Michelle Hazen

Michelle Hazen.jpg

It's fun to watch people fall in love with a new version of their story.


What is your favorite part of the coaching process?

My favorite part is when a piece of feedback really clicks for a writer. When they take my suggestion and run with it, so that it takes on their own writing voice and a life of its own, and becomes a part of the story that feels true.

What's your coaching style like?

Very supportive and encouraging. Probably not very formal. I love to help a writer come to understand what their strengths are, and how to enhance the aspects of writing they're already talented at. Of course, we also work on things individual authors find challenging, but that's all in service to finding the best way to share the story that is in their heart. 

What genres do you love to edit?

I love working on romance and fantasy, thrillers and suspense, not to mention women's fiction. Any really down to earth or funny contemporary. And all of those go for both YA and adult. 

What do you love most about editing?

It's fun to watch people fall in love with a new version of their story. Because feedback usually starts out as scary, but then there's that moment when a writer sees that a change brought their story CLOSER to the soul of their idea, rather than further away. Plus, I love to witness an author's reaction when I get really excited about their characters or story.

Who's your ideal writer match? What are you looking for in a coaching client?

In my own writing, the hardest thing for me is to take a piece I've written--and completely love--and admit it's not perfect. Only by accepting that I don't know everything I could, can I begin to improve what I have. 

I'm looking for writers who are ready to go on that journey with me. Who know they still have things to learn about writing and who are enthusiastic about trying new techniques and learning cool tricks and shortcuts and methods. 

Plus, I just love funny people, so if you've got a sense of humor and your idea of a good time is a Microsoft Word document, I'm your girl.

What was the moment when you felt like a real book coach?

My favorite moments are seeing my clients succeed, and maybe (I will not confirm or deny) fangirl squealing every time I get to see my name in the acknowledgments section of a published book. 

What do you believe the most prominent difference between an editor and a coach is?

An editor's feedback is a stepping stone up in a long journey. A coach is someone who is climbing every step right beside you. 

What's been your greatest achievement in coaching so far?

I've cheered on clients as they've locked in multi-book deals, been nominated for Golden Heart Awards, won RWA contests, signed with agents, and gotten into very competitive contests like PitchWars and Query Kombat. I've been there with many clients when they typed The End on the very first book they've ever written. 

I've laughed and cried with them when they said they hadn't known they were capable of any of those things. 

I love every one of those moments. Please don't make me pick.

How did you hear about Author Accelerator?

I mentor for PitchWars, which is a contest where aspiring authors get editing assistance from agented and published authors. Author Accelerator was recruiting amongst the mentors, and when I looked up their website, I got so excited I nearly damaged my office chair's suspension. It was exactly the program I'd always thought should exist! 

Also, as an editor and former therapist, a book coach seemed the perfect blend of my skill sets.

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What's your favorite word?

Defenestrate. It means to throw someone out a window. Because when that needs to happen, it's nice to be able to express it in a single word. 

What genres do you love to read?

I love everything YA Contemporary, I'm a longtime adult and new adult romance fan, plus a well-written fantasy always grabs my notice. In non-fiction, I'm all about history, psychology, neurology, and the ways in which culture and technology intersect.

What are five of your favorite books?

  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  • Suzanne Brockmann's romantic suspense SEAL series

  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Who are five of your favorite authors?

All the ones I mentioned in my favorite books section, plus:

  • Maggie Stiefvater

  • Tiffany Reisz

  • JR Ward

  • Dean Koontz

  • Laini Taylor -- I have to mention her twice, because she has the absolutely perfect blend of gorgeous prose, deep emotion, and high-stakes stunning pacing.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?

Maggie Stiefvater. Because she's made a career out of being wholly, unabashedly herself. And who she is (author, artist, musician, goat-loving, race-car-driving badass) looks like loads of fun.

What are you most excited about right now?

Right this second, I'm super excited because in a few days, I'll be scuba diving in Indonesia. I was told there would be sea turtles. There better be sea turtles. I'm almost equally excited about the new YA I am writing. I adore pushing boundaries in adult romance, but it's also really fun to write the parent/teen arguments in YA when both parties think they are right and the other person is clearly illogical. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A centaur.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I travel a lot, so the day depends on the continent. When I'm home, I get up and go for a walk with my husband. I drink too much caffeine and waste too much time on Twitter before settling into book coaching and editing work. About halfway through the day, I ditch out and go to kickboxing or weight lifting class. 

After that I haul my solar-charged battery and lawn chair across the park. I sit by the river and write, safely away from internet, for several hours. Then I come home and whip through a couple more hours of client work on the treadmill desk. 

After that, I angst a little about how I didn't get as much done today as I thought I would. Make dinner while angsting, and then devour the latest Walking Dead or Game of Thrones episode. Try to talk my husband into watching just one more episode. When he refuses because he's actually a responsible human, then we read for a while and go to bed. 

If you could fast-forward a year from now, what would your writing life look like?

I would love to be writing something completely new and challenging for me. Something that felt utterly true to my personality and hopefully also relateable for the people in the world around me. I would love to be promoting one book, editing another, and writing a third, though I would also like to have balance in my life to enjoy non-writing activities and be a well-rounded person. I feel like the best writing comes from experience, so I do need to be careful to be disciplined about work, but not too disciplined. 

What about 5 years from now?

 Exactly the same as the last answer. Except, of course, for the pony I would buy with all my royalties from being a NYT bestseller. 

Is there anything you're excited about?

Yes! I've got a rock and roll romance series rolling out over the next year.  The first book is A Cruel Kind of Beautiful, and it releases Dec. 4, 2017!