Interview with Michelle Hughes, author of “Tears of Crimson”

How did you come up with the idea for your series, Tears of Crimson?

Tears of Crimson was based off reoccurring dreams I’d had from my teenage years.  These dreams lasted into my adult life, and I still have them today.  When people asked me how I came up with the idea, all I can say is I didn’t.  Tears of Crimson forced its way into my life demanded the story be told.

What can you tell us about your characters in this particular book?

The main character in this first book, Rafael, protected me during a time in my life where I wasn’t sure I’d make it to live another day.  I was suffering from abuse that I’d hidden from my mother and the only escape I had was in my dreams.  That’s the reason the supporting female characters in this book always find that escape in their dreams.  All the characters were part of that dream world, so when I write about them, I’m sharing a part of myself with readers.

If you could go back now and tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her that what happens in your past, doesn’t define who you’ll be in your future.  I’d let her know that everything works out in the end, and the pain becomes a distant memory.  I’d tell myself that years from now you’ll have a beautiful family that makes everything you suffered in life worth it, and not to give up.

What made you begin writing?

Back in 2008, I was laid off from my job in respiratory, and my husband and I decided that instead of going back to work, I should stay home and raise our youngest of five children that wasn’t in school yet.  As someone who was accustomed to pulling a 40+ hour week, I had too much time on my hands.  I sat down at my computer and decided to write.  The first book was born a year later.  The world of self-publishing was just getting off the ground then, so I stepped in and followed the new trend.

What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author?

Never giving up.  It took me three years of writing before I began seeing a profit from writing.  I soaked up knowledge like a sponge from other self-published authors, honed my craft, and refused to be stopped.  If you’re going to make it in this industry, you must have determination.  Even “overnight success stories” took years to build behind the scenes.

Writers are permanently depressed; how true is that?

If that were the case I would have stopped writing years ago! Who has time to be depressed?  I spend 60 hours a week writing, promoting, or speaking to fans on social media.  As a mother of five, with 1 ½ grandchildren on top of that, let me tell you, time for depression isn’t a luxury I can afford. Sure, we all have low points, but you dust yourself off and smile.

Are you friends with other writers?

Absolutely.  Being a friend to another author is something that you must do.  People that don’t write will have a hard time understanding how you spend most of your time in fantasy land.  At least for me that’s the case.  I can dream up a story no matter what is going on around me and drop everything to scribble an idea down on whatever I have to write on.

How did you celebrate your first bestselling book?

It happened a few weeks before my birthday, so I took my oldest son, his girlfriend, and my baby sister to New Orleans for the weekend.  We had an incredible time.  I won’t tell what happened that weekend, because you know, what happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans.  Vegas stole that line from the French Quarter, in my opinion.

Have you ever written a story you wish you hadn’t?

Yes, and I won’t give the title of that book I published, because some readers enjoyed it. I will say it’s a genre I haven’t written in again, because I felt completely out of my element penning it.  I wanted to do a plot because it was popular at the time, but after publishing it I realized it wasn’t the type of writing I want to be known for.

Are you friends with any of your contemporaries? If yes, do you discuss your current projects with each other?

I’m friends with most of the people I love to read.  We don’t discuss upcoming projects, unless we are cross-promoting because it’s not professional.  This is just my opinion, but I think most of us keep our projects close to our hearts until we’re ready for them to be shared with the world.  It’s a very competitive market out there today, and there are some unscrupulous people ready to take advantage of your hard work.

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have five incredible children, and two of them will be future writers, I believe.  One is a graphic artist, but loves to write fiction about the characters she draws, but has yet to publish those stories.  The other is in elementary school, but already he’s writing short stories to impress his friends at school.

Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

My mother loved reading detective stories, I remember that vividly.  My grandmother was the huge romance book lover, and she gave me my love for reading.  She was raised in a family that picked cotton, and was forced to leave school in the 7th grade.  As I grew up, I helped her learn to read on a higher level, and romance novels were her love, so that’s what we focused on.  I always credit her with becoming an author because of that.