain Texas the
past thirty years with her tall Texan husband, she has grown to truly
appreciate the 's
rugged beauty. Her family lived in Lone
Star State , the setting for
her debut novel THE PLANTER'S DAUGHTER,
for more than twenty years. She and her husband currently live and work on a
400-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country where they can often be found spoiling
llamas, sheep, and chickens, and enjoying the abundant wildlife. Passionate
about history, she considers it pure joy to immerse herself in stories from the
past, whether fiction or true-life tales. She is a contributing author in
numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazine articles, and writes the
Life Along The Way blog. Williamson
Welcome, Michelle. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Although I don’t intentionally create characters like myself, I think it would be impossible not to have my own beliefs and life experiences bleed into the lives of my characters. You will see bits and pieces of my personality and feelings in nearly all of my characters, good and bad, but I definitely want them to be their own person (er, as much as a fictional character can be a person).
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In 2012, my husband and I quit our jobs, sold our house in the suburbs, and moved to a 400-acre ranch in the
Texas hill country to become Estate
Caretakers. To say it was terrifying is an understatement. But God opened the
door, so we took a huge leap of faith and walked through it. And we are so
happy we did! We love country living and have no regrets.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Had I known what to look for as a young person, I might have discovered I was a writer far earlier than I actually did. As it is, I came to the party a bit late. Throughout school and three years of college with a major in Education, writing courses were always my favorite. However, it never dawned on me to turn that into a career. I was a married stay-at-home mom with two little boys before I started writing for publication.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love history! For fun reading, I grab historical fiction. Biblical, Regency, Western. You name it, I’ll read it. But I also love diving into history books. I’m currently immersed in
Texas and Civil War history doing research
for my historical series. The mail-order bride novella I’m writing for Barbour
Publishing (release January 2018) also requires research into Civil War medical
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Moving to the ranch four years ago definitely slowed down our lives. With our two sons grown, we have embraced the empty nest and spend our evenings reading or watching HGTV. I enjoy taking walks on the property, tending the llamas, sheep and chickens, and sitting on the porch looking out into the hills as the sun sets. We count ourselves very blessed to work and live in such a beautiful place.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Naming characters is a lot like naming a child. I search online baby name sites to see what’s popular—and then stay away from those names! Because I write mainly historical fiction, I also use census records from my time period. In THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER, I used the actual names of
slaves for my Negro characters because I wanted to honor the memories of the
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of my thirty-year marriage to my best friend. Sharing life with another person—even one you love with all your heart—takes patience, sacrifice, and a whole lot of prayer. I’m also beyond proud of our two amazing sons. Publishing a book is pretty awesome, but it wouldn’t have been possible without those three guys in my life, cheering me on.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a spoiled rotten wiener dog who has its people trained just the way it wants. Yes, I speak from experience. We were the humans of such a dog, Copper, for 16 years. He was known as The Fastest Wiener Dog in
Texas after winning a
total of ten wiener dog races throughout the state. After we retired him at the
age of 8, he lived out his remaining years as a grand champion should: eating,
sleeping, and playing with toys.
What is your favorite food?
A great cheeseburger! My husband and I have dubbed Friday nights as burger night. We’ve traveled all over the
Texas hill country in search of a great
burger. Unique burger joints and fun diners are some of our favorite places to
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
As with any form of art, writing takes a lot of practice. I jumped into it believing I should be able to write a clean, salable book on the first try. Wrong! I had many lessons to learn—and still do, I’m sure—about the craft of writing. Like most novelists, I have manuscripts that will never see the light of day.
Tell us about the featured book.
At the heart of the story, THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER is a romance. Adella Rose Ellis wants nothing more than to marry for love, but her ambitious father has other plans for her. When she falls in love with Seth Brantley, the man her father hired as overseer of the vast cotton plantation, Adella is forced to make a choice between the man who can save her family’s land from bankruptcy and the man who can save her.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Adella cringed at the sound of shattering glass.
Exasperation pushed her taut nerves to the edge. Two vases and a china teacup had already met their demise as house servants feverishly prepared for Natalie Langford’s arrival on the morrow. That her brother’s fiancée sparked such anxiety did not bode well, considering the wedding was still two weeks away. Would things only worsen after the blonde beauty became mistress of Rose Hill Manor—a role Adella herself had filled since Mama took ill three summers ago?
A small shadow appeared in the open doorway to her bedroom. Adella Rose Ellis waited from her perch on the window seat, her bare feet tucked beneath a wide bell skirt, for the guilty servant to emerge. A warm afternoon breeze teased her loose hair. A moment later,
Carolina’s fuzzy braids poked around,
followed by wide, fearful eyes.
“Missy Ellis?” The little girl’s timid voice squeaked. Perspiration glistened on her dark skin, and her bottom lip trembled when she stepped around the corner. “I sorry, Missy. I didn’t mean to break it. It just tumbled outta my hand.” A tear slid down an ebony cheek before she tucked her chin into the too-large homespun dress, which hung off of thin shoulders.
Adella softened her voice the way Mama always had when dealing with the
servants. “Tell me what happened.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.The Planter's Daughter - Paperback
The Planter's Daughter - Kindle
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