Author of The Carry Your Heart Series
and All of the Lights
Welcome Bookworms! Although I have yet to meet K.Ryan in person, she has definitely become one of my favourite authors, and a great friend! I had the pleasure to read and review her Duology Carry Your Heart and loved it! I recently read her newest novel All of the Lights and I found it to be that much better! If you ever want to read the reviews I've written of her work, just head on over to the review page and scroll down to hers! I was contacted by the lovely author a while back asking for me to review her work. I of course said yes, because the story sounded so interesting! I had about 2 weeks to read both books for her blog blitz and I had feared I would run out of time and let her down! Of course, the inner book-nerd in me flew out and finished both books in record time!
I am so happy to have met Katie, and I am so incredibly proud of the amount of work she has done! I know not many people think about authors who haven't made their mark yet, and only pick out the more famous ones, but let me tell you, the inspiration she gets from those authors are what make her so great! So let me share with you all some more of the amazing K. Ryan!
Q. Were you a reader before you became a writer? And do you prefer reading or writing now?
A. I feel like reading and writing have always gone hand in hand for me. The earliest I can remember is writing a story about a flower who wanted to be a real girl when I was in second grade. Stephen King said it best that if you want to be a writer, you have to read a lot and write a lot. I don’t think you can be a writer without also being a reader. Right now, my reading kind of comes and goes in spurts. I’ll read for an hour to take a break from writing or I’ll be glued to a book I can’t put down when I really should be writing (you know how that goes). Both are necessities to my life, though, and if I couldn’t do either of those things, I’d be a pretty unhappy girl.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. Inspiration hits me at the weirdest times. I’ll be running and a song will come on. Suddenly, a scene is playing out in my mind like a movie. Other times, I’ll be daydreaming at work (hey, sometimes I get some down time when I’m folding clothes, you know?) and then I’ll race home when my shift is over so I can get it out of my head and onto my computer screen. For my latest book, All of the Lights, the inspiration came mainly from nostalgia over teaching Romeo and Juliet. Add in that I was overindulging on boy bands, binge-watching season four of House of Cards, and keeping tabs on the primaries for the upcoming election. All those factors are in this new book and now, when I retrace some of those threads, it’s pretty cool to see where it all came from and how all the pieces slid together.
Q. What was the idea behind the Carry Your Heart Series?
A. A few years ago, when the indie romance novel scene kind of exploded, I came across Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Sins and Needles by Karina Halle, and Easy by Tammara Webber. Those books blew me away and spurned the idea for this duo, which incidentally, started out as a trilogy.*WHAT?!* I just wanted to tell a simple love story, but tell it well, just like the books I’d read. The idea of the ‘bad boy’ and the ‘good girl’ was intriguing to play out because it’s been done so many times before and I wanted to see if I could do it in a different way.
Q. Who or what made you decide to write/ become an author?
A. I’ve always wanted to be an author; the problem was I just never really knew how to go about it. I started thinking maybe I could self-publish, especially after seeing so many indie authors become successful that way it really seemed like you didn’t necessarily need a publishing deal anymore to actually get published. Then last April, I was let go from my teaching position. Budgetary cuts and a lot of not fun things led up to it, but after I left that room, I remember walking back to my classroom feeling like maybe I was finally free, like maybe this was my chance to finally do something I’d always wanted to do. I started editing an early version of Carry Your Heart when I got home that night and haven’t looked back. *That's actually amazing!*
Q. Do you feel emotions while writing any scene? How can you relate to the stories in your personal life?
A. Oh my gosh, do I feel the emotions when I’m writing them. If I don’t feel it as I write it, that’s how I know it’s not working and I need to regroup. There’s a particular scene in Carry You Home that comes right toward the end of part one (I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve read it, you definitely know which scene I’m talking about). It was about 11 at night, I was listening to “Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran on repeat, and just sobbing as I typed. It was devastating to have to experience something like that because I was right there with them. I’ve never experienced it personally and I don’t know anyone else who has, but I spent an obscene amount of time on message boards and researching the medical specifics of the situation because I knew that someone, somewhere, at some time, was going to read it who’d experienced it firsthand and I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. I still can’t read that chapter without crying.
While I’ve obviously never experienced the major things that happen in my books (like dated someone in an MC or experienced what Emma did in Finding Emma), some of the smaller details are me. There’s a story in Carry Your Heart where Isabelle describes her mom smashing her Dirty Dancing VHS tape for reasons she can’t remember when she was little...yeah, that really happened. My mom was a little bit mortified, too, when she read it because now she thinks everyone also thinks she’s a terrible mother. Oliver in Finding Emma is also very real in fact, pretty much the whole story is exactly how my Oliver, the real Oliver, came into my life, minus a few details. I think those are the kind of details that need to be infused in every book I write, but that’s real life. If I can’t relate to it, then who can?
