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Interview with Tyora Moody

Tyora Moody’s debut novel, When Rain Falls, grabs the reader from the first line of the prologue and just doesn’t let go. She’s created some memorable characters in the novel, but it’s the suspense and the mystery that intrigue the reader most of all. This first book in the Victory Gospel series shows that a talented new author is taking her place in Christian Fiction.

Without spoiling any surprises, can you tell us a bit about the plot of this debut novel for March, When Rain Falls? Were there any particular reasons why Candace, her past and her frightening present appealed to you as a writer?

Candace Johnson grew up traumatized by the death of her mother due to a domestic violence incident that turned tragic. Now a widow and the single mother of two teens, Candace will experience yet another tragedy, her best friend’s murder. Candace sets out with help from Detective Darnell Jackson to find her friend’s killer. What Candace doesn't know is the killer is aware of her every move and she could be next.

This story appealed to me because I saw the opportunity to write more than just a mystery novel, but a story that reached into the area of grief and loss which all of us must face.

You’ve been helping authors develop their on-line presences for some time. Which came first in your case—the work with branding for other authors, or the desire to write novels yourself?
I can remember writing short stories in high school and college, but it seemed to be something I grew out of mainly because I started to pursue more of my love for design. I would have to say my work with authors came before the desire to write a novel. I started When Rain Falls in 2006 after becoming burned out on design projects. I was looking for new direction at the beginning of that year. As a result, I started to develop characters in my journal. The first one of those characters was a little girl in the back of a police car which led to the prologue in When Rain Falls.

The villain in When Rain Falls is seriously scary right from Chapter One. Is it difficult for you to live in the head of a character like him? Do you ever wake up at night, hear a noise in the house, and wonder….?
LOL! I can be a bit paranoid all on my own, but I do like to read or watch “hair-raising” stories. I would say 75% of what I read as far as fiction falls under the genre of mystery, suspense and thrillers. Despite my reading habits, I still had some difficulty getting inside the villain’s head.

With a tech-related business helping other authors, how do you manage your time so that writing doesn’t get pushed aside in favor of other important day-to-day activities?
After I received the book deal, I realized that I would have to find balance. It used to not be a big deal to work on the weekends. I soon found out I needed as much time as I could dedicate to writing. So I mainly work four days with my clients and the weekend is all about writing. The closer I get to a deadline the more time I may take during the week to reach my word count goals.

I’m also an outline writer. Before I start writing scenes, I will work through a chapter outline. It helps me to see a timeline with days and times so I can move forward in a logical way. I may have a few surprises and twists when I start writing, which is okay. I will adjust the outline and keep writing until I reach the end.

One of your reviewers for this book paid you a compliment when she said, “…I can fathom readers who do not read in the Christian fiction genre enjoying this particular selection.” Why do you think When Rain Falls has the potential to cross over to readers who don’t normally read Christian fiction?
I think the mystery and suspense built into the novel would be appealing to any reader who enjoys reading a good who-dunnit. While my two main characters are Christian, they were … well … human. LOL! Readers will see both characters experience a variety of emotions from anger to having a good laugh. I did my best to write realistic characters who were Christian, but not the holier than thou type. :)

Many of our readers are waiting to be debut novelists themselves and haven’t quite gotten there yet. As a newly published author yourself, what advice would you offer those writers?
You have to be willing to edit your manuscript numerous times so that the story really stands-out. I believe a polished manuscript will attract agents and editors. Also, invest in your writing. Attend conferences like the ACFW Conference. For me, my publishing journey came as the result of attending the annual Faith and Fiction Retreat.

In 2010, I decided to attend so I could pitch my manuscript at the pitch session. On the day of the pitch, I sat in front of four editors with my heart on my sleeve and talked about the story that had been apart of my life since 2006. It took a few months to hear back from anyone. There were two rejections, but December 2010 was an answer to a prayer. I’m deeply grateful to finally be able to share the story in When Rain Falls with readers.

I started the story in 2006 and now in 2012 the book, When Rain Falls, is in bookstores everywhere. The road to publication is a journey of ups and downs, but remember, perseverance and patience are key.

How do you manage to insert authentic faith issues and conversations in your writing? What do you think makes faith talk successful in novels?
While I didn’t experience the grief and loss that Candace does in When Rain Falls, I experienced loss myself while writing and editing the manuscript. I’m sure I poured my own emotions, questions and the peace that God gave me into my writing.

I think faith in novels is a way to reach those who don’t have a relationship with God and those who need to be reminded of their need to remain God-centered. If you think of how Jesus taught the people, he used parables which were essentially stories. People love a good story. If you can give them a good story and minister to them, it just a great combination.

What is next for you, Tyora? Are you working on more of the Victory Gospel series? Any idea how many volumes may be in that series?
Yes. When Rain Falls is the first book in the Victory Gospel Series. This three-book series introduces three women whose pasts insist on walking beside them like a maddening visitor, unwilling to depart. Through a series of twists and life-altering experiences, these women learn victory over pain truly only comes in developing a deep trust in God. I’m currently working on the second book in the series, When Memories Fade, which will be released March 2013.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today!
Thank you! I appreciate the opportunity and the support of ACFW.

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