Please welcome author Tyora Moody to my channel today. Welcome Tyora.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, my name is Tyora Moody. I’m an avid reader, an award-winning author and literary entrepreneur. I’m the author of eleven Christian Fiction books. I mainly write in the following genres under Christian Fiction: Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths and Romantic Suspense. My current book listing include the Serena Manchester Series, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Reed Family Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. I also started experimenting with writing Romance under my Victory Gospel Shorts series.
As a literary-focused entrepreneur, I have assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via my company, Tywebbin Creations LLC since 1999. Popular services include book covers, book formatting, and virtual assistance services.
In 2012, I started Tymm Publishing LLC and have published several anthologies and ten authors.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not working for a client or doing something literary, I enjoy reading, spending time with family, binge-watching crime shows, catching a movie on the big screen, and traveling.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I do. I have been working in public media for over twenty years. I was a web developer for about ten years and now I serve as a project manager in the digital media department.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I consider 2006 as my official start year for writing. I have always loved writing stories when I was younger, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I even considered writing a novel. It took me about two years to finish the first book, When Rain Falls. I had it edited in 2008, but put it to the side for a few more years. I finally pitched the novel at a readers/writing conference in 2010. Urban Christian picked up the book, offering me a two-book contract.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always been an avid reader, with my favorite genre being mystery and suspense. A lot of what I read doesn’t include people of color. I felt led to write in the genre I love so much, but with characters that I could relate to.
Where do you get your ideas?
I watch a lot of crime tv shows so some of my ideas come from what I’ve been exposed to. But a lot of my books have themes to them and often relate to where I’m at in life. When Rain Falls, my first book, though it’s a Romantic Suspense book, it has a theme of dealing with grief. That was where I was at during the time when I started writing it. By the time I started writing the second book in the series, When Memories Fade, I was working out trying to forgive and that theme comes out through that book.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I wouldn’t call it a writer’s block. I feel like when it’s time for me to write, I write. I don’t believe in trying to force it. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to pursue being independently published versus being traditionally published. During the time I was with a traditional publisher, I felt like writing on a deadline was more stressful for me since I intended to keep my day job and side businesses.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I work with an outline. Since I started writing mysteries it helps me make sure I tie in a certain number of suspects and red herrings.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I can’t pinpoint one particular author because I read so many. Some of the authors that I enjoyed reading in my teens and twenties were Mary Higgins Clark, Sarah Paretsky, Sue Grafton and Valerie Wilson Wesley.
In the early 2000s, I started discovering Christian Fiction Suspense. Some of my favorite authors became Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins, and Colleen Coble.
I’ve since added in recent years, Jana DeLeon, Kendra Elliott, Melinda Leigh, Christa Barritt, Lynette Eason. These ladies have quite a few series that I have read or continue to keep up with as the next book in the series are released.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I pitched When Rain Falls at a readers/writing conference in 2010 to three different publishers. I received two rejection letters, but Urban Christian picked up the book, offering me a two-book contract. I can’t say I had a lot of challenges other than life. The book was ready to pitch for at least two years, but I let it sit for awhile and started working on another book, Deep Fried Trouble. I was more interested in if I could pursue writing another novel with an entirely different character.
I will say even though I received the contract in 2010, my first book, When Rain Falls, was not officially published until March 2012. When you work with a traditional publisher, everything takes a lot longer. I knew the release date a whole year prior.
I learned a lot from the experience and use what I learned with my own publishing company, like planning way ahead on release dates.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
I don’t have any specific authors who have been influential, but I think being an avid reader helps me think through the plots and also improve on character development with each new book.
What impact have they had on your writing?
When I’m reading or even listening to an audiobook, I have more of a writer’s perspective now. I can sometimes guess where plots are going and in some cases be surprised with how an author decides to take their characters in new directions. Reading for me now is more than just entertainment, but a study in how I can improve my own writing or be sure I don’t do things that upset readers. Like I can’t stand cliff-hangers and prefer series books to be stand-alones. I like to give readers the type of experience that I enjoy myself.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I think there will always be books. Words have been a powerful source of entertainment, even when the written word was only for the elite. Storytelling is way older than books, and I don’t see that art form every going away.
I do think there are more and more people pursuing writing. For a reader there are so many books to choose from now and writers need to be respectful of publishing a well-crafted and edited book.
Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
I guess both. I don’t like reading plots that aren’t realistic. During the rewriting process, if something seems contrived or not logical, I will cut the passage and rewrite until it makes sense to me.
I write Christian Fiction, so I write scenes that intuitively I believe readers can relate to as well. When a scene calls from prayer, then the character will pray. I don’t want to include a church scene just to have one. I don’t think that’s what defines the book as Christian Fiction. It’s the presence of God in the character’s life and their personal relationship with them. That’s different for everyone… also going to be different for the characters I write.
What is your role in the writing community?
I have been assisting authors since about 1998, long before I even considered being an author. Years ago I built many author websites, at one time I coordinated blog tours for authors and these days I still design book covers and interior formatting. I have been involved, and still participate in author organizations and groups. I’ve attended conferences where I’ve done writing and publishing workshops.
How does your book relates to your spiritual practice or other life path?
I’m a Christ follower and any fiction book, novella and short story that I write will probably always reflect the Christian walk of faith.
What is your testimony?
I became a Christian around the age of twenty-five. I didn’t grow up going to church except on occasion. My family attended Easter Sundays. When I stayed with aunts, I attended church with them. During college, I attribute my college roommate as the person who told me about Christ in a way I understood. At the time, my thoughts were it was too simple. Later, after being involved as a youth leader at my local church, I realized I needed to step up a bit more in my faith life and officially expressed my desire to have Jesus Christ in my life.
How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
I grew up in a two-parent home. I lived in New York, the first part of my life and moved to the South as a teen. Since I’ve been in the South most of my life, I tend to lean towards the cities and towns in the South as settings in my books.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being an avid reader, it always amazes me that I’m an author. Writing has been a gift that keeps giving. I enjoy each time I can deliver a story that readers love.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m finishing up a Christmas short story in the Eugeena Patterson series. It’s called A Blended Family Christmas and will be released early December.
What do your plans for future projects include?
In 2020, I’m planning to release:
A Simmering Dilemma, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Book 4
Dangerous Confessions, Serena Manchester, Book 3
Faithful Heart (Book 4) and Wounded Heart (Book 5) in the Reed Family Series.
To contact Tyora about book club discussions, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.