Monday, June 30, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH KENNEDY RYAN, AUTHOR OF WHEN YOU ARE MINE

About WHEN YOU ARE MINE

Forever is a heartbeat away . . .

Kerris Moreton knows how to make things work. Bounced from foster home to foster home as a kid, she adapted; when opportunity arose, she thrived. Now, about to open her own business and accept a marriage proposal, Kerris is ready to build the life she's always wanted. The only thing missing? A passionate connection with her would-be fiancé, Cam. Kerris wants to believe that sparks are overrated-until Walsh Bennett lights her up like the Fourth of July.

. . . but what about love?

As one of the East Coast's most eligible bachelors, Walsh enjoys financial independence, fulfilling work with his family's nonprofit, and plenty of female attention. But lately he's been distracted by the one woman he can't have. Lovely to look at and even sweeter to know, Kerris is the soul mate Walsh never thought he would find. The problem is, his best friend found her first . . .

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We were fortunate enough to catch Kennedy between editing and writing and she had time to answer a few questions:

1. What's surprised you since your book came out?


I think I’m more surprised by myself in this process than anything that is happening externally. I am a pretty confident person. I always have been, and don’t really let others’ opinions get to me. It has surprised me how often I have to remind myself not to take reviews personally. I have this mantra – “I am not this book. This book is not me.” LOL I say it to consciously put distance between who I am; my character, and this thing I created, if that makes sense. I make a conscious effort to continue interacting with people who I may have interacted with before they reviewed my book if they weren’t crazy about it. Ultimately, I don’t base my other interactions on what folks can do for me or if they like me a lot, and I don’t want to live that way in my career either. Until someone goes on Amazon or Goodreads and says I am not a good wife, I don’t take care of my son, I am not generous or gracious or honest or loyal – questioning my character, we’re good!

2. You have a very full and busy life, how and when did you find the time to write? Did you have a dedicated time each day or did you write as the story came to you? Music? or any rituals or special space that you write in?

I do have a full life, and most of it is completely separate from my writing. Up until September of last year, I was working a full-time job, taking care of my son, whose demands living with Autism, are great, and running a foundation I started for ASD families. It’s what probably delayed me writing my book for years! I wrote the first 2 books of the Bennetts series one summer two years ago. Mostly at night after my boys – hubby and son – had gone to sleep. I do have playlists. Some of them come as I’m writing. Some after. I love writing in bed with a Diet Coke within reaching distance. Don’t always get to do it, but that is writing nirvana for me!


3. Also, do you write linearly or out of order and are you a planner or do you just go with the flow of the characters?

I usually don’t sit down to actually write until I see the basic path or layout of the story. I take notes. I act out dialogue, which I know is weird! LOL. But I capture it on my phone as audio recordings and listen back to it. I have most of the story in pieces and then kind of lay it out. From there, I’m pretty linear. So I guess I’m kind of a hybrid. If you’ve read WHEN YOU ARE MINE, the first scene I got was the “confrontation” that changes everything between the three characters. You know the moment I’m talking about! I had that before I had anything else, and used that as a domino in my imagination. Once it fell, all these other elements started falling into place.

4. Have you ever talked to your characters? haha. (I'd totally do that because I talk to myself ALL of the time).

I talk AS my characters all the time. When I was a little girl, I used to act out my stories with a mop as my heroine on my grandma’s back porch. I haven’t evolved very much! A lot of times while cleaning my kitchen or driving to pick up my son from school, I act out scenes. I mean, crying, yelling, laughing. I used to get strange looks while driving, but I’ve wised up and put headphones in my ears so people assume I’m on the phone! LOL


5. Have the characters ever surprised you and can you tell us about it?

Cam surprised me. I thought I knew his story, but it has unfolded even more than what I “plotted.” It’s much darker than everyone else’s. It will explain a lot about him. Even though he and Kerris both grew up in foster care and both suffered abuse, his experience was much more harrowing. I get to unpack that for readers over the next two books.

6. You earned your degree in Journalism; do you find that you use any of the writing instruction that you learned in from that experience (in fiction)?

