The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talkin' Tuesday with Chandra Ryan! (On Thursday)

The sound of heavy music is playing in the background. This is how you know my husband has the day off. As I try to sit with my guest and colleague, Chandra Ryan to do our interview, Mark comes in continuously to check up on us. 
"You done yet?" 
"No, honey. We just started. Do you need anything?" 
"Nope." He continues to stand behind me as I type away at my computer. 
"Sweetheart? You sure you don't need anything?" At his 6'1 statue with a biker build, I have to say he looks really appealing when he doesn't know what to do with himself. The cretins have left for their first day of school and I sigh a relief because now I can get some work done without being interrupted. (yeah, right)
"How long is this going to take you? Hey! Are you typing this out?"
He should know better then to pester a writer. After all, we live to mess with people!

Please welcome my friend Chandra Ryan who will also be giving away a free copy of Ravenborne to one lucky commenter! 

What's your favorite read & series?
I’ve fallen in love with the Jax series by Ann Aguirre. It has a strong heroine and a flawed hero living on the brink of disaster at every page turn. Doesn’t get much better than that.  

What/who got you reading?
I’m dyslexic, so reading was hard for me in elementary school. Then our librarian suggested I read Season of Ponies by Zilpha Keatly Snyder. I was hooked. I read that book like six times that year. It still holds a special place in my heart.
OMG! I had to read this twice! It's so nice to meet someone else who's dyslexic. It can be such a lonely world.
You have a background in Psychology, how has this helped with your writing? (By the way, I was told the only difference between Neurotic and Psychotic is knowing. Is that true? LOL)
LOL! My intro to psych teacher used to love to say neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them.  In all seriousness, though, I would like to think my background in psychology has helped with my writing.  I hope it’s given me a better understanding of motivation and conflict. If nothing else, I hope it’s made my characters more believable.
Well, I'd say it has!
Too organized Plotter or Maniac Panster?
I used to be a manic pantser but that’s changing. I find now I tend to start with a general feel for my characters, their external conflict, and how I want them to show growth by the end of the story. Then I kind of dive in. I keep an eye on the word count and make sure the story is half over by the time I hit about the half way point. But I rely heavily on rewrites and revisions to get the story all polished up.

When writing, must you hide from the kids? Where do you go and what  kind of death threats do you shout?
They’re a little older, 10 and almost 7, so they’re pretty good at understanding. I usually tell them I need to write for an hour and then go to the front room. They know if they have an emergency, I’ll drop everything to help but they also know where the juice boxes are and how to get one if they’re thirsty.
I told my children ONCE to go dig a ditch. An hour later they came and got me. Mud was everywhere and my youngest, I have 3, was at the bottom of a 5 foot hole. LOL Lesson Learned!
You just submitted your first ever completed novel. Congrats! How'd it feel and can you share what it's about?
[HyperLink_Cover]Thank you! It was a great feeling. A little scary too. Kavin and Sara hold a very special place in my heart so I was really concerned it’d be rejected. And my editor did ask for a rewrite with specific revisions. But when I got the contract I couldn’t stop smiling. As for the story, Ravenborne follows the last of the royal house of Raven.  

Is there any thing we all would be shocked to know about you?
Hmmm….  You might be shocked to know that I married my husband after only dating him for nine months.  It was a whirlwind courtship. This November we’ll be celebrating our fourteenth anniversary.
That's awesome! You're my kind of girl. :)
For Fun
 Red & sexy or Black & mysterious?
 Black and mysterious

Wine with cheese or Beer with TV?
 Beer and TV 

 Paperback or ebooks?

Independent kitty cat or adoring lovable dog? 
Both.  We have a very full house.

Great cook or master at ordering takeout?
Master at ordering takeout. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good cook but it’s such a hassle I just don’t enjoy it like some do.

What's your biggest pet-peeve, in the world, that makes you want to beat something/someone?
When the grocery bagger puts my raw meat in the same bag as my produce. Especially after I specifically ask for it to be put in a separate bag. I know it sounds simplistic, but it really grosses me out.
Uumm, yeah, it would gross me out, too.
Back to Work
You say you like '...watching the incoming freshman find their way...' Heeheehee I'd love to watch them get lost, too! What is your day job?
 I’m a stay at home mom, but I live in a college town and like to write at some of the local coffee shops.  August is always entertaining around here.
I have a feeling there is a little of a mean streak in you. I like it!!!  (Side note: My husband just walked in, again.) Heeheehee
[HyperLink_Cover]Are you insanely organized or are there note written on everything?
Notes…that’s a great idea!  I always think I’m going to remember it all and fail miserably. Fortunately, I’m  pretty good about remembering the big stuff and my family is very understanding.
I have a suction cup note pad in my car when the cretins don't take it. Really helpful.
What's the biggest misconception people have about you & your writing? 
I had someone tell me that I write erotica. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with erotica. I have several friends who write it and I’ve been known to read it. But I don’t think anything I’ve written so far could be classified as erotica. In the spirit of complete honesty, though,  I am working on a ménage space opera that might change all that. But that’s some day in the future.

Do you ever get so overwhelmed you want to quit?
 Absolutely.  This is a hard job and a tough industry.  I can remember at least three times when I said I was done and closed my laptop.  Inevitably, the next day I’d open it back up and pick up where I left off. 

What's the writing no-no that makes you want to scream?
Switching point of view in the middle of a chapter is difficult; switching in the middle of a paragraph makes me scream. To me, it almost always reads like lazy writing and there’s no excuse for that. 

