Today’s Author Interview is with T. J. Ryan, author of the upcoming novel, Between the Lines, a new adult Romance that’s being released on Valentine’s day, February 14th.
T. J. Ryan writes New Adult Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, and LGBT fiction. You can follow T.J. on
TWITTER – FACEBOOK – INSTAGRAM
A Hollywood actor and aspiring screenwriter stage a media romance to salvage their reputations, but start to fall in love for real.Between the Lines
Questions about the writing process:
Do you prefer stand-alone novels or series as an author?
I prefer series, especially if I’m invested in the characters I’ve written. I have several series in the works – Between the Lines will have two sequels and a prequel. I also have a fantasy series in development which will be standalones set within the same universe. However, I do have some outlined stories that I feel would work better as a standalone, these are mainly in the contemporary fiction or thriller genres.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Overall, I’d say roughly a year, minimum several months. I try to write regularly, but also give myself rest days when needed.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for over a decade since I began studying scriptwriting at university. My previous written works have been screenplays and plays, but I have always wanted to write a book – probably since I first read the Harry Potter and His Dark Materials books as a child. When the 2020 lockdown happened, I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I thought, “Okay if I don’t do this NOW, I probably never will,” and decided to make a start on a rough idea of an aspiring screenwriter becoming entangled in a media and romantic affair with an actor. This was the starting point of what would eventually become Between the Lines.
What’s your goal with writing? Hobby/full-time?
Definitely writing full-time, either as a screenwriter or author. In an ideal both, I’d love to juggle both.
Plotter or pantser or somewhere in between?
I would say I do a bit of both. I definitely am a plotter in the planning and outlining stage of an idea – I need to know where the characters start and where they’re going to end up. The beginning and end need to be clear in my mind, which is what I always try to do before putting pen to paper. However, once I start writing these characters and their dynamics become more developed, I become a pantser writer. As long as the characters and storylines are on the right path, I’m happy for things to deviate slightly from the outline completely.
Thoughts about writerly things:
Pseudonym yes or no?
Yes! It may be a bit bias as I am a writer with one, but I love the freedom a pseudonym gives. I have made no means to hide my identity, but I found it gives my author platform its own identity. It also helps that I’m not limited to one type of genre, so I’m looking forward to surprising readers with whatever I write next.
What do you think about writing communities?
I think it’s good to have some sort of community with you on your writing journey – fellow writers, bata readers, editors – to help shape and strengthen your story. Having those key people to help you go over your manuscript with constructive criticism helps so much, I’m very fortunate to have found people who can give me edits to improve my final draft.
What’s the most important thing in a hero?
Understanding their flaws. Some of the best heroes and heroines aren’t perfect, which makes them more relatable. Both Tessa and Jonathan have their own flaws and demons, but they choose to be good people and try not to repeat the mistakes of their parents – which is an act of bravery in itself, to be that vulnerable with a loved one.
What about in the villain?
In the same way you need to understand your hero or heroine, your villain needs to be understood on a deeper level. No one is born evil or cruel, circumstances and situations have often molded the person into what they become in the story. For example, Jonathan’s mother Ophelia is a successful film director and is a cynical and bitter in her role as wife and mother – neither brings her much joy. Her cruelty and need to drown her sorrows in fine wine is often rooted in sadness, but it makes her an intriguing antagonist.
If you could choose any side character from your book to write a spin-off story about – who would it be?
I love this question, because one side character has earned her own spin-off that I’m planning to write. Mia Robinson, Jonathan’s feisty and tough as nails agent. She has many layers and a complicated backstory, one I’m looking forward to exploring further down the line. After Jonathan and Tessa’s sequels (Unscripted and Rewritten), readers will meet a younger Mia as she takes on a promising young actor with two imposing and influential parents in Fade In.
Do you prefer stand-alone novels or series as a reader?
This really does depend on the writer. I enjoy the knowledge of knowing a standalone has an ending, but sometimes a series is great if I become emotionally invested in the characters. However, I’ve definitely been reading more standalones recently, mainly in the crime and thriller genres,
Do your family and friends support your writing?
I am lucky to have a family who support my writing, but thankfully they aren’t the types to read over my shoulder or ask to read the twenty-something draft I’ve written. I’m glad they only know what I’ve written once they’ve watched the film/play or read the finished book. I’ll always get an honest opinion, which is both a relief and daunting once the project is finish.
What do you do when not writing?
Even when I’m not writing, I’m always looking for a good story. I am an avid TV fan – some recent favorites were definitely The Last of Us, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Boys – and movie lover. You can’t beat seeing a well-made film on the big screen at the cinema.
Has a book ever made you cry?
The first book to make me cry was Jenny Downham’s Before I Die. I was seventeen, and as the title heavily suggests, the main character was dying throughout the book. Although I knew where the story was headed, I still sobbed my eyes out when I read the final page. I unintentionally gave my heroine the same name – Tessa.
What book format do you prefer your books to come in?
I have had a soft spot for audiobooks since I first heard Stephen Fry narrated the Potter books – yes, I still own the physical CDs. As much as I love a good hardback, Kindle and Whispersync with Audibe have made reading much easier. So I’d say e-book or audio these days.
A big thank you to T. J. Ryan for joining me in this interview. Remember to check out Between the Lines, and follow T. J. on social media.
Great interview and having worked with TJ on his beautifully written and directed short film ‘Womanhood’, I know how talented he is! I can’t wait to read his book! I also hope it’s made into a film! I love the sound of the agent role! 😉
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