Jeff talks to author Riley Hart about three of her books: Awkward Love, which is also the February Big Gay Fiction Book Club selection, Beautiful and Terrible Things, and the forthcoming Finding Ian. Riley shares her love of flawed characters, strong friend groups and found family as well as what got her started writing. She’s also got some book recommendations and details on what’s coming later this year.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
- Riley Hart Interview
- Riley Hart: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
- Episode 112 – Devon McCormack & Riley Hart Interview, Book Reviews & More on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Awkward Love by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Stupid Love by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Beautiful and Terrible Things by Riley Hart on Amazon
- It‘s Kind of a Funny Story film on Amazon Prime Video
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini on Amazon
- Finding Ian by Riley Hart on Amazon (pre-order until February 23, 2021)
- Finding series by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Collide by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Broken Pieces by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Forever Moore by Christina Lee and Riley Hart on Amazon
- Ever After by Christina Lee and Riley Hart on Amazon
- Max Walker on Amazon
- Nyrae Dawn on Amazon
- Devon McCormack on Amazon
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan on Amazon
- Every Day by David Levithan on Amazon
- Project Hero by Briar Prescott on Amazon
- Let There be Light by A.M. Johnson on Amazon
- Grumpy Bear by Slade James on Amazon
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
Interview Transcript – 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: Riley, welcome back to the podcast. It is wonderful to have you here. It’s been a long time.
Riley: It has. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to this.
Jeff: I was looking back we’re at like episode 286 here. And you were on the first time back in 112.
Riley: Oh, wow. It has been a while. Yeah.
Jeff: GRL Denver.
Riley: Yup. Yeah, I remember it was fun.
Jeff: We have so much to talk about. First of all, “Awkward Love” is our Big Gay Fiction Book Club selection for February. I absolutely am so in love with Will and Jamison, I can’t even tell you.
Riley: Oh, that makes me happy.
Jeff: For our listeners who haven’t read this book that came out last fall, tell them what they’ve got in store for them with this story.
Riley: I really wanted to hopefully make people laugh , write engaging characters there. Jamieson is about to start his PhD program in the fall. And so he’s kind of been just super busy with school, and it’s summer, so he just wants to have a fling and lose his virginity, which he hasn’t. His friends take him to a bachelor auction and buy him a date and that’s where Will comes in.
And they end up deciding to have a fling together. And then of course they, you know, Will works for his dad and he doesn’t know that. And all of the shenanigans from there.
Jeff: I really like what you did here with the family elements, because Will’s got issues with his family and his brothers and Jamison has similar issues with his dad.
And I thought it brought a really nice dynamic to the story and how they both have these similar family issues. Where did the idea for that come from to spin that into the story for them?
Riley: It’s kind of funny because this was actually originally when I started the book before it’s “Stupid Love,” it was going to be a standalone.
It wasn’t going to be a series. So Will was never actually supposed to have a book and Jamison wasn’t in the first one. But something about Will just would not leave me alone after I finished writing the first book. Cause he’s just, I mean, he’s confident and cocky, and he has this, just fun loving personality, but I knew that there was more to him than that.
And so once his story came to me first , he had the brothers and all of that and it, it was just, I wanted a way to, I guess, connect them and to show that while they’re very different because this is an opposites attract story. You know, how similar our lives can be or, similarities that we do all have to each other. If we take the time to look a little deeper.
Jeff: And I do like the opposites attract here. Cause Will is, as you said, just like this majorly, confident, outgoing, ready for anything guy. And then Jamison is the awkward of Awkward Love.
Riley: But I love it so much.
Jeff: I do too. I just want to wrap him up in a hug. It is okay. And it’s okay to feel like you’re feeling too.
Riley: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: And it’s a really nice dynamic that you brought there too, because I like how you’ve got Will, he wants to make things better for Jamison without trying to necessarily change him at the same time, which I think a lot of variations of this story could have been.
