Tuesday, January 02, 2007

An Interview with FB Author Emily Ryan-Davis

It's Tuesday, so after a long break, I'm back to my series of interviews with Freya's Bower authors. This week we're chatting with Emily Ryan-Davis, author of MATING CALL.

Amanda: Hi Emily, welcome! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Emily: Hi, Amanda! A little bit about would ordinarily be difficult, because I love to talk about myself. It's a good month for brevity, though, because I'm in the midst of holiday retail madness at my non-writing job, and should be sleeping instead of talking about myself.

By day (and sometimes night) I'm a receptionist at an awesome family-run music store in Maryland. I'm surrounded by musicians (some VERY hot, some VERY not) and my ears are flogged by repetitive riffs of "Bad to the Bone" far too early in the morning. I'm a coffee addict deep down in every cell of my body, but nothing will wake a woman up like cranked amps blasting Scandanavian metal at 9 o'clock on a Monday morning. By night? By night, I try to balance my time between sleeping, knitting, writing, keeping up with online forums (I'm not so good at that), planning a June wedding, playing Dungeons & Dragons and various other geeky games with my fiance (who is an Eagle Scout as well as a chef, and should have a book of his own, because he's got the whole world of romance heroes beat for treating his lady like a queen) and our friends.

My biggest food fear centers on soft-shell crabs, which I saw for the first time this summer. If you're a fan, sorry, but the things look like aliens! How can you eat an alien sandwich without recoiling in horror? (Seriously - if you have tips, send 'em my way; I either have to have a wedding or eat a soft-shell crab sandwich before I'm legally a Maryland resident).

Oh hey, did somebody mention brevity? Oops.

Amanda: LOL! I love soft-shell crab sandwiches, and yes, I do believe that's part of a residency requirements in Maryland. Either that or crabcakes. Anyway, I disgress. So, how did you begin writing?

Emily: I had a computer class in 5th grade. Teacher gave an assignment to write a short story as part of our section on word processing. The teacher read mine, accused me of plagiarism, and a little voice in my head suggested that maybe I had a knack for writing. I ignored the voice and didn't write.

Instead, I spent ages 10-13 reading terribly inappropriate adult romance novels, the juicier the sex the better as far as I was concerned. When I was 13, I decided I knew everything there was to know about writing a Native American romance. I grabbed a red spiral notebook and a pen, armed myself with Silver Feather the handsome Indian and Mary Anna, the beautiful raven-haired, emerald-eyed English girl, and set off on my word-quest to tell a believable story about a Native American slave in an English castle.

Lucky you, I'm not querying Freya's Bower about THAT story.

Anyway - I wrote up to the sex scene (which happened in about 30 college-ruled pages, right after a horseback chase through the London moors [lots of those in London, y'know]) and decided I needed a typewriter if I was ever going to have a chance of publishing. My parents bought me one for Christmas. I lost interest in Silver Feather and Mary Anna soon after (don't think I didn't just hear that collective sigh of relief).

I know plagiarism and Native American romances are the bane of readers' existences, but without them, I wouldn't be conducting this interview right now. :)

Amanda: LOL! You're too funny! Your recent release is DRAGON QUEEN: MATING CALL. What's it about?

Emily: MATING CALL is about a witch who doesn't believe in witchcraft. Cora Phillips, the doubting witch, is a blood-witch rather than a convert; she was born a witch, as opposed to practitioners who chose, at some point in life, to embrace the supernatural.

She belongs to a lineage known as Dragonkeepers. Before they were Dragonkeepers, they were simply Lunar witches, or Lunes, and payed homage to the Lunar goddess. Their lunar affinity created close relations with the shapeshifting races. The first Lune to imprison the dragon aspect of a dragon shifter became known as the Dragonkeeper.

Cora knows that much about her heritage. What she doesn't know is that the primary responsibility of Dragonkeepers is protection of the dragons' existence, and that protection includes perpetuating the species.

Life gets pretty bizarre when she finally learns that part of the legend.

Amanda: Interesting. So, what is your favorite genre to write? How about to read?

Emily: My favorite genre to write and to read is "love story." I won't say that romance is my favorite, because I enjoy a good book in any genre if it has a powerful love story at its center. I don't even need a happy-ever-after; I just need a connection and a moment of intimacy no matter how fleeting. I love the suggestion of love, and I'm happy with even something as small as a shared glance that suggests to my imagination that a passion exists.

Black comedy, light comedy; mystery, murder; adventure, introspection - I'm happy with all kinds of stories, if there's a love to be found.

Amanda: Me too. Who are your favorite authors?

Emily: Oh gosh, favorite authors. Charlotte Bronte, Laura Kinsale, George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card (if you haven't read HEART'S HOPE, you haven't read romantic fiction), Jim Butcher, and Terry Pratchett are a few of my adult-tastes favorite authors. When I was learning to love love stories, my favorite authors were Johanna Lindsay (I know, I know, but everybody has a dark secret), Nan Ryan, and Brenda Joyce - Lindsay because her characters made me laugh, Nan Ryan and Brenda Joyce because, damn, the sex was hot. Nan Ryan and THE SUN GOD? The scene in the barn, with h/h tied together by a sash, getting sweaty in the hay? I think I need a fan, and all I have is a MEMORY. :)

Amanda: What are you reading right now?

Emily: Right now, I'm reading a few different books. I don't like to read that way, all divided up, but I seem to have the attention span and the finders' skills of a blind, de-scented hamster - I put a book down, and can't remember where I put it, don't have time to look but need a book to read, so grab a different one to start. I'm in the middle of Michelle Sagara's CAST IN SHADOW (LUNA) and Kim Wilkins' THE AUTUMN CASTLE (very good book, very very, chock full of all the German things that I love, because I don't care what anybody says about French, German is the sexiest language spoken, all growly and masculine and yum). I'm also reading a couple of how-to books for playing the mandolin, since I was given that Christmas gift early.

Amanda: What should we expect next from you?

Emily: If the cycle goes per usual, you should expect a lot of procrastination, several different promises of deadlines (and several different cancellations of deadlines because I need more time) and, eventually, Book 2 of the DRAGON QUEEN series, now with more dragon! I have some other projects in the works, but writing-wise I find it difficult to focus on more than one project at a time. After that, possibly a Book 3, and then after THAT, it'll depend upon what my mood dictates. I have two books very close to my heart, one about a modern-day sorcerer who finds himself ready to give up on life until he has to take responsibility for an unwillingly-god-blessed woman, and another about a psychic vampire and a woman who never says goodbye coping with life in a small West Virginia town that's overshadowed by a mental hospital. On the other hand, I might not feel like tackling those books - maybe I'll be stricken by something else.

What can I say? I'm diverse. Feel free to email me with your pick of which book you'd like to read. I like requests!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:10 AM :: 4 comments

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