For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the lovely RM Neill. We talked about doing two releases in five days, supportive teachers, making her own cards, and improv on paper!
Over to you RM…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! Thanks so much for having me here! I would totally have brought your dogs a gift if this was an in person thing, LOL.
Right, so, I’m RM Neill and I like to call myself a quirky Canuck who drinks more coffee than I should, and sometimes yells at chipmunks to get out of the strawberry bushes.
Other than that, I’m a mom to a ten year old daughter and wife of 23 years to my own personal superman. I’m an avid golfer, gardener and I love to fish!
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
So, just like in real life, I don’t have much style. I’m literally the person who sits at the keyboard with an idea and just types. I’m like one of those monkeys in a room full of typewriters, but cuter. And less hairy.
Most of my books start with one idea and I just create as I go. It’s not perfect and gets kind of messy sometimes, but that’s also just like me. It works so I keep it that way.
Describe your books in only three words.
Quirky. Emotional. Fun
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
Yes! I’ve actually had two recent releases 5 days apart. I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone considering it and I hope future RM remembers this message.
The final book in my Sheltered Connections Series, Drawn In By You came out September 29. It’s a rather emotional journey of a man struggling with depression and finally allowing himself to be loved by someone. It’s a theme I think many struggle with and can relate to. I had a lot of tears writing it, because I hated the series ending, but I was so happy to have Travis find his HEA.
And last week on Oct 3, my very first paranormal romance released! It’s called Baking with A Ghost and it’s a story about finding your soulmate when he’s already dead. Love that transcends everything. It’s part of the Haunted Love collaboration with 8 other authors and I had so much fun writing it. It’s sweet and sexy and completely unique. It even includes a recipe, LOL.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Oh, that’s a tough one, but I’ll say Take Shelter with Me.
Jacob lived in my brain for a full year until I finally found the perfect guy for him. I challenged myself to address all the issues he had been carrying his whole life. He’s my sweetheart with a love of lavender and he and Matts are my darlings.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
When I was ten, I told my teacher I wanted to write a book like a Nancy Drew story. Her name was Mrs. Gold and she was awesome. She told me I could do it if I put in the effort. I don’t know how many pieces of paper I wasted, but I tried and of course gave up like 99% of ten year olds do. Fast forward to highschool and it’s now grade ten. I did a project for my English class which was creating a tabloid and the more outrageous the story, the better. I had so much fun with that project. My teacher, Ms. Wood, told me I was funny and I was very creative. She encouraged me to keep “playing” and I wrote bits of crappy poetry for the school paper and some that I never showed a soul. But those two teachers, I’ve never forgotten them and their encouragement to keep trying.
I’m not going to name authors or quote Shakespeare, because I admire anyone who can create with words. These two ladies saw something in me before I recognized it myself and I owe them a thanks for pointing it out.
What inspired you to start writing?
I fell back in love with reading again in 2018 and I discovered the whole world of indie publishing. I had no idea it was even a thing and I was missing out on so many amazing authors! Reading so much again really woke up the writing bug. For the first time in years I thought about all the stories I used to tell myself in my head and I finally thought… what if I just tried to write them down finally? Hearing about all these amazing self published authors finding success and gaining a fan base and creating works that brought people away from their own lives for just a little bit was inspiring. That fired me up to make my own mark and to get people to smile and forget about their reality, even for a little bit. I just like to make people smile and laugh and feel good, writing was one way to do that.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
A perfect writing day is up with the rooster and meditation for thirty minutes. I drop my daughter at school and I’m at my laptop by 9.30am most days. As long as I can do 4 sprints before noon, I’m happy with the day. If the words are flowing sometimes I write until 5pm. If they aren’t I use the afternoon to make graphics, check on ads and all that boring stuff we never want to do. Oh, and make Tiktok videos for people to laugh at, I need that every day too. Also another way to make people smile :-).
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Most of the time it’s the characters. I’ll have some crazy idea or meet someone and think, he’d make a great character. Then the characters tell me the plot when I throw out a situation. It’s like improv on paper, LOL. It’s not ideal but it works. I’ve tried so many times to be a plotter and I just can’t.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I don’t have any, because if I had written it, it wouldn’t be the same book.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I had to think about this for a while, because there’s several. Ultimately it comes down to hurt/comfort because I love the part where the broken one gets put back together by the perfect person. (But grumpy/sunshine is a super close second)
What would be your three desert island books?
Can I say Lord of the Flies? Am I stranded or just there for a bit? I’ll say I’m just visiting the island because if I’m stranded that’s three completely different books.
I’m not one for the classics, never did like too many of them. But Animal Farm by George Orwell is a favourite. Then I’d say, I need something hot so Try by Ella Frank is in there and I’d need to laugh and have an easy time of it, so the complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes. I love those guys.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Well, this is awkward. I really don’t watch much TV or movies anymore. I’m a sports watcher or nothing. But I think I can pull something together here.
I’ll go with Finding the Right Forever. Ryan Reynolds would be the perfect Parker as a sunshine baker. The Rock would be hilarious as grumpy coffee shop owner Owen.
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?
Well, it’s not a secret I don’t think, but I’m a huge scrapbooker and card maker. I love any kind of paper crafting actually. So much so that I used to own a store and when I closed it due to covid, well, I didn’t want to part with a lot so it’s all in my basement! When I can’t write or need to be creative with something other than words, that’s what I do.
I like to make just because or snarky cards to send to friends and I also hand make Christmas cards for readers.
I did have a passion to play the guitar, but one round of guitar hero cured that obsession easily.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
I love dinosaurs, it’s hard to pick! If you come to Canada you need to visit the Royal Tyrrell dinosaur museum, it’s amazing.
Ok, my favourite dinosaur is a Brontosaurus. I’ve always loved their long necks and thought they were cute.
RM NEILL: I’m a wife, mom, animal lover and a hopeless romantic. I want my stories to make you smile, swoon and snort laugh, but not necessarily in that order.
I hope I can be the author you turn to when you need a story to make you laugh, or add light to an otherwise dark day.
Coffee always wins, you can’t change my mind.
For more information on RM Neill and her work you can visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, and also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, BookBub, Amazon, and TikTok. You can also join her Facebook Group, Neill’s Naughty List, for more news and updates.