Riley: Well, yeah, and I think that is one of the things that makes Will special and both of them special because Jamison is just himself in all his awkward glory, and Will sees something special in him. And he, I think for him, because he is so confident and cocky, I think in some ways he kind of also has a role to fit. This guy who just smiles all the time and all this, and then he has just the silly, goofy guy who, you know, freaks out because he ate a peanut and he’s afraid to kiss a guy, that he’s going to have a peanut allergy, and it’s, it’s endearing to him. And it was really fun to write that dynamic between them.
Jeff: Yeah. I have to imagine that it was a lot of fun to have such two diverse characters. I mean, you always want a little bit of an opposite thing going on in a romance anyway, but these two are so opposite that you almost get to put a whole different writing hat on.
Riley: Yeah, I think so. And it was challenging because I think that’s even where the back story ties in, because I think sometimes you need that because they are so different. Which is a good thing in a lot of ways, like you said , we can be attracted to someone who is different because of that, but what connects them outside of that?
What, what makes them similar? Because we do, I think all have some type of similarity.
Jeff: And I have to ask because the cover is so perfect. Sometimes there are covers that are a hundred percent perfect. And sometimes there are covers that come close to who’s in the book. This book cover is Jamieson. Did you have the cover first or did you luck into the cover on the other side or
Riley: I got lucky because I knew what he looked like and I knew, and I did not want to change it. He was just, I mean, I love the bow ties. He’s too cute and adorable, and I cannot tell you how many sites and how many hours and how many photos… and as soon as I saw it, I was like, how did this happen? Found the perfect image. And it just, it was him, I really, really got lucky because at one point I was like, I’m going to have to either change him, which I did not want to, or put Will on the cover, which I didn’t want to either, but I mean, it’s Jamison’s story in that way, like you said, Jamison puts the awkward in “Awkward Love.”
Jeff: Yeah. I was just like, this is so perfect. You mentioned that the first book in this series wasn’t meant to be the beginning of a series. Tell us a little bit about that first book and the series overall. Do we get more of the “Stumbling into Love” series?
Riley: We do. I’m working on the third book right now.
I won’t say who it is, you will see who that is. But yes, that should probably come out probably summer is what I’m guessing. I’m working on it now. And when I started “Stupid Love,” that’s the first one, I knew I wanted to write interracial romance.
And I just wanted to do something fun, just light and fun and make people smile. And it was the beginning of the pandemic, the beginning of last year and everybody was just like, Oh my gosh, we are struggling and just, the beginning of 2020. And so I just wanted to write something fun and I smiled my way through that book and I fell in love with Will.
And then I knew that I had to continue on from there. So I’m hoping, and I tried to continue that theme with the second one. The third one is a tad bit heavier, but not really. I’m still trying to keep that almost romantic comedy, I guess, feel, which is kind of what I was going for with that series.
Jeff: I definitely see that with “Awkward Love” and I think I’m going to have to go backwards and read the first one because from what I see of Elijah and Shaw in “Awkward Love” it’s like, well, these two are adorable and I can only imagine how awesome they’re coming together.
Riley: Yeah. Shaw got thrown for a loop I’ll tell you. He did not expect to fall in love.
Jeff: I’ve gotten that impression.
Riley: He was pretty anti-love.
Jeff: It seems to be a thing in that friend group cause Will was kind of anti-love as well.
Riley: In a way. Yeah, he was, I think, and I think Will in a different way. He’s more I’m young, I’m having fun, why do I have to settle down right now to where Shaw was like, Nope, never going to do it.
But funnily enough, in the first one, he actually runs an online anonymous dating and love advice in the first book and he does it anonymously online, which is funny, because Mr. Anti-love is giving love advice.
Jeff: Which is often how they find love.
Jeff: Backing up into the very end of last year, “Beautiful and Terrible Things” came out. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, but I have to say that this blurb has gotta be one of the most beautiful blurbs I’ve ever read. There’s something very lyrical about it So this is high on my to read list and it’s still like very near the top of the charts in the weeks, since it has come out. Tell us a little bit about Joey and Gage.
Riley: This is kind of the book of my heart. I mean, you love everything that you write. But I think certain characters just touch you a little differently and, and a little just in a special way. And these guys do that for me.
