Welcome Ryan Jo Summers!
Tell us about what you write.
I write contemporary romance, both novels and shorter stories. The sub-genres are mish-mashed. I like to write clean, wholesome and sweet romance, or mystery, suspense, shifter, time travel, Christian, or any combination of these. The full length novels are stand-alone, the shorter ones might be stand alones too or part of anthology collections with various publishers.
I also write non-fiction and women's fiction/metaphysical. I self-published a blog-to-book about the first two years with my adopted PTSD collie, Ty, to encourage pet adopter's coping with pets suffering from past trauma or people thinking of adopting a pet with emotional issues. I write non-fiction for local, regional, and national magazines. The topics range from pet and animal issues to devotionals to women's issues and many things in between.
What was your inspiration for "September's Song"?
A friend sent me an email a few years ago with a series of random photographs. One photo resonated with me. It was a young boy handing a presumably homeless man a Styrofoam meal. It was winter time, they were both bundled up. The man looked to be a veteran. The boy was only scene from the back, however, his stance said a lot, as did the wonderment on the man's face. That image never left me and became the inspiration for “September's Song.”
Do you find inspiration in your own life for writing?
I am blessed to be able to find inspiration anywhere. It's astounding to my friends how and where I find it. Many years ago a friend was showing me photos of her recent trip to New England. One photo was of the Grafton Inn. As soon as I saw the cupola on top of the inn, I immediately envisioned a fight scene for a book I was currently working on. I went back home and added a night rooftop shoot-out fight scene for my third novel, "When Clouds Gather."
One night, Valentine's, I was driving home along a two-lane road. In the middle of the road lay a perfect condition bouquet of red roses. Imagining what it was doing in the middle of the road, late Valentine's night led to me writing the short novella, "Glimpse Eternity." Seeing a plumber's van, called Coyne's Plumbing, turning the corner while parked at a traffic light led me to incorporate a treasure-hunting scene and a change of my heroine's last name in the story, "Chasing the Painted Skies." The list just goes on and on. Most of my character's cars, hobbies, and other personal details are usually inspired by observations, conversations, songs, etc....
Tell us about your path to publication.
I started with small presses in 2012 and have published with four of them so far and have been very pleased with them. My non-fiction blog-to-book (“Ty’s Journey”) and women’s fiction novel ("September's Song") are both self-published. I decided against pitching these these book babies of mine. There were loads of steps and decisions and expenses along the way that are usually covered by or discussed with houses, that I had to handle myself. Having been multi-published already was a huge help in making those endless little but important decisions.
Any new projects on the horizon?
My goodness yes!. In no particular order…I am dipping my toe into the genre of horror/thriller and writing a short story to contribute to an anthology collection. I am actually using the project as a catharsis coping devise to some personal news I need to work through. It's cheap therapy.
I have a spot saved for November 2019 with Melange Books to release a time travel romance novel. I need to get it finished. Late 2018 I signed with The Wild Rose Press to release a series of shorter works based on a family on the North Carolina coast: three sisters, their brother, and eventually extended cousins, all finding true love in a small town. Contracts are signed for three so far, edits are at various stages, book 4 is planned and being written, and books 5 & 6 are being planned now.
((Wow! That’s a lot of books ahead for you!))
Lastly, I have been included in a 6 volume series with a new publisher. The pace for that series is fast and furious. I’m a regular contributing author for The Asheville Pet Gazette so I have six articles a month I write for them. And I have been invited to write both fiction and non-fiction for The Cassette (magazine). I have had a few articles published with them already and need to submit more. All this takes time. Additionally, I review books for two professional book reviewers and I create graphic designs each month for one of them. So I stay busy. Very busy!
Now for a fun character interview!
Today we are joined by Father Patrick who runs a homeless shelter in Chicago. Good day, Father, and thank you for joining us.
FP: Tis good to be here.
So tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be over this shelter.
FP: I suppose it was back about fifteen years ago, and I grew weary of me regular clergy duties. Mass was mundane, confessions were commonplace, and I felt a stirring within me. Fate and Divine Intervention led me to both the need for a shelter in my district and the brick building we can call home.
That’s super. It’s always good to see a need fulfilled. I imagine you see a lot of interesting people in your line of work?
FP: Indeed I do. So many broken souls and wounded bodies. Many damaged from the different wars, and unable to find their footing. Some stay a while, and others just a short bit. They all have their stories to tell. My job is to help them find their stories and share them. Sometimes all that takes is a good pot of soup, a warm bed, and a listening ear. Oh, a spot of hot tea as well.
I’m sure. It’s hard to beat soup and tea. Can you tell us about Keegan London? He was not your normal, everyday homeless man, was he?
FP: (Shakes head) The moment Keegan London crossed the door, I knew he was someone different. He came in as many a stray lamb does, but there was a diverse look to him. He wore the cloak of a military man, but he claimed no such service. He had nothing to claim, not even a memory. One might say he twas in the field when luck is on the road.
Umm, yes, sure. He didn’t have even a memory? That’s strange.
FP: Aye, indeed. The poor lad recalled nothing of his life before coming to our humble shelter. However, there was a feisty, be-freckled miss who insisted they were married. She found him at our shelter, said he died five years ago, and overrode all the lad’s hesitations. She badgered through them.
Hesitations? If he had someone saying they were married, why was he hesitant? Seems to me he would welcome someone who could assist him with recovery.
FP: Aye, one might. And Ivey was the type, when she wasn’t fishing, she was mending her nets. But there’s not a wise man without fault and Keegan had demons. They pursued him when he ventured away from the shelter. They wanted him back from wherever he came, badly. And he had powers. Frightening, unexplainable telekinesis abilities. Because of those…issues, he was reluctant to go to the home and family Ivey offered him. He was reluctant to stay at the shelter much. Poor Ivey, strong lass that she was, had her hands full. Keegan was the type to bust his shin on a chair that’s not in his way.
(Slowly) I see. So, wow, yes, I would think they both have a lot on their plates. And trying to resurrect a marriage from five years ago. And you said he had died? Where and how do they even start?
FP: (shrugs) Bang on. Where and how indeed? And the lass, Ivey, had a new romance bubbling on the stove and a constant fit with her brother over custody of their dear Alzheimer’s mother, and she and Keegan shared a young son. She was not one to be trifled with when it comes to her family. And no man ever wore a scarf as warm as the woman he loves with her arm about his neck. Under the shelter of each other, people survive. And Ivey and Keegan London are survivors, in spite of all the wedges between them.
Father Patrick, thank you for joining us. Best of luck for your continual success at the shelter.