RYCJ was raised in Philadelphia, Pa., she holds a business degree in Business Administration and has worked in retail banking, telecommunications, and defense IT consulting. She is married and has two adult children. Writer, Poet, Author, Illustrator and Independent Publisher to say she is a jack of all trades is putting it mildly. Ok if this were a resume we would stop there, but today I give you RYCJ the person.
“The arts drive my soul. Writing is the pinnacle of my passion” ~ RYCJ
I don’t think I could have described her any better than that. Other than to say to say she is a delightful person who has no doubt of whom she is. You can see this in her writings, but to say that is the sum of all her parts would be an injustice. She is also a role model for women, not only of color, but for the entire female gender. How? By reminding us that first you must be true to yourself before you can move forward. RYCJ approaches each day, not as a struggle to be conquered, but as an adventure to be explored.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce RYCJ the person to you today.
What keeps the pages turning for you when reading?
RYCJ: A story that moves. Action. A premise that begins by asking a question I want to know the answer. I want to be thinking as I’m reading, or laughing really hard out loud. It’s okay if I’m even arguing with the story. Actually, sometimes it’s preferred. All of these things keep me turning pages.
How difficult is it to separate the author form the person?
RYCJ: For me it’s not difficult at all. This, however, is a very interesting question. In general, I look at separating people from ‘their’ work the same way I look at dating. Here you’re dating a person for weeks, sometimes months, OR how about married to this person for years, and still trying to 'get to know' this individual! So, there’s no way I could draw up certain feelings, or an exact conviction about someone I've never met based on something like one, or even two books they wrote. In that way it's extremely easy to separate an author from his or her has work...and that's even if the book is ALL about them. Drawing on this irony I happen to read mostly memoirs and biographies, yet I’m not attached to any of them even though many of their stories are still stuck on me!!!
I’ve often wondered when I read about authors that say, I write only from 8-2, or whatever. How is that so? When a scene is going so well, would you be able to just stop and say “ok time to cook dinner” and walk away?
RYCJ: I don’t know how any writer could be deep into writing and just drop that thought. Not me. As a matter of fact my husband started this ‘two finger’ rule where I’m supposed to put up two fingers if he comes in my ‘writing corner’ when I’m deep in the zone. But I don’t even have time for that, which I may as well go on and admit too; I’ve since been banned from the kitchen after burning up dinners, pot holders, kitchen towels, curtains, and setting off the fire alarm enough times to warrant really stern warnings. So no. I never cut out on a scene when the thoughts are running rampant.
Tell us about what happens when you start a book. Does the plot take form first or does the idea come first? Do you then outline the direction (plot) and follow through?
RYCJ: The idea, or premise always comes first as there is no plot without a premise. At least that’s my theory. I used to grid, or outline my stories, but I don’t do this anymore. I now grab a premise and run with a story.
Do your characters ever “get in the way” when writing a scene?
RYCJ: Before, when I was really raw at pulling together novels, I was all over the page trying to figure out how to handle characters ‘getting in my way’;-). Now I get it. When characters get in the way of a scene, I either remove the character (mostly third-n-dary characters) or ditch the story altogether, especially if it’s the main, or even secondary characters.
Why do you blog? I notice it’s never really about self promotion and more about direct feelings, almost journal like. I find your blog it’s relaxing and never feel like a ton of things are fighting for my attention. Was this a conscious decision or something that just happen?
RYCJ: WOW. And thanks! I really appreciate reading this observation. It’s exactly the feeling I hope to project. So, yes it was a conscious decision. I don’t want readers distracted by promotional Ads, or me cavalierly peddling my books to just anyone who stops by. My aim with blogging is to give readers a little taste of my writing *before* they invest in my work. At heart I want loyal fans truly interested in being entertained by RYCJ.
There are a lot of reviewers out there. What advice would you tell other writers when looking for a review site to submit their books too?
RYCJ: Do your homework. Personally, I look for reviewers who respect reading—period. The truest of book readers/reviewers may not find 'everything' his or her cup of tea, but they respect literature too much to cite content in books that they 'hate.' That's one of the cues I look for, along with assessing the reviewer's 'writing' tone before deciding whether I want to proceed, or steer clear away from this reader. Of course, Professional Reviewers I don’t hold to the same ground, but only because I already know they are heavily invested in reading and reviewing books.
