Michelle Montebello - Books that Affect Readers Emotionally
Michelle Montebello was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two young children. She is the author of the number one bestselling novel The Quarantine Station, Beautiful, Fragile and The Belle Series which earned her 2018’s Best New Author in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards. She also earned a finalist place for Author of the Year and 2018’s Book of the Year for Interwoven. As our Author of the Day, Montebello tells us all about her book, Beautiful, Fragile.
Please give us a short introduction to what Beautiful, Fragile is about.
Beautiful, Fragile is the story of Faith, an Australian woman who wakes in a Spanish hospital with ten years of her memories gone. Her body has changed, she is married now and she has three young children at home in London. When her husband, Will, comes to collect her, she makes the decision to return with him to try to live the life that was lost to her. But the last ten years had been far from perfect, as Faith soon learns.
What inspired you to write about soulmates?
I love the idea of soulmates and that if separated, you will always find your way back to each other. All of my books have this theme. It’s the epitome of true love.
Readers say that this book is a bit of a tearjerker. Did you intend to write it that way?
Yes, I wanted to grasp at the heartstrings and for readers to invest emotionally. Books that affect me that way are often the ones that linger long after the last page.
Tell us more about Faith James. What makes her tick?
She’s a lovely character; a free spirit who wears her heart on her sleeve. She has lost a decade of precious memories, a whole marriage and children wiped clean from her head and yet she is such a fighter. She loves fiercely and is determined to piece her life back together even when the odds are against her.
Your book explores whether all memories are worth fighting for. What do you believe?
It’s a tough question. I do believe they are all worth fighting for. Memories, the good and bad, are part of us and as humans, we learn from them.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve played tennis since I was eight, so I’m pretty good on a court. I also love the theatre and did quite a lot of acting in my younger years.
Some readers didn’t like Will at first. Why did you create him that way?
Will is such an integral part of the plot that it became essential for readers to view him that way early in the story. But don’t be fooled. You may find, once you get to the end, that you actually quite like him. He’s my favourite male character to date.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
Definitely Faith. Because she had lost the last decade of memories, she became incredibly complex to write for. Part of storytelling is developing characters and allowing the reader to learn about them and their back story, but with Faith this became difficult as she didn’t have many memories to draw on. It was much like working with a blank canvas.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and do what makes you happy.
In your mind, what happens to the characters after you write their final chapters? Do they continue to “live on” in your imagination?
Only if I’m writing a series but otherwise, I tend to wrap up standalone stories and my mind is usually on to the next set of characters who won’t stop chattering in my head.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like?
I’m at my freshest first thing in the morning, so I tend to write then when the mind is clear. Also, if the words aren’t coming, I leave the laptop and do housework. There are always words to be found in the mundane.
What are you working on right now?
I love to write historical fiction/romance and am writing a dual timeline story set in Sydney during the Roaring Twenties. Speakeasies, prohibition, flappers and the inevitable leap towards the Great Depression.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me on any of the links below. I always love to hear from readers!