Jeff & Will recap the week, which included wrapping up revisions and updating websites.
Two noteworthy events happen on Friday, December 1. Jeff & Will reveal the cover for The Hockey Player’s Heart, the book they co-wrote, on Love Bytes Reviews. There’ll be a giveaway there for people to take advantage of as well. Also, December 1 begins the Rainbow Advent Calendar, which will feature a different LGBT romance each day for readers to pick up.
Laura is welcomed as a new patron.
Jeff & Will jointly review A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino and narrated by Joel Leslie. Will reviews Santa’s Naughty Helper by Ari McKay and Up for the Challenge by Devon McCormack & Riley Hart. Jeff discusses, Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman and narrated by Armie Hammer as well as Wait for Me by Kris Jacen.
Jeff & Will sit down with Devon McCormack and Riley Hart in an interview that was recorded at October’s GayRomLit retreat. Devon and Riley talk about how they started writing together, what’s coming up next year and much more. Plus there’s a bonus reel with even more from the interview, which is available on YouTube and all the regular podcast outlets.
Remember, you can listen and subscribe to the podcast anytime on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, PlayerFM, YouTube and audio file download.
Here are the things we talk about in this episode:
- Love Bytes Reviews website (home of the December 1 The Hockey Players Heart cover reveal)
- Rainbow Advent Calendar on Alex Jane’s website
- The Point Shot Trilogy by V.L. Locey on Amazon
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Tracker Hacker by Jeff Adams on Amazon
- A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino and narrated by Joel Leslie on Amazon
- The Perfect Gift by Joe Cosentino on Dreamspinner Press (pre-order for December 13)
- Santa’s Naughty Helper by Ari McKay on Amazon
- Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman and narrated by Armie Hammer on Amazon
- Wait for Me by Kris Jacen on Amazon
- Up for the Challenge by Devon McCormack & Riley Hart on Amazon
- Devon McCormack & Riley Hart Interview
- Devon McCormack: website | Facebook | Devon’s Reading Room Facebook Group | Instagram | Amazon
- Riley Hart: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon
- Nyrae Dawn on Amazon
- Christina Lee on Amazon
- Charade by Nyrae Dawn on Amazon
- Rush by Nyrae Dawn on Amazon
- The Weight of the World by Devon McCormack & Riley Hart on Amazon
- Metropolis Series by Devon McCormack & Riley Hart on Amazon
- Owning It by Devon McCormack & Riley Hart on Amazon
- Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels on Amazon
- Tight End by Devon McCormack on Amazon
- Filthy Little Secret by Devon McCormack on Amazon
- Last Chance series by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Wild Side series by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Clipped by Devon McCormack on Amazon
- Bound by Devon McCormack on Amazon
- Jared’s Evolution by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Ella Frank on Amazon
- Brooke Blaine on Amazon
- #GONEROGUE – Interview with Riley Hart, Ella Frank, Brooke Blaine & Devon McCormack on YouTube
Interview Transcript – Devon McCormack & Riley Hart
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: So we’re here in Denver as GRL ends with Devon McCormack and Riley Hart. Thank you, guys, for coming on the show.
Riley: Thank you for having us.
Devon: Thank you for having us. Yes.
Jeff: We’ve wanted to have you guys forever.
Riley: Yeah. We’ve talked about it.
Devon: Yeah. I remember last GRL.
Jeff: I think last GRL. Yeah.
Devon: We kept saying, “We’ll do something.”
Riley: And then, we spoke at RT too.
Jeff: Yeah. And now, we’ve captured you. We’ve kidnapped them and brought them to our room so we could talk to them.
Devon: Yeah. We had to run an awful long way here to talk to them. But, yeah.
Jeff: So, for those who don’t know, briefly introduce yourself to us. We’ll start with you, Riley.
Riley: I’m Riley Hart. I write contemporary MM Romance and been doing that for a few years. I write both by myself and with Devon, and I also write under the name Nyrae Dawn by myself and with Christina Lee.
Jeff: You are a busy girl.
Riley: Yeah. I’m a busy girl.
Jeff: And Devon, what about you?
Devon: I’m Devon McCormack, and I also write gay romance and also write some gay erotica and some young adult titles and just gross things in general, not because of the gay part, though. But now I’m also a truth pot. I started writing in 2013, and I started writing with Riley in July 2016, and I haven’t been able to stop since.
Jeff: Cool. How did you two connect and decide to start?
Devon: Let me start that. We technically still have the same publisher for our white books, and I had reached out initially… Like I had read “Charade,” which was a Nyrae Dawn book. And at the time, there weren’t many authors being taken on by Harmony, Inc. So like you’d know when one… It was like two authors every three months. So it was easy. “Oh, hey. Like how’s it going.” You’re just kind of like welcoming them on board because some other authors have done that for me. I thought it was very nice. And then we just would chat occasionally. And at first it was just frequently, I would say, but then we started chatting more and more. We just agreed about a lot of things. And I’ll let her take it from here. But, this is funny to me.
Riley: Yeah, because I know what I’m worth. No, yeah, like he was saying, you know, we just talked more and more, and we just got along really well. And I was just, you know, our chemistry. I just really wanted to write with him. And so I asked him one day, you know, just to see what he said, “Have you ever considered co-authoring with anyone?” And he said, “If it’s with you, what are we writing, and when are we gonna start?” And there we went.