I was super nervous because, again, back to 2020, it’s been a hard year and I’m thinking everybody wants to be happy because the world’s falling apart and I’m writing this super depressing book. No one’s going to want to read this depressing book right now. But it wouldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t, not tell their story and it starts the first time they meet when they’re six years old and they’re in kindergarten. And then the book is broken up into four parts kind of throughout their life and the events that take place.
I really wanted to just show how one moment, I guess, can really change anything, like change your whole life, change your trajectory, change who you are , where you go from there. And you never know when that moment is going to happen until it does. And for them, there’s almost like the, before Joey and Gage and then the, after Joey and Gage and they become two totally different people, really in a lot of ways because their life was changed so much, but it’s about how they find a way back to each other, how they grow together. Really I think the power of love and not just romantic love, but self-love, which is something very important to both of them that they have to figure out friendship.
I really, really love writing books with strong groups of friends. Found family, that’s a big thing for me. And they have that in this book, and it’s just that the power of the people around us and ourselves to succeed, I think, and to be able to get through anything.
Jeff: What makes it the book of your heart?
Riley: The characters, just them. I mean, because it has nothing that happens in that book happened to me. But I think I’m very much a character writer. It’s funny. Someone just sent me a review for it tonight, because they let me know that they finished reading it. And one of the lines said something about, they could feel the pieces of me that I left on the pages. And it’s funny because I always say that it’s the book of my heart, even though these characters have lived a totally different life than me. But I just, I feel like I connected with them with their love for each other and their willingness, especially Gage I think. He’s very much would do anything for someone he cares about whether it’s, Joey or a friend or whatever, and the self-sacrifices that people make. It just really touched me. And it just, yeah, it’s one of the books I’m most proud of that I’ve written.
Jeff: That’s awesome. What was your nugget of inspiration here that sprouted these two characters
Riley: It’s kind of weird because at first I was like, I don’t really know where the story came from, but then I was watching a movie and I can’t remember the name of it right now. And it had this like reunion scene where these friends were all sitting around the table and they hadn’t seen each other in years.
And it was just this beautiful reunion of these people who grew up together and then went their separate ways. And something about that scene, I think kind of struck me. Which then got me onto the path of like, okay, what happens if you have these two guys who grew up together, are best friends and something happened in their life that tears them apart, that changes who they are at their core, but not their love for each other.
So I think that it came randomly from one scene in a movie, and then it just goes from there. It’s so funny. I was, just even saying last night , sometimes, I don’t even think I can say where the ideas come from or they can come from anywhere. I watch a lot of movies. I was watching a movie last night with my daughter it’s “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” I think is what it’s called.
And it takes place in an inpatient . Have you seen it? Yes.
Jeff: I’ve seen it, yes. It’s based on a really good book.
Riley: Yes. Yes. It’s a book too. But there was just one line in it about living your life with purpose, as soon as I heard that one line and then my brain just like exploded, you know, then I’m trying to get it down, because I’m in the middle of writing other stuff, so I don’t forget. So just anything random… so, Joey and Gage came from a random scene in a movie.
Jeff: It’s nice when you just never know where the inspiration is going to come from, it doesn’t have to be that you’re doing something specific to generate the ideas, but just out of nowhere, just boom… there there’s something.
Riley: Yeah, it is. It’s funny how it happens, I guess that’s the creative brain and it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes I’m wracking my brain for days, weeks to try to figure out what to write, but then you have those perfect moments to where it just kind of all falls into place.
Jeff: Now let’s jump into the future a little bit. As we keep maneuvering through the last couple of months, you’ve got a new book coming at the end of this month called “Finding Ian,” what do readers have in store with this new book?
Riley: This one’s actually a trio, so there’s three guys in it. And it’s the second… I have a series but it’s not really a series. I call it a collection. It’s called “Desires Unleashed” and these are books that are little more kinky and erotic than I typically write. And so I kind of brand them differently. So readers who come in, if that’s what they’re looking for, they know to grab that if that’s not what they’re looking for, they know to stay away from that.
So this is a trio book and it’s the second book in a series within that collection And so, yeah, it’s, I mean, it can’t be any different, more different from “Awkward Love.”
