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A Romance Column

Introducing Michelle McGriff

  The Internet is a wide world of information and a place where we can meet people who have a lot of things in common with our goals. We might never see them in person, but we will always be able to communicate with them through emailing, instant messaging, and chat rooms.

This is where I met Ms. McGriff on the Internet, at an Online Conference for Shades of Romance Magazine ( and the year was 2003 and the month was October. Two years later our internet relationship is still active as we both work to achieve our writing goals. Ms. McGriff has a new novel out, and I hope you enjoy her wonderful interview.

Carol: Tell us something about yourself.

Michelle: Born in Sacramento, California, I've pretty much moved up and down that state throughout my life. My landing spot is Portland, Oregon. I love it here. I look forward to the rains and even the snow. It's quite inspiring for me as a writer.

I've been writing since the age of 14. I actually penned my first novel back then, called Brandy. It was a story of a dying woman who wanted a child and used a surrogate (way before it's time and therefore nobody felt it was realistic). I was told, "Good story, but, 'that having a baby by another woman thing' was rather out there." I'm so glad I was undeterred and continued to write as many topics that crossed my mind and I never fail as then, to ask myself, 'What If'. I asked myself at 14, what if a woman couldn't have a child herself and could another woman do it? And look at us now, cloning! I married at 18.5 to the love of my life and quickly changed my writing to something a bit more adult. It was entertaining for the most part however, I knew it would never make me a living... (wink).

Then, my family began to grow and so did my responsibilities and other distractions, however despite it all, my children are my greatest achievements and always will be. This is where I normally would share my personal stuff but I don't think you all are ready for that (wink). Bottom line, I returned to writing and here I stay.

I write in all genres, and have many projects going on. Currently I'm working on my four 2006 titles: Deadly Tease (Qboro Books-mystery), Detoured, Change of Life (Urban Books-Urban Soul), Feels Like Falling (Urban/Kensington).

Once I got a handle on this writing thing, I decided I wanted to do it full time in addition to doing workshops, and or teaching a class and that is the direction I'm headed in now. With my Masters in Marketing and Business out of the way, I'm currently seeking employment that will utilize those 'expensive' skills. I supposed I'm what is considered 'established' at this point, however, everyday is a new learning experience to me, and will always feel that as if I have 'one more thing to learn'.

Touring is a nuance that I'm slowly getting a taste for and so I think traveling is becoming something I will enjoy a little more with each event I attend. I enjoy public speaking...well, and private speaking too, I guess I'm a bit of a chatter box, but you can't be a good storyteller if you aren't.


Carol: What is the name of your current book?

Michelle: Obsession 101


Carol: What is the synopsis of your book?

Michelle: Someone raped California University Professor Rashawn Ams. Left pregnant and refusing to report the attack to the police, Rashawn finds herself confused about what she should do next, so she does the only thing she thinks she can do: she hides the rape from her friends and family, and flees town to give birth to her son and repair her life after confiding in her psychiatrist. Later, when the man she believes raped her is killed, she is relieved and feels that she can return to her life, her town, her classroom.

After her return to the university, she finds herself the target of an intrusive secret admirer, bringing back frightening memories of the attack.

Three important men are bound by lust, greed, and an obsessive appetite for one woman. The problem is, one of these men is a killer.


Carol: List your other books.

Michelle: Majestic Secret, A Style of His Own, Destiny’s Song, Rested Memories, Temporary Rain, 4th Floor and Other Short Stories, For Love’s Sake, Obsession 101, Feels Like Falling, Detoured.


Carol: Tell us about your journey to publication.

Michelle: I started with Print on Demand, utilizing a short list of options. After my first adventure—publishing Majestic Secret with Buy Books on the Web, the company has changed its name but I’m not sure what it is right now, I think Fidelity. I then found iUniverse and that was a blessing as it only cost me 99 dollars and they produced a beautiful book…the first version of For Love’s Sake. I was so proud of that book, I quickly entered the “INTERNET” and online groups to get myself read and out there…from that book I was launched into the cyber space of writing groups, reading groups and on and on…to where I am now, a mainstream author with Q-Boro Books as well as Urban/Kensington. I have an agent and many author friends who encourage me and egg me on towards my full potential as a writer.


Carol: How long have you been writing?

Michelle: I have been writing my whole life, but my first book released in l998 so I suppose I can say, then.


Carol: Why did you decide to write?

Michelle: It’s therapeutic, and a release for the madness which plays havoc on my sanity.


