Author Spotlight: A E Ryecart

To kick of June, I have another fabulous Author Spotlight for you. This time, I’m thrilled to be joined by British author, A E Ryecart who’s here to tell us more about herself and her writing. 

So, I’ll hand it over to Ali…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello, I’m A E Ryecart (Ali for short). I’m a London girl, through and through, which is why all but one of my books are set in the Big Bad City. I’ve been at this writing gig for five years now, and blame getting a Kindle for Christmas. I had no idea the MM world existed but, excited at getting to know Mr Kindle, I downloaded an MM shifter book, thinking what is this all about…? I was hooked and reeled in.

When I’m not writing you can usually find me drinking wine, eating cake, and thinking up new and ingenious ways to torture my poor boys. And not necessarily in that order.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Chaotic, in a word. But, I’m making valiant attempts to be more methodical and to plot and plan more. Of course I’ll be able to do it. I’m an optimistic glass-half-full type. Really.

The one thing I will never be cured of, and have no wish to be, is being an out of order writer. Many of my author friends run screaming for the hills when I tell them that. Chapters one – five in the bag. But then chapters 15, 17, and 21 call. Then I’ll hop over to chapters 8, 10, and 11. I think you can see where I’m going with this. Seriously, though, writing out of order works wonders for me as my brain starts to seize up like a rusty engine if I try to tie myself into writing in a linear fashion.

Describe your books in only three words.
Challenging. Angsty. Emotional.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
Funny you should ask me this, because I’ve just released Faking It. This is the second in my Rent Boys series but can absolutely be read as a stand alone, just as all my books can.

The fake boyfriend trope is very important but the book is about much more than the bogus relationship the leads, Toby and Ben, enter into for a family wedding. They are hugely attracted to each other but they back off and deny their feelings for – reasons you’ll need to read the book to find out about! Found family plays a key role, as does the idea that finding love leads to salvation and redemption. Oh, Toby is also very, very posh. I love a posh boy. If a posh boy is mentioned in a blurb it’s pretty much a one-click for me.

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Tricky. If pressed, I’d have to say Perilous Hearts. This is the third in my Deviant Hearts series, which is romantic suspense.

I didn’t set out to write romantic suspense (remember what I said about being a chaotic writer?) but the first in the series, Captive Hearts, kind of went in that direction so I followed.  I was pleased with the result and ramped up the suspense element in each of the subsequent two books. By the time I got to Perilous Hearts the suspense element was off the charts because it’s pretty much a psychological thriller wound around a friends-to-lovers romance. Honestly, I didn’t know I had it in me to be so nasty and cruel to my characters, scaring them half to death… Yep, I loved writing Perilous Hearts!

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Layered, nuanced, and multifaceted are my three favourite words when it comes to writing, and I try my best to make these key to my stories and characters, particularly so in my heavier, more angsty books. I blame an author called Mary Renault.

Mary died some years ago, but I discovered her books in my teens and although styles of writing change over time, she’s my touchstone when it comes to my three favourite words because she achieved them every single time. She was an incredible author. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Captive Prince series, you will want to rush off and read Mary’s novel about Alexander the Great (fade to black because of the era in which she wrote). But that doesn’t matter because she always achieved layered, nuanced and multifaceted.

What inspired you to start writing?
I read a book and it changed my life.

Be A Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell sowed the seed that I could do something other than commute into London each day. I didn’t throw up my job, but the idea had been planted and gnawed away in the back of my head.

I’d always fancied the idea of writing but LIFE kind of got in the way, and I tucked the idea away. But, LIFE took an unexpected turn. My job was made redundant and the one thing I had in abundance all of a sudden was time. All those tamped-down thoughts came flooding back. I wrote my first book, Imperfect, in longhand. Yes, I used a pen and paper then typed it up. All 70,000 words. I did get a new job, but only stuck it for 6 months because by then I knew I’d found what it was I was meant to be – and that wasn’t a Human Resources Manager!

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I treat writing as a full-time job, so I get myself behind a desk and work harder than I ever did in a day job. My desk isn’t always at home, but sometimes at my favourite café, and I like that I can mix my working environment up.

On a typical day, when I open up my computer first thing, I have a large mug of coffee with me. It’s kind of become a ritual. And then I plunge in and dig away at the words. I don’t do sprints, i.e. fast and furious for 30 minutes, then take a break, I just plug away.

I write my first draft in Scrivener because it’s great for out of order writers like me, then transfer over to Word for editing. I used to start very early in the morning but now I find I’m generally more productive if I start a little later, some time between 8.30 am – 9.30 am.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Both, if that isn’t a cop-out answer. Often, I get a line of dialogue in my head and that will kick-start an idea and a character. That first line generally won’t make it into the finished book, but it’s the seed from which everything else grows.

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Double tricky. If I’m going to pick from MM, it would have to be Regularly Scheduled Life by K. A. Mitchell. It’s a definite re-read for me, and an all-time favourite. Lots ‘n’ lots ‘n’ lots of lovely sexual tension!

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Opposites attract because it’s so wide, providing lots of juicy opportunity. Narrowing it down a tad, I really like it when there’s a social disparity, where the main characters are at different ends of the spectrum, such as rich boy/poor boy which gets me every time.

What would be your three desert island books?
Regularly Scheduled Life by K. A. Mitchell
The Captive Prince trilogy (which I’m counting as one!) by C. S. Pascat
Curfew by Phil Rickman – a creepy supernatural, because there are other genres besides MM. Allegedly.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Perilous Hearts because it would make great late night viewing with a drink and the lights turned low.

Freddie Fox for Jamie, the character who’s being stalked and gaslighted, but for his friend Ed… hmmm… I really don’t know. He’d have to be a tough, no nonsense type. And hot. Very hot. Can you tell I don’t watch TV or films much???

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
In more normal times, I love spin classes and swimming. I used to do a lot of glass painting which I’ve rather neglected recently even though it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve also got a keen interest in wine and have taken a few courses in the past, and have a fair few books on the subject. The only trouble is, I just end up drinking too much of the stuff because I don’t believe in not swallowing.

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
No contest. Winosaurous, closely followed by Cakeosaurous.

I used to tell my stories to myself. Now I tell them to the world.
The stories I only ever told myself were set in a world where boy met boy, where best friends became more, where the hero rescued not the damsel but the hot guy he’d been secretly crushing on.
I wanted to read those stories. I craved to read those stories. But those stories weren’t out there. Or that’s what I thought, until one Christmas, when I unwrapped a shiny new e-reader. All it took was a few clicks, and my world changed forever.
I found my tribe.
But there is life outside of MM & gay romantic fiction in all its configurations. Allegedly.
When I’m forced to switch off the trusty, faithful word machine, there’s a husband to feed and talk to, pubs to drink in, and cake to eat. I love to do all those things and more, before I rush back to write all the words.
I’m a Londoner, born and bred, but I now live just outside the big bad city but close enough to hop on a train so I can get my regular metropolitan fix.

You can find AE RYECART on BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her website (where you can also sign up for her newsletter), as well as her Facebook Reader’s Group: Talking RoMMance with a British Accent .

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A E Ryecart joins us for the first of our June Spotlights to talk about her latest release, her influences and the book that changed her life.