Born in Brooklyn, New York, Michelle Richardson now resides in Long Island with her husband, two children, and fur baby, Madison. Ms. Richardson has held many positions in life, which have lent great experiences to her writing. Those roles include: sister, daughter, mother, wife, friend, marketing director, writer, and life coach. The most important of these roles? Wife, mother, friend, and sister.
Please tell us a bit about your book, It’s Simple, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
All too often, novels tend to focus on the negative aspects of relationships; leaving many a reader wondering or questioning why any sane person would ever consider entering into one in the first place, since from most accounts — written or otherwise — it is bound to end up in heartbreak or despair. My novel, It’s Simple, bucks this norm by taking relationships and turning them right side up and presenting the reader with a glimpse of life from a different perspective, a positive one.
The message of choice is woven into and around the lives the main male and female protagonists of the novel, Chase and Tia. What you will not find within its pages are elements of heightened drama for the sake of adding intrigue, action or a sense of normalcy. This novel looks to challenge and redefine what is considered the norm. Simply put, It’s Simple speaks to the possibilities found within all relationships.
While the relationships found within the pages may not resemble what is traditionally seen nowadays, it is my hope readers walk away with a belief that this kind of love exists. It is not all drama, not all negativity. I tend to believe that if we play any reel repeatedly in our minds, material we once found offensive or frowned upon will eventually become accepted by virtue of being familiar. We witness this with respects to violence and every other unimaginable act and tale of woe, leaving the positive spin relegated to the realm of unrealistic or fantastical. Well, my truth tells me it is not — abiding love exists. See it, believe it and most of all, want it. Be unrealistically positive about the relationships you can have, moving in a manner that allows greatness to manifest itself in all areas of your life.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
I would have to say I have two: Megan and Peter.
Megan is a straight-shooting loyalist who isn’t afraid to point out to her friends that some things they are neglecting, overlooking or are simply too blind to notice in themselves. She manages this feat with great sincerity, genuine interest and zero harshness. Now Peter is a hoot. Underneath his layers of sharp offensive and crass language is a caring individual who steals whatever scene he’s in.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
There are quite a few, however, this particular paragraph found in chapter four sets the stage for the novel while subsequently summing up the purpose of the series:
‘There was comfort and security in their relationship allowing for an openness and willingness to listen, fuss and fight over anything, big or small, that particularly concerned them. Friction of any kind should be used to sharpen a relationship, similar to the adage that iron sharpens iron. And so their relationship was sharpened. If there is no one to challenge you, to push you, to disagree with you, how can you ever become the best version of the person you were meant to be? Love is truly a four season concept; each season having a purpose.’
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
This question has already been posed and discussed with my husband and a few of my close sisterfriends. Not only did we compile a list of actors for consideration, but we also determined the production company we’d like to work with.
In terms of actors, here’s what we have thus far:
Keisha Knight-Pulliam as Tia. She has the presence and spunk to embody the dynamo that is Tia. We all know and love Keisha as Rudy Huxtable. However, I would love to see Keisha in a breakout role; one she grabs and makes her own. I believe the role of Tia offers Keisha that opportunity.
Christian Keyes as Chase. Christian has the height, look, and love of basketball to bring Chase to life on the big screen. In a few interviews, his humble demeanor and kind spirit are also core characteristics found in the male lead making him an ideal choice.
The chemistry between Chase and Tia is tender, sweet, rough and raw and that chemistry must be apparent upon looking at these two interact from the moment Tia sees Chase as she approaches him in the airport.
Gabrielle Union cast as Megan. Gabrielle is a seasoned and versatile actor who, I believe, can easily play the feisty, yet loveable Megan. The interaction between she and Keisha should be magical, making for many unexpected sisterfriends moments in their onscreen relationship.
Kimberly Elise cast as Chase’s mother. Kimberly is such a strong, versatile actor with a commanding onscreen presence. She not only captures your heart, but also demands your undivided attention. Another point worth noting is Kimberly’s ability to deliver a sentiment using only her facial expressions and nail it.
Boris Kodjoe cast as Chase’s father. Boris seems a deliberate, yet brooding sort of fellow; not necessarily given to outbursts or displays of uncontrolled anger. His contemplative mystic is the persona best suited for Paul Daniels, Chase’s father.
I could continue, listing Angela Bassett, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jesse Williams as other names we’ve tossed around, but I shall stop there. Clearly you get the picture.
Having mentioned actors most people can readily identify, along with their resume, I certainly am not opposed to tapping into new talent. Should any newcomer deliver an audition that blows everyone away, chances are you will be a part of the film in some capacity. Either that or we’ll nab your information for the sequel.
The one thing I feel compelled to share is my respect for actors who, in honing their craft, possess the ability to completely embody the character, where the audience no longer sees the actor but loses themselves in the character they portray. When I, as a moviegoer, can close my eyes and the recitation is natural, authentic where I believe you, that actor is a vessel of the character, no longer him or herself.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
I’ve always loved the creative process; when the visual in my head is screaming to be written down; when the characters are engaged in some discussion and a scene plays before me. Accurately capturing and breathing life into that world is an indescribable feeling. Adding chunks to those scenes and further fleshing out the characters — making both real — would have to be my favorite aspect of writing.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
The time is takes to complete the entire piece; the first draft. If someone has championed or spearheaded the ability to lift the ideas from my head, instantaneously filling hundreds of pages with those thoughts, where I can begin the magical process of editing, please have the inventor of the blessed device contact me as soon as humanly possible.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo (Unabridged)
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Terry McMillian’s Disappearing Acts
What are you reading right now?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?
Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Tony Morrison, Jane Austen and James Baldwin. In addition to some culinary masterpiece, I’d serve up scintillating conversation centering around sharing our inspirations and lessons learned as we put pen to paper to tell stories only we could tell in our unique voices.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
I’ve never read a book where I thought ‘I wish I wrote that.’ There have been, however, literary pieces that left me reflecting on the message long after I’d finished reading the last word. Those books became a part of me and slightly altered the way I view things.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
‘If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ ~ Toni Morrison