Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Riley Hart aka Nyrae Dawn

Note: This interview was made before GRL and prior to the release of Jumpstart, which is already live on Amazon, so please keep that in mind when you read this interview. BBJ Team

Hi Riley Hart and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. I discovered Riley pretty early in her RH* career (actually, I can be specific – 18/11/13, with Collide) and have read pretty much everything she’s put out. *She also writes YA/NA under the name Nyrae Dawn, and in collaboration with Christina Lee. She’s very active on Facebook and loves to tempt fans with unedited snippets from her WIPS (it’s perhaps a little rude to say she teases, though technically, teasing might be the more accurate term, lol!). To date, she’s published 11 RH books and 16 ND titles, and I believe that she’s busy on more than one WIP – yay!

BBJ: Please tell us all about yourself, Riley, what got you into writing and why you write in so many genres. We love, love, love TMI here at BBJ, so please feel free to spill, spill, spill. 

Riley: Hello. Thanks for having me here. I’ve always loved writing. I won my first writing contest in elementary school. When I was a child, I thought I would write children’s books. As I grew up, I thought a career as a writer was impossible so I put my dreams to the side. When I became a stay at home mom, I started reading romance and fell in love. I took a writing class by published romance authors, and did a lot of research and joined groups. I haven’t looked back since.

BBJ: And on top of the writing, I believe you wrangle two very active girls and…Dom? Can you tell us a little more about them, please?

Riley: My girls are eight and twelve and yes very active. My husband is as well! He and my girls ride motocross and we go every weekend. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family who deals with mom in writer mode, which means I lock myself in my office or they have to repeat themselves often.

BBJ: What inspires your writing, Riley? Is it RL events/news/couples/throuples/experiences, both good and bad – all of the former?

Riley: Umm. That’s a hard question. I can get inspiration from anywhere. I think a lot of the men I write have pieces of my husband in them. He’s such a good, caring man and those are the kind of men I try to write.

BBJ: Where can readers interact with you in person in what’s left of 2016 and in 2017? Will you be attending any author-reader conferences in the UK/rest of the world at any point? And, if they can’t make those, what’s the best way to not miss out on Riley/Nyrae news?

Riley: I really wish I could go to signings in the UK. It’s my dream. I’ve never been. Hopefully some day! As of now I’ll just be attending GRL in the USA this month. I have Jumpstart that comes out November 1st. It’s the last book in the Crossroads series.
As you said, I’m very active on Facebook so that’s always a great place to interact with me!

BBJ: Name 5 things you absolutely couldn’t do without. 

Riley: My family, my computer, my phone, my Kindle, and my dogs.

BBJ: Do you love all your leads equally, or do you secretly have a fave pair? It’s OK, you’re amongst friends, so you can tell all. And, if you do and could cast them in a film, who would you choose to play them?

Riley: This is such a hard question! LOL. I feel guilty for the other characters if I choose one. But…I guess I have a couple. Stray and Hunter from Turn the World Upside Down (Nyrae) will always hold a special place in my heart. As will Noah and Cooper from Collide (Riley).
I am the worst when it comes to picking actors for my characters. I never know what to say! I don’t follow a lot of actors (ducks and hides).

BBJ: How open with friends/family/colleagues are you that your writing includes MM and MMM? What have been their reactions? How does your hubs feel about your choice of genre, and does he read your books and/or help with them?

Riley: Hubby just wants me to write whatever I want to write and whatever makes me happy. He’s very supportive. He doesn’t read my books though. He’s never read any of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s adult, YA, NA, male/male or male/female. Romance novels just aren’t his thing. As for people in my life, some people know, some don’t. Most of the people who do know have been very supportive. The ones who aren’t, I don’t pay attention to them J

BBJ: Friends-to-lovers is a theme you’ve used in your books – is this ‘cos you’re a soppy romantic and was it inspired by your RL romance with your hubs? Care to share, pretty please?

Riley: Friends to lovers will always be one of my favourite tropes. I believe we need to be friends with people before we fall in love. But yes, hubby and I were friends first. We’ve been together since we were teenagers though. He was one of my close friends. He used to tell me I was beautiful and I always thought he was just being nice until one day, everything changed and he told me he had feelings for me.

BBJ: What do you tend to read for pleasure? Do you read reviews of books, your own or otherwise?

Riley: I’m a romance reader till I die. LOL. Mostly contemporary but some paranormal. I read primarily male/male. I love adult and young adult books, both. As for reviews, I do read them for books I’m considering reading if I’m not familiar with the author. When it comes to my own books, I give myself a couple days after release to read reviews and then I cut myself off and don’t read them.

BBJ: What’s the best bit of fan mail you’ve ever had? And the weirdest?

Riley: The best I actually got today. It was a reader who messaged me about Weight of the World, which I just released with Devon McCormack. She shared some very personal things with me that really touched my heart. The weirdest…someone just emailed me to tell me they’ve enjoyed some of my books and then wanted to know if I could give them one of the series they haven’t read for free.

