Sunday, February 12, 2017

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie: Author A.E. Ryecart

BBJ: Hi A.E. Ryecart and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. Ali’s been writing since 2014 and has been published for nearly two years now. She’s an author who doesn’t do pretty, or hearts and roses or frou-frou – oh, no, she’s all about the ANGST (and yes, the capitals are deliberate). She first came onto my radar with the amazing Imperfect, a tale that took me out of my comfort zone because it made a hero of a…cheat; that’s normally a hard limit for me in a romance, but Ali managed to make me like the almost unlikable Josh, and from then on, I was hooked. She’s kind enough to allow me to beta for her, so I get to see her guys at various stages of their inception, and I can tell you that I’ve just read her latest book Corporate Bodies, the final tale in her Urban Love series (which was released in Feb 10, 2017) and that it’s absolutely the best of the series, with a pairing that I hadn’t seen coming and wouldn’t have imagined from her, or for her lead, Jake. But, I loved it and am sure that it’ll be another hit for her. Ali has another series, Barista Boys, and yes, that’s slightly sweeter but still full of the heart-breaking stuff, though the good thing is that there are several more tales to come. And now, it’s over to Ali as she prepares to tell-all and shake off that famed English reserve 😀

BBJ: Welcome Ali and please proceed to tell us all about yourself, and what started you off on your writing journey – I mean, you left a city career, right, to start writing MM romance?
Ali:  Hi Rita and thanks, too, to BBJ for hosting me.
I always had a hankering to write but that pesky stuff called Life got in the way. I had a busy HR job in London’s West End, so I was very much caught up in the daily commute which meant my time was squeezed. Honestly, I have so much admiration for authors who work a day job and manage to write because I couldn’t do it. The HR job came to an end when I was made redundant (laid off) and looking back it was the best thing that ever happened. I ended up having a year off when I dabbled in writing but mostly just enjoyed the freedom. I went back to work, and commuting, but by then I knew what I really wanted to do, and that was to write. With the full support of Mr R I packed in the day job and have been a full-time author ever since.

BBJ: So far, all of your tales are set in good old London town, which we both love. Please tell us a little about why you love London and what makes it great. And, are the rumours true that you have plans for a US-set tale, with leads called Hank and Randy? It makes me LOL that Randy is an American guy’s name, whereas to us Brits, it’s a rather unflattering adjective that gets applied to dogs!
Ali: Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner! It’s cheesy but true. I was born and brought up in the heart of the city and I always say London’s in my DNA and I really do feel that. Like many, I’ve moved further out (not by much, I’m less than half an hour away) but I go into London a lot and I always get a buzz when I step out onto the city’s streets. What do I love about London? It’s endlessly fascinating, it’s eclectic and it never fails to surprise. I’m always posting up photos of the city on Facebook of things which catch my interest when I’m out and about.

Hank and Randy!!! Do people really call their sons Hank and Randy? One thing you can be guaranteed, nobody in any of my books will be called Hank and Randy. Ever. The US-set tale isn’t fully formed yet but before I go down that route I need to conclude my Barista Boys series, about the lovely men who work in a funky little Soho café.

BBJ: Can we have a few hints about the upcoming tales in the Barista Boys series? Pretty please, to share with new friends? At least, please tell us that Bernie will get a tale of his own, after the reveal about his heartbreak?
Ali: There’ s another book in the series in the pipeline – in fact, that will be my next release, sometime in the spring. I’ve got some ideas bubbling away and I’m thinking this will be a sweeter tale (but you know me, and sweetness is relative!).
Oh yes, Bernie the café owner. He’s a firm favourite with readers and he’ll have his own story where a lot more will be revealed about him, including how he ended up at the café. I’m also going to write about Bernie’s time with Kevin, who was his first love, as a sort of add-on to the main series. I won’t say anything more at this stage, but that’ll be a real tear jerker.

Buy Imperfect at Amazon

BBJ: What do you do in your spare time, Ali? What’s your idea of the perfect day off?
Ali: I’m very much into fitness activities, which you wouldn’t know by looking at me! I love swimming, and walking, and spin classes. . . which is just as well because I also love eating and drinking! So, an ideal day off for me would be an early swim, then a lazy lunch with a glass or three of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. That’s my idea of heaven!

BBJ: Do any of your friends or family members ever end up between the pages of your books? If so, how thinly-veiled are they, and do you live in fear of reprisals? 🙂
Ali: No, or at least not yet, but it really does depend on how much they tick me off! Although, there is a personal trainer at the gym who knows what I write and he’s very enthusiastic about being in one of my books, and I’ve already thought about ways to include him in the next Barista Boys story.