Devon: Because they’re probably going to ask you if you co-write. “Yes. I suddenly do.” But actually it was crazy because I certainly had never done that before. So I was like, I think for me, it was just gonna be an experiment. Like, what was the worst that could happen?
Riley: No. We did. No.
Devon: We find out that it doesn’t click and stop.
Riley: Because we said that, you know, even if we’re halfway through it or whatever, and it’s not working for one of us, or we don’t…
Devon: And we just stop feeling it.
Riley: We stop. Then that’s it.
Devon: Yeah. No obligation. And we’ve always said that friendship comes first. Writing comes second.
Jeff: That’s very cool. Had you read each other’s work?
Devon: Yes. Yeah.
Devon: I read, well I read mostly Nyrae at the time. I just hadn’t read a Riley Hart book by then, and I was even thinking when you were talking about it that we were still talking about Hart because that’s how I knew you primarily.
Riley: No, yeah, because he knew me that way. So he had read…
Devon: She’d only come out as Riley recently right before that, I think.
Riley: Close to a year.
Devon: Right. It had been a year.
Riley: About nine months.
Devon: Nine months, like a baby. Oh, my God. But no, I’d mostly read, like “Rush” was the big MM one from Nyrae. I loved, loved, loved “Rush.” So at the time, yeah, that was her, but I mean, obviously loved the style, loved how it was written. She was a unique writer.
Riley: Yeah. And you read my MS.
Devon: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Those were delicious too, but how long, when was “Charade”?
Jeff: You got together under the guise of Harmony, Inc. authors. Is there a why co-author out there somewhere for you guys?
Devon: Not yet.
Devon: We both have kind of taken… Like I feel like we both really love YA. We will write YA, but we both have the project that we were inspired to write. Like we both know our schedule probably for the next seven months, just because we have this project, we have to get out there right now.
Jeff: As you guys write, you’re prolific, both as a pair and individually.
Devon: We love it. We love what we do. And I think when we’re together, we get more excited about it, even than we normally do.
Riley: And I think that’s what it is, I mean, we do, we both right fast. We both write… I mean, I don’t have a hobby. If I’m out with my family, I write, or I read, that’s all, you know. So I mean, I’m lucky that my hobby is also my career. So if I have spare time, that’s what I do. If I’m in bed at night, sometimes I still write. So I do, but I think that we are both kind of obsessive. And so, sometimes, when we write together, like we could go back, especially with “Weight of the World,” we were really obsessed.
Riley: And we could do multiple chapters in one day because it’s really exciting too. You get something in, you’re like, “Oh, my God. I never thought about that.” And you totally want to play off of whatever they wrote. And so you’re so excited to write it while it’s fresh in your head, and then you send the chapter back, and then your family is like, “Will you stop talking to Devon McCormack.” And his boyfriend is like, “I hate Riley Hart.”
Devon: Yeah. They’re still like that. They’re still like that for both of us.
Riley: He’s like, “I feel like something.” I don’t know.
Devon: We’re in a three-way relationship with Riley Hart.
Riley: Yes, that’s what he said.
Devon: Why can’t we invite Tom, then?
Riley: Yeah. Yeah.
Devon: So, yeah. No, and I think that part of playing off one another that you don’t get, like if I’m writing a solo book, I don’t get that feedback of like, I finished a great chapter that I love, and I get to share that with someone who gets where we’re going with something. Whereas if I send a chapter to her, I get that instant feedback.
Riley: Which is exciting and makes you wanna keep going.
Devon: Which is exciting and makes you, even if you feel like you need to re-tweak things like you have an idea of where to take things from there, you know, you talk to someone about it. Whereas like, for a solo, it might be in edits. I’m reading Chapter 6, and something, I’m like, “Mm, something is feeling off,” where she might know it’s off.
Riley: It’s a lot easier to fix it then.
Riley: Then going back after the book is done.
Devon: No. Absolutely.
Devon: Which I do a lot.
Will: Now you just mentioned your first book together, “Weight of the World,” about sort of an experiment book.
Devon: A really good experiment.
Riley: Yeah. Very serious. Like…
Will: Did you just jump in with both feet and just say, “We’ll see how this goes?”
Devon: Kind of talk about…
Jeff: Yeah. The evolution of the book itself, how did that work?
Riley: It really took a long life of its own. I mean he, when we decided to write something, we didn’t know what we were gonna write. He had a lot of ideas, and he gave me a document, you know, I went through them and that idea immediately, it was just a few lines, you know, guy in the room.
Devon: It was a simple seed of an idea.
Riley: Yeah. You know, realizes the next day that the guy who talked him out of killing himself actually, you know, committed suicide. And so, he goes and seeks out his brother. And I was like, “Holy crap. That’s incredible. I wonder how he thought of that.” And so I said, he was like, “Oh, my gosh. I wish that that…”
Devon: And I really wanted her to pick that one because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own at the time and it not turn up too dark. It had to be uplifting.
Riley: Even though it’s a heavy and serious subject.
Devon: It’s this very dark subject.
Devon: There’s no point to writing if it’s just gonna be this like downer. So I was like, I knew I couldn’t do that on my own, though, at the time. And so I was like, I was really hoping that she would notice that one. And she kind of mentioned it at first, and then she didn’t say anything. So I sent her a bunch of other ideas. And then she’s like, “No. I’m like…”
Riley: No. That’s the one I want.
Devon: “That’s the one.” I was like, “Really?”
