Summer Countdown Blitz – Day 17

Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four quirky and
beautiful children. She loves coffee, Superman, rollercoasters, and has an
addiction to chapstick. 

She works as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. As a
multi-genre author, she has written in the categories of romance suspense,
young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary

Connect with the Author here: 
Breathe in, breathe out. 

This mantra gets Tessa Benson through the day. 

The man she loves walks all over her, and she just wants to get by without her
heart shattering to pieces. If she could find her voice, she’d scream.

Everything changes in one night, when she’s snatched from the streets and tied
to a bed, a camera set up to capture her dying moment. And the person who paid
to watch her die…is still out there somewhere.

Tessa prowls dark neighborhoods in a quest for justice, but she doesn’t find
the killer. Not until they strike again…in the place Tessa is least expecting,
and where it hurts worst.
~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK
Q & A:
1.         If
you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
That my children
find their inner warrior and achieve their full potential. For the human race
to get back in touch with true empathy and kindness so that we might stop
self-destructing as a whole. To feel proud of myself and satisfied with my

2.         Where
do you write?
Typically, in bed,
at night, while the children are sleeping.

3.         How
long does it normally take you to write a novel?
That has changed
over the years. When my children were younger and I was home with them, I was
able to dedicate a lot more time to my writing. I could write the first draft
within three to four months, sometimes shorter if I was really on fire. Now
that I’m a single mom and working full-time, my writing time has dwindled down
significantly. This last book, Breathe In, took me almost exactly a year to
write. Then I did rewrites and edits for the next couple of months after that
before finding it a home with Limitless Publishing.

4.         What
are your inspirations?
Anything and
everything that has stirred emotion within me. Often, this stems from dark
emotions as I face challenges or struggles in my life and then watch as those
struggles bloom into my own personal growth and become positives. Those periods
of my life stir creativity as I imagine story lines and characters facing their
own personal challenges that, while fictional, strike a chord in my reader
which allows them to connect with the experience in their own way. Writing has
become an outlet, as it often does for writers. It’s very cathartic.

5.         How
did you come to write this particular book or series?
A lot of my ideas
come to me while I’m driving. The concept behind Breathe In, was no different.
Not to go into too much detail, but to summarize, I was in an emotionally
abusive marriage for many years. Anyone who has lived with any kind of abuse
will tell you that a person can lose their sense of who they really are while
immersed in that kind of toxic situation. You question everything about
yourself: who you are, what you want. You don’t even trust your own thoughts
and feelings. Doubt clouds everything.
Well, I was
definitely immersed in self-doubt and personal angst as I struggled to make
that relationship work On a day that my spouse was particularly angry and
verbally destructive, I left for the day in an attempt to gather my thoughts. I
drove an hour and a half to see my best friend. On the drive, listening to
loud, angry music, I was in touch with only two emotions: feeling powerless and
feeling rage. In my rage, an image came to mind of a broken-spirited woman
rising up against those who have taken her power. In only a few moments, I
could see her so clearly. First, a spineless push-over she thinks of herself as
only weak, but after facing extreme adversity and darkness, she kicks ass and
takes her power back. I could see her evolve out of her weakness, work through
her rage through violence and destruction, a vigilante of sorts, and finally
find peace as she discovered her inner warrior. I named her Tessa that day.
Finding that character gave me a sense of purpose. I knew there would be many
women that would relate to her on a primal level. It took me a few years to
start writing this story as my own personal life evolved but I’m so glad I
finally gave her life. I believe she will inspire many.

6.         What
was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part
was making sure I didn’t hold back. I desperately wanted everything about
Tessa’s story to be raw and dark and painful and beautiful all at the same
time. I wanted the reader to feel her shame and pain and struggle right
alongside her. However, I found myself a few times softening a scene here and
there out of fear it might make the reader uncomfortable because maybe it’s too
raw or too frightening. Each time I found myself doing this, I went back and
rewrote the scene exactly how I imagined it, without a filter. I want the
reader to feel uncomfortable, and even cringe at times, because some of what
Tessa goes through is terrifying. It should evoke that sort of response while
also inspiring a fighter spirit.

7.         What
is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets
That’s such a good
question for anyone who is crazy enough to go into this business. Why in the
hell do we do this to ourselves?! Because we all know, it ain’t easy and it’s a
whole lot of work for very little pay off. Yet, we cannot stop. Why?
Because we simply
cannot give up. These stories and inspirations inside of us have to come
bubbling out or else we will go mad, or sad, or crazy. It’s our passion. It’s
our burden. It’s our release.

8.         How
did you come up with the title?
This book had about
14 million names before I finally settled on one. Okay, maybe that’s an
exaggeration. But seriously, it had a lot of names. In the end, we settled on
Breathe In because Tessa says, “breathe in, breathe out” like a mantra
throughout the story. First as she faces her anxieties and then ardently as a
more sinister plot unfolds.

9.         Name
one entity that you feel supported you outside of a family member?
For this story: Me.

For the first time
ever, it wasn’t an outside source that I leaned on for this story. It was me
and me alone. It was my drive to share Tessa’s evolution with my readers. It
was a need to connect with my audience as they experienced those emotions
through her. I know who I am and what I’m made of. I know what I’m capable of.
That understanding, is what Tessa sought and found. It’s what all of us seek.

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