Author Interview: Michaela Riley

Michaela Riley was born in 1960 and grew up in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia in a town that borders the Ohio River and is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills.

As a child Riley would spend most of her time reading every book she could carry home from the school library. She admits, “Being a writer was a fairytale for some else’s life. Then I found a story that needed to be told.”

During her college years and after completion of her active duty tour during the Gulf War, she supported herself in a variety of healthcare positions. She plans on retiring from the Army Reserves this year and smiles as she says, “It was the best job and career I have ever had. I love my country.”

Nearly twenty six years later Riley has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Business Administration degree. She has been practicing as a Registered Nurse for almost twenty years and is the CEO of her own Professional Development Company.

Riley began to pursue writing when she was had the misfortune of spending time in a local court room. Research revealed increasing rates of plea bargaining and malicious prosecution. “I have always been an advocate for people in need. When your right to speak for yourself is prevented, something has to be done. The story must be told, everyone has a story. Writing has become something I am passionate about and I am working on two other fiction novels.”


It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Michaela Riley: Currently have my own personal development company and plan on retiring from the Army Reserves this year.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Michaela Riley: First book was written because of a desire to tell a story about an innocent woman’s fight against a corrupt judicial system. Research of malicious prosecution revealed that there is little that can be done to overturn a conviction or wrongful prosecution.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Michaela Riley: I have always wanted to be a writer but never thought I would actually get the opportunity. As a child I would read anything I could get from the library.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Michaela Riley: Embittered Justice the first book is about a woman’s fight against spiritual warfare and the fight of her life to prove her innocence against wrongful prosecution. Her belief in herself and her country are changed because of her inability to speak about the horrific challenges she encounters when attempting to fight for her freedom.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Michaela Riley: Yes, the sequel to Embittered Justice should be ready for release by fall of 2008. The unanswered questions in Embittered Justice will be revealed.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Michaela Riley: It was surreal, I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Getting the opportunity to write about things that matter to me is a blessing.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Michaela Riley: Depending upon what is happening in the story, I may listen to alternative music or something loud. Other times I may listen to classical or Christian music.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Michaela Riley: I am single and have an adult son who lives near me in Virginia. My parents and sisters are very supportive of my writing. My little sister has read every draft and the final version of Embittered Justice and given positive feed back. She encourages me to continue writing and loves introducing me to her friends as an author.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Michaela Riley: I definitely have many of the same qualities of the main character of Embittered Justice. Other characters in my books have strengths and weaknesses of friends and family members. I guess we ultimately write about our own experiences and things that change us.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Michaela Riley: I love James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now – city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Michaela Riley: I grew up in a small town in West Virginia that borders the Ohio River and the mountains. I now live in Virginia near the Eastern Shore with my black Labrador, Princess. If I could live anywhere it would be two places, one that is close to my family and the other would be a beach house in Costa Rica. I love living near the water and walking on the beach.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Michaela Riley: CSI and Lifetime for Women. When I watch CSI, I sit with pen and paper to write down ideas about crime scene investigations that I may add to other books.

What about movies? Same as above.

Michaela Riley: I love inspirational movies, love stories and of course anything that has to do with the military.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Michaela Riley: I would like to think the love story in Embittered Justice is similar to a Nicholas Sparks book and the suspense and story line is similar to James Patterson.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Michaela Riley: I started keeping notes and journal entries about a year before I actually started writing Embittered Justice. When I started writing the book it was actually non-fiction, filled with graphs, charts and statistics about the corrupt judicial system and malicious prosecution. Some where during the process it became a love story and novel filled with suspense and intrigue. I am used to writing technical papers, business plans etc. This was something very different for me to write. It became infused with emotion and a desire to tell a story about the effects of wrongful prosecution. Lives are changes forever!

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Michaela Riley: I would like to thank my sister Cheryl for her love and support and God for giving me the inspiration to tell the story.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Michaela Riley: Dear John, from Nicholas Sparks.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Michaela Riley: Yes, definitely I would have researched other publishers and made sure my book was edited before being printed.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Michaela Riley: I would love to inspire others to be able to dream and believe in themselves and the possibility of other things they may not see, but feel.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Michaela Riley: I loved naming my characters though admit that sometimes it has not been easy. I associate a name I don’t like with a character in the book I don’t like and names I like with characters I like.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Michaela Riley: Yes definitely, fear makes us make decisions that may not be correct. If we believe in and trust God, our lives would be so much easier. God will fight for us if we let him.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Michaela Riley: This was the worst part of the process. I had read the book so many times, I couldn’t be objective. I loved getting to work with a knowledgeable editor that could help make the book a masterpiece. This part of the process was not completed by the publisher and the first print of Embittered Justice needed some editing. Fortunately this has been corrected and the reprint is great!

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Michaela Riley: Yes! It is very time consuming to market and promote a book with a small budget. I have learned many valuable lessons through the process and will do a better job with this when my second book is released.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?



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3 comments to Author Interview: Michaela Riley

  • Cheryl  says:

    Great interview. This sounds like an interesting book.


  • Michaela Riley  says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    Thank you for the post and stopping by to read my Interview.

    Always Blessings,


  • Michaela Riley  says:


    Thank you for the Interview!!!


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