Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Interview and giveaway with author Michelle Weidenbenner!!

Today I welcome Michelle Weidenbenner to The Diamond Mine!As well as the author of many books, she's a lecturer and a coach, and an encourager! Today, the focus will be on her book, Fractured Not Broken. It's  described as a true story of loss, faith, and a rare love that only happens in nonfiction. Leave a comment after the interview for a chance to win a free copy of this fine book.

Hello Michelle and welcome! You’re a speaker, coach, and encourager as well as a writer. Do you have a favorite among those roles?

The most favorite part of who I am is an encourager, because that’s something I can share in my writing, speaking and coaching.
I used to think that encouraging others was no big deal, but in helping others find their giftedness, I’ve discovered that God gave me the ability to know how to encourage others. Sometimes our most undervalued ‘magic’ has the biggest impact on other people.
Think of the last time someone complimented you or encouraged you to do something. Didn’t you think of that comment more than once afterward? Maybe it motivated you to do something.

That's so true! As believers, we're told to encourage and edify each other, so it's a very important action to encourage another! And you've made it a practice to do that for others. Good for you!
This is my first time interviewing someone who has written a non-fiction book.  Fractured Not Broken is touching everyone who reads it. It must be very gratifying to Kelly Schaefer to have you present her story so that others can be inspired. What has writing her story meant to you?

In 2004, a literary agent told me not to waste my time writing Kelly’s story. He said it would never sell, and to write it as an article. I thought he was wrong, but at the time, I didn’t know how to self-publish a book. I hadn’t published a book yet, and I didn’t know where to start, so I surrounded myself with successful self-published authors who were winning awards.
I learned the craft and went on to self-publish six books. They became best-sellers and award-winning.
I went back to Kelly and said, “We don’t need anyone now. Let’s go write and publish that book.”

Wow! What determination you showed. That's pretty awesome!
What was the part of Kelly’s story that you most wanted to be sure to tell thoroughly?

Kelly wanted to show that with faith, anything was possible.
When she signs her books she includes this Bible Verse: Phillipians 4:13.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

That verse is a big one for me, too. A great help and comfort.What do you and Kelly think about all the positive reaction from readers?

We find encouragement when we read reviews. Sometimes I cry because of the positive way the book has impacted lives and given people hope.
However, sometimes Kelly feels like readers are wrong. They think she’s so strong, but there are many days that she doesn’t feel the strength she needs. She feels weak. When readers compliment her on her faith, she wants to say, “It’s not easy. I have dark days too.”

I think most readers probably know that she must have dark days. That doesn't make her story any less inspiring, though. I hope she knows that. :)
Writing someone else’s story must be an interesting experience. What was the most difficult aspect of it for you?

First of all, Kelly and I live five hours apart, so we had to communicate via texts and emails.
Even more challenging was the fact that Kelly is a quadriplegic, so she types with a mouth stick. It’s a slow process, so she would speak to text. Sometimes her answers didn’t make sense, and we’d laugh at what the audio interpreted.
Finally, Kelly keeps her emotions in check. I had to ask her bizarre questions like, “Describe a memory of a popsicle,” in order to find the story. For instance, asking that question opened up a powerful scene in the book that I wouldn’t have known had I not asked that question.
Kelly had to trust my opinion on where to start the story, too. She wanted to start the story at the beginning of her life. Instead, I arranged her story like it was fiction – with a hook, in the middle of the action, and shortly aftward inserted the inciting incident and obstacles that kept her from reaching her goal.

Sounds like a true collaborative effort for both of you! And it's worked out so well!
I'm curious, when did you first decide to become a writer, and why?

In 1997, after we adopted our daughter, Olivia, from a Russian orphanage, I decided not to go back to work. I wanted to stay home with her to tighten our bond.
My parents had often told me that I was a great writer, so I began my journey to write for magazines. I thought, “How hard could that be?”
Hahaha! It’s super tough to break into magazines. I’m a competive person with a fierce desire to grow and learn every day, so I studied the craft of writing and became hooked on achieving writing success in fiction and nonfiction.

You certainly have a lot of drive and perseverance! Well done!
So, of all the fiction books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

Yes. The first book I wrote (but not the first book I published) was Scattered Links. (Originally the title was Love is Just a Word, but someone told me that sounded like a romance novel, so I changed the title after it was complete.)
I wrote this in first person, present tense, which might be my favorite. I felt closer to the emotion.
This book is about a teen orphan who has RAD – reactive attachment disorder. Many foster children and post-institutionalized children have this disorder. I wanted to bring awareness to this problem by showing a fictionalized story of a girl.

That sounds like a really interesting book. And I think your reason for writing it is admirable.
Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

Writing fiction is more fun, but nonfiction has it’s place, too. It’s a different kind of challenge, and can motivate readers in a different way.
I’m a John Maxwell Team member and love to read leadership books. I have a nonfiction book called, “Develop the Leader Within Your Child,” mapped out in my mind that I hope I live long enough to write.
To build my marketing bank, I started writing book descriptions for writers. I’ve found that many authors can’t hone their stories in a way that ‘sells’ their message to readers, so I write them. I find writing these descriptions challenging and rewarding!

Oh my, I wish I had that skill! I'm awful at writing short descriptions, but I've gotten better over time. Maybe someday I'll even like it! 
Since you have other jobs you do, how much of your time is spent writing?

Not enough!
I want to learn how to write a screen play, too. I’d like to write my thriller as a screen play.
I also have many books in my Scrivener files that are started. I need to finish them.
I just bought a new MAC. I hope it has a better microphone than my old one. I want to use the speak to type function. If I ‘write’ my next book by audio-speaking, it will be faster to get the first draft written. But editing might be a little tougher. Time will tell.

Writing a book that way would certainly be a new experience. Sounds like you've always got something new going on!What are you working on now?

I’m working on a marketing plan to launch Glow Girl, a YA supernatural novel about a girl who denies her giftedness to heal, so she fits in. 

You're certainly full of ideas and projects! I look forward to seeing all that you accomplish. Thanks so much for the interview, Michelle!
Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Fractured Not Broken!

Here are links to Michelle's social pages so you can learn more about her!

Twitter: MWeidenbenner1

Amazon author page:


Michelle also has a special offer for writers who want a free copy of the FAST DRAFT - how to write 50K words in 30 days – just go here:


Kay Garrett said...

Michelle Weidenbenner is a new to me author but one I'd love to get to know through her books such as "Fractured Not Broken". I enjoyed reading the interview and learning about the author.

This book sounds amazing and I'd love the opportunity to read it. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Toni Ryan said...

Excellent interview! I purchased Fractured Not Broken as soon as it came out. I couldn't put it down! It's so well written and oh so inspiring.