Q. Out of All the characters you created in this duology (Carry Your Heart) who would be your favourite and why (favourite in general or favourite to write)?
A. Oh, that’s easy. Caleb. He’s the one who’s stayed with me since I finished the duology in January and he’s the one I’m most proud of. He’s a fully developed, fully fleshed out, flaws and all guy that went from being this cocky, lovesick, immature, reckless biker to a man who owns his mistakes, who’s suffered for and learned from those mistakes so he doesn’t repeat them, the kind of man who loves a woman enough to let her go, the kind of man who earns everything he’s gotten in life regardless of whether or not he thinks he deserves it. He’s not perfect and he knows it, but he’s trying to be better, which is something we all want.
Q.What is your favourite "SHIP" from the books you have read and loved?
A. Ugh, that’s hard to answer because there are so many! Usually, it’s the last book I read (most of the time), but there are some that I keep going back to and reread. The last book I read was Moonshot by Alessandra Torre; I usually just oneclick her books without even needing to read the blurb and this one did not disappoint. Ty and Chase were everything. I loved, LOVED the Best Laid Plans duo by Stylo Fantomethat one kept me up way past my bedtime. I also feel like I’ve read The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley about a hundred times even though I don’t particularly care for her books (I know, I’m sorry) and I’m not a huge Game of Thrones fan (sorry again), that one still really got to me. I also really fell in love with all of Mia Sheridan’s book boyfriends, but Archer’s Voice is definitely my favorite. Oh! And Paper Princess by Erin Watt...I preordered the sequel and I’m definitely counting down the days until that one hits my iPad.
Q. What is the hardest thing about writing and what advice can you give to budding authors?
A. The hardest thing about writing is finishing. I’m sure any writer will tell you that. You can be all into an idea, have everything all mapped out, all your character sketches complete and ready to go, but you still have to finish it. The best advice I can give budding authors is to know how you’re going to end your story before you start it. That’s the advice I gave to every student when I taught Creative Writing, too. Your outline can change, plots can be reworked, but as long as you have an endgame, getting to that finish line will be that much easier. It’s also so, so important to have as many people read it before you hit publish. You have to make sure you’re choosing people who will give you honest, constructive feedback. Your mom might tell you it’s awesome because you’re you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. I lucked out that my mom is an avid reader, but is also a critical reader as well. My last piece of advice is to understand that you can’t do everything by yourself. You need someone to help you with marketing and you need someone to design a great cover for you. Some things you can do on your own, like social media, but a blog tour isn’t happening without some connections. I work with Mia at Indie Sage and it’s been the best decision I’ve made through this whole process, especially in the beginning. For covers, I work with Christa at Paper and Sage and she’s been fantastic as well, always willing to work with me, patient with my indecision, and willing to keep editing until I love the product. Without marketing, nobody knows your book exists and without an eye catching cover, nobody will care enough to even read the blurb. In the end, it’s worth the money.
Q. So you have written both Carry Your Heart and Carry You Home, Can we see any more from these characters?
A. You can! I have two prequels on my website about Caleb and Isabelle in high school. They’re pretty short, but they give you a fun look into what they were like when they were younger and some insight into the connection that was always there between them. If you go to the bonus material tab on my website, you’ll see a drop down menu for the prequels. With those two, there’s always the potential for more stories. I might do a few extended epilogues to give some more insight into their lives after the duology ended and there’s potential for some in between stories that take place between parts one and two of Carry You Home. I just need to find some free time first, you know?
Q. Fun facts about yourself
A. If you’ve read Finding Emma or looked carefully at any of my playlists, you probably won’t be
surprised to know that Kings of Leon is my all time favorite band. Jessie Baylin is another favorite; I just love her voice and her old school sound most of her music is actually on my writing playlist for the next book I’ll be working on after All of the Lights is finished. Oliver in Finding Emma is real and the way he came into Emma’s life is pretty much the same way he came into mine. All of his health issues are the same as my Oliver’s too thankfully, he’s still young and healthy and we’re doing everything we can to keep him that way. What else...I have Packers season tickets, which was an awesome moment in my life. My parents actually have season tickets right next to ours, so we get to sit next to them for the games and that’s been more fun than I thought it would be ;)
I’m obsessed with the Hamilton cast recording right now. Seriously, I would kill for tickets to that show. I don’t even care that Lin Manuel Miranda is leaving it now. Okay, I do care and I wouldn’t actually kill for tickets. I run pretty much every day, especially if I’m trying to work through a plot problem in one of my books. All my books have playlists on my iPod that I listen to when I’m running, and in my car too, and so I feel like I’m always writing, always working on something. I think I might have every episode of The Office memorized. That’s probably a bad thing...nah, definitely not a bad thing.
