Reese and I met when she was president of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, her open, engaging smile and outgoing personality made her an excellent and inclusive president, welcoming all who attended. I am so excited to welcome Reese Ryan to Creekside Café.
Reese: Thank you for this opportunity.
Sherri: I’ve been wanting to ask you back to the area since the workshop you gave the Pamlico Writers’ Group. It’s too bad this is only a virtual café. Shall we have a bourbon drink in honor of your Bourbon Brothers Series?
Reese: I’ll just order a Caramel Macchiato hot–even in the height of summer.
Sherri: I drink hot coffee any time of the year so I’m right there with you.
You’re not native to North Carolina, are you?
Reese: I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where I spent the majority of my life. I’ve been living in Central North Carolina for the past ten years.
Sherri: What do you think about Eastern North Carolina? My virtual café exists in my dreams on the banks of the Pamlico River.
Reese: I’ve had a chance to spend time in New Bern, Duck, Jacksonville, and Little Washington. We adored our trips to each of these little towns. We can’t wait to return for our next Eastern North Carolina adventure.
Sherri: If you get down my way, give me a holler and I’ll show you around. I believe I owe you a dinner.
Do you write full time
now, or do you hold down another job as well as write? When did you start
writing full time?
Reese: I have been writing full-time for at least the past two years. Before that, my day job was writing marketing copy for small businesses.
Sherri: I work at our local ABC store, for those of you not from North Carolina that’s a liquor store owned by the county and regulated by the state. People are always asking if my job ever influences my writing. Has your career influenced your writing?
Reese: I spent several years working in the non-profit sector. This manifests itself in my writing because many of my characters either work in the non-profit sector or they are passionate about philanthropic endeavors. My time as a copywriter is likely the reason so many of my heroines work in PR or marketing.
Sherri: How long have you been a writer/published
author? First discovered your love of writing?
Reese: I first discovered my love of writing when I was in middle school. I started writing stories and submitted my first short story to a magazine when I was about seventeen. I stopped writing altogether until I was in my mid-thirties. I’ve been a published author for six years. My first book was published in July 2013.
Sherri: Well, you know I’m a huge fan but tell
our readers what genre of books your write.
Reese: I write steamy contemporary romance with a diverse cast of characters.
Sherri: It’s your awesome characters that keep me coming back for more. I just love the way you people your stories. Everyone feels real. Your characters are multidimensional, generational and cultural. In your recent Cattleman Club Book, “His Until Midnight,” you have an older couple in the background with a bit of history. They are so well written I want to know their story. I want them to have their HEA.
Do you plan to write
any other genres in the future?
Reese: I have plans for future romantic thriller and historical romance series.
Sherri: Historical romance is my first love, I love Beverly Jenkins’ Old West Series. I’ve started reading her Women Who Dare series and I want to read more about the LeVeq family.
Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz is the author who inspired me to move to contemporary books both reading and writing.
I’d be happy to be a Beta reader if you need one.
Tell us, what is your
latest writing or publishing project?
Reese: I just signed a three-book deal with Grand Central Forever to write a diverse, small-town series set in the Outer Banks. Starting Over, the first book in my new Holly Grove Island series, is scheduled for a November 2020 release.
Sherri: Oh wow, you know I loved your Pleasure Cove series. Will this have more of a small-town feel?
Reese: Yes. My Pleasure Cove and Bourbon Brothers series are contemporary romance series that happen to be set in small towns. But the Holly Grove Island series will be a bona fide small-town series.
Sherri: What are some of the things you love about writing?
Reese: I love writing strong entrepreneurial or career-minded women and heroes that while strong, also display some type of vulnerability.
Sherri: And you do it so well.
What do you barely
tolerate about writing?
Reese: For me, the hardest thing is always getting through that first rough draft. Revisions, I love. For me, that’s where the real magic of storytelling happens. I can fix anything, but a blank page just taunts me.
