Interview with Michelle Moore- author of '30 Hours of Hope'

Author Bio:
An aspiring author, Michelle Moore is America’s Perfect Woman 2011 and has spent the past 23 years specializing in strategic marketing communications, public relations and social media campaign development. An experienced advertising and public relations writer, she has been published world wide while ghost authoring columns and articles for her clients.

With a talent for finding the salient message to attract media attention, Michelle has placed clients on the Today Show, 20/20,
Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC and among others as well as in many major daily newspapers including Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, New York Times and newsstand publications including Inc. Magazine, Fortune, Fortune Small Business and more. In addition, she works as a media and crisis media trainer having trained professionals at every level to effectively deliver their messages. Honored among her peers, she was named to the Business First of Columbus’ 40 Under 40 list of rising business stars. In addition, her creative work has been honored with the prestigious PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence as well as several Addy Awards of Merit.

A long-time model and actress, Michelle starred in MTV’s Made as a Made Coach and has appeared in hundreds of TV commercials, industrial films, print ads and billboards. Most recently, she was Diane Lane’s stand-in the movie Secretariat released in late 2010. A former Mrs. Ohio, she is very involved in her community and teaches a six-week Girl Power class she developed to help elementary and middle school girls understand who they are at their core to remain true to themselves and their values as they navigate adolescence. In addition, she helped to launch, actively works with and is on the board of Project Blues to help people impacted by cancer who do not have the financial resources to deal with it. She also is a board member for the Lawrence Funderburke Youth Organization, teaching kids financial literacy and life skills. She holds a B.A., Journalism, from The Ohio State University. http://www.MichelleMooreOnline.com

Michelle's book- published August, 2012

Book Description:
30 Hours of Hope deals with death through a powerful, candid, raw and inspirational look inside the end of life conversations of two relative strangers who connect through an unexpected email. Their fortuitous journey challenges readers to fully engage in life because it is finite.

My review of '30 Hours of Hope'
I don't usually write reviews. First, because I simply don't have the time, and secondly, the genre that I usually read (Romance) is purely for escapism, and though many are well-written, and do exactly what I wish them to do, they never touch me to the core. After receiving a copy of '30 Hours of Hope', I have to admit that I was afraid to read it. In fact, it took the better part of the day to actually have the courage to do so. Why? Because I, like many people, don't like to even talk about death, let alone read about it. But I am so happy I did. This short story was not only touching and soulful, loving and emotional, it also forced me to remember poignant moments in my own life. Memories I had foolishly locked away because I didn't understand them, or they were too painful to remember. Now, after all this time, I've finally been able to set them free. This story did touch me to the core and I would recommend it to anyone who has lost a loved one, but even more, to anyone who has forgotten the true meaning of life.
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Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Michelle and discuss her new book, her busy life, and future plans. Here is our interview:

Me: Welcome Michelle! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with me!

Michelle: Thank you for having me Christine!

Me: First of all, I have to say how much I loved "30 Hours of Hope." It truly inspired me in a way I never thought it would. I am so grateful to you for that, but I have to ask. What made you decide to write such a deeply personal and touching story of your time with Hope.

Michelle: Thank you. The answer to this question is two-part, really. I have always struggled with death. I think, in part, “30 Hours of Hope” was my cathartic expression of that struggle. To me, those things that are the most profoundly personal are also the most universal. So, while I don’t have any answers to death, and I certainly haven’t found anything that makes losing those you love okay, I know that in sharing my feelings and experiences, I can help other people in their struggle. Moreover, Hope was the reason I decided to write this story. She was an amazing, incredible mother. There are so many women out there who are "Hope" - whose stories you never hear because they are drown out by the negative, sensational stories. These women are beautiful, strong, selfless and interesting. I felt that there needed to be a record of this woman's amazing spirit and life.

Me: I think that was part of the reason I was so deeply moved by the story. Not only because of Hope's story, but because of your part in it. When the '30' hours began, you were crazy busy being a mother of two with a career, as well as, an activist in your community. Yet regardless, you took time for someone who was a complete stranger. It really made me stop and take a closer look at my own life. I don't think before I read your story, that I could have done the same. You are truly an inspirational woman. Even now, when you are still as busy, you somehow made time to write the story. How in the world did you do it?