BBJ: Will readers be seeing you at any conferences in 2017? Any plans to venture across to the land of Randys and Hanks?
Ali: I would love to attend a conference in the land of the Randys and Hanks, although I’m sure people would look at me and wonder who the strange Brit in the corner was
Here in the UK, I’ll be attending ShiMMer, an mm author signing day, at Aston Villa FC’s ground on 1 July which’ll be fun. I really wish there were events in the UK in the same way there are in the States. Sadly, there’s no UK Meet this year, the weekend event for authors and readers, so we have to wait until 2018.

BBJ: Why the café setting for your second series, Ali? It is inspired by your love of coffee or your own experience of writing in cafés, as I hear many authors do? Or, do you have a writing cave at home where you sequester yourself?
Ali: I love cafés! In the year between jobs, I developed a café habit as I’m fortunate to have some lovely ones in my nearby town. I think they’re interesting places and are ideal for people watching. Barista Boys, which is the name of the café in the Barista Boys series, is a mash-up of several places I’ve been to. I’ve got an office at home, and that’s a good place to write, but I also like to write outside the house and having the buzz of other people around me. 

Buy the Barista Boys Series at Amazon

BBJ: So, you know London pretty well, and your tales are authentically English, which is hugely refreshing in a genre inundated with US-set tales. Why have you decided to cross the pond? How different will it be writing a tale based in the US, with e.g. the differences we have in our common language, making it authentic, putting in real locales off the beaten track, etc.? Please don’t tell me you’re going to cop out and set it in Generic City, USA or a made-up place?
Ali: Thanks, Rita. Yes, I think it is true to say that the genre’s dominated by US-set stories, but I guess it’s the biggest market, with more authors, so it’s understandable.
I want to expand my writing horizons, but I don’t underestimate the challenge of writing about a society that’s not my own and using language with so many differences on an everyday level. This’ll be where I call in favours from US author friends for help to stop me making a fool of myself! But no, don’t worry, I won’t be making the setting Anyplaceville! Maybe a trip to the States, just for research purposes. . . mmm, think I’m due another visit. . .

BBJ: So, I hear that Mr. R does a read-through of your tales  – do you mean to say that he reads all the scenes? What’s his reaction to…ahem...the sex scenes and does he let you know if they work/not? Does he provide feedback? Inspiration? Fuel? Practice material? 😉
Ali: To use Mr R’s words, some of the scenes make him choke on his cornflakes! Really, though, he’s very good, he reads everything I write and no, he takes it all in his stride. His clients, for work, are always very curious about the books when he tells them what I write. . . he just leaves them to wonder how I do my research!

BBJ: Ali, picture this: you’ve won a prize of a 3-course dinner for six prepared and served in the comfort of your own home by none other than Big Sweary aka Mr. Ramsey. He asks you to design the menu and to sous-chef for him – what dishes do you choose and what’s the end state of play, i.e. who’s the bigger sweary of the two of you and do roles end up reversed?
Ali: I love hearty food, nothing served with a foam or jus, or a bit of frothy cream on puff pastry for me, if you please! I’d probably have something nibbly as a starter such as olives, houmus and breads. Then, a meat dish and the spicier the better as I love things like curries (I throw chillies into all sorts of food) and then I’d finish with something like sticky toffee pudding, or cheese. See, I told you I love food, which is probably why all my characters are constantly to be found in restaurants, pubs and cafés.
I would definitely be the sweariest out of the two of us. I’m ashamed to say (blushes furiously) that I can turn the air blue!

Buy the Urban Love series at Amazon

BBJ: Who would you invite to your dinner party and why? And yes, in this scenario you’ve been granted the ability to do it Bill & Ted style, i.e. go back in time and party on dudes! (sorry, I think I’ve been affected by Randy and Hank) 😕
Ali: I’d have the cast of Frazier, in full Frazier mode, and yes that does include Eddie!

BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round:
Champers or Prosecco?  
Ali: Champagne, all the way.
Brock O’Hurn or Tom Hiddleston?
Ali: Neither. Either Cillian Murphy or Tom Hardy, from Peaky Blinders. Or both. At the same time.
What’s your star sign?
Ali: Taurus
Your guilty pleasure/s is/are:
Ali: None of my pleasures are in the slightest bit guilty, and that’s all I’m prepared to say!
Describe yourself in one word.
Ali: Unconventional.

Thanks for popping in, Ali. We hope you had fun, but please now bog off and get back to the writing, as I’m getting impatient for more Jake and Oliver (though I’m not quite sold yet on Randy and Hank, lol!).

Ali: Thanks for having me, it’s been a pleasure. I’ll get the kettle on and fill my favourite writing mug (yes, I have one) to the brim with coffee and bog off, as you say. . .

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