Rhys Ford Keeps Track of Limbs?

August 3, 2015

A big thank you to Rhys Ford, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I write intimate scenes to Tool and Metallica. There’s something about the melodic thrum of harder music that helps me detach from the reality around me and focus on just what is going on in the scene. I also dislike writing intimate scenes because they have to be very fresh and new each time as well as bring growth or something to the ongoing relationship. I have to keep track of the limbs. That’s the worst part.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Oh so many. Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury is my favourite book so I’d say that first. There really are so many books! The Phantom Tollbooth, Shibumi, Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful World of OZAish, the first Mary Poppins. I think I envy any book that made me lose myself in its pages.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I sort of backdoored myself into becoming a published author. I’ve written stories for as long as I could remember and helped found an independent genre publisher. I had a few ideas for books, wrote several, was told I was the worst writer ever so I shelved everything.

Then one day, I had an insane moment and sent Dirty Kiss out to Dreamspinner. And got a contract.

I’d sent other manuscripts out for agents and a few said „I’d love to take you on but you need to change this gay character to a woman or make him heterosexual.“ I felt a bit angry inside about that. Not that I think my writing is so perfect that nothing can be changed. I owe everything to my editing team but I felt incensed about the lack of diverse characters in genre fiction. So that’s why I wrote M/M.

Is there any advice you would give to new writers seeking representation and publication in today’s market?

Read. Read everything. Experiment with writing in different voices. Stretch as far as you can with your worlds but make things engaging. Don’t forget to make your characters real people.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

Oh I have no life. *laughs*

I also don’t sleep. I think I had children it would be harder to write because parenting is not a task taken on by the faint-hearted. It is one thing to write a person and quite another to try to nurture one. For the most part, everyone in my life understands when I am on deadline and cannot do certain things like go out, cook dinner, sleep…the normal parts of life. I also work full time but my work environment is very supportive. I am quite thankful for my friends and family who provide me with much support.

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves?

I do plan. Then about two chapters in it goes to the wayside and I’m left trying to figure out where the heck I am going. So then I modify my plot and tell myself I will stick to it. Which sometimes even happens. That is a miracle when it does.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I work on a single book at a time. From the first word to the last. I don’t skip scenes or chapters. I do write down snippets of conversations sometimes for things I want to add in later but I don’t write out the scene. I sometimes have to retrofit something and at times I can tell in my gut that I’ve made a wrong turn somewhere. So I then go back and fix it. Hopefully.

How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?

My daily writing routine is insane. I don’t have a set schedule but I do need to write 80,000 words in three months. With a mystery/suspense plot and romance. So I end up sneaking in huge spurts of words in single days. I have to focus very hard and not get distracted because while I like thinking up the stories, I don’t want to actually type them out. *grins*

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Weaknesses? I struggle to make the reader feel. I want that. I struggle sometimes to reach down and find the words for that. I am also reaching the point of not caring about negative reviews, especially since they’re from the same people over and over again. It used to be troublesome until I noticed some people just aren’t happy and seem to seek out authors they like to tear down. I work on avoiding contact with those kinds of people.

Ah, my strengths? I can’t think of one. Maybe not so much in writing but philosophy? There are two things to remember…for me to remember and these are at the forefront of my thoughts with every book.

First, all I want to do is entertain. If a reader can have a few hours of pleasure from what I stitch together, then that is everything. Second, that reader is precious. They have worked for their money, spent a part of their lives toiling at something and perhaps had a very bad day at work, making that day even harder. They then took that money and bought my book. They deserve my best and to have a good time.

You write predominantly series, do you prefer writing series? Do you have a different approach to writing a series from a standalone?

Funny thing is, I never intend to write series. They just sort of happen. I think it is because there are threads in our lives, people are threads. I want to see where this person is connected and how. I have done some standalones but I itch to go back to some and see where I can go. It’s like knowing there are secrets past a door I’ve built. I just need to open it and find them.

Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?

Oh I have playlists. I listen to everything from Southern Rock, Blues, Metal, Alternative, Korean Pop, Japanese Rock, electronica and house music and soundtracks. Whatever suits the scene when I’m writing.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block and if so how did you overcome this?

