M.D. Taverner poses with her published works, “Gabriel’s Clocks,” for young children, “Willow Bend: A Mara Hiddenbridge Mystery” for adults, and “The Land of Deep Darkness” for young adults. The illustrations in “Gabriel’s Clocks” also were done by Taverner.

M.D. Taverner poses with her published works, “Gabriel’s Clocks,” for young children, “Willow Bend: A Mara Hiddenbridge Mystery” for adults, and “The Land of Deep Darkness” for young adults. The illustrations in “Gabriel’s Clocks” also were done by Taverner.

Photo by Charity Meier

Novi author pens books for a variety of age groups

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published October 5, 2022

NOVI — A Novi therapist with a passion for writing has three books for different age groups, including an adult mystery novel, a young adult mystery novel and a children’s book.

Michelle Taverner, known to the literary world as M.D. Taverner, is in the process of finding an agent to publish her latest book, which is a time-travel mystery. She works as a part-time therapist and a part-time writer. She said her chosen fields allow her to do what she loves to do.

Therapy sessions along with personal experiences have provided terrific inspiration for her written works, she said. She said that she has been told that the strength of her writing is dialogue, and she believes that while some writers struggle with dialogue, it comes more naturally to her because of listening to lengthy therapy sessions.

“I think a lot of my love of dialogue comes from just listening to people’s stories in therapy,” Taverner said. “I think that has kind of informed my writing a bit.”

She said her first novel, “Willow Bend: A Mara Hiddenbridge Mystery,” was inspired by an experience she had on Edward Hines Drive in Livonia. She said she pulled over by a rest area during a storm and saw a body bag being carried out of a restroom by two men. Taverner said she always wondered what that story was behind the incident, but was never able to find out. She said it was never on the news or in the paper. She said that desire to know what happened made for the premise of her first novel.

She said she has always had a passion for writing but chose to pursue other fields, as many are told that they can’t make money in writing. Yet her passion for the art of writing was ever hungry, and eventually she decided to pursue her passion and publish books. She said that the desire to write was “just always there scratching around.”

“I never felt like this (writing) is what I’m going to do when I get older, but I just love the way it felt from a really young age — telling stories and getting other people’s responses from it,” said Taverner.

She said she really got her feet wet in the field when she published poetry and short stories for the literary journal at the University of Michigan. She said she just tried various mediums in the field and built off of them, going from poetry to short stories to screenplays, and then she discovered novel writing.

“Once I wrote my first novel, that just really felt like my niche,” she said. “I wasn’t aiming to do four different genres. It’s just the idea would come to me and I’m like, ‘What form should this take? What audience should this be for?’ I just try not to get stuck in any box.”

Taverner said her latest novel was inspired by a poster of the Eiffel Tower during the World’s Fair in the late 19th century. She said she had a lot of time during the pandemic and just wrote herself there. She said she did a lot of research and found out that Thomas Edison was there during that time, and she weaved him into the story. Her book “The Traveling Librarian,” is yet to be published, as she wishes to publish it in the traditional route and is seeking an agent. Her previous novels were published independently.

The new novel is set in an older library in Detroit. The librarian is on the verge of getting laid off and has a break-up with her fiancé and is at a crossroads when she discovers a hidden staircase at the library and is transported to the Seine River during the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Taverner said that along with Edison, there are some other characters who are based on actual historical figures. She said the inspiration for the book is “Outlander” meets “The Devil in the White City.”

“What I really loved was her ability to write really, really vivid scenes, and just the ability to get into the story and the characters especially,” said Cristen Hemingway Jaynes, an author and the great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway Jaynes and Taverner met at a writing conference in northern Michigan and became friends. “I was super-compelled by her character in her (upcoming) mystery novel. The book is something that is both kind of modern and classic. So, the story is really modern, but there’s also a sense of the more literary style that I feel like a lot of writers are kind of moving away from. Personally, I am like a classic reader, so I think the book can appeal to readers who like classics and readers who like modern literature.”

Hemingway Jaynes said Taverner’s writing is similar to that of Patricia Highsmith, who wrote “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” She said that like Highsmith, Taverner writes mysteries that are detailed and in depth, and she called Taverner “a true writer’s writer.”

“I love that combination of a really, really good mystery story that sucks you in, but the writing is really good and it’s literary and reminds me of classic literature, which is my favorite genre,” said Hemingway Jaynes. “I know that people love mysteries, and so it’s always good to have more mysteries coming out, but to have one with a literary sense to it is just much more high-quality and really valuable to keep literature alive.”

In her spare time, Tavener teaches creative writing to kids at the Living and Learning Center in Northville.

Taverner’s books, including “Gabriel’s Clocks” for young children and “The Land of Deep Darkness” for young adults, are available at the Novi Public Library, Mod Market in Northville, as well as on Amazon. She can be contacted at m.d.tavernerwrites@gmail.com.