Happy Hump Day!
- Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
My name is John Ryers and I write predominantly dark fantasy. I have written a few short stories in YA and Sci-Fi genres as well. I live in Ontario, Canada with my wife and twin daughters, and work as a graphic designer to pay the bills.
- Please provide the link to your social media:
- How many books have you written?
The Glass Thief is my first novel.
- Has any of your work been published yet?
I have had a couple short stories published in anthologies. You can find links to those stories on my website at: www.johnryers.com
- If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing?
The Glass Thief will be self-published. I see advantages on both sides of the coin regarding traditional or self-publishing, but opted for self-publishing in order to control my rights, cover art, interior design and marketing strategies. As a self-publisher, I can decide the when and where of how I promote my books and that sense of control is very important to me.
- How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I wrote my first story at aged six (complete with amazing (not really) crayon illustrations). It was about my hamster and his inevitable death, and so I’m entirely surprised my favourite genre to write is dark fantasy.
- What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
I need to tell my stories. I have to get them out of my head and onto a page. There are some I never show to anyone but myself, and some I feel have a message others might gain something from. It’s this creative form of communication that keeps me going and gets me through the days when the words are difficult to get out.
- Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favourite author is John Green. It’s his style of writing that I felt a connection to and his books helped me find my own narrative voice. For a while I was floundering with a lack of style and voice and it was through reading his novel A Fault In Our Stars that everything seemed to click for me, despite him not writing anything remotely close to dark fantasy.
- What is your preferred reading method? Why?
I like both equally, but if I had to choose, I’d pick a real book. There’s something about flipping from page to page and feeling the words in your hands that an e-reader just can’t replicate. But at the same time, I can’t keep a thousand books in my house but I can on my Kindle.
- Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
I prefer writing short stories in first-person past and longer works in third-person past. I’ve never really felt a connection to writing in present tense, though I’m not opposed to trying if the story would sound better using it. I also prefer writing a very close third and don’t really care to write in third-person omniscient.
- Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I don’t always read, especially when I’m deep into writing, but I can’t go too long without picking up a book (or e-reader) because I find reading other people’s stories help recharge my creativity. I’d definitely run out of writing steam if I stopped reading altogether.
- How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?
I can only ever read one book at a time. When I get into a story I like, I give it my full attention, and since my reading time is limited, I’d prefer to focus a single story from start to finish and really absorb what the author is trying to say. I also find switching between stories with different narrative voices to be quite distracting.
I’m also a very slow reader, sometimes only getting a single scene in before I crash for the night. I’d say 6-7 books a year is about average these days.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:
- What is the title of your current work in progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
The Glass Thief is my most recent completed manuscript. I came up with the idea in late 2012 and finished final edits in late 2016. There were a lot of lessons learned along the way with this one.
- What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
My genre is Dark Fantasy, and I’ve been told I could classify it under the sub-genre of Heist/Swashbuckling Fantasy. I think my narrative style makes it a little different than the usual dark fantasy tales. It is set in the middle ages but I use anachronistic language that borders on contemporary, and I also implement technology that didn’t exist during that time period such as magical firearms and a steam-powered suit of armour in one particular scene.
- What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
I think I pulled the inspiration for The Glass Thief from my own past, in that, I was a very different person a decade ago than I am today. A lesser person so to speak. The Glass Thief is a story about betrayal and redemption, and I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what your past entailed, you always have the power to set things right, if you truly want to.
- What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?
I’d say my target audience would be adults. There’s some pretty dark moments in The Glass Thief, definitely not suitable for children, but as for how old I’d draw the line? Who knows. There’s so much pain and suffering in the media these days that I don’t think anything in my novel would shock a teen audience.
- Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
The Glass Thief is the story of Del Kanadis, a thief who’s made a name for himself stealing elemental glass throughout his realm, but who owes a heavy debt to the King of Fires. The King of Fires is fighting his own war and requires a certain relic to defeat his enemies. He tasks Del to infiltrate the village where they believe the relic hides, and steal it. So the meat of the story is essentially Del gaining the trust of the villages to find the relic, and then royally screw them over by stealing it.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:
- How often do you write?
