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May 2018: Debut Novel Inspiration
~ Sophia Ryan ~

CTR asked:
QUESTION: What inspired you to write your debut novel?

Sophia Ryan said:
Sometimes we choose our path. Sometimes we stumble into it. I’m of the latter group, as far as writing novels goes.

Growing up, I read, but only if there wasn’t something more fun to do. I wrote, but only if I had to. All that changed my second year in college. Not because of all the textbooks I had to read or all the papers I had to write, but because of a Harlequin romance novel.

I was home on winter break and was bored, bored, bored and (cough, cough) missing my boyfriend. After surfing through 157 channels, twice, and still finding nothing on, in desperation I rifled through my mom’s bookcase. Nothing caught my eye, but my hand seemed mysteriously drawn to a slim paperback with a red spine. I pulled it out.

The sexy half-naked cowboy on the cover locked eyes with me. I probably snickered at the cheesiness of his bare, bronzed, buff chest; the monster bulge straining the zipper of his tight and faded jeans; and the “let’s buck” grin on his hottie-oh-my-goddie face, but I didn’t put him back on the shelf. Instead, I curled up with him on the couch in the only spot of sun and read all about his passion, his flaws, his fears, and his love for the only woman in the world who could fill the empty spot in his heart. By the time I’d turned the last page, sighed, and closed the book, I had fallen in love. More than that, I had experienced a metamorphosis—I was a fan of romance novels.

You’ve heard the saying, you are what you eat? Well, my consumption of romances from that point on rewired me, and soon stories were growing inside me, pushing to get out, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. The ‘how’ presented itself the following semester when I signed up for a ‘writing the magazine article’ class. The assignment was to write an article for one of the magazines on the professor’s list. The magazine I chose was True Love. My professor liked my article/story and encouraged me to submit it for publication. I did. They bought it. And I found myself staring down the mouth of a new, exciting, and frightening path.

I changed my major from computer science (really, what was I thinking?!) to professional/creative writing. My professors commented on my “good voice” and “unique writing style.” I’m still not sure whether it was a compliment, but I took it as such and kept going. I also kept writing short stories, selling almost everything I wrote. After I graduated, I joined the rank and file as a corporate writer-editor. I got married. I changed jobs. Several times. I had a child. And I kept writing. I put myself through grad school on the money I made from writing short stories.

In all that time, I never thought I had it in me to write a book. When one of my long short stories (a tad over 22,000 words) was rejected for being too long and too sexy, I didn’t know what else to do with it, so I kept adding to it. Soon it was about 50,000 words. It was a book! I had written a book! Not just ‘A’ book, mind you, but a masterpiece, one filled with enough love and angst and sex to rival the Shakespeare of modern romance herself (Nora Roberts, of course). And what else does one do with a masterpiece but offer it up to the publishing gods?

Raise your hand if you know what’s coming.

Yep, I got the big R. Not just once, but again and again. And again. But I didn’t give up, and my precious little reject finally found a home. The publisher and I christened it Hot Summer Fling. (I used the pseudonym Toni Zuma because I didn’t want my grandmother to see it and know that her sweet little doodle bug knew that much about S-E-X.)

My virgin journey to publication was painful but enlightening. I learned so much, and it did get easier every time I attempted it. Today, I’ve had several more books published (She Likes It Irish, Dirty Little Secret, 6 Days of You, Sin City Alibi, Only Forever, and A Cowboy’s Forgiveness), and I’m working on more.

I now live full time in the camp of those writers who say, I can’t NOT write. Even if I never sold another book, I’d still write. It’s part of who I am. It’s on my list of things-that-must-be-done-everyday, like brushing my teeth, flossing, eating, exercising. I love it, and I love the satisfying feeling of knowing I’m on the right path for me.


She Likes It Irish by Sophia Ryan cover

She Likes It Irish

[Sexy New Adult Contemporary Romance]

Kristin DeMarco vows to protect her broken heart and swear off men until she finishes her degree and starts her career. Survival sex—a vibrator and a sizzling-hot roommate—eases urges that can’t be ignored, until her craving for a man propels her from the arms of Mr. Wrong to the door of Mr. Right. Irishman Sean O’Neill forces her to consider what she really wants. And what she wants is him in her bed. Too bad he’s not cooperating.

Sean is only in America for six months to complete his degree and an archeology field school. He’s as serious about his education as he is about keeping his sex life casual. When Kristin knocks on his door asking for condoms, the encounter forces him to rethink that single-minded focus. He wants Kristin for more than one night, but their secrets may end the relationship before it begins.

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