Good morning everyone! Each month I will post a two part feature. The first part will be an interview with the month’s author and include a short bio. The second part of the feature is a sample of the writer’s work. Sounds fun right?
Everyone give a big welcome to September’s writer. *claps*
Meet Raye Wagner.
“I write YA fiction for young adults of all ages. My first series, Curse of the Sphinx, is indie published, and the first two books and the prequel novella are currently available.
I’ve also written a NA political realism story, Narcos, that was published in Revolution; A Utopian Anthology published by Little Bird Publishing. All proceeds of the anthology went to help build libraries in South Africa. It was a pleasure to be a part of such an amazing project.”
Now onto the interview.
Do you find it difficult to write for teenaged characters?
“Is it wrong that I don’t think it’s that difficult? I teach a group of 13-14 year olds, and I’ve worked with youth for … well, a long time. I get along really well with most young adults, and I’m sure some of it is because I can still relate. Maybe that means I need therapy, but I’m okay with it.”
How much research do you conduct before beginning a novel?
“With Curse of the Sphinx I spent hours researching Greek mythology. Not even because I wanted to stay true to it (impossible because the myth of the Sphinx ended in Thebes), but more because I wanted the same “flavor” to permeate the story. I wanted the behavior of the gods to be consistent with those that know mythology, so that the story itself was believable. Even so, I’ve had plenty of mythology lovers (and experts) both love and hate the story. With Narcos, I again did lots of research (probably 30-40 hours) on the drug trafficking that occurs in Mexico, so I could stay true to the facts of what is actually known about the culture and how drug trafficking, and subsequent human trafficking, has affected the towns in the country just south of my own.”
What attracts you most in a story? Strong characters? Plot?
“Relationships actually. I like to see how the fabric of one person’s life is connected with another’s. It amazes me how the “bad” guy is the “good” guy to his or her circle of influence. There is a definite connectedness to life, and stories are just a sliver of it.
I notice you currently focus on the beauty and complexity of the Sphinx. Your bio, on your website, explains a little as to why you stuck with this particular mythological creature. Do you plan on continuing to use the Sphinx as your muse or are there future creatures in the works that readers can look forward to seeing by you? I’m actually plotting a story that has dragons and fae, in a world very different than ours, so it looks like there’s fantasy in my future. I’m actually super excited about it. But that’s all I’m saying on it for now. I’m also plotting a couple of spin-off stories set in the same world as the Greek mythology realm of Hope’s story. One is a character from book 2, Demigods and Monsters, and the other will have several characters from the Sphinx story in it. I don’t want to say more because of potential spoilers.”
How do you manage to write and juggle family life? Does it ever feel too much to handle?
“It is a lot. And I don’t think juggling is a fair analogy. I would say it is more about prioritizing because there is just no way to get it all done, and something is always getting left behind, or completely undone. Luckily, my family is very supportive of my writing so we all end up making some sacrifices. My older kids do more chores around the house (they grumble a bit but we’ve added laundry and dishes to their vacuuming and bathrooms), and we eat out more than I care to admit. It’s also good that my support system reminds me of what is truly important. If I spend too many hours in front of my computer, someone is bound to tell me it’s time to take a break and connect with the real world and the real people in my life. Sometimes it’s my family, and sometimes it’s my friends, but I’m glad I have them, or I would easily be addicted to my work.”
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews and how do they influence your writing?
“I’ve heard of authors not reading reviews, and up until a month ago I thought that was crazy. I read every single review, on every single site, even the dreaded GoodReads. And then a few weeks ago I noticed how significant an influence it was having on my mood and my productivity. So I stopped reading them. That being said, I am working on an edit of Curse of the Sphinx because of some feedback I was getting (the same criticism was consistently coming up). I think a lot of that had to do with it being my first novel and I put a lot of trust in my editor, and I only used one. For Demigods and Monsters, I used three editors and I think that helped catch things that one editor just can’t. So for now, three editors is my magic number.”
What are you currently working on?
“I’m revising Curse of the Sphinx while Myths of Immortality is with the editor. Then I will get edits done on Myths and publish it later this year. I have one more book in Hope’s story, and there is a prequel book that needs a round of edits as well. I have a couple of other projects I’m working on as well, but they are really just in developmental stages.”
Anything else you want to share with us?
“If readers sign up for my newsletter they can get Origin of the Sphinx (a Curse of the Sphinx novella) free.”
Thank you Raye for the interview!
Stop back tomorrow to meet male protagonist Athan from Curse of the Sphinx!