For today’s author interview, please welcome Ryanne Hawk, author of The Inked Menace Series, Aurelia Fridell Series, and Cordelia Kelly Series. She writes The Hot Lunch Series and random short fiction as author ER Pierce!
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Welcome to PNRLovers, Ryanne.
Tell us about yourself.
I write to escape being a mother to four children aged 5, 7, 9, and 11. I have seven tattoo’s, purple streaks in my hair, a love affair with yoga, and am addicted to caffeine laced smoothies in the morning. I am a procrastinator and I write when I’m overwhelmed with feelings, turning the swirling energy into prose. My family has a (rescue) dog, a cat, and a bunch of chickens running around the yard.
Other than writing, what other life-long dreams do you have? Any plans to make them into reality?
I’d like to become a Shaman Reiki Healer, and I’ve already taken steps in that direction. I’ve completed Reiki II (Usui/Holy Fire) and my next journey will be into Shaman Reiki I, and II. I enjoy going to drum circles, using essential oils and smudge sticks, and meditating. I have animal spirit guides (A hawk, Eagle, Fox, and a Skunk)
Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb (Or Gordon and Ilona Andrews) I’d ask Nora how on earth she manages to write such compelling characters (both villains and heroes) and I’d ask Ilona and Gordon how they come up with amazing worlds that feel so real, yet are so far fetched.
From conception to end product, how long does it take you to write and publish a book? How many different steps does it take to get you to the polished book the readers get to enjoy?
It varies series to series for me. I wrote the Hot Lunch stories (as ER Pierce) in a few hours each, though they are only 3-10K each. The Inked Menace Series (Ryanne Hawk) took me about a week for Lucky, and about a month for Oliver. The editing, cover art etc took another few weeks to get just right, not including my beta readers picking through and giving me their feedback. Fractured Moon took me about three months to write the original version, and Moon Justice took about a six weeks.
What’s been the most gratifying experience for you as an author?
Knowing someone has read my work. It’s such a trip. I get a simultaneous thrill and terror jolting through my blood.
I’ve gotten better the more I write and publish. My first story (The original Fractured Moon) tanked because back in 2012, I thought all I’d have to do was hit publish and watch the money roll in. I got a rude awakening to say the least. I’d say on average I devote an hour or so per day to advertising now. It’s hard not to feel like a spammer when you’re advertising in certain places, it’s all about how you present yourself, and finding the balance.
Some people love them, other people hate them. What’s your take on cliff-hangers? Do you write them?
I know, from a logical stand-point, that cliff-hangers work, they encourage readers to buy your next book (if they need to know and you’ve done your job as an author) but personally, I don’t like cliff-hangers, so I try to wrap up the big hangers, and sometimes leave a few little things dangling.
And now for the silly… if you had to choose a character from a book (yours or someone else’s), who would you pick to be the most like you personally? Why?
Aurelia Fridell from Fractured Moon is probably the most like me. She struggles with her identity and feeling lost in the world. At the time I wrote the series, I felt much the same way. Her family dynamic was one I always wished I’d had growing up. I liked watching her self-esteem and confidence grow within the series, and when she turned from the hunted to the hunter I cheered for her. I think we all want that to an extent. We all want to feel safe and secure in our own skin.
What’s in the works for you right now? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
I’m working on Cole, Inked Menace #3. I took a hiatus over the summer, but I’m jumping back in so I can finish the story and share him and Madga with the world as soon as I get back from San Diego, CA.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Sure. Here is a bit from Chapter One in Cole. This is unedited, raw, and subject to change.
Magda O’Leary became aware of her surroundings in a flourish. Her jaguar lengthened its lethal claws in her mind and hissed, then aided Magda’s healing as a clock ticked to her left, and the salty air of the ocean wafted up her nose. She didn’t dare blink open her eyes, instead she feigned sleep in order to fool the stupid humans who’d captured her, giving herself a moment of peace before they started all over again. She inhaled.
The bitter scent of ammonia and the coppery twang of blood weren’t present in the same space as her, but a light floral scent, jasmine maybe, along with a spice she couldn’t name soothed her senses. Confusion settled in her bones. A second ticked by. Then another as she strained to figure out her current surroundings. A bird crowed. A few bells chimed in the distance.
“I know you’re awake,” a male voice said to her left. His deep rumble washed over her body in silky waves. “You’re safe here. As soon as you’re ready, we’ll remove the fluid line. We’ve flushed the toxins from your system, so you should heal any physical damage quickly enough.”
His tone set off alarm bells in her mind. She could almost see the seething way his lips moved and the clenched fists at his sides. Magda wasn’t sure who this man was, or where they’d taken her.
