Flow, Grip and Still by Kennedy Ryan
Kennedy Ryan is a relatively new to me an author (during 2016) who I discovered with the release of Flow, and with each novel she publishes, I become more enamored with her reading. Her stories are poignant with a voice that speaks to social issues facing our society while infusing them with epic romances that will move readers to tears.
Do you dream about your characters (asked by Lorrie Moar)?
I definitely dream about my characters, about my stories. As a matter of fact, MY SOUL TO KEEP (Soul series 1) and “STILL (Grip #2) both started with dreams of sorts. I woke up early and had the first chapter of MSTK kind of laid out in my head. I ran to my office and just dumped my brain. It is almost exactly what I wrote that morning in the final book, with almost no changes. The same happened with the poem that made me decide to write STILL. It’s surreal to wake up and have something so complete already written in your head. It makes me feel like I can’t really take credit for it! LOL!
Do you know the full story when you start to write a book, or is it just an idea and the characters then “talk” to you as you’re writing (Tricia Dansfield)?
I know a lot of the story when I start to write. Writers generally fall into 2 categories: Pantsers (write by the seat of their pants with little plotting or planning) and Plotters (as the name would lead you to believe! 🙂 I’m kind of a hybrid. I need to know where the story is going and I need at least a loose outline of what is going to happen. The harder part for me is immersing myself in that world so that when I write, I feel like I know that character inside and out. I don’t have to “think” about how they would respond or behave. I just know and write very naturally out of that because I’ve inhabited that character and that world. For me, there is “prep” work before I feel that way. I create Pinterest boards to start visualizing. I create playlists. I have nearly 50 songs on the Playlist for the book I’m writing now, but only have about 3 chapters written. I conduct interviews, if appropriate. I need that background information to inform the story before I fully dive in. And once I’m in and typing, I have a strong sense of my path. There will be a few detours and “off the beaten path” moments, but for the most part when I start actively writing, I know what should happen. Though I do get a few surprised!
Why do you think Grip and Bristol had had such an effect on the romance community?
I’m not sure what effect they had! I hope it was a good one. LOL! But the readers who message and contact me usually appreciate the authenticity of the characters and the frank discussion of substantive issues. Issues of class, ethnicity, culture that maybe aren’t typically discussed as much in the romance genre. In addition to those “heavier” issues, they’re passionate and dedicated to one another through thick and thin. I didn’t shy away from tackling some of the toughest issues we’re facing, but I was really intentional about representing various perspectives. I hope it never felt one-sided or preachy. So many readers message me saying these books opened their eyes to things they hadn’t considered. They say they watched The 13th documentary or the Kalief Browder story after reading these books They tell me they had felt “erased” in the romance genre; unrepresented before they read these books. That is sooo much bettr to me than a book hangover. That is change. That is resonance. It’s change, and I it’s been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had as an author.
There are so many powerful themes in the entire series, so what is an early experience that showed you words had power?
There have been many, but one that sticks out for me is a poem I wrote when my uncle died. He passed unexpectedly. He was an incredible guy. A brilliant lawyer. A great father. He always made me laugh. I admired him so much and didn’t tell him that enough. Everyone knew I wrote and someone suggested I write a poem for him or say a few words. I poured all my love for him into those words. I really did, and his wife was so moved. She said it helped her, hearing him talked about that way. She kept the poem and still mentions it to me sometimes. I saw the power of tapping into emotion to connect words with real life. I’ll never forget that experience.
Your writing is poetic and beautiful. What made you want to write romance? Would you ever consider writing outside of this genre?
Awww! Thank you So sweet. Romance has always been my favorite thing to read. There is something about a love story, especially when there’s the promise of an HEA. I’ve written a lot outside of romance. My background, my degree is journalism. I’ve written columns for newspapers, written for Chicken Soup for the Soul, lots of non-fiction, technical writing. I have not, however, written fiction outside of romance. And it’s interesting because I get messages from readers who often ask me that; who ask if I think about doing something else. I hope to venture into women’s fiction and also to write non-fiction books about the challenges of autism, a topic close to my heart as an autism mom.
If any of your books could be made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?
I would choose the GRIP series, for sure. It covers about 15 years, and I love tracing a couple over that much of their life. And I love that it addresses issues that are so current. My favorite thing that has come from this series is the dialogue; the conversations around difficult issues that usually have people yelling at each other. From these books, many of us have been able to discuss those things reasonably and with compassion. I’d love to see that spread to another medium and to other people.
What is your current work? What inspired this idea?
Eeeep! This question excites me. I’m currently working on my first sports romance called LONG SHOT. If you’ve ready my books, they typically have some degree of angst, emotion, cover tough topics. It’s rarely light or fluffy! LOL! This is no exception. I don’t want to give away too much, but I was inspired to write it when I saw the Ray Rice video in which he knocked his then-fiancee unconscious and dragged her out of the elevator like a bag of trash. It sparked so much righteous indignation inside of me. I really want to explore domestic violence in professional sports. I promise the hero is not abusive. Promise. It’s a tough book to write, but I’m enjoying immersing myself and learning and understanding these issues in the context of a love story.
What is the hardest part of being a writer? What makes being a writer worth it? I think it’s much harder to sell books than to write them. LOL! I tell my friends all the time that I would much rather write the books and not have to worry about marketing and reaching readers and promo. That is the hardest part of being an author. The hardest part of being a writer, which you can be even if you never publish a book. I’ve been a writer all my life, but only an author for the last few years. I think the hardest part is pouring so much of yourself into this fictional world; immersing yourself in it sometimes to the point of neglecting the real one. Well, for me that is the hardest part. I’m sure there are much more well-balanced people who do not find that a challenge! LOL! But I have to remind myself to cook dinner (or rather my husband does). I burn meals writing. I leave rooms un-clean and floors un-vacuumed. I drop balls immersing myself in these worlds I make up, and I love it. I have a very patient, longsuffering family! I think what makes it worth it is the messages I get from readers who get it. For me, the kinds of books I choose to write usually have, in addition to true love and great sex, some message; some thing it’s important for people to understand and see. And when readers message me, email me, tweet me – whatever – saying that “got it”; they heard what I was saying, and that it made them think; that make it worth it to me.
FLOW (The GRIP Prequel)
If I could undo your kisses
If I could un-feel your touch
If I could unhook this heart from yours
But I’m trapped in the memory of what we were
Stuck with the reality of what we are
Tempted by the promise of a future
Afraid of possibility
I don’t know how our story ends, but this – this is where it started.
FLOW is FREE EVERYWHERE!
Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out.
I’ve been doing it for years.
I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary.
And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.
Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key.
All that’s left is friendship and work.
He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true.
I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.
It’s wild, reckless, disobedient.
And it remembers all the things I want to forget.
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I’ll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.
The promises people make. The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life…life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.
For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?
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Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.
She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.
Connect with Kennedy:
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KennedyRyanAuthor
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681604768593989/