1: First off, I know you have several names you write under. Why do you feel the need to use a pseudonym and how do you come up with the names?
Hey Roseanne! Thank you for having me. J It’s great to be doing my first official interview!
As far as pseudonyms go, I have two. I originally started writing under my real name: Sandhya Falls. I published a few short stories in anthologies, and they were all speculative and/or dark fiction.
I also write under Sandhya Menon, which is used for my multicultural children’s books. I haven’t published anything under that one yet, but there’s a ton underway!
When I wrote my contemporary paranormal romance for MuseItUp, I wanted to make sure my work wouldn’t clash with what I already had published. I didn’t want to confuse readers, or make it hard for them to choose what kind of fiction they wanted to read. Hence, Adriana Ryan was born.
2: How long have you been writing and what was your first book and series?
I have been writing since I was a little girl. I used to scribble bits of poems and prose on the walls and cabinets, and even my clothes and shoes! Finally, my parents got me my own notebooks and I filled those up as fast as I could.
Now, my Netbook is my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without it! However, Her Heart’s Desire (working title) will be my first novella. I’m so excited!
3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
Ooh, a really interesting question! There’s almost a love-hate relationship between most authors and the writing process, isn’t there? The act of writing itself is like a drug – addictive and intense – but then there are certain parts that make you want to tear your hair out.
Let’s see, my favorite part is when I type The End. Really! It’s not because it’s a project completed (although that’s nice, too!), it’s because I feel like I’ve had so much fun in this happy – or sad, or mysterious, etc. – world I’ve created. It’s a full, satisfying feeling, almost like when you’ve just had a baby. J
The worst part, I think, is editing! That first round of going through and ripping out parts you’ve written, rewriting things until the words start to swim, and wondering why you ever thought you were worthy of being a writer – ughhhh. ‘Editing’ is a four letter word to me.
4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
I LOVE to read. I’m a fanatic about books. I can’t stand having a single day without something new to read – the minute I finish a book, I have a new one waiting in the wings. I’m a total word nerd.
I’m an amateur painter as well, with an emphasis on the word ‘amateur.’ I absolutely love anything to do with color. I paint abstract realism most of the time, but most recently just finished my fully abstract piece and loved the experience.
5: You mentioned that you started off writing dark fiction. When and how did you begin to write contemporary paranormal romance?
Her Heart’s Desire is actually my very first romance, believe it or not. I was so lucky that MuseItUp picked it up! I wasn’t even sure there would be a market for a story like it; I just knew I wanted to write it. As you probably know, Roseanne, there are some characters who just won’t shut up until you tell their story! J
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
I’m really bad at talking about myself, so it would probably be that I’m not “just” a stay-at-home mom (although that in and of itself is a huge undertaking!). I have other personas: writer, for one, and student, for another. I think that when people find out you stay home with your kids, they sort of stop looking past that to see if there’s anything else. I’m lucky to have a proud husband who brags to anyone who’ll listen that I’m a writer and soon-to-be psychologist!
7: Tell us about your current novel, Her Heart’s Desire. How did you come up with the idea and where can we find it?
Her Heart’s Desire will be out through MuseItUp Publishing (www.museituppublishing.com) in March 2012 (stay tuned for a concrete date as time gets closer!).
I remember the idea came to me like a bolt of lightning. It was so different than anything I’d ever written that I knew I had to get it down. My first scribbles had allusions to an “imperfect heroine” and a “magic necklace” but the story hadn’t formed much beyond that until I started writing.
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Don’t worry about what others will think of your story. Just write the story you want to tell, write your heart out, write every day. Follow your instincts. And before you submit, have a few really smart people critique your work.
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
My major characters are almost always a vivid fusion of different people, and even different traits of people. For Millie, I drew upon my sister, myself, a secretary with whom I once worked, and my incredibly beautiful aunt. But ssh – don’t tell them!
10: Are you finished with Millie Fields, or does she still have any stories left to tell?
I’m not sure if Millie will come back in future books. As of this time, I haven’t written any more stories with her – her story feels told and done. However, I absolutely loved the fun, flirty feel of the book as well as the fact that it had a truer, deeper meaning in it as well. That’s something I hope to carry over into my future books.
11: Can you tell us about your next book in the works?
Sure! I always have about a zillion projects going at any time, so I’m happy to oblige. ;) My next novella, Dusk, is actually a light paranormal horror (absolutely no gore), with a touch of romance to it. I’m still editing it (ah, the lovely phase of rewrites – not!) and eventually I hope it’ll make it past the slush piles like Her Heart’s Desire did!
12. Are you a plotter or punster?
I am most definitely a plotter. My ideas come in a flurry, but I have to get that butterfly net out and snag them down to where I can pin them, or they’re lost. I like to have a visual map before me, either in the form of an Excel spreadsheet or a column of flash cards.