Carol: Who inspires you to write?

Michelle: Actually everyday life and everyone I encounter in it.


Carol: Who is your publisher?

Michelle: Q-Boro Books as well as Carl Weber of Urban Books as well as a new division of Kensington called Urban/Kensington. I’m writing in cross genres as well as under a pseudonym and so have more than one publisher.


Carol: Are you happy and satisfied with your publisher?

Michelle: Yes! After my last disaster with a publisher who shall remain nameless…I’m ecstatic to be working with publishers who RESPECT the arts and the hard work of a writer.


Carol: What do you think about self-publishing?

Michelle: I am an advocate of it. How else will you get read if you don’t get your work out there, and it’s sometimes the luck of the draw; or long time spent submitting before you can even get a publisher’s editor to read your work. And with a self published effort, you may not have Simon and Shuster at your door, but you may have someone who knows someone who works for someone who can get in touch with an editor from Simon and Shuster to read your work…and hey you’ll be on your way!


Carol: Would you self-publish?

Michelle: I would because if I write something that I want in print and it’s not being bought up, I will easily self-publish it. Writing is to be read and the joy of sharing your love of stories and storytelling with others.


Carol: There are so many new writers publishing books. What do you think of this trend of writers?

Michelle: I think it’s great, and the good ones will stay around, entertaining readers for many years to come; and the ones just ‘seeing what it is all about’ will die off because it’s too much hard work; and those trying to make a quick buck will be sadly disappointed.


Carol: Who are your favorite authors?

Michelle: ALL who tell a good story!


Carol: What is your favorite book?

Michelle: Actually I enjoy the 97th Precinct series by the late Ed McBain…now he was a great story teller.


Carol: What do you want to accomplish with your books?

Michelle: Entertain and touch those who read my books. I want to have readers relate to the characters I create.


Carol: How long does it take you to write a novel?

Michelle: About 6 months if I have to work secularly. About 3 months if I’m able to write full time.


Carol: What has the success/rewards of your current book done for you?

Michelle: It has given me confidence to continue. It’s nice to know you are on the right track and that you were right about yourself and what you thought you could do if you put your mind to it. I knew I could tell a good story and hearing other’s agree is a wonderful feeling.


Carol: What are some of the tools you use for marketing your book?

Michelle: Guerrilla tactics, as well as internet radio, word of mouth, freebee, contests, begging…


Carol: What is your next book about?

Michelle: It is about a couple who must make it through the worse time of their lives together. It’s a book broken into the 5 stages of grief and how death takes it’s toll and yet, how the people going through it can come out of the ordeal with a clearer understanding of life.


Carol: What is your website so readers can visit you?

Michelle: and


Carol: How can readers get in touch with you through email?



Carol: What are some of your favorite websites for writers?



Carol: Did writing classes contribute in your quest to become a writer?

Michelle: No, nothing more than the standard creative writing class that one takes in their undergrad studies.


Carol: What motivates you to write?

Michelle: Everyday life…I have to write, everyday or I get depressed, even if I only write in my head.


Carol: How do you spend your writing time?

Michelle: Online, brainstorming with anyone online, dancing when a good song comes on, acting out my characters parts, laughing at dialog…the regular eccentric stuff most writers do. Sometimes I write long hand on the train or bus while going to work.


Carol: What is your favorite genre of writing?

Michelle: Mystery/Romance


Carol: What is your favorite voice to write in?

Michelle: Third Person Omni


Carol: Where do you see yourself with your writing in five years?

Michelle: I see myself living on the coast of Oregon, writing full time and teaching writing online and off.


Carol: What advice would you give for aspiring authors?

Michelle: Keep WRITING! Keep sharing your work with those you trust to give you an honest opinion! Keep WRITING, you’ll only get better!


Thank you Ms. McGriff for granting me this interview and our readers will be sure to check out your novel, Obsession 101.

Obsession 101
By Michelle McGriff
Illustrated by Ivan Bates

Q-boro Books -- Sept 2005
ISBN: 0976954311

Buy a Copy

Reviewed by Carol Ann Culbert Johnson,

     Rashawn Ams was raped and she tries to move on with her life, but three men are possessed with her, and she’s not able to move on because of the threat that these men possess.

    I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. Ms. McGriff told a very detailed story describing everything including the characters and who they were and what they were about. The book is a page turner and I couldn’t put it down. She takes us along with Rashawn and we care deeply for her because of her trials and tribulations. This is a must read.

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