Have you ever been inspired by a picture or story and had it stay with you for months or even years before it helped you create your own story? That’s what happened to author Ryan Jo Summers; a calendar picture captured her attention, and years later, spawned her newest release, Chasing the Painted Skies. Read on to learn more about Ryan Jo’s writing process. And if you’re looking for a good Christmas read, check out her contribution to Sizzle in the Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection. http://www.amazon.com/Sizzle-Snow-Soul-Christmas-Collection-ebook/dp/B0186SCT74
How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?
I wrote my first romance back around 1990 or 91. As I new adult, I thought that was what we did. Read ‘True Confession’ Magazine, Harlequin books, and tried to write ones like that. It wasn’t until 2012 I finally sold my first romance novel. I have written something since I was ten, and published essays and short articles since around 2008.
What inspired you to write this story?
A calendar picture in 1989. I so loved it, after the year passed, I had the photo matted and framed. I still have it. It’s a rugged shoreline with a storm whipping in. It’s cold and brutal and beautiful. After years of staring at it, it finally spawned this story. Also, I moved away from the water about eleven years ago and miss it. Every day on my drive to work, I used to pass this cute little lake/ pond. It tugged memories of living by the water. So both of those were my inspiration.
Describe your process for writing this particular book.
It was rough drafted a few years ago, after I left my original home grounds. It spent some time in a drawer, on the back burner as other hot projects came along. Finally, the lake forced me to bring it up front again. The revisions were methodical and fairly easy. I ended up adding the treasure hunting angle after I spotted a plumber’s truck at a stop light, reading Coynes Plumbing. I changed the heroine’s last name and included the whole sunken ship and treasure hunt aspect.
How long did it take to complete?
The final rewrite, with the added changes– about two years. 2012 to 2014.
Was this the first book you had written?
No. My first children’s books fell flat. My first two young adult still live in drawers. This is probably my sixth or eighth novel, two of which still need total rewrites someday and two others are fairly decent and just need a publisher to call home. I have a decent YA/NA and a non-fiction novella that I would like to one day see in print. It all just takes time.
Do you work on simultaneous projects?
Yes, I have gotten brave in my years, or just too busy to stop one to work on anther. Since I freelance for regional periodicals, I usually have something of theirs up on my doc files. I have one or two current work in progress on the desktop, at various stages of writing/ revision. I have the two rewrites I am currently adding parts to before I bring them back up on the desktop and one more novella I am stuffing ideas into the folder for and working on the plot.
What was the rest of your life like while writing the book?
I work a day job, second shift. My kids are the furry and feathered kind. So my days are spent around 5-8 hours in the morning tending to them and writing all of the above stuff. In the afternoon, I go to the paycheck job for 8 hours. After that, it’s usually another hour or two on social media before bedtime. Repeat the next day.
Did you have a market in mind when you started writing the book?
No. I was writing this book because I was homesick, pure and simple as that.
What has surprised you most about this process?
I shouldn’t be, but I am still amazed at how much work authors put into self-promoting.
What would you change if you could?
Crazy, but I want to write, not spend hours each day on planning promotions. I don’t mind some social media, but it is engulfing. I wish I didn’t feel required to partake as much as I do. In my ‘perfect world’, I’d write a whole lot more and let someone else worry about the promoting stuff.
Raven Koynes is a woman in hiding. Years ago she escaped to remote Gull Island Light Station, nestled far away in Lake Superior. She has carved out a life of peace and solitude for herself.
Until famed nature photographer Sebastian Knight arrives–in the height of a nor’easter storm–to document the beauty of Gull Island.
Unsavory treasure hunters also blow in with the storm, determined to find missing cargo from a sunken ship. And they are positive Raven knows where it’s stashed. A power outage from the storm traps everyone at her keeper’s cottage, fellow prisoners of the storm.
Between her attraction to handsome Sebastian and the unwelcome advances and threats of the hunters, Raven is pushed to her limit. Help arrives in the form of a stray German Shepherd Dog, who takes an immediate protective interest in Raven. He becomes her constant shadow and listening ear as she sorts out her growing–and conflicting–feelings for Sebastian.
Meanwhile, Sebastian came to the island looking for treasure as well, in the form of photographs. While he isn’t so sure about missing cargo, he only needs to look at Raven Koynes to know he’s found his own valuable treasure. One he hopes he can hang on to if she learns about his mysterious secret.
Now that Madeline the resident ghost has found out, it’s probably just a matter of time until Raven does too. And with the storm and power outage, no one is going anywhere any time soon.
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry, so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.
Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants, poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.