JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Raymond Francis, author of At Your Best
At Your Best is about best friends Nia and Julissa. Once tragedy strikes Nia’s family, Julissa becomes her lone shoulder to cry on. Julissa’s is life also a mess, and she goes through plenty of issues dealing with love and trust.
In the end, Nia must choose where her true love lies. There is plenty of sex, action, and a shocking ending.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write At Your Best?
Raymond Francis: I was inspired to write At Your Best because I wanted to craft a story that was relatable to readers from all walks of life. Also, I wanted to use a topic that everyone can identify with – love. This book was my attempt at establishing my style which consists of blindsiding endings but also not-so-obvious hints that influences and sets up that ending.
JP: What sets At Your Best apart from other books in the same genre?
RF: At Your Best is different from other Urban Fiction books because the plot is more intricate in my opinion. At Your Best is more reality-driven and less fantasy-based. In other words, it is written for the majority of people as opposed to just a small exception.
At Your Best is based on regular people who get into crazy situations – the type people who one might meet in the course of an average day in South Jersey or Philly.
The grittiness and point-blank bluntness of some Urban Lit make the stories direct and to the point. That is not the case with At Your Best. I really weave my way through the storyline and indirectly take the reader to a place that they never thought they were going. So far, not one reader has told me they saw the ending coming.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to At Your Best getting out to the public?
RF: Doing this for the genuine and absolute love of writing is behind all of my success. I was, am and will always be my own biggest fan and critic, so I don’t put out books that I don’t love.
I don’t adjust my writing style to what is hot at the time or what is currently selling. I do me, and I think that people seem to like my work because by doing that I come across as a unique writer.
Also, support on FaceBook/Twitter from good people like Radiah Hubbert, Jade Jones, and Tiffany Byers have helped me tremendously.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish At Your Best?
RF: I’m not the type of writer who can plan ahead when I write. I have to be in the mood. I don’t have an exact process. Sometimes I listen to music. Other times I’m in complete silence with a little drink. I go to Books-A-Million in the mall and write amongst the customers.
It took me the better part of a month to finish At Your Best. I had spurts where I would bang out long portions in one sitting and days where I only wrote a paragraph or two. I couldn’t sit down today and say “I’m starting on the sequel to At Your Best.” I must have a storyline already created in my head, and I have to be impressed by that storyline. I’m not the type of writer who can start a book and fill in the pieces as I go.
JP: What’s next for Raymond Francis?
RF: I try to release at least a short story every month, usually on the first of the month. These stories will be collected into a book that I will release later this year. So far, the shorts that will be included in this print book are Janaysha’s Story, Stick To The Script and Rock Em To Sleep. Readers can get something new every month in eBook format. They can also have the longer print book if that’s what they prefer. I will also be re-releasing my first short Lefty’s Story via Kindle and print later this summer hopefully.
Finally, I am in the very beginning stages of a sequel to At Your Best tentatively titled Even Better. Plenty of people have requested a sequel, so I’m going to try to put that together.
I frequently run free promotions via my twitter @raymondfrancis so follow on there to stay updated.
Shoutout to everyone who shows support, and I appreciate the love. Thanks for the interview.