Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Michelle D. Rayford and I recently celebrated turning 50.

Fiona: Where are you from?

Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I’m married with two grown daughters. I graduated from Columbia College with a BA in Business Administration. I work full time for the Department of Transportation.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Latest news. I’m working on my sophomore novel, Settling Up, which should be next month if all goes to plan.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since elementary school. In fact, I won a district wide writing contest in the 5th grade.  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.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When my first book, Moment of Truth, was finished. I knew I could do it and began to really take it seriously.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I have several stories I’ve started and put aside for one reason or another. Moment of Truth came about as an “What If” question. What if a woman was married to the wrong man? The story developed from there.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For Moment of Truth, the title came to me as the climax of the story. The truth always comes out as the saying goes and, in that moment, things change.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

When I first begin 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 for.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The story is realistic as it involves real, everyday people dealing with real issues. But none of it is my own experience.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

With the advent of the internet, it makes learning about different places easier. I do like to experience things first-hand because you can’t get the full sensory feel from a computer screen. When funds allow, I do like to travel to the place or thing I’m writing about.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My covers are designed by Woodson Creative Studio (www.woodsoncreativestudio.com).

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I would say the overall message is to live your truth. Whatever that is.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

There are so many authors that are new or new to me that I love. My absolute favorite author is Maya Angelou.

Some other favorites are Jodi Picoult, Eric Jerome Dickey, Nora Roberts, Terry McMillian, Walter Mosley, Naleighna Kai, London St. Charles, James Patterson, Karin Slaughter, J. L. Campbell.

I could go on and on. All of them share the ability to really draw you into a story. It’s something I study and try to incorporate in my own work.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

When I was just getting started, I only had my own desire to create. Once I became published and started interacting on social media I met my Tribe. It’s called, NK Tribe Called Success and it’s a group of like minded writers who support each other.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. I work a full-time job now but in three to five years, I hope to solely focus on writing.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not really. My latest book is a short story titled Not That Nice.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I’m currently writing my second novel and I’ve learned I need set schedule. Mostly, I write whenever I have some free time. I need to schedule writing time like any other appointment.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I hadn’t really thought about that one. I do have an image in mind for all my characters but they are not necessarily actors/actresses. For the main character in Moment of Truth, I could see Nicole Beharie playing the role of Adrienne.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Be persistent. Don’t stop learning and perfecting the craft of writing. Don’t let fear keep you from fulfilling your dream.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I normally have two books going at the same time. I’m reading “Children of Virtue and Vengeance” by Tomi Adeyemi and “King of Chatham” by London St. Charles.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It was either something by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume. I read all of their books and stayed in the library.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My husband and daughters can always make me laugh. I’m a big cry baby. I’ve been known to cry at commercials.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Maya Angelou and Oprah. Maya Angelou because she was a great writer and I could learn from her. Oprah because she started with nothing and became recognized by one name.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Reading, writing and playing video games.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I can’t miss “How to Get Away with Murder”. This is the final season and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I enjoy watching comedies and action movies. I’m a big fan of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I love seafood and lasagna. My favorite color is purple and I love 80’s music.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Read. Maybe being an editor or book reviewer. It would definitely involve books.

Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

Probably trying to get that last book out. (LOL) Seriously, spending time with my hubby and my daughters making sure they will be alright.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

She didn’t let fear stop her.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

My website is: www.michelledrayford.com

Readers can find me all over social media at the following:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M14lAC

GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2H2Bm0E

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/michelle-rayford

Twitter: https://twitter.com/M_Rayford

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDRayford/

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/SubscribeMDR

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mdrayford/

Moment of Truth – http://bit.ly/MomentofTruthMDR

Not That Nice – http://bit.ly/NotThatNiceMDR