Today I am interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Ryan Jo Summers, about her latest release, Beside Still Waters!
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I started when I was ten, taking a family situation and moving it to pen and paper, then colored pencils to illustrate it. At the time, it was a coping skill, now I see it as my first writing. A few poems followed. Then short stories. Finally novels in my mid teens. I did not get serious about becoming a writer until my early 20’s, and it still waxed and waned on life events like marriage, children, building a home and business and family. In the mid 2000’s, I found myself alone and turned to writing full time to fill the voids. It started paying off in short article publications and free lance work.
Q: Tell us about your road to publication.
A: It began in the mid to late 2000’s with magazine articles, devotionals, opinion and humor pieces. Still, I submitted short works and novels. One memoir took honorable mention in a national contest. No cash but a nice nod of acknowledgment. Finally, in 2012 I sold my first novel to Black Lyon Publishing. It was a contemporary/ paranormal/ mystery romance. That poured gasoline on the fire to write and publish more. I was starving to write and be a published author! In 2013 Soul Mate Publishing offered contracts for my second and third novels– a Christian time travel and a mystery romance respectively. Soul Mate then took a novella for their Christmas anthology in 2015 and released another two novels. I signed with Melange Books last year to release two novellas (one came out in Feb 2016) and a short story for their Food and Love anthology. It’s been a real roller coaster of a ride since 2012 but I am not complaining. Four years of living a dream come true!
Q: What advise would you give aspiring authors?
A: Never give up! Learn your craft. Be honest. Submit only your best work when it’s ready, to the right places. Research before you submit. Keep writing something. If you block on your masterpiece, find something else to write short term. Writing is a never ending road of learning, working and keeping your eyes open to opportunities.
Q: Tell us about your latest release.
A: “Beside Still Waters” is a Christian romance. While I like writing all sorts of romance–mystery, sweet, paranormal, and suspense– I must admit Christian and time travel are my two favorites. Both to read and write, actually.This book was inspired by a photo in a fashion catalogue. I work for a fashion company, and was leaving through a catalogue a few years ago. There was the model, a handsome young male, displaying corduroy pants. He sat in a high backed chair, soft light spilling over him, as he pretended to read from a book. Literary classics were staged, piled around him. The scene stuck with me and started the seeds for “Beside Still Waters”.
Top Journalist and corporate climber, McKayla Buchanan, is sent to a remote California mountain camp for inner-city, at-risk teens. Accustomed to political corruption and high-society drama assignments, she is suddenly a fish out of water. At Camp In As Much, she meets eight hostile and distrustful teens, assorted volunteers and rescued horses—and Clay.
Clay Michaels is the man who founded Camp In As Much and made it the success it is now. His hope for the highly recommended journalist is to come and write a feature to send seeds out to form other camps like his nationwide. He never considered the reporter would turn out to be a lovely woman, or for him to have such an attraction to her.
Between McKayla’s worldly experience and Clay’s strong faith, they form a partnership to help with the endless challenges of the kids. While McKayla’s assignment is supposed to be temporary, it isn’t long before she and Clay are each wishing it could last longer. A serious situation will force McKayla to decide if she can give up her worldly ways and place her faith in the same higher source that earthy and godly Clay does.
“I’d say you’re there now. At least Heather and Amanda and Herb think so.”
He smiled, a warm, real smile that touched her heart. “Thank you. But I also want to be remembered as a man who gave love and forgiveness to everyone I met. That is what I am trying to show these kids, by being a good example. And suggesting they forgive their transgressors.”
She looked out the window for a moment. “Would you like to take a walk with me? To the labyrinth?”
“I’d love to.” Climbing out of the chair, he brought her up with him.
“All right,” she laughed, “Let’s go then, Captain Ahab.”
“Bligh,” he corrected, keeping her hand in his. “Bligh was commander on The Bounty. Ahab chased the whale in Moby Dick.
“Oh.” That sounded right. She needed to brush up on her literature.
Walking hand in hand through the darkness, following the path illuminated by the moon overheard, McKayla was keenly aware of so many things she never used to notice. The dewy grass beneath her feet, the scent of wildflowers and horses on the air, distant lapping of the lake, crickets chirping, and horses snorting. As they moved away from the house, the grass turned to thick moss. The cool, pine-scented wind whispered softly through the treetops, and night birds called. Overhead countless stars twinkled and sparkled, and the moon glow filtered through the tree branches.
In a word: Idyllic. In a feeling: Perfect. In a heartbeat: She was in love with the man beside her.
Standing on the mossy ground, hands still linked, bathed in moonlight, they stared at each other, hearts in their throats and on their sleeves.
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.
Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.