Riley: It was really perfect because, you know, nobody wanted to say which character we wanted at first, and then it was like, you know, “I want the brother.” He’s like, “Oh, my God. I want the…”
Devon: At first, I wanted the guy who was about to jump. Yeah.
Riley: And it was very like, it just felt, you know, Tony was me, like in a lot of ways, you know, filling the responsibilities for your family and, you know, wanting to caretake everybody and feeling guilt over things that you shouldn’t feel guilt for and he really, you know…
Devon: Relate that if I was Zack. And still, it’s the character I always say, that was the character I most identified with.
Riley: So I do and think that both of us worked through things in that book. Both of us cried multiple times through that book.
Devon: Yes. Yeah.
Riley: It felt really good, though, to go through those emotions and everything with someone and then have this product that we were both so proud of.
Devon: But even that third POV, that was the magic POV for us.
Riley: Oh, no, it was, and we didn’t even plan that at first because we weaved Rob’s point of view at the inn that the man who had actually killed himself…
Devon: Killed off at the beginning of the book. Yeah.
Riley: And so, at first, and we shared him. Like we both, usually I write one character, he writes the other, but we both wrote Rob’s point of view in that book, and we would just throw it in time zone.
Devon: And it felt so right.
Riley: And we didn’t even plan it.
Devon: Every time we would do it. Yeah.
Riley: It was so powerful.
Devon: Absolutely. And we really would. It would just be when you felt inspired. We pretty much said it like that, like if you feel like writing that chapter, do it.
Riley: Yeah. Just do it.
Devon: Or you could send it to me, and I’ll write it. But when it would come, you would just know it felt like, “Oh, I can…this is what…I need this.” Yeah.
Riley: That this was the time that he needed the space. Yeah.
Jeff: That’s very interesting. That’s very cool. That was the origin of the first book.
Jeff: What’s your process now? Are there ideas that bounce back and forth, or is there…
Devon: I tell my assistant to contact her assistant and see if she can set up a Skype so that we can potentially talk about if we want to work on another project together within a four or five-month timeframe from now.
Riley: So basically, he’s too busy for me now. He’s like, “I’m done with you now.”
Devon: Like, “You talk to my people.” It’s a process now. It’s the same thing.
Riley: Well, in a lot of ways, it is. I mean, we decided to do a series, you know, “Metropolis” and it was just like we knew we wanted something totally different from “Weight of the World” for the next thing that we did together. We’re like, “Okay. We can’t super impressing people like all the time.”
Devon: We don’t like doing that same thing in general.
Devon: Like even if you look at the “Metropolis” series, the books aren’t the same.
Riley: No, they’re not.
Devon: Like tone-wise even.
Riley: Yeah. Exactly. But it was very, you know, it’s kind of that one it wasn’t just, “Okay. Pick an idea out of a list.”
Riley: It was very like, “How do we want to go about this first story.” And I think we both decided we wanted to do a fake relationship because we both like that.
Devon: We love it. Yeah.
Riley: So we’re like, “Okay. How do we make this work?” And then we just each created our characters from there and, you know.
Devon: In terms of the process, and it’s always been this way even with “Weight of the World.” A really, just long chat about our characters, like what we wanna explore with our character, find out, that’s our discovery of the character.
Riley: Goal, motivation, conflict, whole story.
Devon: Goals, yeah. Like what is bringing these people together, not just externally, which in “Weight of the World” is a good example of an obvious external thing, like the brother is going to kill himself, so he’s seeking answers through the brother, the other brother. And that’s obvious external, but what is it internally?
Riley: Like what bonds them, what connects them. Yeah.
Devon: What connects them? What makes it work? Yeah. And so, I think we always start with that core piece. And then we just kind of go and see where things, like we vibe it out, you know, you get a few chapters. In “Owning It” which is the third in the “Metropolis” series, we were like a third of the way through, and it’s like, “Mm.”
Riley: It’s not working.
Devon: But we figured out what, I feel like the moment we got there, we’re like, “I figured out what’s missing.” And we talked about it, and we had a good conversation. And then you sent me this amazing chapter that was like…
Riley: Yeah. That was the only one we started over. We were just like, “It’s not working.” And we started over, and we knew after we talked, and then once we did it, we were like, “This is what was missing.”
Devon: And the fact that we are both very quick, it makes it easy for us to not feel like, “Mm, this is not working. Start again.”
Jeff: It’s like the DVD extra for that book. This is what it could’ve been.
Devon: No one will ever see. There were some fun bits, though, that I missed out of it.
Riley: Oh, there were. I agree.
Devon: But we were talking in a panel yesterday about there’s a guy down our hall, we call him gun show Ryan, and there was this whole part where like Derek is going out to a party, runs into this guy, and he was about to party with him, and I mean, it doesn’t have any place in the book now, like I don’t regret that it doesn’t exist now, but it was a cute thing that at the time, for the book we were writing before, it worked. For the book that we were writing after, like when we started again, it didn’t work at all. Like you couldn’t convince me to put it in.
Will: What was interesting about the “Metropolis” series for me was all of the books were fantastic, but I really liked the way the friend’s stories sort of crossed and interweaved in small, small pieces. And so my question is, did you just have a list of these are the guys at “Metropolis” and these are the stories that we are going to tell, and did you see those in the first and second books?
Devon: We agreed that we would both be working on like side characters for potentially like using, but kind of biding out naturally. Who were their friends?
