Author Interview: Ryan Aldred (Author of Rum Luck)

I’d like to thank the Publicist that reached out to me and told me that Mr. Ryan was looking for reviewers and wanted me to review the book. Also to Mr. Ryan for sending me his amazing book. Run Luck is one of my favorite book of 2016 and I’m sure his next works will be phenomwnal.

So here is my interview with Mr. Ryan. Hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear your thoughts down the comment section.

Q: Hello Mr. Ryan, thank you again for Accepting this interview request, would you mind telling us a little something about yourself?

 

A: Hello, and thanks for having me! I live in beautiful Prince Edward County, in Canada, I love to travel, and my favourite drink is aged rum with plenty of ice. I also run a small charity that funds scholarships in at-risk regions.

 

Q: what genres do you feel comfortable writing Mr. Ryan? What draws you into those specific genres?

 

A: Rum Luck is a humorous mystery, and right now I’m finishing up an international thriller set in Vietnam and Burma. I like to write the kind of books that I like to read – those that move along quickly, that have interesting settings, and those with well-developed characters that are faced to make difficult choices.

 

Q: When did you decide to become a writer?

 

A: I’ve loved writing as long as I can remember. I wrote a novella when I was going to school, but wasn’t ready to try and write full-time. I went to university, and then worked quite a few different jobs – computer programming, multimedia, eLearning development, running a charity – and then, soon after my son was born, I decided to write Rum Luck.

 

(My wife was very patient with me – not every new mother would like for her partner to be off writing when he could be doing more to help out at home. It helps that she’s an avid reader.)

 

Q: Can you tell the viewers a little bit about your Book? Which is Rum Luck.

 

A: In Rum Luck, Canadian tourist Ben Cooper wakes up in a Costa Rican prison cell to find he’s bought a bar on a beach – and been arrested for the murder. He and his friends must solve the murder of the bar’s former owner before they lose their lives and their life savings.

 

Q: can you please tell us what made you want to write Rum Luck?

 

A: Years ago, I took a trip to Costa Rica with some friends of mine. We came up with the idea of a bar that could be rented out by ‘pretend-owners’ – those who’ve always wanted to run a bar on a beach somewhere. Time went on and I realized that I wasn’t going to start that business myself. So I did the next best thing and wrote a book based around this idea, instead.

 

Q: Please give us an Insight to your Main characters. What does these characters do that makes them special?

 

A: Victoria is a high-powered attorney who has used some questionable methods to win cases in the past. While she and Ben were quite close at university, they had drifted apart – until she received the call that her friend had been arrested by Costa Rican police. Deep down, she’s tired of working endless hours at her father’s law firm, and longs to reinvent herself in a new country and a new profession.

 

Miguel is Ben’s best friend. He now works as a bartender, but was once a bodyguard for senior figures in the Colombian government. Despite his years of military training, he is a gentle man who is eager to leave his past life behind. Yet he remains haunted by past mistakes, and wonders how much of his training he can use without causing still more harm.

 

Ben Cooper was supposed to have gotten married and be off on his Costa Rican honeymoon, but caught his fiancée cheating on him with some clown – a literal, actual clown. He thought he was happy, but is now beginning to realize how much of himself he lost to his past relationship as time went on.

 

On his own for the first time in years, Ben is now forced to confront his temper and the occasional troubles with drink that had gotten him into trouble in the past. He has the chance to become the leader his friends need, but is soon faced with a problem more easily solved by his not-quite-legal computer skills.

 

Q: it is quite usual to have a story with a trio in it. Do you think that the story would go differently if they were only a duo?

 

A: I really like the shifting alliances that come with having a trio. No three people ever agree on anything, so I think it means that there’s a lot more compromise that happens, as well as a greater risk that one member of the group will need to make a tough decision that throws off that delicate balance.

 

Q: How long did your Research for the book last?

 

A: I like to visit Costa Rica at least once a year. It’s important to get the little details right, particularly for those who have never been there before. One reader told me that they felt as though they had travelled to Costa Rica after finishing Rum Luck – to me, that’s the highest kind of compliment. (After, “When’s your next book coming out?”) 

 

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing a murder mystery novel?

 

A: For me, the greatest challenge is to write a mystery that’s tough to solve, but not so difficult that the reader gets annoyed with the writer for making it impossible. Quite a few readers were surprised by the ending of Rum Luck, so I think it turned out well.

 

Q: Rum Luck is part of a Series how do you feel on writing a series? Do you think writing a series is hard in some way?

 

A: I like reading books in a series, which is why I like writing them so much. Series give you the chance to learn so much more about the characters. It feels like visiting an old friend. But in terms of writing them, there is a lot more that you have to keep in mind to make sure you don’t contradict yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

 

Q: Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us what’s it about?

 

A: I’m working on an international thriller in which the lead operative of a private search and rescue firm is drawn into the global antiquities trade. (The series is tentatively called “The Extractor”.) The first book centers on the recovery of a secret Buddhist artifact which, in the wrong hands, would ignite conflict across Southeast Asia. This first book in the series is currently with an editor, and I hope to be sending it out to agents soon.

 

I am also finishing up the sequel to Rum Luck, tentatively titled ‘Hard to Port’. I’ve finished a very rough draft – some characters need to be added, others written out of existence – but I hope to have that done by the end of May.

 

Here’s the picture of the book cover of Rum Luck.

 

Q: I really like your book cover, can you tell us how it came about?

 

A: Thank you! An illustrator friend of mine had done some posters for towns and villages in Prince Edward County (for examples see http://www.countyposters.com). I really enjoyed his style, and so I asked him if he would do the cover for Rum Luck along with a set of promotional postcards.