When writing, must you hide from the husband? (I know I have to!
This last batch of edits I did have to hide. He’s a great guy and beta reads all my stuff (and tells me when my heroine is TSTL) but he can hold a conversation and work and the same time. I was not blessed with that skill. Whenever he tried to talk to me, I would lose my place and I was on a strict deadline.

Happy Birthday!! What'd you do on your special day? 
I spent the day with my boys in our family room as the carpet guy was installing our carpet and the contractor was working on a wall. We have a whippet (like a greyhound only smaller) and the poor little guy was freaked out by all the strangers in our house.  My husband did get me a gift certificate to get an herbal pedicure, though. I’m looking forward to using it soon.
I love pedicures and don't get them nearly enough. *sighs in envy*
Any advice for aspiring writers? (My husband just came in again! LOL)
Don’t grow so attached to your words that you lose track of the story. It can difficult to accept criticism, but it’s very important to keep an open mind and not get defensive. Also, you have to be persistent. Rejections happen. Sit down with the story and look at it honestly. Fix whatever is wrong. And submit it to another house. 
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

I loved having you. :)
Chandra Ryan is giving away a copy of her story Ravenborne to one lucky guest who leaves a comment

A dragon’s fate will seal their love…or destroy their future.

When Kavin Hunter appears on her doorstep to recruit her into the king’s guard, Saraphina Raven knows her secret—an unwanted telepathic ability—has caught the attention of the king. If she refuses to use her gift to discover who’s plotting against the throne, her last link to her royal heritage will be forcibly stripped away. It's a threat that's guaranteed to work. She'd do anything, even help the king that deserted her family, to preserve the only connection to her past.

It’s a past Kavin is all too familiar with. Once upon a time, his brother was betrothed to Saraphina, until the raid that destroyed her family. Now Kavin struggles with his own part in the mess her life has become. And a growing connection made stronger by the power of his healing touch. Though his loyalty lies with the king, Saraphina is becoming the woman of his heart. And nothing, not even a dragon in disguise, will stand in the way of their love.

Warning: Contains a former princess who gets cringe-worthy glimpses into others’ thoughts, a knight in slightly tarnished armor with talented…hands. And a dragon betrayed.
You can also find Miss Chandra Ryan at her website:  
I hope everyone has A Sparkling Day! Next week I have Romance author, Sondrae Bennett. 
Rebecca Rose 


  1. what a fab interview. I hate head hopping in books too :) and meat and produce together? ewww... I don't have that problem though I don't eat meat :)

  2. What a fun interview - as always! I just fixed some head hopping issues in my book so now acutely aware of it...but I dont mind it from the "masters" like Dean Koontz..he does it so flawlessly. And your poor hubby - give him a project! ;)

  3. @Sera...Doesn't Rebecca ask best questions? I just loved being interviewed by her.

    I've thought about giving up meat from time to time, but my husband grills this steak with a garlic butter sauce that is a little piece heaven on Earth. It's truly addictive :)

  4. @Donna...Oh absolutely. Some authors make the transition from one POV to the other so naturally I don't even notice it happened. I'm just in the other person's POV. But it's irritating when it's done in a jarring manner or when an author does it simply because it's convenient.

  5. Thanks Chadra for the heads up on this interview. I have found a new blog to follow. =) As for whirlwind courtships, I understand. I met my hubby in Dec '00, moved in with him Jan '01 (3 wks after I met him), got pregnant in April '01, had my son Jan '02, and got married in April '02. =) I know better than bagging meat with produce (EWWW) or canned goods. I used to work in a grocery store. I love to cook and order in. lol and my son had issues with switching numbers/letters and my sister's name is Rebekah. lol Had to make your eyes cross and make you smile. Rebecca, very nice to meet you. I will be following your blog from now on.


  6. argh Sorry *Chandra* I can type and spell.

  7. What a great interview Chandra. And your book sounds fantastic. I'd love to read it. :)

  8. @Bobbie...Sometimes relationships just click. I was in a long term relationship before I met my husband but that one didn't. Click that is. We spent years in the on again off again relationship. We even tried to be engaged for a time (two weeks). I think primarily because that's what people expect after you've been dating for years. But it just wasn't meant to be...thank goodness. So glad your whirlwind courtship worked out, too :)

  9. @Fcammer2: Thank you! And thanks for coming by today and saying hi :)

  10. Thank you everyone for stopping in!

    Sera, I have to agree head hopping hurts and very irritating.

    Donna, I asked Mark, very smoothly, "Could you hang the mirror in the bathroom, sweetie?" It only took 5 minutes and when he came back he saw I was writing in his appearances. LOL He laughed and promised to leave me alone for a little bit. AKA 10 minutes!

    Bobbie B. Thank you for coming by and following me! You made my eyes cross and I had to laugh because your though process is much like mine. :)

    fcammer2 It does sound like a fantastic book, eh? I can't wait to read it myself.

    Have a Sparkling Day Everyone!

  11. Great interview. I'm sure sitting a the coffee houses would produce some great story ideas, too. Also, just people watching in the commons.

  12. @Harlie Reader... Yes! There's nothing better than people watching to help come up with subplots or twists. And it helps remind me that, just like my characters, people don't belong in boxes. Sure that guy might be a hunk, but he might be too fixated on how he's different from everyone around him to notice.

  13. Hi Chandra. I'm happy to get a chance to tell you that I have Dragonborne. I loved it. Dragons are my favorites and I would love to get Ravenbourne. Even if I don't win, I will be getting this book.
    Thank you for the chance to win

  14. @Nay Nay...Thank you so much! That just made my day :) I'm so glad you enjoyed Dragonborne and I really hope you like Ravenborne.

    Best of luck!