Touring the blogosphere this month is Michaela Riley, author of Embittered Justice, a new novel of suspense inspired by the sometimes unjust decisions of our legal system. Riley has been a registered nurse for twenty years and is the CEO of her own professional development company. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions here today.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Michaela. Why don't you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
I decided to become an author when I was a child. My mother said authors didn’t make much money so I should be something like a nurse. I resisted for a few years and eventually became a Registered Nurse, giving up the dreams and aspirations of becoming an author. I have been practicing nursing for nearly twenty years and I am finally able to do something I want. Being an author is not a full-time job for me at this point, but I'm planning to change that in the next few weeks when I retire from the Army Nurse Corp.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
As a child I would bring home as many books as I could carry. I loved to escape to other places through the characters in each book I read. I always liked to read stories about travel, love, and suspense. The childhood years were spent getting those stars for reading the most books…I still love to read mystery and suspense.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
Embittered Justice was written after witnessing the affects of wrongful prosecution in an innocent woman’s life. It appeared that these types of stories get buried until the magical DNA test frees someone after being in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Malicious Prosecution in Embittered Justice is inspired by a true story; although the book is fictionalized, malicious prosecution is not. It is very real and can have devastating effects on the lives of the innocent.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I started writing Embittered Justice as an outline and kept journal entries and a notebook to write down ideas as they came to me. It was easier for me to complete research and understand components of the judicial system before writing the entire book.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
The entire process from start to finish took about a year. Of course actually writing the book once the outline and research was completed was only a few months. Editing and reading the book took the most amount of time. My writing experiences before this were technical papers and research, so it was harder for me to give the book life and invoke emotions in the reader. I wanted the reader to feel what the main character had to endure during her fight for freedom and attempt to prove her innocence.
Describe your working environment.
I have a laptop and I work wherever I am. I really don’t have an office that I sit in daily as I write. I love being mobile and having the ability to write when I am sitting in the back yard or at the beach. I find that I get lots of ideas when I don’t have anyone around and get to enjoy the serenity of writing.
Are you a disciplined writer?
I am not as disciplined as I would like to be because I have many things going on in my life. I do set deadlines for myself and find that if I stick to the time frame I get a lot more accomplished. Since the release of the book, I have spent a majority of the time marketing and promoting Embittered Justice. I do have outlines and ideas for several other books completed and hope to have the sequel to Embittered Justice completed by fall of 2008.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
Nothing like several hours of CSI to get the ideas flowing again… If that doesn’t work, I spend some time at the beach or meditate. The best thing is to think about the event or idea I am having difficulty with before I go to sleep, then let it go.
Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?
It is actually harder for me to remember that the reader doesn’t know the story the way I do. Events and timelines should be followed to ensure the story flows the way I want it to. The reader doesn’t know what happens unless we tell them.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
I am trying a little of both right now. The virtual book tours and internet marketing is definitely easier and a lot less expensive than traditional bricks and mortar book tours. I really want to create a buzz about Embittered Justice and get marketing set up before booking tours.
Who are your favorite authors?
Nicholas Sparks writes about incredible love stories that touch my heart and make me cry. James Patterson’s books intrigue me and hold my interest because of suspense and mystery and crime.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Getting published is only the first step in the process of being an author. Marketing and advertising is an important part of what we do, if readers don’t know about you, no one will buy your books.
Write it down.
Do you have a Web site/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
The sequel to Embittered Justice is due to be released in the fall of 2008.
Thanks for visiting, Michaela, and good luck with your book!