Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Front Porch Club! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Michelle Major: Thank so much. I’m excited to be visiting with you! The Front Porch Club is the story of three unlikely friends who are striving to start over and turn their lives around – and how they support each other through new challenges, goals and ultimately a second chance at life and love.
One of the main characters, Annalise, had a cameo as a bit of a villain in the first book (The Magnolia Sisters) set in the fictional town of Magnolia, North Carolina. I love a story of redemption and had always wanted to revisit her, especially after coming up with a plotline where she’d lost everything, including her identity. Shauna and Meghan came along to round out this book so readers will share in how this friendship helps each woman change their life for the better.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in bringing this story to life, and what have been some of your creative influences?
MM: I almost always start with the characters when I’m doing the initial brainstorming for a new title. I love exploring the choices people make and how circumstances influence that—always with the theme of overcoming hardship to become your best self. Once the plotting is in place, I write the book start to finish, then do several round of editing to make it shine. Inspiration comes in many ways, but if I’m stuck, my best trick is to go for a hike on the trails near my house in Colorado—dog or two along with me—and a great playlist helping me to reconnect to the creative well.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Annalise, Shauna, and Meghan’s stories may connect with and impact readers?
MM: Annalise, Shauna and Meghan are relatable characters. They’re flawed and funny and bond in the fact that none of them refuses to give up even when life knocks them down. I believe readers will be drawn to the hope and healing that each of these women experience as the story of The Front Porch Club unfolds. While each of the characters also explores love and what it means to be happy in their lives, it’s the friendship that gives them the strength to reach for their goals. As a woman, my friends are so important to me as a support and sounding board – and for nights laughing with a pitcher of margaritas and some awesome chips and salsa. I hope that readers will feel like Annalise, Shauna, and Meghan are people they’d like to have as friends in real life, as well as on the pages of a book.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
MM: There are more books planned in the town of Magnolia, although each of them can be read on its own, as well. And I would love to see The Front Porch Club adapted for television – the world is so clear in my mind and it’s a town filled with people I’d love to know. A southern Stars Hollow vibe for any Gilmore Girls fans out there.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
MM: I just finished the final round of edits on The Christmas Cabin, which is the sixth book in The Carolina Girls series. It can be read as a standalone for a new reader, and longtime fans of the series will also get to revisit some of their favorite Magnolia residents. I think there’s something special about holiday books, so I’m already in the mood for hot chocolate and cozy afternoons curled on the sofa reading! The Christmas Cabin releases in late October.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Front Porch Club and your other work?
MM: The best way to keep up to date on my news is to subscribe to my newsletter at www.michellemajor.com. I typically send out a newsletter once a month or when there’s something fun happening so I don’t clog your inbox. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram where I share tidbits about the writing life and lots of cute pet pics! I hope to connect with you soon.