BBJ: And finally, the quick-fire round:

What’s your favourite colour? Purple.

What can you be bribed with? Chocolate.

What can your brood be bribed with, and how often are you forced to resort to bribing? Toys or dirt bikes—too often to admit!

What about the US makes you proudest? How we stick together when push comes to shove.

Can you juggle? No.

Joe Manganiello or Bradley Cooper? Neither? Hides

Describe yourself in one word. Sensitive.

Bubble bath or glass of wine to relax? Bubble bath all the way!!

Next holiday destination? Not sure.

Favourite food? Mexican food. Maybe tacos?

Your other half’s nickname? Dom.

How much of a romantic is your other half, and please may we have an example? He’s pretty romantic. Not always on a daily basis but that makes it sweeter. He’s also always giving me cheesy lines that I love. Once he was falling asleep and he had a frown. I told him he frowned in his sleep and he said, “That’s because I can’t see you.” 

Finally, what’s your guilty pleasure? Guilty pleasure…hmm, the internet? LOL.

You can find Riley (and Nyrae) on these links:

Twitter: @Rileyhart5

Twitter: @NyraeDawn

Zack is at the end of his rope. Homeless and now jobless, he decides to end it all, but when he gets to the top of the roof he plans to jump from, he meets Rob, who convinces him he has so much to live for. The next day, Zack discovers that Rob met the same fate he was planning to by jumping off the roof to his death. Looking for answers as to why Rob would work so hard to save his life, and then take his own, he seeks out Rob's brother, Tommy. Together as Zack and Tommy look for answers, they find so much more. They find comfort in each other, but what will happen when Tommy discovers the last person to see his brother alive, is the man he's come to have feelings for. Will he fight for Zack or will he feel betrayed and walk away?

This was an emotional read. It deals with a very heavy subject matter, the aftermath of a suicide and who is left behind to ask why and what could I have done to help save this person, but it was handled very well. I loved that not only did we get Zack and Tommy's POV's, we also get a few chapters from Rob's POV, and this went a long way to making Rob feel like a true part of the book and not leaving him as just a part of the backdrop. Tommy and Zack were both likable characters. They had an amazing chemistry and the sex was explosively hot and plentiful.

The book is well-written, as a collaboration it seems maybe one POV was written by one author and the other POV by the other. One POV flowed better than the other. One POV was much more detail oriented and more "telly" rather than "showy", and it didn't flow as smoothly as the other. I've never read anything by Devon, but I've read all of Riley's books except the menage ones, and I'm pretty sure I know whose POV she wrote.

While the book was dark in places, it wasn't all doom and gloom. Zack and Tommy share some passion, tenderness, love and laughter along the way. Very enjoyable and highly recommended!!

4.5 Stars

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the Harmony Ink Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.* 

Hunter Donovan once had the picture perfect life. A great family, good friends and a talent for baseball. Unfortunately, while things looked perfect on the outside no one, including Hunter and his mother, knew what was going on behind closed doors. After learning his father was a monster and his little sister had suffered at his hands, Hunter blames himself for not protecting her. His guilt and anger are eating him alive and his rage has caused him to become violent. With no other choice he is committed to a treatment center by his mother. 

Better Days is not where Hunter wants to be. The idea of talking to others about his issues makes him want to hit something. He just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately for him the residents of Better Days have different plans. Some want to be friends while others are set on hurting him and one boy makes Hunter want to talk about why he's there. Together with a group of "misfits", Hunter begins to realize there's only so much he can do, he's not responsible for saving everybody. He needs to work on saving himself. 

I have been a fan of Nyrae Dawn for years and I'm always in awe of how these stories seem to press all of my emotional buttons so well. I was expecting sad and emotional but I didn't realize I would actually end up with tears in my eyes by the end. There were quite a few sad scenes as well as some good laugh out loud moments, but there is a particularly violent scene that, for me, was one of the hardest scenes to read. I felt it while it happened and I wanted to scream at the offenders because it was so vivid in my mind. The direct aftermath had tears in my eyes, it was just sad. I really felt for Hunter, the way he feels and the actions he takes. He takes everything on himself and can't seem to realize he's just a 16 year old kid. 

Each character was thought out and so real. I could picture them as I read as if I were watching a movie. I loved them all and my heart broke for each of them and their struggles. I wanted to hug every one of them and tell them that it would be okay. That things would get better, even though I know very well it's not that simple. 

My only problem with this book was the ending. I'm probably the only one but I feel like I needed an epilogue. I needed to know how they are 1, 2, 5 years down the road. Did things get better? How were their lives as adults? I needed just a little more closure. That said, this is a great read and I definitely recommend it along with Nyrae Dawn's other books. 

4.5 Stars!

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