Michelle McGriff has been writing professionally for 12 years. Currently she is writing fiction for Urban/Kensington Books. Her nonfiction work includes contributions to the writing guide: Your Published, Now What? (Universalwrite, LLC, 2009). A Ph.D. candidate attending Capella University, Ms. McGriff is pursuing her terminal degree in Organizational Management.
Ms. McGriff’s love of food has turned into a venue for the pen as well as the skillet with her work on a vegan cookbook.
My latest project is a change from the norm for me. Swerve is a spy novel with a female antagonist – Romia. Romia’s life takes a sudden turn when a mysterious stranger approaches her with news of her past, a past she never knew she had. The news disrupts her already eccentric lifestyle and proves to her that life can be stranger than fiction. Chasing a shadow, Romia sets out on a mind bending journey to find out the truth about who her parents really were. One twist after the next will leave the reader guessing what is real and what is smoke and mirrors.
Lots of action can be found in this book 1-prequel of the upcoming STONE series.
When did your love of writing first appear?
I started writing at a very young age. My first love was telling a story and as soon as I got old enough to pen it, I did. My first complete project was done at the age of 14. It was submitted to a large house and was rejected (of course), but I was told then that my story was of exceptional quality for a girl my age. That was all it took for me to know that writing stories would be my life’s blood.
Why do you write?
I write because my brain cannot hold in the universe that exists in there. I have to free the characters, the places, and events that I dream and that are so real to me. It’s a relaxing catharsis as well—I mean where else can we commit the most heinous of crimes and get away with it? haha – just a little writer’s humor.
What has been the struggles with being a writer?
The biggest struggle, of course, is the money. There just isn’t enough out there for mainstream minority writers. I say that not to sound political but it’s a fact. There are many minority writers out there and we have saturated the market. It’s a lottery as to who will be the biggest star. It’s just like any industry where there is money to be made; many rush to it and then there is no money left to be made because everyone is a seller and there are no buyers. In the meantime, just like the movies, there are only so many slots for our books, even when the market was good so it’s just worse now. The next struggle is, because of that first struggle, getting people to understand why I still do; it is difficult. I write because I love it and that’s hard when there are so many other opportunities out there for folks to squeeze out a meager living… doing what? Who knows but normally it’s something you don’t even want to do. At this age and place in space I do not want to waste a day doing what I don’t want to do.
What has been your most joyous moment as a writer?
Seeing my book on a half-page ad in Black Expressions and in the supermarket—without a doubt those are at the top (equal pitch of my squeal).
How does being a black woman integrate itself into what and how you write?
Being a black woman is a unique journey. I find that my spirit gets to experience many things a woman in another space would not. I feel being a black woman I am afforded so many deep reaching stories that go past my flesh and into my soul. Each of my stories has a little bit of that ‘depth’ in there. Many readers miss it, but when I get an email from one that ‘got it’ I’m so excited and it makes it all worth it.
What advice do you have for those who dream of a writing career?
Stop dreaming it and start achieving it.