Michelle: Once I decided I really wanted to publish "30 hours of Hope", I had to tell myself that I won’t find time to write. I will make time. Instead of waiting until all the stars aligned and I felt inspired to write, I tackled it the same way I write every day with my job in public relations. I sat down and started typing. And, as happens when I write with my day job, the inspiration came as I moved through the process.

Me: Well, I for one, am certainly happy you did. Now you said earlier, that you wanted to tell Hope's story so that it would never be forgotten. You currently have several platforms that you are completely devoted to, such as, 'GirlPower' in which you created a course for young girls. I am curious. Do you have any other plans for the book?

Michelle: I love teaching the GirlPower course (www.girlpowercourse.com) because I feel like I'm a step along the process to helping these girls realize self-acceptance, self-reliance and self-confidence. So, inspiring others is hugely important to me. Funny you should ask about other plans, yes. For "30 Hours of Hope" I am working with a very talented director to turn the story into a movie. We have reached out to several actors are working on developing the screenplay. We are early in the process but would love to begin shooting in January if we possibly can. It’s very exciting.

Me: That is incredible news Michelle! So, once the movie is completed, do you have any plans to write another book?

Michelle: I have several children's books I'm in the process of editing. I'm all about learning through fun metaphors, so my stories very much contain lessons that are helpful to children. I wrote these stories when my children were younger. Now that I understand this process a little better, I’d like to polish them up and publish them.

Me: You self-published '30 Hours of Hope', correct?

Michelle:Yes I did.

Me: There seems to be a great deal of controversy over self-publish versus traditional publishing. Why did you decide to self-publish, and can you tell us about your experience?

Michelle: I think it's not just publishing, but communicating in general that is changing – going from being a gate-keeper/centralized model to a direct-to-audience/decentralized model. I see that in my industry -- marketing communications. It used to be companies bought expensive ads in magazines, newspapers, billboards, radio or TV or worked through public relations firms to get their messages to their intended audiences. In fact, it was quite necessary to communicate in this way if one wished to break through the clutter. While these forms of communicating with an audience certainly have their place, there are other ways to reach your audience today, too. And, ways that happen to be very direct and very inexpensive. And, as a public, we have immediate access and place a lot of trust in these newer methods, too.

In publishing, it's the same. I think a traditional publishing route is wonderful because it comes with the marketing machine you need to generate awareness and sales. In fact, I have worked with several authors, both self-published and with publishing houses to promote their books to garner sales. But, you no longer need to take a traditional route to get your stories and messages out there. Today, regardless of the method of being published, platform is really important. As an author, you really need to come to publishing – whether you self-publish or go the traditional route – with a fan base to “evangelize” for you. In my opinion, that makes passion even more important.

If you have a platform and self-promotional skills, you can be successful. I chose to self-publish because I could. I didn't know of a literary agency that represented authors of short stories and I didn't want to send to a publishing house directly. That made self-publishing very attractive. I read about BookTango in Writer’s Digest and that they had been bought by Penguin. The process could not have been easier and they were extremely professional and helpful every step of the way. I suggest if you go that route, invest in professional cover design – people do judge a book by its cover.

The next time I do this, I do plan to go a traditional route. I feel like I will have a proven success with what I’ve accomplished on my own which should make me more appealing to the right agent and ultimately publisher at the point I’m soliciting representation.

Me: I think your answer is the best I've heard, Michelle! Seeing both perspectives, from a person with a great deal of experience, will be so helpful to my readers. Is there any other advice you can offer to writers who are just starting their first short story or novel?

Michelle: Yes, make sure your story or message is the best one you could have possibly written. Make sure it’s well-edited. And, go for it. Sure, rejection could be waiting around the corner, but so could success. Plus, with the rejections, you will learn – you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your writing. Don’t be a prisoner of your own mind. I never want to look back with regret at something I kept myself from doing.
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I want to thank Michelle again, for taking time out of her busy schedule to interview with me. You can find her book '30 Hours of Hope' on the following links.
Amazon
Book Tango
Scribd

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