We recently carried out an exclusive interview with Renee Ryan to learn about her and her work as an author. We quizzed Renee about her background, the types of books she writes, and about her latest story, which is entitled Journey’s End. Continue reading to find out what the Nebraska-based author had to say.
Please tell us about you. Where are you from? What is your professional background and how did you become an author?
I grew up in a coastal Florida beach town where I learned how to surf, skateboard and water ski, all with varying degrees of failure. I’m better suited for the mountains, something I didn’t learn until I was well into adulthood. I studied Economics and Religion at Florida State University. I then went on to teach high school Economics, American Government and Latin. I also coached award-winning cheerleading teams. Not exactly the background for a novelist, except that it actually was the perfect training ground. I taught subjects most students passionately disliked. In order to keep them engaged I gave the information in story-form. That’s when I knew I was a storyteller. My husband and I are empty-nesters. Both of our children are educated, employed in their dream jobs and happily married.
What types of books do you write?
I write historical romance. I didn’t always. When I first started out I wrote whatever story called to me. I have a backlist of books written in many time periods, some with western settings, some in other parts of America, two WWII-set romantic thrillers and a few contemporary books. This jumping around has made it more difficult to build a readership. Lesson learned. I’m wiser now. I want readers to pick up a Renee Ryan book and know what they’re getting before they read the first page, at least in terms of tone, storyline, themes, and voice.
Could you please tell us about your most recent book, its overall plot, and the main characters in it?
My current release is JOURNEY’S END. It’s the first book in my new series, Gilded Promises. Caroline St. James is the heroine. Having grown up on the mean streets of nineteenth-century London, Caroline is used to fighting to survive. Her hero is Jackson Montgomery, an American businessman working to restore his family’s good name after his father’s scandalous act.
So when her beloved mother—abandoned and ignored by her wealthy family—suddenly dies, the scrappy twenty-two-year-old devises a plan to right this terrible wrong. With nothing to lose, she sails to New York to find the man who turned a cold shoulder to her mother’s suffering: Caroline’s grandfather. To settle the family score, Caroline infiltrates her grandfather’s privileged world, hoping to sabotage his business from the inside. But as she sets her plot in motion, she meets Jackson Montgomery, a virtuous man who is struggling to recover from a family scandal of his own. As their friendship grows, and Caroline begins to piece together the motives that led her family to turn its back, she is forced to make a decision: Should she risk everything in the name of justice? Or can she look toward the future and let love and forgiveness guide her instead?
Are you working on any other books(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?
I just finished the follow-up book to Journey’s End. A TOUCH OF SCARLET is Book 2 in the Gilded Promises series. The heroine is Elizabeth St. James, Caroline’s cousin. Her hero is Lucian Griffin, Jackson Montgomery’s closest friend since childhood. The books are loosely connected, in that the characters and setting are in both books. However, the stories are completely different and can be read out of order. I plan to write at least two more books in the Gilded Promises series after A TOUCH OF SCARLET.
Can you please tell us about your approach to writing? For example, do you follow structures and writing rules? Or do you write in a free flow way? Do you have any particular time of the day you like to write? Or any specific environment you prefer to sit down and write in?
I used to spend weeks, sometimes months, plotting a new book. I always start with my main characters first. I need to know who they are, what they want and why they want it before I can know the story I need to tell. The plot always grows organically out of character. I have to know the ending before I can write the beginning. I know this may seem counterintuitive, but if I don’t know where I’m going I can’t know how to start. With tighter deadlines and a desire to write more books per year, I don’t have the luxury of extensive plotting anymore. One way I’ve found around this is plotting with friends. We meet weekly via Skype and flesh out any plot holes, sticking points and character inconsistencies. This has saved valuable amounts of time.
As far as actually writing the book, I start with a seven-ten page synopsis of the book, and then write the chapters chronologically. I write five-six days a week, keeping to regular business hours. I’m most effective from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. I think this goes back to my days as a schoolteacher.
Do you have any favourite authors? If so, who are they and what do you like about their work?
I’m a big fan of Loretta Chase, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacClean, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Heather Burch. All three write gorgeous prose and are masters at character development. I’m a big fan of character driven books. I’m also a fan of dark heroes. Sarah is the best of the best at redeeming dark heroes. What an inspiration!
What other things do you like to get up to when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I love to go to baseball games and movies. I also love to read (what writer doesn’t?) and I’m a big fan of exercise. I work out at least five days a week, sometimes more. With all the sitting I do at the computer, it has become imperative I keep in shape.
How can people find out more about you?
My email address is ReneeRyanBooks@gmail.com
My website address is www.reneeryan.com
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]