ABOUT ME (short version)
Name: Michelle Ray
Place of Birth: Los Angeles
High school: Westlake School for Girls
College: Tufts University
Graduate school: UCLA
Favorite vacation: Venice
Places I’ve lived: LA, NYC, Boston, Mt. Kisco/NY, Silver Spring/Maryland
Occupations: writer, teacher, mom, director
ABOUT ME (long version):
Where were you really born?
I say I was born in Los Angeles, but to be specific, I was born and raised in “The Valley.” Yes, I am a Valley Girl. (If you are too young to know what this implies, go online and key word Valley Girl.) Movies of my home town include Encino Man, Valley Girl, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We even had a song named after us.
Why didn’t you pick just one book, play or movie for those lists over on the side?
I love all forms of entertainment. I love stories. I love high brow cul-cha and low brow potty jokes. I enjoy it all, so no, I won’t pick just one. You can’t make me.
Many of your favorite books are also movies. Coincidence?
I think so. But here’s a tidbit for ya: unlike most people, I like to see the movie first. This way, I’m never disappointed by things that are left out of the movie. If I like the story from the movie, the book tells me even more about it. And the actors are usually hotter than they are in my imagination based on a few words of description, so this way I get to spend hours imagining gorgeous people. Yay.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Nope. In college I majored in drama, I thought I would be a director. I moved to NYC for the theater and everything. Then I reconsidered (it’s a very competitive field and a tough lifestyle), and decided to become a teacher. I taught elementary school for 11 years and have been teaching middle school English for 3 years. When I told my high school teachers about my career choice, they said, “That’s what you told us you’d be before you left for college.” I totally forgot I’d meant to be a teacher. But I still had stories to tell and I found that I could put them on paper rather than on the stage. Plus, characters I write do exactly as I ask them unlike real live actors. I direct school plays, too, because I love live performances.
Did you like school?
Definitely. I was the kind of kid who wanted to have lunch with teachers, enjoyed summer school (well, I was doing photography class and plays, so it wasn’t too intense), and was sad to graduate. No tales of being a horrible misfit here. Rocky times now and then, but on the whole I remember it fondly. Does this make me a nerd? Maybe. Would I go back and be broodier? Not a chance.
What makes you laugh?
Everything. People falling down. Rude noises. A good story. Silly faces. Wit. And when I laugh, I laugh big.
Hamlet and Macbeth are violent plays and a lot of your favorite movies are violent. Are you a violent person?
I get asked this quite a lot. I’m kind of a wimp, and real fights (verbal and physical) upset me deeply. That said, I’ve always been drawn to the darker moments of life and to serious dramas. Violence and death are, well, dramatic so they make interesting stories.
Your books include lots of technology. Do you love gadgets and new applications and programs?
NO! My friends call me a Luddite. [I had to look that up. Luddites were a 19th century group who were anti-machinery.] Technology is part of my everyday life but I’m never, never on the cutting edge. I hold out as long as humanly possible when it comes time to adopt new technology. I do, however, realize that young people embrace it, and if I’m writing for them, I need to get that right. Technology has been a great story telling device, too, especially when characters from Shakespeare’s plays weren’t originally in the same place at the same time.
Who is that woman in the hat?
She is one of my closest friends and she reads every draft I write. Every. Draft. Her feedback is honest and supportive. She tells me when something in my writing is not working, writes emails full of exclamation points when things are good, catches typos and generally encourages me. Very handy. Every writer needs someone this helpful.
- The Outsiders
- Harry Potter
- Code Name Verity
- Pigeon Wants a Puppy
- Tuck Everlasting
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
- The Time Traveler’s Wife
- Every Day
- The Age of Innocence
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- The Bridge to Terabithia
- Fahrenheit 451
- The Given Day
- On Writing, by Stephen King
- You Can’t Bring a Balloon to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Dead Poet’s Society
- The Godfather
- Kill Bill
- Philadelphia Story
- Little Women
- Romeo + Juliet
- Sense & Sensibility
- Gross Pointe Blank
- The Princess Bride
- Me and Early and the Dying Girl
- When Harry Met Sally
- Hamlet (of course)
- The Kentucky Cycle
- Our Town
- Angels in America
- Romeo and Juliet
- The Crucible