Long and Short Reviews welcomes Ryan Field.
Ryan has been writing since he was a child. He wasn’t the best math/science student in grade school or high school.
“I didn’t like anything about math or science; they didn’t like me either,” he admitted. “So I would ask my teachers if I could write papers on something math or science oriented. If they let me, I would try to come up with something creative, regarding math or science, and the teachers would give me extra credit toward my grades. I never got below a B in math or science when I was allowed to do this. I even wrote a paper on graphs in college for a math class I was having problems with. The professor wound up giving me an A and using the paper for her other classes. For me, writing wasn’t always just for pleasure. In some cases it was for survival.”
Most of what he has written, he does under his own name. His photos on the Internet are him, and he’s planning on getting some new ones done soon. He has, however, used pen names, and he thinks they are important to writers for a variety of reasons.
“Some erotic authors have day jobs and they can’t let their employers know about their writing. Some don’t want family or friends to know. I wanted to make this point about pen names so other authors who do use pen names don’t feel bad about doing it,” he explained. “I’ve seen a lot of authors feeling bad about pen names recently and I don’t like it. Authors have been using pen names since the beginning of fiction, for their own personal reasons, and no one should question them about their motivations. Sometimes publishers request an author to use a pen name and they don’t have a choice. There’s almost always a good reason for using a pen name.” The reason Ryan does occasionally is so his readers in specific genres won’t get upset if they pick up a book written in a different genre than they are expecting.
He has two favorite authors, one contemporary and the other more classic, but both who provide perfect examples of excellent fiction—Anne Tyler and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“Their works are tight and clean, without a single word they didn’t need. The narrative is balanced with the dialogue. And the plots are well-planned,” he explained. “You can read their books from cover to cover fifty times and learn something new each time…from a writing standpoint and a creative plot standpoint.”
He doesn’t believe that it’s possible to pinpoint good writing, because it’s too subjective. However, he believes it is possible to spot bad writing.
“If I’m shopping for e-books and I read excerpts and see too many ‘said bookisms,’ on the first few pages of a book excerpt in the dialogue…or dialogue tags with too many adverbs…I know the book is not for me. For example, if I saw this, ‘But why not?’ Jack mumbled quizzically I would not buy the book. The ‘said bookism’ and the adverb combined (one or the other is bad enough) makes my skin crawl,” he told me. “I’m also not a huge fan of authors who don’t use dialogue tags at all. It’s confusing. Who’s speaking? They are taking me out of the story and making me go back and figure out who is saying what. And I probably wouldn’t read a book that is more dialogue than narrative, at least not if I saw an excerpt and glanced at it. Dialogue should only be used to explain something or move the story forward. Dialogue without any reason just slows the book down and makes the reader wander.”
Ryan usually starts thinking about both plot and characters while he’s still working on another book. And, he takes notes on everything he can find—from napkins to his iPhone. Once he actually start a new book (always on a Friday, by the way), he lets the characters take control.
“More often than not, a character will lead me in a completely different direction than I’d planned originally,” he said.
“What’s your writing space like,” I asked.
“I laugh whenever someone asks me this. I owned a few businesses and did well buying and selling real estate in the 1990’s…back when you could still do that. I have a large home with more space than I really need and I could have a fantastic killer office in more than one place. However, my writing space, the place where I feel the most comfortable, is down in the empty, unfinished section of my basement, beside the washer and dryer, under steel beams and unfinished ceilings. It’s a plain white room with cinder block walls, glass block windows, and a concrete floor. It’s void of everything, there isn’t even basement junk (I hate clutter). People think I’m nuts. But it’s my comfort zone. And, my laundry is always done on time.”
He’s usually up at six every morning and runs for about four miles. He starts writing around nine and works until four or five in the afternoon. Then, he edits every night between nine and midnight.
“I’m lucky because I’ve never required more than four or five hours of sleep at night,” he told me. “I usually take weekends off for ‘life’ things and errands, cleaning the house and caring for the property. But I’ve been known to work seven days a week at certain times of the year.”
He doesn’t have the social life he’d like to have because of putting work first, and that’s hard on him. But, he said, “It’s just the way I’m wired. The work comes first.”
“What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?” I wondered.
“Sometimes things that I write as pure fiction wind up coming true. And they are usually very personal things, so I can’t go into detail. But I’ve learned to stop before I write something and think about whether or not there will be any consequences…or if there’s even a chance this might really happen in real life. It doesn’t happen all the time, where things come true. But it’s happened enough to freak me out a little more than once.”
Finally, I asked, “How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?”
“This is an excellent question. I think I do this is because I try not to read too many authors in my genre. I love m/m romance, and sometimes this kills me when a book is released and I want to read it. But I don’t like reading too much m/m romance as a rule because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone. My reading tastes are eclectic. I’m just as likely to read a volume of Toni Morrison books as I am to read a volume of romance novels. And because I also have a few pen names, and write in different genres, I try to keep my own reading habits across the board, so to speak.”
About the Author: Ryan Field is a fiction writer who has worked in publishing for almost twenty years. He has worked as an assistant editor and editor for magazines and non-fiction publishers. And aside from writing over eighty-four distinct published works, his short stories have been published in anthologies and collections by Alyson Books and Cleis Press. His short story, “Down the Basement,” is part of a collection of short stories in the Lambda Award winning book, BEST GAY EROTICA 2009. He blogs at www.ryan-field.blogspot.com. You can follow him on twitter @ryanfield. And on facebook, goodreads, or Google+, under Ryan Field.
In this ninth stand alone book in The Virgin Billionaire series, Jase decides to attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion and winds up going through a mid-life crisis that leaves Luis absolutely baffled.
Although Luis has doubts about attending Jase’s reunion, he knows he doesn’t have much of a choice. Besides, he’s curious about what the hot, young version of Jase was like in high school, before he had a billion dollar empire!
But Luis soon learns more about the young, over-sexed Jase than he ever thought he would, when he ends up unconscious at the reunion, barely able to breathe. When he wakes up, he’s back in the year 1986, and handsome eighteen year old Jase is standing over him in a football uniform.
With this odd reversal of fortune, will Luis really find out what it was like to be with Jase before he had money and power? Or will the bizarre events that happen to Luis back to l986 ruin his perfect future with Jase forever?