Riley: But we did know, like we didn’t know… When we started the first book, though, we didn’t know exactly who the second book was going to be.
Riley: But we knew the third book was going to be Derek.
Devon: And we knew that it was going to be Derek.
Riley: But we didn’t know who Derek was going to be with at the time.
Devon: But it wasn’t even, did we even have a name? Like you kind of vibed out like you’d have this person who’s kind of like…
Riley: Well, yeah. No, I knew, but he didn’t have a name.
Devon: Like we didn’t have a name.
Riley: No, not at all.
Devon: And when I was writing the first chapter of that and Derek was like, they’re like walking home drunk, and it’s Derek and Garret, and I don’t know, and it was their interaction that kind of made me be like, “Okay. I love that friendship.” You feel so comforted by knowing that you have someone there to confide in and talk to, you know, relationships are the core of romance novels. It’s great chemistry, but there’s also a chemistry that happens between friends that is so delicious to watch unfold.
Riley: And that’s always something that I love writing, actually.
Devon: No. Absolutely.
Riley: In series, I love friendships. I love, you know, people who are there for each other.
Devon: And we both do that a lot with our secondary characters on our solo.
Riley: No, we do. Yeah.
Devon: So I think it makes sense that once we teamed up that we would kind of get obsessed with the secondary characters. And we’re sitting here talking about book three before we even knew who book two would be about.
Riley: Obviously. Yeah.
Devon: For some reason, we just know it has to be book three.
Riley: Yeah. We knew that he wouldn’t be at two.
Devon: Like he needs more of an evolution before we get there.
Riley: Yes. Exactly. Exactly.
Jeff: Yeah. You mentioned there’s a lot of talking out and planning of the character with their motivations and what they want. How much planning goes into the plot or is that more organic?
Devon: You take this.
Riley: I think more organic. I think we’re both very character-oriented. I mean, I’m a character writer. I mean, obviously, we have to have, you know, that other stuff in there, but I think that we kind of play that… We have the basic, you know, whether it’s okay I want this to be, you know, the fake relationship or whatever, you know, we know those things, and we often have key scenes, but I think that you can create so much plot by your character and who they are and what…
Devon: If you’re being honest too, then it becomes interesting, and it becomes a plot just by the fact that if he’s a real person, he has drama that he has to resolve, and he has issues that he has to cope with and what…
Riley: And what drama fits him.
Devon: Yeah. And like what is gonna come into conflict with that and make it better.
Jeff: Going way back now, how did you get started writing MF? Not MF, that’s her.
Devon: Well, me… It’s me too, but I don’t wanna talk about that.
Jeff: What got you started to write MM?
Devon: Actually, you first. You were doing MM first. I was technically in erotica and adult. I think you were MM romance first.
Riley: Yeah. No. I mean, I just, it was always something that I always wanted to write. I love writing from the male point of view. I felt more comfortable. I’m a champion for love, I guess. So it’s important to me to tell love stories that need to be told, and it just encompasses so many things that are important to me and just felt automatic that that’s the route I would take, I think, you know.
Jeff: Do you remember the first MM that you read?
Riley: I believe it was “Faith and Fidelity” by Tere Michaels, which is still one of my favorites. I love that book. So, yeah, I mean, actually, I can say that outside of beta reading I used to beta read for my friend Kelly York, who writes. And so, I would read her stuff, but traditionally published books. That would be it.
Jeff: Good choice.
Riley: It’s a great book. I love it.
Jeff: Yeah. What about you? What got you kicked off to the MM romance?
Devon: At the time, I think like, especially right before I started writing, because once I was writing like really like dirty erotica and some young adult as you do.
Riley: Which is funny, I know, that’s what I was gonna say because I read YA too. Like I read gay YA before I read MM adult romance.
Devon: And I was reading gay romance, and I think it just timed really well with where I was at in my life that I like, I’d gotten really dark with some of my stuff, and even in young adult, I was like I kind of needed something mentally that was like a happy ending that was a little more hopeful that I was doing. And so I actually wrote several of them, and then that was when we started talking about “Weight of the World.”
Riley: You were there. So we got his computer. He had finished one and just started another one.
Devon: I know. I was showing her my cover ideas for the one I wasn’t gonna release. Like we both had release schedules for romances already when “Weight of the World” came out, and it kind of threw out all those plans to the side. And we just kind of went full force then, and that’s the first romance that was released. And then, “Tight End” was the one I had written before that as well as “Filthy Little Secret.”
Jeff: Yeah. I love your bio. I saw your bio on Amazon, and that last little bit of that, “Devon writes erotic, MM romance, and young adult. Please check the blurb to make sure what you’re getting.”
Devon: I have such a hard time because I’m not ashamed of anything I write. And even the young adult I write is for an older Y audience. I’m not writing it for like a 13-year-old kid. It’s think it’s like a 16, 17 is just right because that is the age range that it falls into. But I don’t hold back curse words or anything, but I’m obviously not like having graphic on page sex like on “Clipped” or anything. But no, I don’t feel ashamed of anything I write. And if I was going for an eight-year-old audience, obviously, I’d be like, “I’m going to do this under a different name.” I’ve always said I don’t want to be people’s auto by author. I want people to buy me because they like the idea that I’ve written this time and they’re fascinated to see what I’m gonna do with it. Not just like, “Oh, I hope he gives me the exact same book as last time.” Like, I’m gonna disappoint you, if that’s what you want. And I don’t want to be that person who is just doing it to kind of hit X, Y, and Z. Not that that’s a bad thing. I read people all the time who I want them to do that for me. I don’t want to diss it at all, but there are some authors, I’m like, “I hope that she does X, Y, and Z.” But anyway, yeah.
