Interview With Author Michelle Tooker
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My first book was a story about a triangle who wanted to fit in with his friends rectangle, circle and square. I’d written it before I could actually write, so the words were scribbles on construction paper pages. I memorized the story and “read” it to relatives at family parties. Unfortunately, an aunt’s errant cup of coffee killed my first darling. I’ve been a writer ever since.
Professionally, I spent 15 years in higher education marketing before leaving in 2021 to pursue my author career full time. I also research and write for true crime podcasts, including True Crime Bullsh**. To date, I have published two nonfiction books.
In addition to writing, I am an avid traveler and have visited more than 40 countries.
My other passion is bubble tea, and I run a boba merch and coloring book business called Bitsy Boba. I live in Philadelphia with my family.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is “True Crime Trivia: 350 Fascinating Questions & Answers to Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Mysteries, Cold Cases, Heists & More”.
My lifelong interest in true crime began early on, when I learned that my mother once lived across the street from a real-life killer clown. That is a story for another book but, from there, I was hooked on all things true crime. This fascination blossomed over the years and, in 2020, I began researching and writing for true crime podcasts, including serving on the research team for True Crime Bullsh**.
I decided that writing a true crime book would allow me to blend my passion for writing with my interest in true crime. Researching this book was very eye-opening and fascinating, and I wanted to share the interesting details I uncovered with fellow true crime aficionados in an interactive book.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Does constant interruptions from a toddler count? 🙂 Kidding aside, in order to get quality writing done, I spend countless hours in local coffee shops. This provides me with a quiet space to focus and write. I like to visit as many different local shops as possible, and in a heat wave this summer, spent a three-hour session writing on the patio of a quaint cafe located within a greenhouse.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many. To name just a few:
Poets Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Sandra Beasley, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Maggie Smith. Plus Truman Capote and Jeffrey Eugenides. And, finally, one of my graduate school mentors, Dr. Richard Wertime taught me so much about writing that I reflect on daily.
What are you working on now?
I am working on volume two of True Crime Trivia, as well as transforming the book into a podcast.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Still figuring this one out, but networking with other authors has provided tremendous camaraderie and value.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Let your finished work “marinate” for a bit, then read it with fresh eyes. Even better, read it aloud. This is a great strategy for improving your work.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Be ready to kill your darlings, meaning, don’t get too attached to anything you write and accept that sometimes you have to scrap a character, plot or entire project.
What are you reading now?
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
What’s next for you as a writer?
I am working on volume two of True Crime Trivia as well as writing a podcast with the same title. I plan to release the podcast in early spring, and volume two of True Crime Trivia will release later this year. After that, I might write another children’s book or just stick with true crime. I have many ideas, I just need to find enough time to write them all.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I’d take two long books: Great Expectations, which I enjoyed reading years ago, and then Infinite Jest, which I’d like to read but haven’t had a chance to yet.
I’d also take two of my favorite poetry books, because you can reread these poems infinite times and find something new:
Facts About the Moon by Dorianne Laux
Good Bones by Maggie Smith
Author Websites and Profiles
Michelle Tooker Amazon Profile