DISASTER GIRL: Release day blog post featuring Michelle Dayton

I’m so thrilled to be here chatting about my new release, DISASTER GIRL!  

I had such a hard time deciding on which aspect of the story to touch on here, but I ended up deciding on Tess’s job, my main character’s career.

I know, I know … so boring, right?  Wouldn’t it be more fun to focus on the steamy love scenes? Or more interesting to dive into Tess’s complicated relationship with her mother? Or what about the blight of modern technology (revenge porn) which drives the plot?

But Tess’s ambition and commitment to her job are a core facet of her personality; I hoped they would make her character real and relatable.  I was so excited that the Publishers Weekly reviewer agreed:  “Tess’s career goals … are just as important to the story as the romance, making for a fully developed heroine who’s easy to root for.”

I’ve *always* been fascinated by the jobs people do.  Maybe it’s because people spend so much of their lives at work; you simply can’t help but be molded by the places and people and tasks that encompass so many hours of your daily life.

I got my first job when I was fifteen and I haven’t stopped working since.  My very first job was selling concessions at a movie theater in my hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  You might think that coming home every night with butter-scented hair might put me off popcorn forever, but you’d be dead wrong.  I still think movie theater popcorn is the most delicious thing in the world.

In college, I worked as a hostess at a country-western steakhouse in South Bend, Indiana – the kind where people are encouraged to throw peanut shells on the floor and stand on tables to sing twangy ballads.  Sometimes I’m still tempted to answer the phone saying:  “Thank you for calling the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, home of the cajun ribeye.  This is Michelle, how can I help you?”

I’ve worked at a paper mill, a roofing company, tended bar, made lattes, sliced deli meat, and tutored students writing term papers.  Every single one of these jobs contributed something to my life in addition to the paycheck.  The people I met, the things I screwed up … like most people,  I’ve been indelibly shaped by these experiences.

After college, like Tess, I started my career in IT and that’s been my work “home” for a long time.  Tess’s IT specialty is disaster recovery – she helps businesses recover from catastrophic occurrences.  This is a perfect career for Tess because life has taught her that one can survive disasters.  To me, Tess’s career was the perfect embodiment of who she is as a person.  In life and in work, she’s all about survival.  I hope readers enjoy this parallel. I hope they cheer Tess on!

I’d absolutely love to hear about your best (or worst!) jobs and how they’ve shaped you – tell me everything in the comments!  


There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel — as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.

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