Interview with Mary Hall-Rayford

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is to be able to provide inspiration, encouragement and entertainment to my readers. When someone reads my work, I want them to feel my passion about what I'm saying and to be able to relate to it. Since I primarily write as I am inspired by scripture and my relationship with God, my readers would be well-served with having knowledge of biblical principals and premises. That is not to say that other readers would not enjoy my work; this is intended as a forewarning of sorts. I wouldn't want my readers to be surprised or offended with content that may not align with their beliefs or faith.

Though most of my work is spiritual in nature, I have written one book from a secular perspective--When Money Talks--that is encouraging and entertaining without being offensive in language or descriptions of events. At least that's the way I see it and if someone has a different opinion, I'm open to hearing it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Primarily I write as I am inspired to write, but occasionally, I write to vent in addressing current events or situations that goad me. As an educator who teaches writing, I must always consider my audience which is why I offered the "warning" in the previous question. I would like to think that there is an audience of readers out there, somewhere in the world, who will appreciate the content of my work that is wholesome and family-oriented (as well as bible-oriented). In the fiction--thus far--I have tried not to be preachy, but the trilogy involves two people who are in ministry and sometimes--they preach--as part of the storyline.

The bottom line for me is that I want my fans to get a sense of who I am, my values and morals and that my intent with the fiction is to enlighten and entertain them.
What are you working on next?
At the moment, I have a story-board with ideas for about twenty books that I'd like to see published within the next few years.

Trapped, the fiction about the lives of nine women--will have sequels revealing their lives--past the end of the book. I have already started on Taryn's Story and will complete Brett's after Taryn's--hopefully within the next six months.

My first fantasy, Battlerama Super Tweens To The Rescue--is part of a series. I know what the next two will be about, but I'm leaving the possibility open for many more. In fact, I'm writing the second book for the NaNoWriMo challenge. I have a general idea of what's going to happen at the end, but the beginning is still a mystery to me. I'm sure as soon as I start writing, it will unfold as wonderfully as the first book did.
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of my favorite authors include: Sidney Sheldon, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Margaret Mitchell, Paula Fox, Jane Austen, O. Henry, Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jude Deveraux, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, Tom Clancy (of course myself) and almost anyone expounding upon the bible.

Even though I have my favorites, I am always open to reading new authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm motivated to rise each day by gratitude in seeing another day. I never know what a day will bring, but I know I will learn something new from it and that is always exciting for me--to learn something new.

Since I blog every morning, usually expounding upon a verse of scripture, I look forward to seeing what God would have me say. And since I am still teaching, I look forward to the coming events that are usually laughable because some student, will inevitably think I was born the night before and attempt to get over on me for one reason or another.

Life is what one makes it, and I try to get as much out a day as I can which is why I rise at 5:30 a.m. every day!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm usually thinking about writing. I have so much that I want to accomplish and so little time that most of time is spent writing. However, I have a family that I love and I try to spend quality time with them. I am a strong supporter of my grandson's involvement with karate and his training, and I am always in a huddle with my husband about the Bible and our weekly blogtalk.radio show.

At my age (60+), it's important to keep things in good working order so I walk at least 5 miles a week and spar with my grandson. I'm feeling pretty good about walking a mile in 23 minutes. We have had some limited opportunities for bike-riding and my first trip was over three miles and we (grandson and I) did it in less than half an hour.

Since I'm involved in a book club at my local library, I have to find time to read. I prefer reading from my Kindle than print books, but some books are only available in print--as long as it is large print--not a problem.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of the ebooks I read I've found on other sites--through Goodreads, Twitter, Amazon, and occasionally by recommendation from others.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first novel I ever wrote was My Father's Gift. This story actually began as a class assignment in an advanced writing class. I was so caught up in the storyline and in developing the characters that I kept writing long after the class had ended.
What is your writing process?
My writing process usually involves the creation of a very literal typed, road-map. I generally know how the story will end and how it will begin, but have to consider at what points along the way, the story may come to crossroads or intersections that will turn the story in another direction.

After I create my road-map with notes, I think about the characters and their personalities. Most of my characters develop by my infusion of personalities of the people I know or have met.

Settings for each of my stories is usually based upon my travel experience or in the case of Battlerama Super Tweens To The Rescue--unbound imagination--the outer limits might be too confining for the rest of the series. I'll find out when I start writing them and I'm looking forward to seeing what my imagination can bring to the table of fantasy.

Of course, having a road-map, characters and setting mean nothing without having a story to tell. So then I must determine what the problem is going to be, who's going to be involved and how it will be resolved. I have discovered that as I write, the story will pretty much write itself as long as I am able to focus without distractions.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
In all honesty, I cannot say that I remember the first story I ever read. I've been reading since I was five years-old and read the typical fairy tales and other children's stories. Most of this impacted me in the sense that they all had happy-ever-after-endings. I wish life was truly like that, but we know it isn't. However, I do attempt to make sure the problems are resolvable. In one book, Deceptive Storms, the second in the trilogy (My Father's Gift is first), I knew the female protagonist would have a miscarriage, but the loss serves another purpose in healing a relationship.

What I have always done in reading a novel is to put myself into the thick of things by jumping into each page. I tried to warn Hansel and Greta about the birds eating their food and the witch who planned to eat them. I really wanted to get into a physical brawl with Cinderellas' sisters and hogtie her wicked stepmother. In fact, I wanted to wish all the evil stepmothers in the world to have a life on another planet. Okay, I'm getting a little carried away, but you get my drift (I hope).

Basically, I want my readers to finish my books having hope--in self, others, and situations.
How do you approach cover design?
Until I created first book cover, I didn't have a clue as to how it was done. Since that time, I generally use pictures that portray the subject matter of a story and I have learned how to use pictures I have taken to depict the story in book trailers. Creating a cover design takes a great deal of thought and sometimes, even when I thought I had it right, I had to regroup and revise. It's a learning process and I'm still learning, but I'm getting better all the time.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I was working full time, completing grad school and working part-time, I always found time during school breaks to read a romance. I wanted to read something that didn't require a great deal of thought or engagement on my part.

I also enjoy reading the bible, inspirational books, intrigue and mystery.
Published 2013-12-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

I'm Coming Down Front Street!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,410. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
Life is not fair, but it is what a person makes it to be. If living in "da hood" makes you nothing, then nothing is what you'll be. However, change is always possible when you see yourself doing something else, other than being a Nudnik, no matter where you live.
Turning Force
Price: $1.29 USD. Words: 21,590. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
Mariah Standstill and a group of Christian Believers who are known as the Guardian Council have a massive mission ahead of them if they are to save the nation from The Controller and all those who oppose God's Word. After they discover they have been betrayed, plans move forward and Mariah faces unknown dangers because of her defiance. Only Holy Spirit knows how this will end!
When Money Talks
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,040. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Plans for a happy-ever-after life quickly change when Mara discovers her fiance in bed with her best friend just four days before the wedding. Angry, hurt, and betrayed, she decides to leave town and start all over again, not looking for love, but eventually receptive when love appears with FBI agent Eric Harrison. Once again, things are not always as they seem.
Trapped
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 33,500. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
The lives of nine women are revealed for open scrutiny in close quarters, after meeting for the first time. Self-disclosure, honesty and courage play key roles in this meeting, designed to force decisions being made for all concerned.