Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One on One with Author Michelle Lindo-Rice of Sing A New Song

Sing a New Song official cover.JPG
Michelle Pic.jpeg
Michelle Lindo-Rice
How did you start out your writing career?
I started writing songs as a teen, and eventually short stories. I was a voracious reader and took many trips to the library when I was younger. But, it wasn't until I was 28 years old that I decided to write my first novel. Since then, my passion never dimmed, but rejections slowed me down. Then, a couple years ago, I attended a Faith and Fiction Retreat and learned skills from published authors and industry experts. At the end of the retreat, I pitched my work, which ultimately lead to a two-book deal with Urban Books. Sing A New Song is my first Christian fiction novel.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned the value of a faith, passion and a good support system. My faith was tested sorely, but I realized that God had placed special friends in my life to motivate me when I doubted if I would make it through the revision process. I learned that anyone can write, but to be a writer, you need passion. I learned areas that I needed to develop as a writer and the need to constantly work on improving my craft.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
My main desire is that Sing A New Song will be a tool for ministry. I hope that anyone who reads will not just enjoy the storyline, but also be led to draw closer to God. I want them to see that the Christian faith is filled with people who struggle as they do, but that we have a God who loves us and forgives us and who can put us on the right path.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
In Sing A New Song, the plot came first. I was inspired to develop the storyline after watching a popular TV show where young girls request paternity tests because they are unsure of their child's paternity. I developed the plot, and then the characters.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
What has surprised me is that the published work is not the end. Heavy promoting is necessary, and you feel like a tiny fish in a big pond. But, you press on, and you continue to learn.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love developing the plot and incorporating twists that the readers didn't see coming. I grappled with word choice. I like my 'big' words but they may not make the cut if the character does not speak that way.

How do you conquer writers block?
I re-read what I have already written; I put the work aside and work on something else; I read, read, read until my motivation kicks in; I revisit my plot and work on an outline.
What books are on your to read list?
Friends and Foes by Reshonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray
Stepping into the Good Life by Tia McCollors
Flawless by Shana Johnson Burton
Don't Tell A Soul by Tiffany L. Warren
Has having a writing career always been your dream?
Yes, writing has been my dream, but I had to go through a process of self-realization to really identify my passion. It wasn't until I faced hundreds of rejections that I realized just how much I still had to write. I see stories everywhere and knew I wanted to tell them.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
One 'do' for an aspiring writer is to be willing to learn and develop your craft. Learn from the best. Also, trust the advice of industry professionals and please, hire a reputable EDITOR.
One 'don't' is never stop reading even while you are writing. You must read, read, read from your genre.
What is your writing process? How do you feed your writing muse?
My writing process is to work on the plot and then develop the characters. Basically, I may have a rough outline in my head, but, I simply start writing. I feed my writing use by reading and also by having friends and family read my work. Their enthusiasm motivates me to keep writing.
Within the next five years what stage do you expect to be in your career?
Within the next five years, I hope to be well established as an author, where my name sells my books because readers know they are getting quality work. I expect to be heavily involved in ministry where I use my books and issues in the plot to help others.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I watch television; and I read. I spend time with my sons.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I use social media to interact with readers. I hope to host book talks and discussions. I am planning several book signings so that I can meet new people.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Yes, but just know, after the revision process, it may not be the same.

Two friends…Two brothers…Two weddings…Too many secrets…Who will cross the line?
“You were the best dancer on the dance floor.”

Gina Price’s body responded to the Barry White voice. She opened her eyes to sweep his tall frame, starting with his shoes. The dark-blue suit fit him like a second skin. His jacket hung carelessly in one hand, while uncontrolled muscles popped from under his light blue shirt. His tie had been savagely loosened and now draped over his well-defined shoulders. Finally, Gina saw his face.

Oh, my. He sounded like Barry White, but he looked like Shemar Moore. Uhm, pretty boys spelt trouble.

But, honey oozed from her lips when she uttered a low, “Thank you, but tell that to my aching feet.” She swayed her body to the up-tempo beat. “The deejay is doing his thing—cause this crowd is pumped. I mean it’s almost midnight and nobody’s rushing home.”

Shemar Moore chuckled. “Yes, this is some party wasn’t it? Terence and Colleen hadn’t spared any expense because this wedding was picture perfect.”

