Name: Michelle Mohrweis
What you Write: Mg Contemporary books about girls in STEM
Agent: Emily Forney
Why BookEnds? I knew even before my call that I would love to work with Emily. I’m friends with another of her clients and had heard about how wonderful she was. From the moment I had my call, I knew my story would be in good hands. Emily seemed so passionate and excited about my story and my career. Furthermore, she was backed by a great agency (Bookends)! Bookends seemed like an agency that would take care of me, would support me, and would push for my STEM Girls to make it out into the world one day. I am so excited to have officially signed with BookEnds and Emily.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
My writing process is all over the place. I’m a teacher, and when I am on summer break I write for a few hours every day. But during the school year, there’s just not time for that. During the school year I try to squeeze out a half hour to write every morning, and I’ll usually spend several hours writing on the weekends.
I have a small office I write in. Though, I write in an unusual way. I struggle to sit still for long periods of time, so when I write, I use dictation software. It is so wonderful to be able to “write” while walking circles around my office and talking to my computer. Ever since I tried speech to text software for the first time, I haven’t been able to stop using it!
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
When I struggle for inspiration, I take a bike ride. I’ll ride my bike for hours along the Phoenix canals and through every small park and path I can find. If it’s a route I am familiar with, I can let my mind drift. As I ride, I start thinking about scenes for my stories. The next thing you know, I have found the inspiration I need.
What do you love about writing Middle Grade?
I love how middle grade is all about growing up and discovery. It’s about young teens in such a time of change. I love capturing those strong emotions and powerful feelings. I teach middle school, so I write about kids the same age as my students. My kids are so intelligent and clever, funny and sarcastic. I love it! I love having a chance to capture the feeling of growing up and discovering new things in my stories.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
I actually started out writing fantasy, and I do hope to return to it one day. In fact, for a long time, I was sure I couldn’t write anything else. Then, last summer I was searching for books about competitive robotics. I couldn’t find many. So, I decided to write my own. It was supposed to be just a small side project, something to do while I revised my (now shelved) fantasy story. But the idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. As I wrote my new MG contemporary, I realized I loved it. In fact, I loved writing contemporary more than I had ever dreamed. The more I wrote, the more ideas I got for other MG contemporary stories.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I chose the genre so much as stumbled into it. Now that I am writing MG contemporary, however, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
My inspiration doesn’t come from movies or tv shows so much as real life. I teach robotics and engineering at a middle school, and every day I watch my students get into some of the most story-worthy situations. Some of them I’ll never share about, but some do make it into my writing! My kids inspire me, and I love writing stories that capture the essence of their middle school adventures.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
I love Arizona, so even if I could afford to go anywhere, I would probably stay here. Arizona has such amazing weather, and the desert is beautiful in its own subtle way. I can’t imagine writing anywhere else!
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
I am a member of SCBWI Arizona, and I love it! Through SCBWI I attended my first writing conference last year, started to connect to other writers, and met my current critique group. Without SCBWI, I don’t know if my story would have become strong enough to catch Emily’s attention!