Friday, June 21, 2013

Fresh Voice Gretchen Rily!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
Creatively, to make people say, "I want to live this book!" Practically, to earn a living. I've tried being "something, anything, else" and well...nope. It always comes back to writer.

Why do you write?
The snarky answer is because I don't work well with others, but that's not really true. I can and do love to work with others, especially if it's writing related, but I'm most productive when I can turn off all the distractions and just let my creativity take over. I'm happiest that way too.

I've been creating stories since I was old enough to talk. Maybe even before then! Storytelling truly is what makes humans, human. It's part of our evolution, how we've survived as long as we have. And possibly, how we'll continue to survive.

If I don't tell stories, even just making them up in my head for my own amusement during a long day at the "day job," I go a little nuts.

Have you worked to achieve your voice or is it just a natural style for you?
I've worked to harness my voice, to use it in different ways depending on the story I'm telling. Luckily, I've gotten very supportive feedback (and okay, a few gasps and side-eyes) about my voice and how to use it. Also, when to rein it in.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
"Too many to mention! Here's an idea, let me tell you which authors I've studied the most and what I've learned from them. I'm going to include other types of writers as well, because the key for me is storytelling. How different storytelling mediums do things can be very informative and build craft skills no matter what you write.

First off, Shakespeare: character archetypes, how to tell an entire story only in dialogue (comes in handy when revealing bits of backstory!), blocking, how to entertain both the balcony and the groundlings with the same story

Book authors:

Anne Rice - lushness in setting
Lauren Dane - how to switch pov several times in a scene without confusing the reader
Jill Shalvis - humor

TV/Movie screenwriters:

Joss Whedon - This is obvious, but dialogue and world-building. And how to let your geek passion for the subject make the work that much better.
Kevin Smith - Also dialogue, but how even the raunchiest of plots can also be full of heart.
Kurt Sutter - Again, dialogue. World building as well. But what I've really learned from him has come mostly through his insight into how to structure a series. Check out interviews or his wtfsutter clips on You Tube.
M*A*S*H - Lots of writers for this one. How to make subversive humor so funny, so smart, and so heart wrenching all at the same time.

Songwriters: If ever there was a place to go to learn how to evoke a setting, emotion, character, or time in just a few words, songs are it. Some of my favorites are Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo of Skid Row, Billy Joel, Pink, Rolling Stones, and way too many more to mention."

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
I'm a homebody, so being able to work from home without a schedule. Not having to wear shoes. Sitting on my balcony at 3:30 in the morning with an adult beverage and letting the goons in my head run amok. Being able to entertain people without really having to show up anywhere and perform. Stage fright, you see.

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
Rock star pirate. All day, I'd sit on the deck of my beached ship in a hammock throwing up the devil horns at passing ships. Oh, that's not a career? Darn.

Interior designer. Photographer. Hot rod and motorcycle painter. Still something artistic.

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamont. The entire book.

As a child, Gretchen Rily thought the vampires hiding under her bed were there to protect her. As a teenager, she got in the mosh pit with her inner rock star. As an adult, she rides a motorcycle and writes romance novels. Often about vampires, rock stars, and motorcycles. Whether it's contemporary, paranormal, or post-environmental apocalypse, she believes falling in love is the most madcap adventure of all.
Twitter: @gretchenrily


  1. How much do you love Pink? OMG best, most heartfelt lyrics out there. Also, the monsters under my bed all acted like Muppets. It was very rambunctious under there.

  2. What a great interview. I like what you said about Shakespeare and sitting on the deck at 3:30 in the morning with an adult beverage and characters running amok.