Machelle Hanleigh is the author of Druidess Found, the first book of the Druidess Trilogy, which is part of the larger, groundbreaking, genre defying series, Inhabitants at the Center of the Universe. There’s the short overview. Now, for the lengthy overview…
I write stories which live inside me and have for a very long time. These stories are often my last thoughts at night and my first thoughts in the morning. It is my ultimate obsession my family must pull me away from to live life. In other words, I get lost in the worlds and stories floating around in my mind. Welcome to the life of a creative!
How did all this story making get started?
Thank you for asking. I grew up on great epic fantasy quests and sci-fi series by iconic authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott-Card to name a few of my early favorites. You know, early as in during my informative years of life.
Then I became a teenager and discovered the romance genre. Yes, even the steamy ones.
I never lost my love of fantasy and sci-fi. I bounced between romance, fantasy, and sci-fi genres. Later as an adult I tried to find the one treasured story which combined all my favorite genres in one complete story.
Imagine my excitement when I discovered paranormal romance and was able to become engrossed in the worlds of the trailblazer authors, Christine Feehan, Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Yasmine Galenorn and Karen Marie Moning, to name a few of my favorites.
But it wasn’t enough. I wanted more. I longed for a better blend of the three genres I devoured as a reader. I wanted more romance in my fantasy and/or sci-fi, and more fantasy and/or sci-fi in my romance. Not even paranormal satisfied my desires for a better blend. To be clear, I am still an avid reader of all those genres. I love fictional stories way too much to give it up. So, what about the story I longed for?
I decided to write that story. The story which blended the tropes of all three in equal parts. As you might imagine it was not an easy undertaking. For one, I was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 7th grade. I had the best special education teacher in the world who taught me tricks to overcome my learning disability to excel in school. Still, writing a book was a scary prospect even without my dyslexia. But, once the story took hold in my mind, it wouldn’t let go of me. I gave writing a shot.
It was not an overnight success. I spent the next 20 years learning the craft of writing. Finally, the story I saw in my mind took its place on paper and became the story I am proud to release and soon to be a franchise in the making. Druidess Found is the first story in this huge undertaking. What undertaking you ask?
In order to create the perfect blend, I started with fantasy and romance, including the troupes of both. Sci-fi will be added later on in the journey. The overarching foundational story is the epic fantasy quest which takes place over multiple trilogies and a final series as the epic journey escalates into an epic battle to save the Universe. Each trilogy encompasses the romantic stories of key couples as they find each other and their shared destinies.
In addition to combining my favorite genres, I wanted to capture relationships between two individuals in as realistic as possible responses, including sexuality. To me, sexuality is an important part of relationships and I don’t shy away from writing about how sexuality affects the couple’s relationship. Not all couples have an intense sexual relationship, which means, some of my books include steamy parts and some do not. I don’t write sexual scenes just to write them. I write them to propel the story forward in the direction the couple takes their relationship and journey. Each of my characters take a life on of their own and sometimes they do not make the choices I mapped out for them.
I also write novellas that are true behind the scenes glimpses. These are not prequels or continuations; they encompass events mentioned in passing in the main novels. Those behind-the-scenes stories readers seldom get a chance to learn more about and events which help give a better understanding of why a character is the way they are. If you want to learn more, sign up for my newsletter for your free novella.
If you’re still with me; I invite you to begin the journey by reading my stories with an open mind. I do not fit the norms and I do not conform. I create stories which move me, and I hope moves you. I know my readers are out there and I hope you are one of them.
Enjoy the journey!