Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood
For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the lovely Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood. They joined me to talk co-writing as husbands, their love of hockey, balancing life with writing, and what they’re working on right now.
Over to you Ryan and Joshua…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Ryan: Hi! I’m Ryan Taylor.
Josh: And I’m Joshua Harwood. Friends call me Josh.
Ryan: As we mentioned in our bio, we’re husbands as well as coauthors. We’ve been writing since 2017 and have published 11 books and 6 audiobooks to date.
Josh: Writing has proven to be a great pleasure, and we’ve learned so much since we began. We hope we never stop growing as authors and storytellers because then it would be time to quit. I’m so glad to be writing romance with the love of my life because there’s no one I’d rather take this journey with.
Ryan: I feel the same way. Marrying Josh is the best thing I’ve ever done, and writing love stories with him is a heady experience.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
We write gay romance stories that are a fusion of sweet, heat, and hard work to find HEAs. Our books are character-driven, and they have interesting, exciting stories in which the plot develops alongside the characters.
Describe your books in only three words.
Exciting stories and characters (okay, that’s four).
What are you working on right now?
Our WIP will be the second book in our new series, Mohegan U Hockey. Until we reveal the title, we’re calling it MUH2. Since it’s a hockey series, the book will obviously involve a hockey player, and we promise depth, comedy, heartwarming scenes, and a hard-earned HEA. We haven’t revealed the characters yet, but here’s a hint: if you’ve read Cracks in the Ice (MUH Book 1) you’ve already met the MCs. We’re having a lot of fun writing the novel. Hopefully, readers will respond as well to it as they have to Cracks in the Ice.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
No fair! This is like asking which child is someone’s favorite.
We’re proud of all of them. For now, let’s say it’s our most recent book, Cracks in the Ice. It has done very well and was our first book to reach number 1 in several categories. We’re proud of the writing, too, which represented a change of direction for the new series, Mohegan U Hockey. There’s more angst in the stories, yet the characters will still “play nicely” with each other all the way through.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Who: Our parents. They taught us to read and modeled reading as a natural part of life. Because of that, we’ve been exposed to excellent stories, fascinating characters, and a variety of writing styles all our lives.
What: Our relationship and each other. Our story of overcoming challenges to find transformational love and an incredibly wonderful life together inspired us to begin writing gay romance. The ongoing growth of our relationship keeps us writing and supplies us with lots of new ideas.
What inspired you to start writing?
See the “what” answer to question 6.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Since we have a family and Ryan works fulltime, we write whenever we can. Weekends are typically when we get the most done, and evenings are generally a loss. Josh writes when he can during the week, and Ryan joins him if possible.
We write in first person from dual points of view. For the first draft, we each choose a main character and write his chapters, each of us waiting until the previous chapter is drafted before writing the next one. After the first draft is complete, we both work on everything, polishing the story and unifying our writing style as we go.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
The characters, no question. We always know where a story is going, but if we focus on developing solid, lovable main characters, along with an interesting cast of supporting characters, the plot follows easily.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Ryan: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Josh: Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
We don’t usually write our stories to conform to a specific trope. Instead, we combine elements of different tropes within the context of a heavily character-driven tale.
That said, we love writing hockey romance. It’s quite versatile, as hockey can be the main focus of a story or simply play an important role. In Cracks in the Ice, Benny was no longer playing hockey but had become a coach, so hockey was still pivotal to the plot. One thing is sure—if we write a hockey book, there will be hockey games with on-the-ice action. We’re avid fans, so there’s just no way around it.
What would be your three desert island books?
These are in no particular order.
Ryan: (1) Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose. (2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (3) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Josh: (1) The Lives of the Great Composers by Harold C. Schonberg. (2) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. (3) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Nice Catching You because it changed the trajectory of our writing, has fantastic characters and a moving story, and deals with timely coming-out issues related to one of our favorite things—hockey.
It’s hard to come up with actors for the main characters, but we’ll try. Let’s go with slightly younger versions of these two: Liam Hemsworth playing Nick Johnson. Chris Colfer playing Jacob Meyer.
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?
Spending time with family and watching hockey whenever possible are big ones. We also love working for good causes, and we enjoy the fine arts whenever we can—especially music (Josh was a professional musician before he went to law school) and art.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Josh: Stegosaurus. They were smart, friendly, and gentle.
Ryan: Maiasaura would be a good one because they were nurturing, as well as good providers and caretakers.
RYAN TAYLOR and JOSHUA HARWOOD met in law school and were married in 2017. Currently, they split their time between Washington, DC and a home in the country, where they live with their family and a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. Ryan also enjoys swimming and photography. Formerly a professional musician, Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. They began writing to celebrate the romance they were so lucky to find with each other, which developed into a passion for telling stories about other gay men finding their own “happily ever afters.”
For more information on Ryan and Joshua and their work you can visit their website, sign up for their newsletter, and also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and you can find each of them on Amazon: Ryan here, and Josh here, and BookBub: Ryan here, and Josh here. You can also join their Facebook Group, Ryan and Josh’s Room, for more news and updates.