Ryan Jo Summers has a new release and has stopped by to tell us about it! Take a peek at the cover of When Clouds Gather and read a bit of our conversation. You may find out a few tidbits about Ryan Jo that you didn’t know. Do you think she’ll reveal any of her secrets?
Hey Ryan Jo. Welcome back!
Come on up on the porch. Pull up a rocking chair, pour yourself a glass of tea, and let’s chat a while. I’m curious about how you became an author. What first sparked an interest in writing for you?
When I was ten years old, we had to give our dog away. I don’t know the circumstances why but clearly it bothered me. I’d always loved books, so I sat down with paper, pen and colored pencils. I took that ten-year-old heartache and wrote a story about it, changing the character’s names. I drew stick pictures and folded the pages into my very first book. It was a catalyst for future books to follow as I read me and wrote more.
It’s always heartbreaking to lose a pet but I’m glad something good came out of your pain and loss. What genre do you write and why?
Predominately romance, twisted fiction. I love Christian romance, time travel, shape shifting, western flavor, and suspense. Why? Because mixing them up is so much fun! Taking two opposite things and making them mesh into something believable is both exciting and challenging. I wrote a YA/ NA recently more for the dare and opportunity it presented. My current WIP is leaning more toward quantum fiction or literary fiction—so far. Subject to change with that problem child. I do have a non-fiction novella and will write poetry as therapy and short stories to jump start the creative thinking. Not much is ever totally off limits.
Putting words on paper has helped me through a rough patch or two in my life. Writing is the easy part for me. Deciding the route to take after finishing the book can be stressful. Are you traditionally or self-published and why?
Traditional. I could never afford the charges for self-publishing so I concentrated on literary agents and traditional house editors. My first novel was rejected by three agents before the house Black Lyon picked it up.
Tell us about yourself outside your bio.
I am a dreamer, and too stubborn to let go of those dreams. They might change over time, but always at my choice. I can be moody at times or boring or lively. It all depends on my current mood. I have hot buttons, things I am very passionate about. When someone pressed that hot button, it can be on. My unrelenting, passionate nature can sometimes get me into trouble. I love wild, stormy weather and calm, tranquil peaceful days with the same degree of appreciation, just for different reasons. I am the one who looks at things from outside the box most the time, searching for holes in the theory or why it’s too good to be true or why it won’t work. At work, this sometimes makes me get called the devil’s advocate. I prefer to think of it as a well-rounded approach to most situations.
A couple of minor characters of mine seem to insist on making their presence known after a book is finished. Do your secondary characters hang around in your head, tempting you until they get their own story told?
Sure, who doesn’t? Sometimes it’s annoying, they won’t be happy in secondary positions I had assigned and have to move into the limelight. I suppose if they are that strong willed and determined, they must have something valuable to add to a story. I should hear them out.
I agree. That’s why I now have two WIP’s. Finding time to write them is my problem. How about you? Do you have a set writing schedule?
I work a 2nd shift day job. So my main writing is done early morning to early afternoon. Then off to work I go. After work, around 11:30 pm or so, I fine tune some more stuff and weekends are for catching up on upcoming blogs, most my promoting stuff, special projects and writing when I can.
How long does it take to complete a book?
Depends. If I am starting from scratch, with just a plot or basic direction, maybe a year or two, depending on if I am working on it steady or catch-as-catch-can with other works. If I am rewriting an old novel resurrected from the drawers, it might take 6-9 months. “SHIMMERS OF STARDUST”, my first book published by Soul Mate Publishing, took me 4 months, brand new from scratch. That was something of a record. However, 2/3 through it, I found an old piece of paper in which I had scribbled, almost word for word the story’s plot—from 17 years before.
Do you have pets? Tell us a funny pet story.
I’ve always had pets. Growing up, I had dogs, cats, hamsters, parakeets, birds and goldfish. As a young adult, I added tropical and eventually salt water fish. Then came rabbits and a macaw and finally horses. I was in heaven with my collies, cats and horses. Now, I have 5 cats (all inside of course), 1 macaw (large parrot) and two decent sized tropical fish tanks. That is plenty. I am seeking to adopt a collie again as I have been dog-less for a year now and feel finally the time is right. Funny stories? Lots of them. Lots of stories in general, in which some have made it into print, one into publication and many are just memories. Something I do find funny in an amusing way is Aspen. She came around my house November 2013, wild as the wind. She was just begging for some food. She was a lovely smoke tortishelle cat. So I fed her, working with her most nights, trying to get within a few feet of her. She was not into the touching/ petting thing. About six weeks later, still not able to touch her, she brought me her baby kitten who was about two months old, starving and wild as the winter wind as well. It took me several more weeks to get to touch them—mid February 2014 actually. Now, a short year later, I can’t get these ‘wild’ cats to stop crawling all over me and beg for attention.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
A veterinarian. They were something akin to heroes to me how they could save animals. At eighteen, I went to work for a vet as a veterinary technician. Over the course of twenty years, I worked either as a vet tech or in animal rescue as a rescue shelter director or just volunteered in the animal welfare world. I work in distribution now and sometimes I just shake my head and wonder what happened to the last twenty years of my life.
A vet makes perfect sense for an animal lover like yourself. Other than animals, are you a collector of anything unusual?
Lighthouse statues. Houseplants (live ones- about 40-ish). Carousels (mostly ceramic but not all, some life sized). Collie figurines/ vintage prints/ memorabilia.
Tell us what you have published and where we can find your work.
In novels, ‘Whispers in Her Heart’ through Black Lyon Publishing. ‘Shimmers of Stardust’ and ‘When Clouds Gather’ through Soul Mate Publishing. My website, www.ryanjosummers.com, has the direct Amazon links, poetry, story excerpts, and more. My blog, www.summersrye.wordpress.com, is the source of all things “me”. From funny pet anecdotes, author guest spotlights, book reviews, personal slice-of-my-life vignettes, and much more, the blog is by far the most in depth way to follow me. Short snapshots can be found at Facebook and Goodreads.
Interesting! Where can readers contact you?
My website has a ‘contact’ page in which folks can directly send me a note. The Goodreads page has an ‘ask the author’ section where readers can post me a direct question, of which I promise to do my best to answer. I have just started a newsletter, sending out my first one this past February. Anyone interested in getting on the mailing list can drop me a line on that as well. I hope to start with two a year.
Sounds like fun. Sign me up for that mailing list!
Thank you so much for dropping by today and sharing! I can’t wait to read When Clouds Gather.