3 questions to 1 author (Rhys Ford)
This week, Rhys Ford answers our questions with humor.
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
MIB: -According to the bad press that romance gets most of the time, what place are you giving it in literature ? Why have you gone in this way ? What are the strong and the weak points of love stories ?
RF : I don’t know if I write romance in the traditional sense of romance but honestly, my feelings are any genre is totally valid. The “meat” of most fiction revolves around relationships and knitting in a romantic element into a storyline is natural because we all have romantic interests in our lives. Relationships are a part of who we are as people and how we explore our boundaries with those relationships be they romances, friendships or familial is simply an extension of the world around us. I think a book is richer for depicting the characters’ interactions and connections.
As far as a book centered around a building romance or even a rekindling one, why not? It could range from sweet to passionate to suspense or whatever extra the author might want to flavor the elements and circumstances of that story. Historical or sci-fi settings or a paranormal factor in a story can change the dynamics of the book but the key thing is still that relationship.
People have been writing about people falling in love forever. Just like we have murder, betrayal, raising children, running from ghosts and everything else we can think of. I think a romance is a legitimate piece of writing.
MIB:- As bloggers, we always struggle in the same debate about the link between the authors and critics. What do you think about Amazon comments, reviews and criticism ? What is your tolerance ? How do you define the level of analysis that you would like, and what are your requirements about that ? Do you think we can say everything about books ? Is criticism something that pushes you forward or dishearten you ? In spite of a constant evolution, LGBT world can be terrible, as the romance’s one or the eroticism’s one. It’s not always easy to talk about it and what we do in our private life. Is it a problem for you ? Do you suffer criticism on this side too ? Did you share this passion for love story writing with your family ? Did this kind of genre make any problem in your private life ? Is the other’s attention (except your readers) important for you ? Does it have an influence on your urge to write ? Do you need to be understood by others to accept your writing wishes ?
Today, is it easy to be a romance author ? Especially with LGBT love stories ?
RF : There’s a LOT to unpack here in that paragraph. *grins* Let me break it down into sections.
Does criticism hurt ? Yes. Of course it does. You’d have to be so full of ego and arrogance to not feel a bit of a sting. *laughs* Because no child you raise is perfect just as no book you write is flawless. Now that leads me to my next point of… how to deal with those reviews. You hear people say “not every book is for everyone” and while that is true, the author has to ask themselves if the book they’ve written is the one they intended to write.
Because no matter what you write, what someone reads belongs to them and them alone. People have opinions about how a story should be constructed or what they wanted to see happen. Sometimes the author and reader line up pretty well and the reader is left with a sense of satisfaction and happy with the story. Sometimes they don’t. It’s hard of course if someone doesn’t like or even hates what you’ve spent months trying to craft. We are human. That’s a human thing. Because you’re saying; Look, I made this!. And that’s opening up a deep vulnerable part of who you are as a writer, as a person.
All of that being said, it’s also hard to remember what someone reads isn’t necessarily what the writer has written. Many things influence a reader from culture to past events to current circumstances.
Now the second part of this questions is whether or not my family is critical of what I write and does criticism influence my writing?
My mother is proud of what I do even if she does not read it or understand why I write. But she knows writing is an integral part of who I am and respects that piece of me. I don’t need her to read my books because I know the subject matters — the genres — I write aren’t to her taste. And that is fine for me. She is a fantastic gardener and raises award winning plants but that’s not something that is a part of my world. I can still be proud of her for her accomplishments. My younger sister’s interests are more like my mom’s and honestly, I’m happy my mom can talk these things over with her. I can also share her happiness in trying a new type of planting or listen to her plans. I can appreciate and respect her efforts and she does the same for me. That’s the best kind of support.
And do I let critiques or praises influence what I write? I cannot. Because then those people are the ones writing the story, not me. That’s key. That is the most important thing. Be true to your story and your voice. Explore and experiment with words and genres. Go past your boundaries and strive to accomplish new skills in your field. You might fail or succeed but really, it is the journey you take that makes you a better person and writer.
MIB : - Did you choose to be self published or to join a publishing company ? What are the reasons for this choice ? (if some of them can be pretty obvious, that’s not all of them) If you have tested both solutions, what do you prefer and why ? What are the strong and the weak points ?
RF : I have a publisher simply because I do not have time to curate and manage everything that I want to do as a writer. This includes translations, audiobooks, mass market paperbacks, industry reviews and deep edits. These things take time and money. I actually helped establish an independent press many years ago and I know first hand how much time and effort all of that takes to start and manage. Can I do it? Yes. Do I want to do it? No. *grins* I already write full time and work as an art director full time. In addition to social media and other things, I have very little spare time to even cuddle the cat. The dog needs a bath and he’s going to have to get one probably tomorrow. Since I’m working remotely during the stay-at-home period right now, I will be bathing him during my lunchtime… something he is not aware of.
If there comes a time when I have to self-pub, I probably will organize a co-op of authors and we can band our contacts and resources to make things easier to produce everything but even then, it will have to be done a piece at a time. If I have to do something, I want to do it well and plan it out. And manage it very tightly. It’s lovely to have that responsibility taken care of by trained professionals I can trust.
BUT that’s my approach and how I see things. Everyone has different needs and wants. I’d rather have the time to write because my hours are limited. And well, I like having a little bit of free time as well so I can read. And catch up on Witcher which I still haven’t done.
The reader question :
The world of Dim Sum Asylum is so rich that it deserves to be used as much as the relationship
between Roku et Trent. Are you working on the sequel ?
RF : Yes, I would love to do a sequel and as soon as I have the time, I will. There's a lot I want to explore there, including Roku's connections with his grandmother and the assassin he saw in the Benevolent Society. There's also Ghost and how Roku deals with him as well as Trent's past. I just need the time because oh, that world is SO huge and so intricate.
"I write. And kill people. On paper. And sometimes have them fall in love. " Rhys Ford
Thank you very much, Rhys !!
Facebook page: facebook
Twitter : https://twitter.com/rhys_ford
The fourth book of Kai Gracen should be released the 1th of July... and we will be eagerly awaiting the traduction !!
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