DeLauné Michel is an award-winning writer and actress. She was raised in South Louisiana in a literary family with over 10 published writers in two generations, including her late uncle André Dubus (In the Bedroom) her mother Elizabeth Nell Dubus, and her cousins André Dubus (House of Sand and Fog) and James Lee Burke (New York Times best-selling mystery writer). Michel is the author of the novels Aftermath of Dreaming (William Morrow) and The Safety of Secrets (Avon).
Ms. Michel was named for Helene DeLauné, the first woman over from France on her mother’s side. Helene DeLauné was in the court of Marie Antoinette and her husband, Jules André, fought in the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette gave Helene DeLauné jewels to help her and her husband escape to South Louisiana. Ms. Michel’s father’s family was the eleventh family in New Orleans.
Michel moved to New York City upon leaving high school. She was a model there and in Europe, and then spent several years studying acting with teachers from the Neighborhood Playhouse, The Actor’s Studio, Juilliard, and the Yale Drama School. Michel had guest starring roles on TV shows such as NYPD Blue, The Gilmore Girls, and Judging Amy, among others.
In 1996, Michel created Spoken Interludes (www.spokeninterludes.com), a critically-acclaimed reading series where award-winning, best-selling, and up-coming writers read their own work. In 2001, she made it a non-profit arts organization through which she developed, taught in, and continues to run out-reach writing programs for at-risk teenagers in Los Angeles public high schools and detention halls. The Spoken Interludes reading series has been heard on National Pubic Radio and continues to have readings in Los Angeles and New York.
The first two short stories that Michel wrote won recognition in the Thomas Wolfe Short Fiction Competition sponsored by Duke University. Later work won the Pacificus Foundation Literary Award. One of her short stories caught the eye of an agent, who then sent it to Joyce Carol Oates. Oates called Michel’s writing “a wonderful, idiosyncratic voice and an extremely promising talent.” But Oates felt that the story was actually a chapter of a novel. Michel agreed and her first novel, Aftermath of Dreaming, was born.
In Aftermath of Dreaming, Michel explores with humor and pathos the universal themes of abandonment, forgiveness, and letting go. The novel is loosely based on an intimate six-year relationship she shared with Warren Beatty. The Safety of Secrets explores the friendship of two actresses, friends since childhood, as they navigate the rocky roads of their careers and families.
Michel lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on her third novel.
Praise for The Safety of Secrets
“Written with tremendous narrative velocity, The Safety of Secrets is almost impossible to put down. DeLauné Michel has crafted a story that manages to be several things at once: a hilarious inside look at Hollywood, a nuanced portrait of a friendship and its secrets, and a moving testament to the powerful effects of a destructive mother.”
— Dani Shapiro, award-winning, best-selling author of Black and White
“Funny and touching, this is a tale of childhood – and how it never ends.”
— Cathleen Schine, New York Times best-selling author of The New Yorkers
“DeLauné Michel has written a terrifically funny book with a very tender heart. It manages to be wonderfully confessional and psychologically mysterious. The Safety of Secrets is the perfect curl-up-on-the-couch-and-read-all-day-long kind of book. It stays with you.”
— Jill A. Davis, New York Times best-selling author of Ask Again Later
“DeLauné Michel’s debut novel, Aftermath of Dreaming was remarkably assured and compelling. At once funny, moving, and richly evocative of contemporary Los Angeles, The Safety of Secrets more than confirms its promise.”
— Peter Biskind, best-selling author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood
“The Safety of Secrets is a beautifully written book that takes you into the mind of a woman attempting the impossible; trying to make marriage, motherhood, friendship and a career as an actress all work in the gladiatorial ring of present day Los Angeles. DeLauné Michel writes with the precision and insight of an x-ray.”
— Merrill Markoe, New York Times best-selling author of Turning in Circles Before Lying Down
“Michel is deeply attuned to the subtleties in women’s friendships, the little nuances that indicate a slight or an attempt at making up for one, and she pays tribute to them with this layered, fluid novel.”
“The Safety of Secrets is a funny, keenly observed, deeply moving story of coming of age too soon. DeLauné Michel's elegantly structured novel jumps back and forth between an imperfect childhood in Louisiana, and a complicated adulthood in Los Angeles. The novel shifts effortlessly from parental betrayal, to celebrity friendship; from long buried secrets to the peculiar stress of L.A. life near the fast lane. She captures both worlds with perfect pitch.”
—Warren Leight, Tony award-winning playwright Side Man
Praise for Aftermath of Dreaming
“Michel’s crisp writing and keen observations make her a writer to watch.”
“A promising debut.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“...a promising novelist with a strong literary pedigree... DeLauné Michel’s Aftermath of Dreaming is rich in insights.”
— Josh Getlin, Los Angeles Times
“DeLauné Michel writes with the voice of a troubled angel, at once painfully funny and devastatingly real. Aftermath of Dreaming stands out as a first novel of both depth and passion, the kind of book readers can’t help love, not just for the joy of fine writing, but for the comfort of recognition. In other words, the author’s heart is as big as her talent.”
— Jerry Stahl, author of Love Without
“Aftermath of Dreaming is like a jewelry box containing the precious, beautiful, and sometimes broken pieces of a young woman’s psyche. DeLauné Michel makes a striking debut here, delivering a novel that is as emotionally earnest as it is socially astute.”
— Meghan Daum, author of The Quality of Life Report
“Mesmerizing, compelling, and deeply moving. A real and rare accomplishment.”
— Christopher Rice, author of Blind Fall
“Aftermath of Dreaming is a terrific read. The writing style is unique and oh-so pleasurable. I especially love the whole free association narrative of the very, very agreeable and funny narrator. I didn’t want the novel to end. It is one of the very few great novels of the last two years. DeLauné Michel is a marvelous writer.
— Diane Leslie, author of Fleur de Leigh’s Life of Crime
“The ride is enlivened by bits of true brilliance. Yvette has a sharp eye and an observant wit, drawing the reader into her Southern memories.”
— New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Aftermath of Dreaming is an ambitious beginning for DeLauné Michel, a romance of high sophistication from a young Baton Rouge native worthy of our attention.”
— Baton Rouge Advocate
“Author DeLauné Michel introduces us to Yvette Broussard – a deliciously intellectual, sensitive beauty with a wicked, yet – blame it on her southern roots – polite wit. Yvette is the most intriguing female heroine of recent fiction.”
“DeLauné Michel’s fine novel Aftermath of Dreaming is a harrowing, bi-coastal meditation on unrequited love and fame. The denizens of Hollywood’s red carpets and New York’s art galleries – who parade through this novel in full voice, boisterously elbowing one another aside – cry out for attention from a writer schooled in southern humor and an appreciation for the grotesque. Michel is just the ticket”
— Whitney Terrell, author of The King of Kings County