Jeff: Tell us a little bit about the story.
Riley: It is three guys who know each other through a couple from the first book and the one guy is a dominant his name is David and he and kind of deciding to play, to teach this one who is actually looking to become submissive.
And then Ian, who thought he wanted nothing to do with the lifestyle kind of stumbles along into it with them. And he kind of finds that he gets something from it. He was left by his mother when he was younger and It kind of fulfills a part of him that he didn’t know was missing. And then ,you know, these two guys, cause he’s afraid to love because love means having things taken away.
When you think about it for him, it does. And so it’s just the story about the three of them kind of learning that lifestyle together and finding their place together. And it’s not easy. I mean, a relationship is hard enough between two people, three people.
I think that I’m very, very picky when it comes to reading books with three people. This will be the second one that I’ve written, but it has to be the right story for me, because I, for me, I need three equal parts, and each of them kind of have to play a role too. Okay. What does this, what do they get from this person?
What does David brings to the table? What does Ian bring to the table? What does Jordan and what does each of them get from the other to where they’re all equal and they’re all in that together? Because it’s really hard when I’m reading one and I feel sorry for one other people are so like one of the people’s left.
So I think it’s tricky to navigate them and I give props to people who write them all the time, because it’s not easy.
Jeff: Yeah. There’s so many things, as you said, play in to when you’re writing that type of relationship, as a writer, I don’t know that I ever want to try to tackle that cause I don’t know that I would do it justice.
Riley: No. And that’s yes. I can see that in the first time. I had actually never seen myself writing one. And then the first one I did was actually the second book that I released as Riley. And it was a dream. And it was really, really weird because I knew it was very lucid, but I knew I was dreaming, but I saw it like play out and when I woke up, I again, jotted it down and then I was like, I can’t write this right now. I don’t know if I can do this book justice first of all, second of all I had just had “Collide” come out, which was my first Riley book and I, and it was going to be a series and I’m like, okay, the smart me would finish this series.
But my muse is like, no, these guys want their story told. And so I told it and then I wasn’t sure if I would ever, again, like I said, write another one because it’s not easy, but when the story’s there, I kind of got to tell it.
Jeff: You mentioned, obviously that “Finding Ian” is very different than “Awkward Love.” And both of those books are very different than “Beautiful and Terrible Things.” You write across so many different tropes in sub genres, you’ve got your separate pen name, even that does YA. So you’re all over the place. What keeps you on the move and how do you balance as you just mentioned like, the smart Riley as you called yourself versus what your muse is like, do this.
Riley: I am a very, very, very big believer of following your creativity and your muse. It might not always be the smart business decision at the time. But writing is my passion and it’s hard for me to force it. And I have done that in the past, in the beginning, especially more so and I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that again.
And I write a lot and I write fairly quickly. But I think that it just keeps me going. I could not write the same kind of story over and over because I think writing would lose its appeal to me. I need something fresh and once I do, one type of book or a couple in a row, I need something totally different just to kind of like, keep me going I think and just challenge myself. I’m big on challenging myself and trying to do different things. And I just feel like I have so many different stories inside me and kinds of stories that I want to tell that I don’t believe I’m limiting myself.
Jeff: Do you have favorites either tropes or playing in sub genres that are kind of your favorite, to dig into?
Riley: When it comes to tropes? I am simple with like friends to lovers, I think will always be my favorite. Which probably comes also from my love of writing friendships and people, I also have a thing for best friend’s brother for some reason. I don’t know why, but I love, I love best friend’s brother books. And so I would say that I’m a contemporary girl at heart.
Even though I have some ideas of other things going on. I love YA, but mostly I think I just want to write good love stories, good romances, whether it’s emotional, whether it’s funny. I just want to tell good stories and get people happily ever afters.
Jeff: You mentioned, you’ve got things, bubbling around in your head. Is there something you really want to try and have it quite taken the plunge on yet?
Riley: Yes, I really, really want to write some mystery/suspense. I’m not quite brave enough yet. Like you said, when you were talking about the trio book, wanting to make sure that I can do it justice.
