For my latest Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful B. Ripley. We talked about her most recent release and it’s focus on grief, being inspired by music and poetry, writing stories about people being loved, regardless of what dark places their lives have taken them, and her love of the Boston Bruins.
Over to you B…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m B. Ripley. I’m some kind of weirdo Canadian who lives in the middle of the prairies with a small pile of animals and one husband. I’m obsessed with hockey, horror movies, cats and coffee. I started writing a few years ago and currently have 8 books available with many more on the way soon.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I write all over the place from contemporary to Daddy kink to paranormal and back again. My books tend to be angsty hurt/comfort stories full of emotions and all the feels, plus a little bit of humor to lighten things up every now and then.
Describe your books in only three words.
Emotional. Real. Bold.
Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
My latest release is One More Try, the second book in my Red Door Daddies series. The story is a second chance romance featuring a grieving homeless boy named Tiernan and his heartbroken Daddy named Joel. The book focuses heavily on the cost of grief and centres around Tiernan and Joel reconnecting two years after they are pulled apart by the sudden death of Daniel, who was Joel’s husband, Tiernan’s other Daddy and the third piece of their former relationship.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Halfway Down, the first book in The Boys of Horseshoe Lake series, will always be my favourite book I’ve written. I’ve always called it my heartbook because the subject matter (suicide, childhood trauma, depression and recovery) hits close to home and heart for me. I wanted to write a story that didn’t lead up to the crisis of a suicide attempt by one of the characters towards the end of the book, but started after a suicide attempt and focused on the aftermath where the characters are trying their best to find a way through all of the scary new things they’ve discovered. I will always be proud of Alex and Robin’s story.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I am heavily influenced by music and poetry. Literally every single one of my books has a soundtrack and each character has a theme song or a piece of slam poetry that I listen to when I’m writing about them. As a recovering goth kid who still loves the color black with all her heart, I am also very influenced by offbeat people who do offbeat things. I love tattooed people and pierced people and people who put hats on taxidermied squirrels and have bookcases filled with oddities.
One of the people that made me feel like writing in this genre was a possible thing for me was Riley Hart. I started reading her books and devoured as many as I could back to back, in awe of what she was doing and the stories she was telling. The ones that hit my heart made me realise that maybe there was a space for me with all of my sad yet beautiful men doing their best to survive and find love, so I just went for it.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a writer at heart. I remember staying after school when I was in second grade because we were told to write a story about a secret hidden inside a box and by the time the bell rang at the end of the day, I wasn’t done yet. That story was about a witch and I have always been drawn to ooky spooky, macabre stories about ouija boards, death, monsters, ghosts and demons. It’s pretty hilarious to those who know me well that I write romance novels instead of horror!
My love of writing romance and my pull to create stories about love comes from the people I know in my life. I have had the honor of working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds through my full time job in suicide prevention. The truth that always resonates through is the need for people to feel wanted, loved and important regardless of what dark places their lives and minds have taken them.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I have a full time job so much of my writing is done in the evenings and on weekends, but I am very much an ‘all or nothing’ type of writer. I can go for weeks with a serious writer’s block in which I find myself unable to write a single thing that doesn’t feel like garbage, then sit down and crank out a wild amount of words at once. My record is 15K in a single day and I’ve just adapted to my weird cycle of “no words, no words, ALL THE WORDS, no words, repeat.”
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
The characters! Always the characters. I often start writing them before I even know what their full story is.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Thrown Off The Ice by Taylor Fitzpatrick. It is just such a beautifully written story of love and loss, and is among my all time favorite books.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Angsty hurt/comfort, but I think that’s fairly obvious! I love writing in the raw spaces where life isn’t pretty or perfect and neither are the characters. I’ve always had a soft spot for the broken ones and I love giving them someone who loves them regardless of all their damaged parts.
What would be your three desert island books?
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (it counts as one!)
The Troop by Nick Cutter (Because come on. That’d be a frickin’ hilarious book to have on a deserted island)
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (Aziraphale and Crowley forever)
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I would love to see Haunting With A Ghost turned into a movie. It’s currently my only paranormal book and I love how it turned out so much. Michael Provost was my Bennett as I was writing, and the cover model for the book is exactly how I pictured Landon so if he can act, he’s in!
I also picture Thomas, one of the side characters, as being a blond Timothee Chalamet type, and The Harbinger absolutely has to be played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.
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?
I live for hockey and am a huge fan of the Boston Bruins. Once upon a time, I was a freelance hockey writer who covered the team for a variety of online sources and the highlight of that adventure was getting to do an interview with current Bruin Brad Marchand. Though I have moved away from the writing part of my hockey love, I still pay very close attention to the Bruins and the league as a whole.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Compsognathus. Vicious little squawk chickens for the win!
B. RIPLEY grew up knowing she was meant to tell stories but it wasn’t until much later that she realised those stories were meant to star beautifully flawed people learning who they are, overcoming obstacles, and falling truly, madly and deeply in love. She has a passion for mental health, and spends her days coordinating a suicide prevention program for a national non-profit organization and her nights crafting stories about recovery, resiliency and growth.
For more information on B. Ripley and her work you can visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Instagram. You can also join her Facebook reader group, The B Hive, for more news and updates.