August is Read-A-Romance Month and all month, we are celebrating this beloved genre. In this exclusive interview series, I am talking with some of my favorite romance authors.
Today the spotlight is on Reese Ryan; novelist and hopeless romantic. I discovered her work only fairly recently but she’s already a staple on my Kindle.
August is Read-A-Romance Month, why is writing (and reading) romance important to you?
More than any other genres, romance and women’s fiction celebrate women and explore the many facets of our lives in a way that’s generally positive.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ignited the fire in me but reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen sealed the deal. I wanted to become a storyteller who crafted stories about love and family. Stories that would make people laugh and cry, want to shake the heroine one moment and celebrate with her the next, and feel like they’d gone on an adventure with a friend.
Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere. In random bits of conversation overheard. A question posed in a news story. A scenario in a movie or television show.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
Creating characters that readers can connect with. One of the things truly lacking in modern society is empathy for those who either don’t look like us or from whom our personal experience differs vastly. Fiction gives us a peek behind the curtain into unfamiliar experiences. It gives us the opportunity to gain a different perspective in a way that may feel less threatening than a political discussion.
I certainly don’t write fiction or create characters to make a particular statement—political or otherwise. However, I do believe art and popular culture can cause conversations that open our minds or shift our thinking. As an author, I find that opportunity exciting and incredibly important.
Do you have a special writing routine? Any must-haves before you start a project?
I don’t have a particular routine, but it’s something I’ve been kicking around lately. For instance, I’m more productive in the morning. There are also some processes I’m tinkering with to help me keep up with the aggressive schedule of book deadlines I’m currently working on.
Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written? If so, who is it and why?
One of my favorite characters I’ve written is the character readers ask about most. A secondary character in Love Me Not. Xavier “Ex” Hunt is a longtime good friend and former lover of the heroine. In a lot of ways, Ex represents all of the things Jamie needs to walk away from in order to find love and truly be happy, but he has this deep, abiding love for her. When Ex walks away from her, it feels like such a noble sacrifice and we just want him to find love and happiness for himself.
What book of yours do you think would serve as the perfect introduction to someone who may be unfamiliar with your work?
Playing with Desire, the first book in my Pleasure Cove series would probably be the best intro. It’s sexy, but there are some funny moments. There’s lots of family drama, secrets, and two people still struggling with who they should be in the world. I’d say that’s the essence of what readers can expect from one of my novels.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite romance novel:
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. That’s the book that has had the biggest impact on what I write.
Favorite romance author:
There’s no single answer to this and my answer is fluid. Robin Covington, Delaney Diamond, Julie James, Marie Force, and Beverly Jenkins.
Favorite TV show:
Elementary on CBS. The character development on that show is phenomenal and Jonny Lee Miller plays Sherlock Holmes brilliantly. I love the twist that Watson is a woman, played by Lucy Liu. Though their relationship isn’t a romance and wasn’t even a friendship at the outset, the growth and development of their relationship were done so well that even subtle gestures between these two speak volumes. As a romance writer, I find those quiet moments between them to be even more compelling than the cases themselves.
The three-part, A&E version of Pride & Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Whenever my mother comes to visit, we spend at least one night watching the entire five hours.
Which one of your books would you like to see on the big screen?
Love Me Not, which is a really dark romance with a lot of drama and tension. It deals with tough, unpleasant issues that may be a trigger for some. However, I have such compassion for this gritty heroine who has been through so much and slowly learns how to love, to be loved—and most importantly—to love herself.
A close second would be Playing with Desire because Liam is a British hunk with a lovely accent and Maya’s daughters are adorable little scene stealers.
ABOUT REESE RYAN:
Novelist, freelance writer, and hopeless romantic, Reese Ryan, writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after.
Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina. She treads the line carefully between being a Northerner and a damned Yankee, despite her insistence on calling soda pop. She gauges her progress by the number of “bless your lil’ hearts” she receives each week. She is currently down to two.
Reese is a member of Romance Writers of America; Contemporary Romance Writers; Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural RWA Chapter; and the Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA, She is the current president of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
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