County Posters

http://www.countyposters.com

Collect this series of original Prince Edward County illustrations by illustrator Marc Keelan-Bishop. Use #CountyPosters to show me where you put yours!


 

At first I thought about having a view from the shore looking out to sea, but he came up with the idea of looking inland – which is great, because Tamarindo has a very distinctive coastline. We also thought about having a bottle of rum or a drink of some kind on the front. That felt a bit obvious, so we decided to tuck a bottle of rum on the back cover, instead. I’m very happy with how it all turned out.

 

Q: Who designs your book covers?

 

A: Marc Keelan-Bishop – he’s an illustrator who lives in Prince Edward County, and a good friend. You can see more of his work at http://www.ideomedia.com.

 

Q: Do you think that the cover plays an important role in the buying process?

 

A: I absolutely think that readers judge a book by its cover. That first glance gives you a sense of the book’s subject and tone. When Marc was working on the cover, I asked him to make it both fun and sinister, which I think he did a great job of doing.

 

Q: while writing your book, specifically Rum Luck did you encounter a “writer’s block”? If so, which part of the book?

 

A: I don’t really get writer’s block, mainly because I am comfortable letting my rough draft be quite rough. However, I do get editor’s block – I have a hard time knowing when the changes I’m making are actually improving the book. The biggest challenge came when Deni Dietz from Five Star – my publisher – pointed out the many, many changes that the book needed. I made some of these changes – but clearly not enough – and Five Star decided to pass on that version.

 

I was faced with a difficult choice – to keep looking for a publisher, or to set aside three months and make all of the changes that Five Star had requested. After giving this some thought, I realized that I agreed with Deni’s vision for the book and so I went to work. Those changes helped Rum Luck become one of the finalists for the Crime Writers of Canada’s Unhanged Arthur award for best unpublished crime novel, so I’m very glad I listened to Deni.

 

Q: How are you publishing this book? And why? (Indie, Traditional or both)

 

A: Five Star is a traditional publisher. When I started writing, I knew I’d that I wanted to work with an excellent editor so that my work could reach its full potential, which was a large part of why I wanted to work with a traditional publisher. I would also like to work with a traditional publisher for my Extractor series as well. I have notes for a few projects that I think would work better as indie titles – at the same time, though, I think the two series will keep me busy for quite some time!

 

Q: Do you write everyday? 5 days a week or you just write when you feel like it?

 

A: I used to write every day, but now I try to write five days a week. We have young children at some – they’ll be off at school full-time soon enough, so I want to make the most of the time I have with them. My goal is to write one book a year.

  

Q: Do you aim a set amount of words or pages per day?

 

A: I write at least 500 words per day. That’s about two to two-and-a-half pages. Usually I write more, but I like setting the goal low so that I can still meet it even if it’s a real slog. Usually I can write 500 words in a 60 to 90 minute session, and I try for at least two sessions per day. I try and only work on one project at a time – I have a hard time switching between worlds, particularly as the two series are quite different.

 

Q: Where do your Ideas come from?

 

A: I spend a lot of time on Costa Rican news and social media, which helps give me broad themes that I can include in the story. But mostly I think it’s important for a writer to not have too much going on in their life so that they have ‘mental real estate’ for their book – writers need to live in that other world as much as possible.

 

I also find that going for walks and swimming are good ways to busy the body so that the mind can create new ideas. But once my characters are well-developed, I try to create challenges for them and just see how they react. Sometimes I’m surprised – which is a good sign that a story is working.

 

Q: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

 

A: My writing is a lot cleaner than it was when I first started. My goal is for every word to serve a purpose – to develop a character, to create a sense of place, or move the story forward. I also feel that my voice and confidence as a writer has improved.

 

Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

 

A: The main challenge with being traditionally published is that you can’t set everything up just as you like. Your book might not be available on some eReaders, for example, or eligible for certain services. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible for a self-published author to get their book into libraries. I love the idea of having a book in a library for years – or even decades – and that it might be read by dozens or hundreds of people. That would be hard to give up.

 

Q: Why do you think other well written books Just Don’t Sell?

 

A: In the case of self-published books, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd of other self-published authors. You need to get reviews, and you need to make your book widely available. Online advertising just isn’t enough. A better option is to find a way to meet with readers and develop a personal connection.

 

For traditional authors, I think that they just need to write more books. If their work is good, word will get out eventually. New authors need to be prepared to sell their books one at a time. Personally, I love selling books at farmer’s markets and craft fairs. It’s a great chance to meet with readers.

 

Q: What do you think of “Trailers” for books?

 

A: Book trailers can be a great way to get across the idea behind the book in a short period of time. But I think authors are better to do something simple and do it well than to try and make it too complicated.

 

Q: Do you have a Trailer or do you intend to do one in the future?

 

A: I’m working on one at the moment – and I would like to do others in the future.

 

Q: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it be and why?

 

A: I absolutely love the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett, particularly the book ‘Night Watch’. His sense of humour and his grasp of human nature was just so spot on. It’s one of the few books that I can read time and time again.

 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?      

 

A: Just write. Don’t try and make it perfect. You can fix bad pages, but you can’t fix no pages. If you’re not writing, read – and read broadly. Make room in your mind for your characters to live. Take lots of walks. Write, even when you don’t feel like it. Share your work with people you trust. You don’t need to change your work to suit everyone – change what you agree with, and give serious thought to anything caught by two or more of your early readers. Do this for a year, and you will have a novel.


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