If anyone asked Michelle Rowen what she wanted to be when she was growing up in Georgetown, she would answer a flight attendant, a jewel thief, or a writer. And since the flight attendant thing never got off the ground, and she was never caught rifling through her mom's jewelry box, she ended up as the third, a writer. And just this month, the Georgetown native has released her first book, Bitten & Smitten, a romantic, paranormal comedy, published by Warner Forever. Rowen's writing career began early when she was attending Georgetown High School. In Grade 12, she took a co-op placement at the now defunct Georgetown Herald, where she wrote a weekly column about the goings-on at the high school. "Some people didn't take to my gift of sarcasm," said Rowen, "So I ended up being reamed by one of the teachers for stuff I wrote. I guess my sarcasm didn't quite translate properly." After graduating from GDHS, Rowen did a stint at college and university, and now works as a graphic designer during the day, and a romance writer the rest of the time. In Bitten & Smitten, protagonist Sarah Dearly goes out on a blind date, unknown to her, with a vampire. After he bites her during the bad blind date, she becomes a vampire as well, and the rest of the story deals with her avoiding the vampire hunters and generally doing girly things like shopping. "The story came to me as I wondered `what if Bridget Jones was a vampire,'" said Rowen. "In my story, Sarah isn't a bad vampire-- more a girly one who likes shoes and going shopping. It's a bit of a role reversal the hunters are the evil ones, while the vampires aren't (evil)." "Sarah has a gift for sarcasm, and some great comebacks in the story," joked Rowen, "I guess I finally had the chance to use my sarcasm from my high school days." Rowen's story is set in present time and locally, using Toronto as her location, with places like the Bloor Viaduct, the Eaton Centre and the CN tower and the 360 Restaurant (at the top) featured as the story unfolds.
"I started it about three years ago, and I only had about 75 pages written." Said Rowen, "But when I got it rolling, I finished the entire book (360 pages) in three months." Now that Bitten & Smitten is on the bookshelves, Rowen is preparing for her next release, Angel with Attitude, a story about a fallen angel, which will be released in July of this year. The first chapter of Angel with Attitude is also included in Bitten & Smitten, to allow readers a chance to sample the book. Bitten & Smitten is available at Coles, Chapters and Amazon, as well as on-line, and in addition, Rowen has posted the first three chapters on-line at her website, www.michellerowen.com, where the book can also be purchased. Rowen is pleased to have received rave reviews in the industry, with Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times Book Club and ParanormalRomance-Writers.com giving the book a positive nod. In addition, Rowen also has taken part in a charity anthology entitled Bewitched, Bothered and Bevampyered, of which the proceeds went to the International Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. So what is down the road for Michelle Rowen, the writer? "If Warner Forever were interested in me writing Sarah into a series, I think I'd be happy doing that," said Rowen, "but I also have another idea for an urban fantasy, so we'll see how it goes."