Jeff: How many books do you guys, together and separately, put out in a year?
Devon: That’s not a good question. We were kind of talking about this earlier because this year was kind of insane.
Jeff: We’re not doing this again, so…
Riley: No. And I think that it just everything kind of spiraled. We were so excited, and there was so much to do that everything kind of got out of control this year, and we put out a lot of books. But I think that both of us might go a little crazy if we wrote that much every year. You know, it was a lot. But we had a lot of fun with it.
Devon: It’s not even about the writing. It’s about the other stuff we have to do to get the book out. That’s a lot of work.
Riley: It is.
Devon: So it’s one thing to write a book very quickly, it’s another to try and like then get everyone to come together. You know, you have editors with deadlines. You have them with their schedules.
Riley: Because his stuff by himself has to come first.
Devon: Yeah. That’s the thing.
Riley: And my stuff by myself has to come first too, you know.
Devon: It’s all about priorities, and then you’re like, “Where does that leave us with the next project?” And stuff like that.
Jeff: Where do you see the next year going?
Devon: You got yourself together well. Yours is easy.
Riley: I have it all… Well, no.
Devon: You have a good outline.
Riley: Well, I will have at least the next “Last Chance” book after “Depth of Field” and the third “Wild Side” book. And whatever we’re doing next and likely one more, yeah, with probably Christina, maybe. So, we have an idea.
Jeff: What’s it like between your two writing partners?
Devon: We hate each other.
Riley: Like how? What do you mean?
Jeff: Well, in terms of your processes and dynamics between the two?
Devon: I am curious about this one.
Riley: Well, no, I think that Devon and I are more obsessive in like the way we write than Christina and I are together. So, you know, I think we write a lot faster, so we finish a book a lot faster. I think Christina and I do a little more, you know, plotting and figuring things out and like scene wise. We don’t sit down and plot the whole book, you know, but we do like sections. Okay. We’re gonna kind of get this. These are the next few scenes and chapters, you know, to make sure that it gets us to this next place. We just go.
Devon: Wing it.
Riley: But it works, you know.
Devon: It does.
Riley: I think it keeps it, you know.
Devon: Sometimes we’ll ask, we’ll be like, “Should we plot some things out?” I’m like, “No. I kinda wanna see what you do with this.” Like I don’t wanna help. I want you to just go and show me where it goes.
Jeff: And what about you, what’s the next year look like?
Devon: In October, I rereleased the book “Clipped,” which is like a paranormal erotic adventure. And it’s this wild, crazy story. And I’m releasing the sequel and the final installment, one in November, one in December. And then I have a lot of other projects that I don’t usually like to tell people about what I’m working on.
Riley: But I’m the one that keeps secrets.
Devon: No, I have books finished that I am working on releasing, and I have to decide how I want to release them, which ones kind of come first, though, but I know there will be books.
Jeff: Is there more for you this year? We talked about next year. Do you have stuff coming out before?
Riley: I do. The end of November will be the “Jared’s Fulfillment,” which is the second to “Jared’s Revolution,” which just came out with “Gone Rogue.”
Devon: And we did that with Ella Frank. And with Blaine they did a book called “Shiver” which is a very…
Riley: We were all doing something that is different from the norm from what we typically write.
Devon: Yeah. Of what we would write.
Riley: That’s what “Gone Rogue” was for us, writing something different from what we had been releasing, and it was fun.
Devon: And kind of yeah, being able to get people excited about these different ideas.
Riley: Yeah. It’s just something new, and totally, you know.
Jeff: Yeah. Getting the four authors together in that way was unique to anything I’ve seen. I mean, there’s always authors coming together to do kind of one thing or another, but this seemed unique in that space.
Devon: It seemed lucky that all the timing of it was bizarre because we all were working on something that was the same…
Riley: Without each other knowing at first. I mean, like we knew he knew what I was working but we didn’t know what they were working on, and we were all writing or working on something totally different at the same time. And so we then realized, we’re kind of like, “Okay. We gotta do something about this.”
Riley: Yeah. It was really cool how it all happened.
Devon: It really was. It was exciting to get to share that because we talk about even co-writing is nice because you get to share that with someone when you release it. Like you’re kind of excited with somebody about that. And it was nice with this because we all kind of had something at stake. We all had something, you know, like a different direction that we were going where we got to be kind of like…
Riley: So everybody hates us when we’re together.
Devon: When we’re together… But it was nice, though. We all were so thrilled. We love these projects. Each of us was so excited and stoked. And it was one of those things where we were like, you know what, I just wanna do it and just see what happens.
Riley: And you just have to follow your heart like that, you know, and write what you feel whether it’s different from what you’ve done before, you know, I think it’s really important. And I think readers like that. At first, everybody would be like, “Oh, my gosh. What did you do?”
Devon: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Riley: But they appreciated it eventually because it’s staying true to who you are and your characters, and you’re a muse. I don’t think you can write…
Devon: And neither of us is the type of people who feel like readers need to read everything. If they see something that’s…
Riley: No, and that’s why I say, you know, if this is not your thing, I would rather skip. That’s okay.
Devon: Yeah. Skip this one.