“Hmm... Hmm... People will talk about this wedding for years to come.” Gina agreed. What with the ice doves, to the still-glowing imported scented candles, orchids and lilies centerpieces and crystal one-of-a-kind chandeliers, Gina’s head spun. Such opulence and grandeur made their wedding picture perfect from beginning to end. Even the weather had cooperated.

Gina rubbed her bared shoulders and eyed the other members of the wedding party who still held it down on the dance floor. By the looks of it, it would be awhile before the festivities died down. She snickered. There’d be some back pains and sore limbs come morning.

After an energetic bout with the electric slide, she’d sought respite at one of the now abandoned guest tables. Her now crushed gold satin dress bore the after-effects of her abandon but she had no regrets. She’d released her feet from the black, gold-encrusted, three-inched heels and propped them on an empty chair to admire them. Yup, the shoes were worth it. Colleen dubbed them, “Men-fishing shoes.”

Well, she’d reel in a live one.

“Mind if I sit?”

Gina moved her legs, crooked her head and waved him into the seat. “Not at all.” She didn’t play coy.

“I couldn’t help but watch you all evening, and I couldn’t leave without introducing myself. I’m Michael Ward—friend of the groom.” He extended his hand.

Long tapered fingers... Groomed nails... Er—she realized he waited for a response. “I’m sorry,” Gina blushed and took his outstretched hand. “I’m Gina Price, best friend of the bride for over fifteen years.”

“Gina. Nice name,” Michael replied.

“Thank you.”Okay, he bored her already. Please don’t tell me he’s a Twinkie without the filling. Time to cut this brother loose until he got some swag, or even a corny pickup line.

A slow jam came on. “Would you like to dance?” Michael intercepted her thoughts and commanded her full attention.

Her aching feet... Prince Charming... The bottom of her feet throbbed... Gina vacillated, until he smiled.

Wow. That did it. She slid her feet back into her shoes, took his baseball-mitt sized hand, and followed him to the dance floor.

“Well since I don’t know if you’ll disappear at midnight, let me tell you about myself. I’m an architect and self-employed. I met Terence at college and after we graduated we went our separate ways. Then about a year ago, we bumped into each other, quite by accident, when I was commissioned to design the layout for Terence’s magazine. During our conversation, he invited me to his wedding.”

So they were more acquaintances than friends, Gina thought. Good. He just went from a six to a seven. She liked his soothing voice and his arms made her feel secure. “Colleen and I have BFF’s since high school and we’ve been joined at the hips like Siamese twins, ever since. I teach English Language Arts at Bayside High school in Flushing, while Colleen teaches Social Studies.”


His monosyllabic response made Gina wonder if she’d struck out with this one. Please don’t let him mention the weather. People only mentioned the weather when they had nothing else to say.

“So, are you single?”

Gina smiled. Good, she was still in the game. “Yes, I am.”She noted the huge, anticipatory smile.

Michael led her through an intimate dance move which ended with a dip. “Are you seeing anybody right now?”

That voice of his mesmerized her. “No,” Gina supplied, with a huge smile of her own. She held her breath, feeling the magnetic pull, as Michael slowly lifted her and curved her body to his.

His voice deepened and he spoke right into her ear. “Good, cause I’m single, too, and available—no kids, no ex-wives.”

Disbelieving, Gina couldn’t hold the unladylike snort. “You expect me to believe that you’re available?”

But Michael quickly schooled her. He took a few steps back and licked his lips. “Okay, I amreformed and officially retired from the heart breaking business. Any games I used to play ended with my retirement.”

Whatever he was selling, she wasn’t buying. Well, it depends on how much, her inner self countered. When a more suggestive melody filled the room, Michael drew her closer to him. She inhaled. He smelled like ocean, outdoors, the rugged outback—and pure unadulterated man. Her stubby legs liquefied and her insides quivered. Engulfed in arms she felt like a petite china doll.

Gina snuck a glance up at Michael. His eyes held promise for some serious pleasure. Whew! Hold it together, girl.

Gina Ward.

Yes, she liked that. Too much. She’d known this man for what? Fifteen minutes. Ridiculous. All too soon, the song ended and it was time to see the lovebirds off. She looked for the other girls in her party.

“You need a ride?”

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers can get in touch with me through Facebook, Twitter @mlindorice, Linkedin and through my website www.michellelindorice.com