13. Where can we find you? Website? Blog?
My blog is http://adrianaryan.wordpress.com. I blog regularly about the writing process for a new (to the publishing world) author like me, but I also interview and feature a dazzlingly talented array of other authors.
Blurb: Her Heart’s Desire is about Millie Fields, whose unfortunate life is of Greek-tragedy proportions and couldn’t possibly get any worse… or so she thought. But one humiliating encounter with her heartthrob of a boss (aka Gorgeous Grant) finds her in the rain, desperate for a chance to be someone who matters. A mysterious woman slips her a necklace that gives her exactly what she’s wanted for years. Will she be able to juggle her two identities and end up with the one man of her dreams?
Millie knew she had to get out of there. Between the rain and her frizzy hair, the impossibility of getting promoted, and seeing her Graham fall so easily for Alice’s trilling laugh, she’d had enough. She was halfway to the door when the heel on her shoe snapped, twisting her ankle and landing her flat on her face – at Graham’s feet. For a moment, time stopped. She staggered up on her knees and stared up at Graham’s confused face. The silence around the office was deafening.
Alice was the first one to register what had happened. She started laughing so hard, she snorted several times in a row. The paralysis that had gripped the office broke, and people everywhere started joining in, chuckling and calling out, “Timber!”
Please don’t laugh at me. Millie tried to telegraph her entreaty to Graham. She was still on her knees; she just couldn’t bring herself to move. Please don’t laugh, not you.
But of course he laughed. With one look at Alice’s contorted face, Graham burst into guffaws.
Millie pulled herself up and took her shoes off in silence. She heard Alice drawl, “I don’t think you’re a heels kind of girl, Millie,” and there was a fresh wave of laughter around the office.
Millie looked around at everyone’s faces, distorted with mirth, eyeing her as though she might do something else for their entertainment. They all thought she was a big fool, didn’t they? She was an untalented, fat, unfashionable slob. She felt tears rush to her eyes and blinked them back furiously. She wouldn’t let them see her cry. She couldn’t give them the satisfaction.
Without a word, she ran out of the office and down the hallway. Flinging the door to the fire escape open, she ran down the stairs in her bare feet, and out into the warm pouring rain. She hurried away from the building, keeping her head down as people with umbrellas rushed past, darting her curious glances. Her hair was plastered to her skull, strands of it were in her eyes, and her tears mingled with the rain. She only half-registered the sobs that escaped from some place deep within her chest; her shoulders hitched with the effort of containing them. Finally, she got to a bench and sat down, her sopping clothes clinging to her. She glanced down at her shirt and realized with a lurch of horror that it was white. Her ratty black bra was clearly visible. Fresh sobs racked her frame; she was so out of it that it took her a few moments to notice that someone’s hand was on her back.
She looked up to see a weathered old face staring at her in concern.
“My dear, what is the matter?” The woman sitting next to her was dressed in tattered clothing and had a shopping cart full of clothes and knick knacks parked nearby. Her voice lilted with an accent that Millie couldn’t place.
“It would take less time to tell you what isn’t the matter.” Millie stared at the cracks in the sidewalk. She tried to gain control of her wobbling voice, but failed miserably.
“You mustn’t despair,” the old woman said. “You have a good heart. I see it.”
“Yeah well, a good heart doesn’t really help you get the man of your dreams, you know? It doesn’t help you be something other than a laughingstock for your whole office. It doesn’t help you get ahead in a career that’s completely dead-ended. It doesn’t help you feel like anything except a 28-year-old failure.” Millie put her hands over her face, giving in to her burning humiliation and sorrow.
She looked up when she felt something being slipped around her neck. “What –“
“This is for you.” The woman gestured at Millie’s chest.
Millie looked down and saw a glass pendant shaped like a small bottle hanging on a black leather cord. The pendant was no bigger than an inch, and intricately carved. “It’s beautiful,” Millie said, fingering it. “But I don’t have any money… I left my purse back at the office –“
The woman held up a wrinkled old hand as the rain pelted down on them. “I do not want your money. This is for your pained heart.” Before Millie could protest, the woman placed her palm over the pendant. She closed her eyes and half-sang, half-chanted, “Mashaha la. Mashaha la.”
Millie watched in disbelief as a purple glow lit up the crevices of the woman’s hand and light spilled from the spaces between her fingers. She could feel the pendant getting warm, warmer, almost hot. Then, in a sudden mini-implosion, the light and the heat receded.
Millie squinted at the homeless woman in the rain, unable to speak. What had just happened?
“This is the Night’s Hope necklace. By day you will be Millie, by night you will be transformed into your heart’s desire.” She flashed a crooked little smile at Millie. “Enjoy.”
Millie gazed down at the necklace, trying to remember if she had told the old woman her name. “This is amazing,” she said, stroking the pendant. “How did you make it light up?” When there was silence, she looked up to see that the seat next to her was empty. Her only company was the thundering rain and gusting wind.