Today I have Author Michelle Rayford on my blog. Please welcome Michelle.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you. My name is Michelle D. Rayford and I am an author and blogger living in South Carolina. I’m married with two grown daughters.
What do you do when you are not writing?
You can find me reading, binge-watching Netflix shows, hanging with my family or playing video games.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I’m a Grants Manager at a state government agency.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing since elementary school. I have a ton of notebooks and scraps of papers with stories and poems dating back years. It didn’t become serious for me until around 2014 or 2015. I started taking every class I could find online and around my city. It took over a year to get my first book, Moment of Truth, finished and it was published in 2017.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I chose the genre I enjoy reading the most, Women’s Fiction. However, I would also like to try writing a thriller in the future because I enjoy reading those as well.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas can come from anywhere and usually start with a “What If” question. But I find a lot of my ideas come from music. I’ll hear a song and a specific scene or situation will play in my head
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Sure. If something isn’t working it usually helps to step away from the current piece and either read or find some other activity. You’ll be amazed at how taking a shower can clear up an issue or reveal the next step in the story.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
When I first began writing a book I strictly free flow. Only once I have a good feel for the main character do I prepare an outline. Of course, it’s subject to change because the characters take over and reveal some situations or motivations I hadn’t planned
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The first book that influenced me in wanting to be a writer, like it was possible, was Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Challenges? Whew. The main one was financial. I knew I wanted to self-publish so that meant doing everything myself. I wanted my book to stand besides traditionally published works so that meant paying for professional services. Book cover design and editing were the most expensive. Marketing is an ongoing expense.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
Three favorites spring immediately to mind. Eric Jerome Dickey, J. D. Mason, and Jodi Picoult. I’ve read and studied all their books.
What impact have they had on your writing?
Major impact. From EJD, I’ve learned how to write from the male perspective. J.D. taught me about creating complex characters. Jodi taught me how to weave backstory to enhance the story. All three are gifted storytellers and I have all of their books.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
The future of reading/writing is that there will always be a need for them. The form may change (ebooks, audible books, etc.) but the world will always need storytellers.
Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
A combination of the two. My writing process always starts with a character. Something is missing from their lives or some major event is going to upset their everyday world. The journey is getting to their happily ever after no matter what that looks like. Of course, even though I’m making all of this up it has to make sense.
What is your role in the writing community?
Right now I see my role as entertaining the reader. In the future, I hope to expand my role in providing a range of stories through my publishing company and helping other authors.
How does your book relates to your spiritual practice or other life path?
My spiritual path has centered on overcoming fear. The act of writing a book and releasing it into the world is an act of faith. I had to overcome that fear to pursue my dream.
What is your testimony?
My testimony is that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. I was 47 when I published my first book. If there is a passion you want to pursue, start wherever you are.
How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
With my first book, I subscribed to the tenet of “write what you know”. I’m married and born and raised in the South so my stories are about that dynamic with a twist. Now I’ve branched out and my characters reflect different dynamics than the one I was born into.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Besides actually seeing my name of books I’ve written, it would be the establishing of my own publishing company, Barrington Drive Publishing Company.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m working on my next novel, Settling Up, that will be released in February 2020. After that, the sequel is already in the works. I also plan to release more short stories.
Social Media Links:
Moment of Truth – https://amzn.to/2snLrer
Not That Nice – https://amzn.to/2RADsJM
Just One Kiss – https://amzn.to/2T4jkwc