And so at some point. I will do that. But I love to read, I love to read mystery with romance in it too. I also have a fantasy-ish, I’m calling it fantasy-ish because I don’t know exactly. And I actually, the idea from that came because I bought a pre-made cover.
Jeff: Those are so dangerous, aren’t they?
Riley: And I’ve had this for like two and a half years. And so I have a notebook, I’m big on notebooks and taking notes with ideas for that story. I haven’t fleshed it all the way out yet, but I’ve already told friends, you know, expect to be brainstorming with me. My hope, I really want to tackle the fantasy idea this year. That’s a goal for me. Hopefully some point we’ll have a fantasy and we’ll have mystery. And then I also kind of want to get back to my roots a little, which is YA. I really, really miss writing YA too. There’s something just so pure and fresh and special about it.
Jeff: I’m excited you’re thinking about romantic suspense because I do love romance and with that suspense mystery element, given your thing with, good friends and found family, I can just like, Ooh, that’s going to be good when it happens.
Riley: Thank you. Yeah. I got to find the right story. Hopefully soon.
Jeff: And fantasy. Fantasy is another one of those things that scares me because of the world building and making sure you’re doing it right. And giving away what you need to, but not piling too much on.
Riley: See, and that’s the thing. Christina and I have “Forever More” and “Ever After” which we did. Which are retellings – one is very, very, very loosely Cinderella and then the other is “Snow White” retelling . And so those kind of got me a little bit excited, even though they’re not quite fantasy. But they kind of are too. I mean, it’s not in a real world, and so that kind of got me thinking about it more and then with that cover. So I think that was my first step.
And so now I’ve just got to get the rest of the way. But like I know friends who, you know, Max Walker, he loves fantasy. So I’ve already told him, he’s like, well, we’ll just talk. And hopefully he can help because that’s my biggest fear too, the world building I’m very much a character writer. And so the world-building part scares me the most, but it excites me too.
Jeff: I’m excited for you. I can’t wait to see what happens.
When you were on the show the first time we didn’t get to really delve into your backstory very much. What got you started?
Riley: I’ve always loved writing. First of all I won like writing contests in elementary school and I even remember the theme of one. It was through our school district and it was ‘tomorrow’s leaders on the move’. And that was my first writing contest that I won. And so I’ve always been a writer in that way. I wanted to write children’s books when I was young. And then life happened and I got married and I had babies and I had the work. And to me, writing was like being a celebrity. It was like being a movie star, that dream, that doesn’t really happen.
And then we moved from Oregon to California. And so I went from small town where I grew up and knew everyone to Southern California, where I knew no one. And I was a stay-at-home mom for the first time. And my husband was working like 70 hours a week. Yes, it was probably one of the hardest times in my life and that’s when I fell in love with reading again. I just hadn’t taken the time to read. I was busy and doing my own thing and I fell in love with reading again. And then I started reading romance and I had never read romance before and it just clicked. I was like, Oh, where’s this been all my life.
This is it. You know, this is what I’m supposed to do. And so I mean, this was 2005-ish. So this was quite awhile ago and it was a different world back then when it comes to writing, I mean, it was, you write a book, you query agents, you get a million rejections, you write another book, you query it. And that’s what you did to be able to make it. And so that’s what I started to do. I started to write, and then I joined online critique groups and I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I remember the first note when someone told me you’re head hopping and I was like, I’m what? So I had no idea.
So I joined RWA at that time and my local group, they had published authors in it and they took, they had just taught a romance writing class. And so I took that which helped me a lot. And I published with some small press publishers in the beginning. Nothing to write home about. It didn’t go very far.
But I just kept going and I started in romance and then I kind of started writing some YA at the time. And that was when I got my first agent and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is it. I finally made it. And then they put my book on submission and it did not sell. And I lost that agent. And then I had my second agent and then I lost the second agent. It was a long road. But then 2012 is when I self published for the first time. And that was kind of the beginning of self-publishing really taking off. From there I sold to Grand Central and I wrote for them for a little while.