The man sighed, and his feet shuffled against the floor as he shifted closer. “I’m a shifter like you. I know you’re scared, but we rescued you from the lab. I’ll leave so you can open your eyes and see for yourself.”
A fan of air brushed by her cheek, bringing the earthy scent of male and the spice that made her want to inhale deeper. Her body trembled without her consent and then panic seized her limbs and she screamed.
Magda bolted from the bed, arms raised in front of her face as she blew a long strand of her flaming hair from her line of vision. She scanned the large bedroom for threats. Her brain went into overdrive. One second to unsheathe my claws. She quickly glanced around the deceptively cheery space. Three seconds to bound off the bed and puncture his neck. Her eyes strayed down his sculpted body. Two seconds to slash his femoral artery.
Five seconds to freedom, only one question dominated the remaining space in her head. It took her a moment to judge the distance from him to the exit.
“Where is my daughter?” She tried not to choke on the words. A lump formed in her throat but she was trained never to show emotions, and so she tucked her chin to gain an edge.
Her eyes landed on the man on the far side of the room, his large body leaned against the wall, hands splayed on the plaster behind him as his dark eyes roamed her face. He licked his lips and cleared his throat.
He stayed steady and didn’t emit any distrustful frequency. The man tilted his head to the side. “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”
Vice would be proud of her for staying cool under dire circumstances. Magda felt naked without her weapons. Not that she needed them. Her claws were more than enough.
The scientists knew, though. That’s how she’d gotten sent to the cage. She’d gone berserk once they’d ripped her daughter from her hands and hauled her away to god knew where after her little display of magic.
“She’s seven,” Magda said, her voice cracking as maternal agony wove strands of pain through her heart and tore her throat with lumps the size of oranges. She clenched her fists and straightened her spine. Refusing to give in to the negative swarm threatening to invade her stomach.
“We’ll find her. I promise.”
He peeled himself away from the wall and kept his movements slow. He lifted his hands to show her his palms and moved closer toward the lone door in the room. To Magda’s right, a wall of mirrors hinted at hidden closets, but there was no bathroom in sight.
A slight sting on her inner arm made her glance down, noticing the clear fluids pumping fuck knew what into her veins. She grabbed the plastic tubes and pulled them from her arm so they’d no longer hinder her movements.
“Where are we,” she asked and inched closer to the door on light toes. The wood was cold beneath her bare feet.
There was a recliner stationed near her bed. The man glanced at it, then rubbed a hand over his nearly bald head. His dark hair was buzzed, shorn close to his scalp. “I won’t stop you from running. I’m not here to hurt you.” He walked slowly to the chair and eased down, his eyes never straying from hers.
A myriad of messages passed from him to her, but she wasn’t equipped to process them at the current moment as every fiber inside her cried out that she must flee and rescue Merida before it was too late.
Her hands clenched and her legs tensed as she rotated her wrists to warm them up just in case he lied. She needed more information. “How long have I been here?”
“You’ve been out for five days.”
She nodded, mostly to herself, trying to pin down dates, although a few days got lost to a haze of drugs and terrifying torture that she did not want to remember. She’d fall apart later. After Merida was safe.
“It’s Sunday, June 26th,” he said, almost as if he were reading her mind.
Twenty days, she thought. They had us for ten or twelve, I’ve been here for five, plus the transport from Ireland to the US. Her brain hurt and she rubbed at her temple.
“Did you rescue any others?”
“If you come downstairs and eat some food, I’ll share information with you. You’ll do better to hunt on a full stomach.”
He was right, but how did she tell her brain to stop drawing up worse case scenarios in favor of harnessing all the Intel and food she could manage, first? It was an epic battle between her animal, her mind, and her heart.
Somewhere out there, her daughter was lost, scared, and alone, probably wondering why her momma hadn’t come for her yet, or sadder, thought she was dead.
Magda let her animal slide closer to the surface to lend her strength and keep the human thoughts at bay. They’d serve no purpose wallowing and playing the, as her mom liked to say when she were younger, the ‘what-if’ game.
There was no such thing as what if. There was action, and stagnation. You either made decisions or you sat idly by and waited for some divine miracle that would never show.
Magda stood straight and smoothed a hand down the nightgown she wore. “Okay. I’ll bite.”
“Good. Come downstairs when you’re ready. There are clothes in the closet behind the mirror, I think you’ll be able to find something suitable to your own taste. There are shoes as well. If you want weapons later, just ask.”
Apparently, my websites were hacked, but I’m working on restoring them after Turkey Day! Here is my newsletter direct link: http://eepurl.com/DUgEv