Riley: That’s okay. Because you like my books, you don’t have to read a whole fleet. Pick up the next one.
Devon: Exactly. Exactly.
Jeff: Yeah. That’s a big thing. I think authors get like, “Oh my God, they didn’t buy this book.”
Riley: No, yeah. I would rather, you know, if it’s not your thing, that’s fine. I would rather you not because for me, like, when you read, you wanna read something you know, or you think you’re gonna like. You wanna read something you think you’re gonna enjoy. It’s your escapism or whatever. So I would never want them to read it just because, you know, I wrote it because they think they should or whatever.
Jeff: Speaking of GRL, we should ask, how have you enjoyed this year?
Riley: It’s been a lot of fun.
Devon: It’s been really, really fun.
Riley: I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Riley: Lots of people.
Devon: Busier this year than last year, for sure.
Jeff: For sure.
Devon: And like just the energy is really high and like everybody is really thrilled and it’s nice to see every one, you know, this is every year, but I feel like this year you can just kind of feel that relief in people, of like you found your people and you’re able to…
Riley: That’s my favorite thing.
Devon: Even when they just approach you, you can just like, “Oh, I can talk to you about this.”
Riley: Yeah. If you are not a book person, you don’t get with people. I don’t think. I mean, in a lot of ways, personal in my personal life are like, “Oh, books.” And they don’t get like how passionate we are and how much we love this. So it’s, you know, we’re like, my people.
Jeff: Yeah. Absolutely. I think that will about do it unless you have anything extra to throw in or burning questions?
Will: No. Before we go, I want you to tell everyone where they can find you online because you’re an especially wacky one.
Devon: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do not know what you’re referring to. Oh, I’m on Facebook. Facebook.com/devon.mccormack.79.
Riley: I’m Riley Hart on Facebook. I don’t have my memorized. It was probably just Riley Hart. Oh, rileyhartwrites, actually.
Devon: Yeah. That’s what I was like…
Riley: You knew. You weren’t gonna say that? Did you know?
Devon: I was gonna interrupt you and be like, like I did the panel yesterday, when I was like, “That’s not the character you love most.”
Riley: People have not realized how much he keeps me on track. Like he’s the scheduled one.
Devon: Yeah. Scheduled.
Riley: I’m like, “When we have to do this?” And he’s like, “Argh, I just told you like two days ago.” And I’m like, “What?”
Devon: Instead, like stealing swag from and even from my table.
Riley: Yeah. Exactly. I’m like, “Do you have swags?” “No.” And I’m like, “You need a marker. You need this.”
Devon: Yes, please. It’s nice.
Jeff: We will link to all the websites and the show and the books and the whatnot. And thank you guys so much for hanging out with us.
Devon: Thank you for having us.
Riley: Thank you. I had fun.
Devon: I really appreciated it.
Interview Transcript – Devon McCormack & Riley Hart (Bonus Segment)
Jeff: What do you think the differences are in tone and feel between your individual books and what you do together?
Riley: You take that.
Jeff: I think you both have to… Oh, first.
Riley: Yeah. I’m curious what you’re going to say.
Devon: I don’t know. I’m very curious. I think I’m more willing to, it’s very interesting, I do not go as like dirty necessarily, and dirty might not even be the right word, I won’t get as like, I don’t know, I don’t get as naughty isn’t the word, just like dirty. Like a lot of my sex is kind of like at times nasty is probably the best word to describe it. And I think I do clean it up a bit, but also because the tones are usually different of the books. Like I don’t feel it’s right for these characters like in the series to do some of those things. That’s the other thing like the books I write on my own are not necessarily the … Like “Weight of the World” is very dark, and there’s definitely like dirty hot sex in that. And then in the “Metropolis” series, I mean certainly we can say “Working It” was without some really dirty stuff, but I did fight that a little bit.
Riley: Yeah. No, funny enough,
Devon: But even that one, I feel like those books are much more comedic than I normally take on my own.
Riley: And I agree. I think so too, maybe because it’s fun to write comedy with somebody else. I mean, when I look at my stuff, I’m more of a small-town romance girl, I think on my own, and I seem to do bigger city. Yeah, actually, everything is been LA or Atlanta with you. And so, I do think, outside “Weight of the World,” my guys are a little cockier with you.
Devon: Which I love. I do think she picks up on the fact that I really like the way… Well, you’re just so good at it, so like that sort of combative, sort of “Up for the Challenge” was perfect for her because I feel like we’ve done so many books, and she… Like, I feel Travis was a really good cocky character in “Metropolis,” and I kind of wanted to…
Riley: We wanted to do that again, but up another level.
Devon: Yeah. And with another character because Gary was kind of like, he was more timid, you know, he wasn’t at that level yet. He kind of had to grow into the person who could kind of be there to challenge Travis. Whereas, in “Up for the Challenge,” it was kind of fun because they’re both like busting each other’s balls the whole time, and that was exciting I felt like to do.
Riley: It was. But I think the funny thing is I think because he is such an outgoing, you know, fun person and funny all of the time and my books don’t typically have as much humor on my own that I don’t think people realize that I can be funny. And so they think all the funny stuff is you a lot of the times.
Devon: And the best characters based on like she’ll do something really clever, like a witty joke…
Riley: And they’ll think it’s like his life, and I’m like, “No. I promised you. I did that on my own. I can be funny too.”
Devon: But your MF is funny. We talked about this.
Riley: No, I think that my tone as my stuff earlier…
Devon: Your tone is different.