And then I fell in love with writing gay romance . I’d always felt more comfortable writing from the male point of view, even when I wrote m/f, it was almost always from the guy’s point of view or it was alternating. Like, I feel more comfortable for some reason. And it just kind of fit again and it felt like this is what I was supposed to do. And I’ve been happy here ever since.
Jeff: How did you find your way to m/m? Was there a gateway book that you read or just your desire to write from the male point of view?
Riley: There was. I believe the first one that I read was “Faith and Fidelity” by Tere Michaels and I fell in love with it. But I remember being curious and wanting to before I had read that, but once I read it, I was like, okay, this feels right for me, and my love grew from there and I had wanted to for awhile, but then I was in contract with all this other stuff that I had to do, you know?
So it’s kind of piecing together and kind of getting there. And then I was writing mostly as Nyrae [Dawn] at the time, but then I released I’d actually sold my first, m/m as Nyrae before I released my first m/m as Riley. So it was, you know, at the time it was kind of weird, but then the Nyrae one came out after the Riley one did. But yeah, it feels like home.
Jeff: Do you have any authors who are inspirations and influences for you?
Riley: I put a lot of thought into this question. It is so funny cause I even texted both Devon and Christina and I was like, there are so many authors that I love. Of course there are so many authors that I love.
But the one name that stuck out to me. And that I would say for sure as an inspiration to me is David Levithan. I don’t know if that’s how you say it. I mean, I don’t even write YA all the time now, so it’s, in some ways, it’s kind of funny that I would choose him, but I think that he writes humans so well. Like humanity, you know, I think he makes you feel things that not everyone can do. And like the small nuances of being human, he does so well. And I love that so much that it just, I connect with that and I want to be able to make people feel the way he does. Or the way I felt when I read “Two Boys Kissing.” I will never forget how I felt when I read that book. And I would love to be able to make people feel that way.
And I’ve always said that my career goal I want to try to accomplish one day before I die is to write a YA and for him to be the editor, which will probably never happen. But you know, like I can’t imagine . I don’t even know what it is about him, but I just feel his books, especially like I said, “Two Boys Kissing” that just will, I think, always be my favorite book.
Jeff: The way that he not only writes humans, as you said, which has always extraordinary the number of ways he tells a story. You look at books like “Every Day” and then “Two Boys Kissing.”
Riley: How does he do that? I never think to do it. And even before I started “Two Boys Kissing,” when I was like, wait, it’s narrated. But you know, like I was not sure I would like the way it was written, but I just, I fell in love with it and he just. There’s just something special about his writing.
And I feel like through the stories that he tells and the people that he writes, he makes me see the world in a different way and I would love for someone to be able to say that about me one day.
Jeff: I love your choice cause he’s on my list too, for the authors who influence because of those very reasons.
Riley: And I met him one time at the LA Times Festival of Books and I was the biggest, dorkiest fan girl that there ever is. Like, I had made a shirt that had like my favorite quotes. He’s probably like, “security!”
Jeff: That’s awesome though. I mean, cause sometimes you gotta play the fan role.
Riley: Yeah. Yeah, you do. For sure.
Jeff: What would you say the trademarks of your books are? Regardless of like the tropes or the gernes or whatever that you’re doing?
Riley: I am a character writer for sure. I just am. I think people expect that from me and know that I try to write very real and flawed characters. I’d love people who don’t always do the right thing or screw up, or, don’t always think the way they should. We’re all flawed. Everyone sees what we want them to see. And so I love writing real people that are flawed like we all are. And I think that’s what readers expect from me.
Flawed characters, real characters, hopefully character-driven stories. And I think the found family thing is also a pretty big theme in a lot of my books.
Jeff: And I like how you write almost don’t like the word flaws. Jamison certainly sees himself as flawed.
Riley: But he’s not. No.
Jeff: He’s just him. And that’s, I like how throughout that book people don’t view him as flawed. They view him as him. And he’s the one who’ve used that he’s got this problem that he wishes he could stop being that way.
Riley: But I think, how real is that in a lot of ways, too, with a lot of them, you know what I mean? And so you’re right. Maybe flaw isn’t the right word because we do, we all see ourselves so differently than other people do.
