Welcome to the Coffee Corner, folks. I’d like to introduce you to a special lady today. She’s a great author. Her writing graces us with captivating Christian fiction. In fact, if you comment on this blog, you may even win her latest work. Please welcome Ryan Jo Summers!
Renee: Hello there, Ryan! Welcome to the Coffee Corner. I’m so glad you could join us. I’m excited you’re here! If you don’t mind, let’s jump right in. I want to know more about you and I’m sure everyone else does too. J So….how long have you been writing and why did you start?
Ryan: I’m excited to be here too! Nothing like cutting to the chase, eh? Okay…well, I started writing at age ten, but it wasn’t until I was in my teens I figured out people did this for a living. Up till then I was just fulfilling the urge to write, quieting the voices inside me. Then I learned how blasted hard it is to write for a living. My first novel sold in 2012. I am still at my day job. However, my fiction and non-fiction portfolio is growing, and that is what it is all about.
Renee: I’ve never heard it put quite that way before, but I agree. It takes a bit of time to find your feet, doesn’t it? Thank you for that slice of wisdom. I hope someone heard it! For those writers just getting their toes wet, what would you tell them?
Ryan: Hang in there, believe in yourself and grow a thick skin. Develop a business plan or at least think of this as a business or career and not just a hobby. Think professionally and write recreationally.
Renee: We approached this calling much the same way, Ryan. I’ve never treated my writing as a hobby, even if it’s been called that by many, many people. And the day it becomes a chore is the day I need to re-evaluate my motivation. It should never be grueling to do something we love even if it can be a challenge. Speaking of easy or hard aspects of writing, what’s easiest about writing for you?
Ryan: Believe it or not, the writing of conversation. That’s usually where I begin. Get them to talking. I go back later and add descriptive details. I can hear and see them conversing so well in my head.
Renee: That’s cool! I usually start with the descriptive details of the scene, but sometimes I get wrapped up in the convo too. I guess it depends on what’s driving the scene for me. It never fails I have to go back and add a bunch of stuff as well. I guess that’s what editing is for. LOL But where do you get your ideas for your books? And how do you do your research? Do you travel or is the almighty Inter-web your gateway to the world…for now?
Ryan: A thought, observation or prompt can all get the creative juices flowing. Soon characters are born, a setting is found, scenes are mentally painted. Now I have the rough beginnings of a story. Depending on what it is and length, I flesh it out with scenes and research as I go along. Thank goodness for Google. Some need tons of research and some require very little. Glimpse Eternity, because it is so personal, did not need much at all. I want to write a pirate story and that one is needing reams of paper worth of research.
Renee: Glimpse Eternity…what an amazing title. Tell us more about this book!
Ryan: Glimpse Eternity began as therapy, with no intention of publication. I’d been handed some medical issues that had me struggling to cope. A friend suggested I write it out. So I created the heroine Kasey Griffin and gave her similar symptoms. She became someone I could dump my problems on. Then I gave her a love interest, to further complicate her life. True story: driving home one Valentine’s evening, I discovered a rose bouquet lying in the middle of the road. When I wrote Glimpse Eternity, the memory of the roses came back.
Renee: Wow. It makes you wonder…who were the roses for? Writing (and reading) is such a journey of discovery, isn’t it? It sounds like an amazing story, Ryan. It already has an awesome title! By the way, how did you come up with it? Do you have a special way you pick your titles?
Ryan: I like nature themed titles. Something to do with the outdoors. Glimpse Eternity came about differently. I was in Ireland, listening to the most beautiful, emotional song by a group called Secret Garden called “You Raise me Up”. The song had a line in it, saying “Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity.” That really hit me. It painted such a picture in my mind, along with the entire song, and summed it up fantastically.
Renee: That is a powerful song. I love it. I can see how it would inspire you. Can you tell us a little bit more about your book? Like how you chose a setting for it?
Ryan: Absolutely. I always lived near the water until I moved South. I miss it greatly and try to set my stories along the water whenever possible so I can ‘go back home’. It helps make the descriptions sharper.
Renee: I can relate to that, Ryan. I wrote To Soar on Eagle’s Wings when I lived in Texas. It definitely brought God’s country home to me. I could walk along the mountain streams and experience a Wyoming winter once again. It was awesome. I know…that sounds crazy! But it’s fun! Do you have any hobbies or fun things you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Ryan: I love to go to the national forest and hang out by the river. I enjoy the quiet and journal sometimes, reflect, pray and restore myself. The beginning of Glimpse Eternity was written there and ultimately during edits that beginning moved toward the end of the book. Which, interestingly, had to do with the rose bouquet I spotted that Valentine’s evening on the road. Hobbies include tending my 50 plus houseplants and seven animals. I like to paint mostly ceramics and acrylic on canvas. I love word find puzzles. On occasion I like needlecrafts. Baking and cooking are fun, therapeutic and relaxing. Poetry is good too.
Renee: 50 houseplants?! Wowzers! I wish I could grow something. I have a black thumb. I can’t even grow a plastic one. Of course, water helps, huh?
Thanks for the great time, Ryan!
Folks, Ryan Jo Summers is giving away one PDF copy of her book, Glimpse Eternity this week. Simply sign up for her annual/bi-annual newsletter to be entered in the giveaway. Drawing will be on 3/27/2016.
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About the Book, Glimpse Eternity:
Kasey Griffin is determined to prove a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis isn't going to ruin her life or define her expectations. She is dedicated to her pregnant sister, her pets and operating her bookstore, 'The Next Chapter'. She has everything she needs to have a full and satisfying life--the daily challenges of her condition notwithstanding.
Then hunky musician Ben Salem rolls into town. Ben's subtle charm quickly reminds Kasey she is more than a woman with a disease, she is also a woman with a heart. And Ben wants it.
Will Ben still desire her once he learns the terrible details of he condition?
Silence hung between them. She shifted from foot to foot. Should she offer coffee, cook breakfast, or ask what happened that he spent the night? Self-consciously, she tugged at her hair again. Muttonchop whined at the tension slowly filling the room.
“So, does that happen often?” he asked slowly, cautiously, reaching out to pat Muttonchop. “Last night?”
Her eyes widened, breath caught. She felt like a deer in the headlights. So this was where he was going to walk out, she decided. Thomas padded into the room and sat, watching them. She wanted to scoop the big cat up, to hold him as a shield from what was to come. He was going to ask just enough questions to find out what was wrong with her and then decide it wasn't for him. Who would want her once he knew? She took a breath, steeling herself for the inevitable.
He considered that, tilting his head. “Have you seen a doctor? It seems kind of out of character for you.” He cracked a quick grin. “Please don’t look like I’m scaring you because it’s starting to scare me.”
He was scared? She was terrified. She pulled in a hard breath. “I have seen a doctor. It's complicated.”
About the Author, Ryan Jo Summers:
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who likes to pen romances with a twist. Love stories blended as inspirational, with paranormal, suspense or time travel--or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry, so Ryan came by the writing gene honestly.
Her hobbies include poetry, bird watching, houseplants and gardening, gathering with friends, hiking in the forest, painting canvas and ceramics, and working wiggly word find puzzles, mah johngg or chess. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. She often daydreams of the shore and frequently uses water as settings in her stories.
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