Riley: …as Nyrae, I think if those readers had read it, they would recognize my voice and it.
Devon: To think, I never even thought about it because I read so much of your MF that it just seemed like, “Oh, this is how she writes.”
Riley: So it’s just a funny thing.
Devon: And we noticed things on each other’s style, even I think as reading our stuff just solo stuff that we notice more when we’re writing together that we’re like, “Oh, she likes doing that.” And that’s fun.
Riley: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Will: Now, we’ve talked about some of the YA you published through Harmony, a small press, but the stuff that you do together and individually, you self-publish. Did you just automatically know right away that we’re gonna do this all ourselves, especially maybe even with “Weight of the World.” Did you want to take it to a publisher?
Devon: You take this question because this is more about where you were at in your career because I was self-publishing. I was going self-publish, but I feel like, at the time when we were doing that, I was coming out of Harmony, Inc. I self-published “Cheap Bastard” and “Lying Bastard,” but I feel like you had more expertise that I kind of learned from.
Riley: It felt right, I think. I mean, for what we were writing, I think where we were both at, I mean, it’s great. I love publishers. I’ve done big press, small press. I’ve kind of done it all. But I love the freedom in self-publishing, and I think that sometimes especially even when you look at “Weight of the World” because, you know, we wouldn’t have wanted to change anything in that story. And I think that sometimes, you know, you don’t always have that freedom and with different topics and stuff like that. We just knew that that was the right decision for that story.
Devon: And nowadays, what I see a lot with self-publishing that I love that makes it difficult is that when you’re a self-publisher, you can choose your A-Team. You can choose the editor you know is gonna do it right. You can get the copy editor that you know is gonna clean it up the way you want. If you want extra proofers, you can grab some extra proofers. If you want a fabulous cover, then you go, and you hunt that down. You’re not waiting on just a company to send you and be like, “What do you think of these concepts that you didn’t necessarily have a great amount of say in. And you usually have a certain amount, but…
Riley: So, basically, we’re control freaks.
Devon: I am. But I like the fact that you can, you get to choose the things that represent this thing that you created that you’re very proud of.
Jeff: Do you take on the task yourselves, or do you have people to take on the tasks of producing the book while you guys go on to write the next?
Devon: Like editors
Riley: Yeah, just the editors and stuff like that but everything else…
Devon: Like covers we’re pretty hardcore about.
Riley: Yeah. No. Super picky.
Devon: And we don’t have the same taste, which is nice because we will fight a lot about it. Not fight, but…
Riley: But it takes us forever.
Devon: I’ll be like, “Ugh.” She’ll be like…
Riley: I’ll find like the perfect image, and it’s gorgeous, and he’s like, “What?” And I’m like, “What is wrong with you?” Like, “How do you not feel perfect?” And then he does the same to me, but usually I’m right.
Devon: But when we do find something, I feel like it’s extra, like we know it’s right.
Riley: Yeah. Like, “Owning It.”
Devon: “Owning It.”
Riley: That was the hardest one for us.
Riley: And we even bought two images that we didn’t even use because we’re like, “We’re just settling.” And we just couldn’t.
Devon: It just didn’t work.
Riley: And then, like the second we saw, we were both like, “Oh.”
Devon: Well, it was so funny. I loved it. I adored it but, you know, because we’re taste…
Riley: He would stare. Yes.
Devon: I played it cool, and I was like…
Riley: “What about this one?”
Devon: And she was like, “Oh, my God.” I’m like, “Thank God.”
Riley: No, because then it was a different one.
Devon: It was a different one.
Riley: And I was like, “I love him. He’s really cute.”
Devon: That’s right.
Riley: And like I loved it, and he’s like, “Oh, well there’s this other one.”
Devon: Oh, that’s right.
Riley: I was like, “Oh my God. No, the other one.”
Devon: That’s right.
Riley: Then we came…and he was like, “Oh, my God. I thought the same thing.” And then it was perfect.
Devon: And then yeah, it was perfect.
Riley: And that was Derek.
Devon: It was Derek.
Riley: He is Derek.
Devon: Yes, Derek. And that was amazing work to write.
Riley: It was. Yeah.
Jeff: What made it amazing?
Devon: The characters.
Devon: Jackson was unexpected, I think, for a lot of people in a good way.
Riley: No, that was scary because everyone was so excited for Derek.
Devon: I don’t think either of us were ready for that.
Riley: And they loved him so much, and we did not expect that, and then Jackson, no one knew him.
Riley: And so it was like Jackson has to be really freaking good because he’s gotta compete, or not compete, but like they need to fall in love with him the same way that they’ve fallen in love with Derek. And they need to think, you know, that he deserves it. And so it was really, really, scary, and hard. And I just love, I love their dynamic.
Riley: I mean, the caretaker thing is just my thing, so I love that…
Devon: And they were both similar in so many ways but different in the right places.
Riley: And so different. Yes. Yes.
Devon: It was just amazing. And it really is. Those characters are just puzzle pieces when you see how easily they go together. And they just like right from the get-go.
Riley: And I just love that he wanted Derek to know like, “Dude, you’re worth more.” It’s okay that you wanna do, it’s not that, but when we do this, we’re gonna do it because we both want to and not because you feel like you have to, you know, and I think that that showed Derek a lot and I loved that part of it.