I write every weekday from 7am to 8 am. My writing time is very limited having 4-year-old twins to take care of at home, and so I get to work an hour early every day to get my writing in.
- Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I can break 2,000 in that hour. Other times I’m slogging through a paragraph or two before the hour’s up.
- Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I do as much editing on my own as I can before sending it to my beta readers. I want them to have the cleanest version they can, so they can focus on the story instead of the grammatical errors and typos. Once they’ve read it through and I’ve applied all their feedback, I’ll print it out on paper and go over each page one more time. Then my editor gets it and finds the million things I glossed over during my final pass.
- What is your method of writing?
I’ll start with a brief sentence or two outlining each scene I plan to write. Once I have this very rough roadmap, I’ll start writing out the scenes for a first draft. I write in order, so I can maintain the pace and flow in my head as I go. After the first draft, I’ll write a revised draft (which is the longest part) and correct all the plot holes, remove redundant or useless scenes and add more scenes where necessary. After that draft, I’ll write a third in which I add in foreshadowing and tie certain later events back to the beginning for a more organic feel. The fourth draft is after my betas get through it and the fifth and final is the polish that goes to my editor.
- Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?
I don’t think I have a muse, unless life itself is a muse. Life inspires me all the time. Every day I see something that sparks a new story, or an addition to one I’m currently writing.
- How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
Too long. [laughs even though you can’t hear it]. The Glass Thief took me 4 years to write from concept to clicking Publish. The second book in the trilogy will go a lot faster because I know my character and their world better now, and I have a valid starting point to jump off from. I predict less than 2 years for book two.
- Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.
I don’t give myself any time limits. As writers, we struggle enough with self-doubt and motivation that I feel it’s borderline cruel to impose limits like that on ourselves. I suppose a self-imposed deadline does help some, but for me, a missed deadline is something I don’t want to deal with mentally.
- How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?
I use simple names, despite writing fantasy. Single or double syllables put together for a pleasing rhythm when it rolls off the tongue. I love writing Fantasy but I also want it as accessible as possible to people who shy away from that genre. I’d love for more people to read Fantasy and so I want to make it easy on them if they decide to try it with my book.
- How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
Very light. I don’t write a whole lot of notes before diving in. The story is mapped out enough in my head and my 1-sentence scene outlines that it’s enough of a jumping off point for me to get the first draft out.
- Do you have any “must haves” to help you write?
I must have silence. I can’t write with music playing or background noises of any sort. I mean, I can, but I’m far more productive in absolute silence.
- Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?
I’m a graphic designer from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, so I always arrive at work an hour early to write. I have twin 4-year-olds at home that make writing at night a near impossibility. So once my hour at work is up, that’s usually it for the rest of the day.
- Does your real life ever get neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?
My real life really only gets neglected during the final month before a book release. I have an amazing wife who supports me in this and understands that it’s only a month out of many years in which my extra time is consumed. Other than that, I always put family first and writing second.
- What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?
I’m a writer, when am I NOT quirky?
ABOUT YOUR WORK:
- If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?
I have only written one novel to date.
- If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
I think I’d like to be Arisee Moonwater, despite her being the opposite sex. She lives in a secluded forest all to herself and gets to hang out with wildlife amongst the trees all day. Sounds relaxing to me.
- If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?
I’d actually like to see how THEY would cast my characters. I’d be very interested is seeing how my world and the people in it are interpreted through someone else’s eyes. I’d find it fascinating and would leave the casting completely up to them.
- What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
Probably how long certain poisons take to end a life. There’s a lot of herbalism in my stories and some of those herbs aren’t very nice to ingest. I wanted a variety of different types of poisonings to add authenticity to that aspect of the story. I’m sure I’m on several watch lists now.
- What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?
I don’t think I’ve find anything I’ve ever researched to be difficult or hard to swallow. Knowledge is power, and the the more you have the better the writer you’ll be.
Be sure to check out The Glass Thief, available now!
As always, think happy thoughts!