I’ll preface this answer by saying this sounds bad and condescending, but I really don’t mean it to be! In journalism school, they teach you to write for a 6th-8th grade level. I have a tendency to “overwrite”. That’s my editor’s most common note! I LOVE unusual words. My father used to have me read sections of the dictionary, and we would have “word offs” when he’d come home from work where we quizzed one another. The first one stumped, lost. (Nerd alert!) My point is that I often reach for unusual ways to say things and unusual words. Some of that is fun and challenges readers. Sometimes it crosses over into a barrier that makes readers have to sift through too much to get what you’re saying. So I remember journalism school to write, not for a 6th grader, but to write to be understood! LOL

7. Have you ever consulted your husband about whether a guy would do or say certain things or how they'd feel about certain things? If so, can you share?

I did! My hubby is definitely a man’s man. He’s 6’5”. Played basketball and football. Loves sports. A lot of the book is written from Walsh’s perspective. I had my husband read it to make sure it rang true for him. Walsh is much more…expressive than my husband (LOL), but I think Walsh still comes across as a guy’s guy. Especially when he is talking with other guys. The way men talk to one another is often different from the way they speak in front of girls. Walsh and Cam have that some. Cam, more.


8. We know book 2 is written...how's book 3 coming along? And do you have a release date or month for that?

Book 2, LOVING YOU ALWAYS, is written, but I’m editing it now. And I am writing book 3. I will just say that we get a lot of Cam’s perspective in book 3, and I think he’ll surprise readers who have had a difficult time with his character in book 1. I am enjoying the process a lot. I lean toward damaged characters. Understanding them. Redeeming them.

Book 3, BE MINE FOREVER, releases in February 2015! J

9. How has the publishing experience been (with edits and deadlines, etc)..is it what you expected?

I am really new to the industry; to writing as a profession. Things happened relatively quickly for me. The learning curve for this industry is pretty steep, and I am still adjusting. When I wrote the first 2 books, it was completely on my terms. My own pace. It is definitely an adjustment having to get something to someone who is waiting for it. I’ve had to become more disciplined and not just write when I can “squeeze it in.”


10. Who do you turn to for writing advice?

I have met some awesome writers during this process. I love Margie Lawson, who is a writing instructor. I’ve taken her seminars and done her retreats. My main critique partner is Kimberle S. Belle, a fellow Georgia peach (smile), and author of the upcoming THE LAST BREATH from Mira. It releases on my birthday, September 30! How perfect is that?! She always has amazing insight. A couple of writers have been remarkable influences guiding me through the process of publishing and processing criticism. Specifically, A.L. Jackson and Karina Halle have been awesome models on how to not just be a good writer, but to be a good friend to other writers, which is invaluable to me.


11. Have you even had a thought about what you'll write after book 3? If so... :)
 I’m actually finishing a draft now of a new adult novel. Really excited about the main characters, Justice & Fiona. He is a law student and she just graduated from college on volleyball scholarship and is about to play in Italy. They’ve known one another most of their lives. Intense, but fun. And I’m ideating an adult contemporary about a woman; a furniture designer, recovering from a violent attack. Challenging and fascinating to inhabit her space.

Fun Questions:

1. Last movie that made you laugh out loud? Gosh! I re-watch the SAME LOL movies over and over! The Other Guys, Superbad, Wedding Crashers, Ted, Stepbrothers. Yes, my humor is that sophomoric!(best kind of humor in our opinion)
2. sweet or salty? Sweet (cupcakes) & salty (Lay’s Sour Cream & Cheddar potato chips) (nice!)
3. guilty pleasure? Vampire Diaries! LOL 
4. favorite place to visit? New York City, where my bestie lives (on my list of places to visit soon)
5 place you'd like to visit? Australia – hands down!
6. a book you'd like to recommend (outside of your own)? Do people actually recommend their own!? LOL How to Kill A Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo and Wake by Abria Mattina  (great recs!)
7. song you have on replay right now? Florence + The Machine’s Cosmic Love (LOVE HER!)
8. health food or junk food? Both?  I love a good spinach salad w/ feta, cranberries and grilled chicken. But my fave food is pizza. (gah..now I'm hungry..)
9. dream job (outside of writing)? – Philanthropy, which I’m also doing! Lucky me! (are you hiring? telecommute? lol)
10. surfing or skydiving? Wow…I’ve done neither, but surfing sounds less…aerial! (trust me..surfing is amazing!)

Thanks so much to Kennedy Ryan for taking time to do this. Y'all go buy this book; you won't regret it!

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also a passionate advocate for families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need. 25% of her royalties will go toward her national charitable partner Talk About Curing Autism and Myles-A-Part, her foundation serving Georgia families.




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