Every day is writer’s block but also not. Sometimes it’s easier to let the mind drift and it’ll find a way around the obstacles. Or I just hammer at it with a rock until it gives way.

Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?

I don’t have a specific type of man, per se. I do tend to write men who are exploring who they are. I think that’s important. Some men need to learn how to cry while others teach that it’s okay to feel and talk.

If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

Oh no, I can’t even choose. It would depend on the situation. For a backyard BBQ, it would be Cole and his group. A blues club with long sets of music playing and whiskey, the Sinners crew. But then if it is stormy outside and we’re having Irish coffee, Wolf and Tristan would be my choice.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Ah, there is a large part of my soul written into Miki and many of my behaviours and thoughts written into Quinn. I would say a part of me is in nearly all of them or at least pieces of people I know. Slivers of people make up my characters.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

Oh I have been insulted in ways that I never thought possible. Personally, it has been racial and gender. I think a lot of that comes out of ignorance. I have been told I don’t know how to write Asian characters which is a bit ironic as I am Asian. I have also been told I cannot write M/M because I am physically female without any idea or understanding of how I identify myself.

I’ve long held the belief that male/female ‚traits‘ are social constructs. It is okay to be a very femme female or one that is more masculine in gender stereotypes. That doesn’t negate their identity. Same thing goes for a male. How someone thinks or feels shouldn’t be determined by how others view them so to say I cannot write a male character because I possess female body parts is ludicrous. I do not write with my genitalia. I write with my brain, heart and soul. And experiences. Like every other author.

How have I reacted? I was told by someone they’d never read my books because I am female. I usually respond with „thank you for your time and I hope you find something to read that you enjoy.“

As to my books, I’ve gotten rather okay with negative reviews because not everyone is going to like my books and that’s okay. I’ve written books where I’ve wanted to stretch out my mind and tackle something different. That is a risk and it might not be for everyone who has read me in the past. It’s okay not to like everything. It is the people who like nothing that make me think they need more joy in their lives. Since none of us can help that, it’s best to hope they find that happiness somewhere.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Fish and Ghost. It’s the first book of the series Hellsinger. Do you believe in the supernatural?

The world is too large and mysterious of a place for me to say something does not exist. I will never say something doesn’t exist because unless I have definitive proof, I cannot say for certain.

What inspired you to write this novel? What aspect of Fish and Ghost came to you first – the setting, premise, characters, something else?

Ah, I don’t recall. It just sort of came together into a cohesive mess all at once. It started with the saying „Fish and guests stink after three days“ and then guests became ghosts in my mind so the premise unraveled from there. Tristan and Wolf developed in my mind almost in conjunction with one another.

What was the funniest scene to write in this series?

The tongue. And Jack.

And can you give your readers any insight as to what we have to look forward to in the rest of the series?

Oh the places we can go with this. I am going to be exploring Wolf and Tristan’s relationship as well as write about Wolf’s cousin, Cin. Without giving away anything that happened in the second book, things get a bit more complicated for the Kincaids and Pryces.

Are you planning to write more series about paranormal topics such as shapeshifters, vampires, demons, etc?  

I have a few paranormal pieces, most notably the Kai Gracen series as well as the Ink and Shadows series. Both are urban fantasies published with DSP Publications, Dreamspinner’s boutique genre imprint. Lots of monsters and such there.

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

I am currently writing the last Cole McGinnis book in the Dirty series. The series itself will be coming to an end although I’ll be doing one-off mysteries for those characters in the future. But the series will be ending. After that, I have the second Kai Gracen book coming up.

Thank you so much giving me this time to talk to you. I appreciate it very much! Haato!

2 Responses to “Rhys Ford Keeps Track of Limbs?”

  1. Mary Sebers says:

    This was an interesting interview. It is fascinating to find out how you create your characters as they are so alive & whole to the readers.

    Looking forward to the next McGinnes book but not to the end of the series. As for Kai Gracen, cannot wait for more of him!

    Thank you!

  2. Jesi Lea Ryan says:

    Great interview! Sad to see the Dirty series ending, but I’m excited for the next Kai Gracen. :) You’re books are an auto-buy for me.

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