Q. While reading this series, I did get the feeling of a similar famous television series. Was anything from that an inspiration?
A. Yes, definitely. Carry Your Heart was actually written about three years ago now as fan-fiction. It was originally written as a three part series and I had initially planned on following that trajectory, but after some of the feedback I got for Carry Your Heart, I decided to regroup and change course. I don’t regret publishing it by any means because it’s given me the freedom to venture out into the publishing world. I also don’t know that I would’ve been willing to give becoming an author a shot if I hadn’t already had something sitting on my computer. That being said, writing fan-fiction changed my life. I started out writing Star Wars fan-fiction when I was a freshman in high school and while the subject changed through the years depending on what my interests were at the time, that was always my writing outlet.
I’ve always been pretty embarrassed to admit that, but then I realized there’s nothing to be embarrassed about it honed the skills I have now. The people on fanfiction.net are generally nice and supportive, but still constructive and it’s a great way for all writers to get their feet wet. There’s very little risk because you’re not doing it for money and nobody really knows who you are. It’s crazy because I’ll look back at some of my earliest stories and just cringe because the writing’s just awful, you know? But it’s also a huge testament to how far I’ve come and I’ve got this trail from one end to the other, of how I became the writer I am today. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Q. What draws you to your characters in your novels?
A. I think they just need to be real. They need to be humans with flaws and emotions that ring true. I’m constantly asking myself, would someone do that in real life? Would I do that if I was in this situation? That’s how I connect with my characters and I think that’s the only way a writer can connect with their characters.
Q. Is there anything in the works right now?
A. Yes, there is. My new book, All of the Lights, *Which is out already!!* is currently in the editing stages. I’ll have an official announcement very soon on the release date, but it’s coming! I wanted to do something completely different than my last three books and really challenge myself with a more complicated plot. It’s taken a lot of untangling and that’s also why it’s taken me so long to finish it. Basically, this one was born out of me missing teaching Romeo and Juliet. That’s really it. Then I started thinking about all the ways other people have interpreted it and how could I do something different with the story that’s never been done before? I started by doing some gender flipping (which was fun) and then it kind of snowballed from there into an intricate, complex, generation spanning story that I hadn’t planned on telling about families, betrayal, politics, forbidden love, and everything in between. I’m so excited to share it with all of you! After that, I already have a rough outline for my next book, which is completely unlike anything I’ve ever written before. During this year’s Oscar season, I was lamenting Leonardo DiCaprio’s inability to really settle down with one woman. I love him so much, but I hate that he’s such a player, you know? That give me an idea and I ran with it ;)
Q. Speaking of All of the Lights, would you ever consider writing another book with Lucy and Sean?
A. Hmm...I never thought about that before. Interesting Idea :)
Q. If you could collaborate with any author, who would it be and why?
A. I love, love, love Karina Halle. We have very different styles of writing, but think collaborating with her would be so much fun. I follow her on Instagram and I kind of wish I didn’t because I want
her life so bad. All the places she gets to travel to and she met Tom Hardy? She’s living my dream. Seriously.*And she's Canadian... Just saying*
Q. Paperback, Hardcover, or EBook?
A. That really depends on what mood I’m in. Ebooks are just easier because you oneclick and it’s on your iPad in a second. I think I read ebooks a lot faster than a normal paperback, which can be good and bad, too. But sometimes, there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hand and turning the pages. There’s really nothing else like it.
Q. 3 words to describe yourself.
A. Optimistic. Goofy. Sarcastic. *Love it!*
That is all for my interview with K. Ryan! I really hope you enjoyed it, and I am so ecstatic to have had the chance to interview her! She is honestly so kind, and I am glad that I had read her novels! Personally, I have said it before when I interviewed Elise Manion, but these are the kinds of authors that really make me work hard with my blog! Because they are so very talented and I want everyone to know it! To find and share amazing authors and novels that people should read, along with discussing my love of reading! I do hope you check her out and her books! You can find Katie on:
So until the next time, Keep Reading!
Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)