Will: Yeah. I love that book a lot. I’ve actually love all three of those books a lot but especially Daddy, Jackson, and Derek. I think that, well, not in traditional terms. It wasn’t a slow burn, but the way he kept putting Derek off.
Devon: Yeah. And we actually talked about that because when we’re like…
Riley: We were getting nervous. We’re like, “People are gonna be like…”
Devon: Where are we at?
Will: It was a while. You guys were waiting a while.
Devon: Like I usually have sex on page one, and I’m like, “What are we doing?”
Riley: But it’s usually early a lot, so it was, and we were like, “People are gonna be wondering what we’re doing.” But it was so right for that.
Will: Yeah. Exactly.
Devon: It was right. It was right. I was even flinching, which was weird because I will, in a solo, I will typically be like page one, sex. But yeah, that felt really right when it did all come together.
Will: Something that I think the two of you have seemed to have mastered is the surprise book release. Just one day, you kinda show up on social media, and it’s like, “Beep. Oh, we have a book out.” And I was curious if it is as effortless as it seems or is there a truckload of planning that goes into…
Devon: Well, there has to be some sort of planning.
Will: …something that comes up, something surprising?
Devon: Even something as simple, and I don’t think a lot of people think about this, is you know, you don’t wanna come out when the hottest book in town is coming out.
Will: Well, true. Yes.
Devon: And you don’t wanna be the jerk who comes out. Like, “Yeah. That’s right. I screwed this person over today.” Like, no. But you just want it to also be kind of your sensing like where everybody is at, and you’re like, “Okay. I think this is good. I have this project I’m gonna do in October.” Like, “What are we doing right now?” When are we gonna release.” Because the one that came out after “Weight of the World” was a surprise release and we did, obviously, “Weight of the World” was a surprise release, and the other part of it is, how many surprises, and you put people on surprise.
Riley: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, yeah.
Will: Well, I think something that’s become a little bit more standard over time is when people who are self-publishing invest so much time and effort and energy into a book they want to build up that release and make sure it seems extra special so they…
Devon: But that’s what makes it novel. That’s what makes the surprise novel is because there are so many people doing it at the same time that… And oftentimes, I find I see something I like on Facebook, I’m like, “Oh, where do I buy it? Oh, it’s not available for two months.”
Will: Exactly. Yeah.
Riley: And you kinda forget.
Devon: And the nature of Facebook hides posts that you don’t necessarily see it again.
Riley: But yeah, and if you’ve been talking about it, I think, sometimes for a month or seeing the cover pop up or whatever, then it doesn’t feel as, “Oh my God. That’s so exciting. I have to buy it right now.”
Devon: Whereas if I see a cover come up that I like and a synopsis and it’s like just up my alley, I’m like, I’m gonna wanna click that personally. So that’s how I feel I’m appealing to people who think like me in that regard that they’re like, “This is right up my alley. I want to buy this right now and read it tonight.”
Riley: Because I came from traditional. And so, I was nervous about that first book thinking, you know, I have to have a pre-order. But it doesn’t. Like it can hurt you sometimes to do it that way.
Jeff: What’s the thought process between this book will be a surprise, and this book is gonna have the pre-order window and all the traditional trimmings of a book release?
Riley: I think for me, it’s just whether I’m writing with him or not most of the time.
Devon: We didn’t do it with “Working It” or “Owning It” We told people about those.
Riley: But even I haven’t done any besides, you know, this, unless I was working with you.
Devon: “Steal Your Guy” I didn’t do a surprise release for. I did do a lot of pre-promotion. It was a lot of like this is it, and because I can’t surprise people again. It will never be known.
Riley: So I guess it’s when something feels… Like the first one, we did together because no one even knew we were friends. And they were like…
Devon: No. That’s right.
Riley: They were like, “Holy, who are these two together, and like they have a book?” So that was like super exciting. And then “Metropolis” because it was like the first one. You know, “Faking Out” was because it was a new idea. We did it. And then, others we didn’t. And then when you look at “Up for the Challenge,” it wasn’t a surprise release, but it was, you know, we only announced it like five days before it came out.
Devon: Yeah. Five days before.
Riley: And nobody knew. Everyone thought we were writing the next “Metropolis.”
Devon: The next “Metropolis,” which we kind of enjoyed because we kind of talked like we were working on it.
Riley: Yeah. Exactly. And then I’d be like, my work in progress.
Devon: And I’d be sitting there reading her posts like, “Don’t say anything to give it away.”
Jeff: It just makes you guys like Beyonce, just boom.
Devon: I wish. It is a lot of fun. I feel like the excitement generated by a surprise people just get, even like if you look at what happened with “Gone Rogue” like no one knew we were working.
Riley: They’re like, “What is that?”
Devon: It’s so cool to be able to just see the kind of… Like everyone wants to be there and be like, “What did you do?” Like, “I gotta go check this out.” And then we get to see that, and that’s so much fun.
Jeff: Because he was like, “Have you seen this thing?”
Will: What are they doing now? What is this?”
Devon: A lot of people were saying that.
Jeff: And on the custom GRL too, just to kind of throw it in there at the end.
Riley: Oh, my God. We were so…
Devon: Hindsight, so many people were busy.
Riley: That probably wasn’t the best time to do it. We were going a little crazy, but live and learn.
Devon: But I mean, it wasn’t bad.
Riley: No, of course not.
Devon: It was like you get here and you’re almost like, “God, no one has even had a chance to crack a book.”
Riley: I know. Yeah.
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