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An Interview with Michaela Jean Taylor

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Michaela is the author of heartwarming contemporary romance novels featuring diverse characters with strong emotional development. Don’t worry—there’s always a HEA (and plenty of spice). When she’s not reading or writing, she’s usually with her family and dogs, enjoying the desert in Arizona.

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Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’ve been an avid reader since I knew how to read! Stories have always been a form of escapism for me, and I started stealing my mom’s books to read when I was probably much too young to read them. In first grade, I submitted a short story about a hamster class pet (it was a little on the nose after having to donate my IRL pet hamster to my classroom after we found out my mom was severely allergic) and ended up placing in a state competition for young writers. I’ve started and stopped writing so many story ideas over the span of my life, mostly focused in the fantasy world until more recently falling in love with the romance genre. Now, I look up to writers like Emily Henry, Jessica Joyce, Tarah DeWitt, and BK Borison for their incredible ability to use words to create literal magic on their pages.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

End Game was born out of an inner female rage against the patriarchy. Mara is a bit of a wounded soul after a terrible previous relationship who sinks deeply into the distraction of managing a downtown Denver bar with the hopes of owning it herself one day. But when a handsome billionaire comes to town and buys it out from under her, she’s furious. I think Mara is the embodiment of a lot of my own hurt and frustration with the ways of the world, and her character is sort of my own middle finger to the assumption that women aren’t “ready” to take on challenges. As far as the romance in the story, I was deeply enthralled with the idea of two intricately layered people who carry a lot of baggage and shame about themselves, who—despite their external masks—still finally wind up being seen for who they really are. I wanted them to find bravery in rooting for each other so that, in turn, they might find the bravery to root for themselves.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“abcdefu (angrier)” – GAYLE

“Clean (Taylor’s Version)” – Taylor Swift

“First Time” – Hozier

“What Was I Made For?” – Billie Eilish

“ANGEL” – Toby Mai

Describe your dream book cover.

I actually just worked with an artist to create the cover for my next book (to release this August) and I might be biased but it’s literally my favorite cover I’ve ever seen and nothing like anything currently on my shelves! I’m so so so excited to share it soon, because it’s GORGEOUS.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

It’s always important to me, even through the layers of a heartfelt romance, for readers to feel seen for some of their hurt and experiences, or for the way the look, or even for who they love. Inclusivity and diversity are important to me. I also know when I was reading romance at a much-too-young age, I often saw that old theme of “if a boy likes you, he’ll be mean to you” which is such a dangerous message for young girls. While my books are strictly meant for adult readers, I know there are other girls like me who probably read what they shouldn’t, so I’m careful to show what real respect from a man looks like and what consent/boundaries look like in intimacy in hopes it might empower a younger version of myself out there!

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.