And the things about myself that, that might drive me crazy about myself is what my husband thinks is super cute or whatever. It’s just funny how that works sometimes.
Jeff: What’s a book that you’ve read recently that you would recommend to our listeners?
Riley: I read “Project Hero” by Briar Prescott, which was super, super cute. I was in the mood for something snarky and fun and just to make me smile and that looked at it, I smiled the whole way through it. It was it was really fun read.
“Let There Be Light,” I read by A. M. Johnson and I really loved that. She writes beautifully. I’m a big fan of people who put words together in ways that I could never think to do. You know when you just read something and you can help a highlight that you’re like, gosh, how did they think to say that, that way?
I read “Grumpy Bear.” by Slade James and I loved it. I’m so happy that he’s writing. I think that he’s a voice we really, really need in our genre. So I hope everyone reads that and I really loved it.
Jeff: Yeah, Will read “Uncut Wood,” which he reviewed on the show a few weeks back and loved it and he’s already read “Grumpy Bear” too. He has sung it’s praises and he’ll actually be reviewing it on an upcoming show. But he loved it too. We’re so excited that Slade’s writing as well.
Riley: Yeah, I really, really am. And I had known that he was planning on it, but I hadn’t, obviously hadn’t read anything. And then he was kind enough to send me the ARC and I just I do, I love his voice. I love the authenticity in his his storytelling. I am so excited for everyone to be able to read it and I can’t wait for more from him.
Jeff: Yeah, for sure. You’ve hinted a little bit of things coming up this year. Another “Stumbling into Love” book a couple of other things. Tell us more. What can you tease us about that’s on your calendar?
Riley: I’m actually a little ahead right now. So I’m working on the “Stumbling” book, but I already have another book that’s in editing too. And this one is which. I’ve announced that one of them’s a football player, but I haven’t announced this part yet that I will. But it’s a football player and a United States senator.
So I really wanted to test myself with some pretty big external conflict. I think a lot of conflict is internal in romance novels, which is great. And I love that too. But I wanted some high stakes and some external conflict for them. I mean, they both have busy schedules and they one lives in California and one lives in Georgia.
How do they make it work? And so that will be after “Finding Ian” that will be next release. And then , like I said, I’m hoping this year that I will get to the fantasy. And I really do want to write another YA. But that if I do that, then that will go to my agent to go on submission instead of self publishing it. So who knows if or when we’ll be seeing that.
Jeff: How many books do you try to write in a year?
Riley: I don’t give myself a number. I write fast. So I’m lucky there and it is a full-time job. I mean, I get up at eight o’clock in the morning and I get on my computer and I write at least Monday through Friday. Those are, when the world was normal and my kids were in school, it was even earlier, my husband would bring them and they left at seven and I got up and got on my computer and no one was home until three o’clock. And so that it was my writing time. And so I try to be really consistent with that . Outside of that for me I love to write, so I’m always doing it even, probably when I should be taking breaks. If I had a lot on the weekends and stuff It’s like the only thing in my life really that’s mine, you know what I mean? And so I write a lot and I’m always working on something, so I don’t give myself a set number. I just, when I finished one thing, I start another one and we see what happens.
Jeff: That’s awesome. It’s great that you have that system and that you’re able to just consistently kind of, keep going.
Riley: I think that’s why I have to do different things too. Like we talked about, if I was only, writing one kind of story, I don’t think that I would be able to write as much as I do or feel as passionate about it.
But because I kind of try to test myself and challenge myself and think of different ways or different, go from something super heavy to something super light to, it kind of just keeps me feeling fresh.
Jeff: How could people keep up with you online to know when all this good stuff is coming out?
Riley: Well, my website is rileyhartwrites.com. Facebook Riley Hart. Twitter is RileyHart5 and Instagram is RileyHartWrites.
Jeff: Fantastic. We will put links to all of that plus all the books we talked about in the show notes so that everybody can go find those. Riley, thank you so much for coming to talk to us. It’s been so great to catch up with you and look forward to reading all this good stuff coming out.
Riley: Thank you for having me. I had fun.