Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interview: Jesi Lea Ryan

Today I am welcoming YA author, Jesi Lea Ryan to the blog to tell us a little more about her new book, Arcadia's Gift. 

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
I’ve always been fascinated by psychics and psychic phenomenon. So many paranormal novels focus on mythical creatures like vampires, werewolves and faeries that aren’t real. But psychics...well, just maybe.  The human mind is an incredible thing. So, I was sitting in an insurance class one day, doodling in my notebook, and before I knew it, I’d outlined a three book plot revolving around a psychic empath. And so Arcadia was born. 

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
That’s a hard question. Plot and character are so intertwined. I’d have to say that I focus more on character. That’s where I always start.  Characters pop into my mind fully formed, while my plots are subject to change. I never stick to outlines no matter how good my intentions might be. 
Arcadia’s Gift is more character focused because it is introducing the reader to the characters and their world. The second book, Arcadia’s Curse, which is in the editing stage right now, is much more plot heavy. 

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
One day, Arcadia (Cady) Day is a sixteen year old high school student who runs track, is slightly introverted and very compassionate. Then, a horrific accident occurs and completely turns her world on end. Her family is ripped apart and her emotions are all over the map. She wants to remain a normal teenager, but her circumstances make it impossible. 

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 

Arcadia’s Gift is part paranormal romance and part family drama. This is a family that was breaking down before the accident, and then after it just unravels. Cady has always been a compassionate person, but the accident amplifies those feelings a thousand fold. At its heart this is a coming of age story.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

Hey, I would just be happy if people read my book and are entertained for a while. If I’m really lucky, they might learn a little tidbit of trivia to take away with them. Maybe they will see there is more to Iowa than corn and pig farms. 

6. What song best describes your writing style?
There isn’t one song really. Music plays a huge part in my writing process. I use it to set moods when I write, very important when writing about a psychic empath. At the end of the book, I included a song list of music that inspired me while writing. This is also music I would expect to be on Cady’s iPod. It’s mostly indie and alternative stuff. I’m writing Arcadia’s Curse right now, which is a much darker story, so that book playlist reflects that.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Oh, I am such a Night Owl. I’ve suffered from insomnia my whole life. If I didn’t have a day job to get up to in the morning, I could quickly convert to nocturnal. 

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
Rainbows of fruit flavors are cool and all, and M&Ms are like tiny drops of heaven, but Reece’s Pieces are the food of the gods. 

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Well, I read over 250 novels a year, so I have many favorite authors. Richelle Mead is someone who I pre-order all of her books so I can read them as fast as possible when they release. She has this way of making me fall in love with her characters. So much so that she is constantly breaking my heart and stitching it back together. Dang, that sounds like some sort of bad relationship that I keep running back to.  :)
Some of my other favorite authors are John Green, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, Tennessee Williams, Julie Kagawa, Tammara Webber, T.C. Boyle, Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Armentrout, Tiffany Reisz, Oscar Wilde, etc. I read a wide variety of things. 

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
Well, as I mentioned, I’m just finishing up Arcadia’s Curse. I’m also working on producing the audio book for Arcadia’s Gift, which is a fascinating process that I’m really excited about.  I also have a contemporary new adult romance that I’ve been working on for awhile that I’d like to finish. It will be a nice break from empaths for a while. But don’t worry, the third Arcadia book will be along eventually.

Arcadia's Gift is available now from Amazon

Meet the Author

Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and sassy kitty.

You can connect with Jesi online at Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter

You can also enter to win a copy of Arcadia's Gift below!