Do you see yourself as a storyteller or story builder?
RYCJ: Story builder? Something tells me I need to proceed with caution before answering this question. While readers of my blog, and perhaps even my books, may consider MY STORY building… (and I smile), I consider myself a true storyteller.
How do you come up with the names for your leading characters?
RYCJ: And another great question! Naming my lead characters I honestly take like naming one of my children. Strong memorable names are important. I do not haphazardly name my characters, and neither do I select names based off living (or dead) people I’ve read about in other books, or who are famous personalities in film/TV, on stage, or classical legends of some sort.
For instance, Leiatra, the main character in my romance series, that name I invented. I don't believe there is a person, dead or alive, with that name. (I later checked) and haven't found anyone named Leiatra yet. I believe it is a powerful name, so suiting of this character.
Other names, and I now have many, but the names were selected solely based on the fact that I thought the name fit the character I had in mind, and was strong enough to add weight to the story.
Is there something you would refuse to write into a story?
RYCJ: Yes. Having read a tremendous amount of true crime I keep away from this subject in fiction. I don’t find the subject, in all of the intricacies typically involved, worth my interest to fictionalize. I also have a huge spot for children. So I write with much care where children are involved. And adding on to that, I tend to fall in love with my characters, even the ones that get on my nerves, so I don’t vilify my characters with the intention of making them unlikable so that readers are happy to destroy them, or see me destroy them.
I focus foremost on sharing deep, thoughtful stories with resilient premises. Sometimes, however, the characters I create do get a little preachy, despite (me the writer) sharing no interest projecting my personal views to influence readers to believe one way or the other. In fact, I enjoy cheering on views opposite my beliefs, and will use every muscle I can muster to convince myself my belief(s) were/are wrong. This is how I derive at three-dimensional characters and the stanchion I use to create realistic-based stories.
Some authors like using pseudonyms. I’ve heard a lot of reasons; the biggest is that a lot of popular writers are having a difficult time when they try to introduce a new genre. They want the book to be read for the content and not the name of who it’s written by, or judge, because it’s not their “usual” stuff”.
Have you ever used a pseudonym? If yes, why? If no, why?
RYCJ: I use a pseudonym, though I don’t really consider it a pseudonym name since these are my initials. We, (since the acronym wasn’t selected by myself alone), came up with the acronym to brand (or identify) my books/or my work. My real name is too common to suit the purpose, which worked out well considering my goal was to be RYCJ in the publishing industry, but the common named person everywhere else ;-)
Why did you write Pleasure?
RYCJ: Pleasure assuredly is not a book for everyone, yet I needed to write Pleasure. I hadn’t planned on it however, only after-the-fact realizing how necessary it was that I put closure to a chapter that's been crippling my thoughts. Although the account is fiction, and the events and characters are not real, the premise of this story none-the-less is tremendous. ‘We can run but not hide from facing our own demons.’ Writing Pleasure is what I'm calling my healing piece.
It’s been a long week of writing, editing and coming up with new ideas. Now the weekend is here and you can actually relax, how would you spend the next 24 hours? One restriction, you’re unable to pick up a book.
RYCJ: Ooo Barbara, you’re treading on thin ice here…LoL!!! I’m going to play it safe, and nice, and say I’d probably spend it sleeping! That’s something I get little of nowadays. If I’m well rested my thing to do would be to take in a musical…like the Riverdance, or to sit with my husband under a dim light in a jazz club, or comedy club…sharing spirits of course, or maybe visiting a waterpark, or lounging on the sofa to catch a good movie… or here’s one I actually do a lot… either talk on the phone with my mother or daughter (we sometimes talk for hours!!!), or I’ll spend hours playing computer games!!!
I really enjoyed this interview! Thanks for taking the time to put together some very thoughtful questions.
I really wish we could have explored more today, but I promise this is not the last time we will ask RYCJ to join us here at RR so we can find out more about the many facets that make her tick. However if what you’ve read here has intrigue you enough to find out more about this fascinating women, you can by visiting her blog, RYCJ OEBooks Publisher or her website OSAAT Publishing.
Thank you again RYCJ for joining us today, it was truly a pleasure!!