Sherri: I’m a bit of a foodie. With six sons and
my herd of grandchildren food plays a big part in everything we do. I often
post recipes on my website. Do you have a favorite food/recipe?
Reese: It should come as a surprise to no one who has read my books that I enjoy food. LOL. My characters like to eat and often cook together or for one another. My favorite comfort food is chicken and dumplings. My favorite dessert is peach cobbler, which I make for most family functions.
Peach Cobbler Recipe
1 pkg of Pillsbury or other refrigerated pie crust (taste matters, so get a good one)
2 bags of frozen peach slices (about three pounds)
¼ cup lemon juice
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup butter
2 cups white sugar (modify this to your taste)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Roll out one sheet of dough thin enough to cover the bottom and partial sides of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
- While the bottom of the crust is baking, combine the frozen peaches (fresh or canned can also work), lemon juice, and orange juice in a large sauce pan. Add the ½ cup of butter and heat until the butter melts. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups of sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Mix dry ingredients well, then add it to the peach mixture. Remove the peach mixture from heat and pour it into the baking dish on top of the pie crust.
- Take the second pie crust sheet, roll it out a little thicker than you rolled the bottom crust. Cut strips approximately ½ inch wide. Use strips to create a lattice crust over the peach mixture.
- Sprinkle the lattice crust with the tablespoon of sugar, then drizzle the tablespoon of melted butter over it.
- Bake cobbler in 350 degree, preheated over for 35 to 40 minutes. The top crust should be a nice, golden brown.
Sherri: I know how difficult being a full-time writer
can be so in all your free time, do you have any hobbies or interests and do
any of these show up in your writing?
Reese: I’m forever looking for a new outlet for my creativity. I have tons of knitting and jewelry making supplies, though I do very little of either. LOL. My fascination with jewelry making (my mother and I can watch YouTube videos on the topic for hours) showed up in Book #3 of my Bourbon Brothers series. The heroine owns a handmade jewelry and consignment shop.
Sherri: I think the Bourbon Brothers series is my favorite but then I do enjoy a good bourbon.
What are your writing
strengths and weaknesses? As one of your readers, you make it all look so easy
but as a writer-friend, I know we all have our struggles. What comes easy for
you and what do you have to work harder to get?
Reese: The thing that seems to come easiest is the dialogue between the characters. Sometimes it almost feels as if I’m just typing out what the characters are already saying to me. I struggle with poetic descriptions. Mainly because as a reader, that’s not what I want to wade through. I just want to know what happens next.
Sherri: I think you hit it on the head, writing the way we want to read is important. If we don’t want to wade through beautifully crafted, poetic descriptions, other readers probably won’t either. A writer friend told me you cannot be an effective writer if you are not an avid reader.
Who are your favorite
Reese: Though I watch mostly murder mysteries at home. (The Murdoch Mysteries is my current obsession, and I eagerly await the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries movie.) However, I primarily read contemporary romance. There are too many incredible authors out there for me to pick one or two as my faves. But some of the authors I enjoy reading include: Elle Wright, Sheryl Lister, Karen Booth, Jules Bennett, Delaney Diamond, Naima Simone, Michelle Styles, Beverly Jenkins, Rochelle Alers, Kathy Douglass, Cheris Hodges and many, many more.
Sherri: You turned me onto several wonderful writers: Nana Malone, Delaney Diamond and Karen Booth, I can’t wait to check out some of these other authors.
Thank you so much for joining us at Creekside Café, Reese, you truly are one of my favorite people and I can’t wait to read Off Limit Lovers, your newest in the Texas Cattleman Club series.
Reese Ryan writes sexy, emotional romance with captivating family drama, surprising secrets, and a posse of complex characters. Past president of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, a panelist at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and recipient of the 2018 Donna Hill Breakout Author Award, Reese is an advocate for the romance genre and diversity in fiction.
A Midwesterner with deep Southern roots, Reese currently resides in semi-small-town North Carolina where she’s an avid reader, a music junkie, and a self-declared connoisseur of cheesy grits.
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