Today I have the pleasure of introducing Jo Michaels, the author of Yassa (hyperlink), and The Abigale Chronicles, to my blog.

Can you tell me about Yassa and what motivated you to write such a story?

Yassa is the untold love story of Genghis Khan and how that love formed him into the man he became. I was doing a research paper for a World History class and read that Genghis had a falling out with his best friend and anda (sworn brother), Jamuka. I wondered why. I dug and dug trying to find an answer but nothing surfaced. History explains it away as a rivalry where Jamuka wanted to be the ultimate ruler of Mongolia. But I felt there had to be so much more to that story. He could have had unlimited power at Genghis’ side. When I looked at the timing, Börte, Genghis Khan’s wife, was the only answer. Jamuka broke the most unbreakable law: he betrayed his anda. Those actions were not treated lightly. It had to be a powerful love from both men. People deserve to know the story. Period.

What research did you do to enable you to write this book?

I read everything I could get my hands on: scholarly papers, biographies, and even other non-fiction books. Of course, I kept all my research from my paper as well (yes, I’m a nerd, okay? But so is Bill Gates. Just sayin’).

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors in terms of researching for their own stories?

If you write fantasy, READ fantasy. If you write kid’s books, READ kid’s books. If you write historical fiction, READ historical fiction. After writing Yassa, I noticed that I read a TON of historical fiction. It makes sense. I’m thinking of twisting Catherine the Great’s story at some point. She was a brutal lady!

You are a self published author, can you explain how and why you chose this avenue for your books?

Like anyone, I sent out query letters. But I got nervous when I started doing research on publishing houses and read so many warnings about scams. So, I decided that I really did want to keep more of my profits and I knew how to do all the design work (thank you, college!) so why not? If my book is good and sells well, a publisher might find me.

Have you previously approached publishers? Why / Why not?

No. But I queried a few agents. No dice but I didn’t take it personally. My book isn’t for everyone and I’m SURE I’ll get backlash for a few of the scenes in there. Don’t care. I told the truth and it allows me to sleep at night.

Can you tell us a bit about your previous book; The Abigale Chronicles, and is the second volume out yet?

I have a six-year-old daughter who loves to read. She’s quite good for her age and I found the books she was reading dull and unimaginative. Yeah, they had fairies in them, so what? They were still dull and didn’t provide any mystery. She didn’t have to think at all. So, I wrote The Abigale Chronicles for her. When I read it to her the first time, she scratched her head and asked me, “So, is Abigale dreaming or is it real, Mommy?” BINGO! I win. Not even Abigale knows if she’s dreaming or not. That won’t be revealed until the end of the series (whenever that may be) but there are subtle clues that astute detectives may pick up on to answer the question. Book Two is slated for an early July release.

Where can your books be purchased?



Barnes & Noble

Also on iBooks, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel

What areas of marketing do you think are the most successful?

I think social networking will take you places you’ve only dreamed of. I’ve met people everywhere.

Are you currently working on any books?

I’m writing a mini-series titled Mystic, a novel titled Player, and Abigale – Book Two

You are a mother of four, do your children impact your ideas?

Five, actually. One of my children lives elsewhere due to his choice of educational institution. That’s tough. Yes, my children impact my ideas every day. I want to give them something to read that teaches them a lesson always. Yassa teaches loyalty and pain one suffers when they act out at another. Abigale teaches about using your imagination and not holding grudges. Mystic deals with stereotypes and how our judgment of others impacts them. Player is about relationships and how people deceive sometimes without realizing it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes. To everyone out there (not just writers): If you want to learn about something, just do it. Who cares if it’s a class on ceramics? It’s something you love. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Don’t let life browbeat you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and come back fighting like hell.

Thank you Jo for your time, it has been great connecting with you and finding out about your writing. You can follow Jo’s journey in the Author Blog Challenge here:

I will be posting my review of Yassa tomorrow!