Q is for Questions

I often encourage fans to ask me questions. When I couldn’t come up with another Q post, I decided this would still fit the requirement because my original post would’ve had spoilers in them.

So here’s a bit about me, my writing, and my process. Feel free to leave me questions in the comments, and I’ll answer them—if I can.

Questions for Rae Z. Ryans

Q—When did you start writing?

A—I’ve written for years and started at a young age, but i didn’t start writing fiction until five years ago. It isn’t a long time, I know, but I spent years studying, going to school, and reading. I still wrote, but I wasn’t writing fiction. Instead, I wrote poetry, kept a daily journal, and worked as a non-fiction ghost writer.

Q—You write fast. How long does it take to finish a book?

A—I write fast first drafts, sometimes. They’re nowhere ready for publication. From there it can takes months to years to perfect. No two stories are the same, but each goes through revision, editing, alpha and beta readers, and then proofreading.

Valkyrie took me three years from final draft to publish. Constricted took me a few months. A short story might take a month or two. It all varies and depends on the complexity and the availability of my editors.


Q—Are you self published or traditionally published?

A—Does it matter? Not really, but I’m technically neither. That’s the beauty of writing under pen names. Elusive, I know, but if I told you…

Q—You write dark fantasy with romance. What exactly does that mean?

A—First, I write in multiple genres, but most of my stories have a dark fantasy element. It’s a broad term, but generally it means “to have a dark, gloomy atmosphere or a sense of horror and dread.”

As for romance, well, because I rarely sell my stories as romance, it means there’s no guarantee of a happily ever after in the romantic sense. There is love, often sex, and other elements, but the relationship isn’t the plot.

Q—So you don’t write clean romance?

A—Not under this pen name, although, I do have one. I don’t write sex for the sake of sex. It has to fit the story and characters.

Q—You write some M/M romance.

A—Not really a question, but yes. I write the characters as they present themselves to me. Some are gay, bi, or straight. Eventually I’m sure some will be other things. The same goes for race and religion. They are who they are.

But I believe love is love, so to stay true to my characters, I won’t change who they are, just as I wouldn’t try to change a human being.

Q—I want to start writing. What should I do first?

A—Two-fold… read everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Secondly, just write. Write for you, not publication. Bleed emotion onto the page.

Q—But what about the rules?

A—If you haven’t written anything how will you apply rules to it? Part of learning the rules is reading. Yes, there are grammar and style rules, too, and you will learn them, but the most important steps in writing are to read and write. Otherwise you might overwhelm yourself.

Q—Do you actually believe what you write?

A—There’s a reason we call it fiction. 😉


Thank you for joining me, and these are common questions people ask me. As I stated before, if you have a question for me you can drop it in the comments.

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  • jennifer l hawes

    We should definitely write for us and not for publication, although that’s nice when we do get published! Writing to please someone else or writing to a trend is not my style:) Thanks for sharing!