Viola Ryan Interview

Today I would like to welcome author Viola Ryan to Fallen Angel Reviews. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today Viola.

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current release The Mark of Abel?
Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man's inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn't help that he's the first vampire, an abomination in God's sight.

Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer's estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

Janie's a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things-a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn't realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.

What was your inspiration for The Mark of Abel?
Two things, one for the hero and one for the heroine. The hero started with an image for a scene I had in 2003. A vampire bites the woman he loves to turn her into a vampire, giving her the best gift he knows. The woman doesn't understand, is abhorred and rejects him. I was writing Buffy/Angel fanfiction at the time and this didn't fit that. I put it aside. National Novel Writing Month 2007 rolled around and I pulled the scene out. The title was Rejection: A Vampire's Tale. The biggest rejection in all stories is Lucifer's expulsion from heaven, so he wanted to be the hero. Fallen angels are seen as demon and vampires are seen as demons. According to the math, if A=B and C=B then A=C. It made sense to me. The heroine was trickier. Finding a match for Lucifer wasn't easy. I finished the zillionth version of the book and put it aside before I began to edit it. I was vegging watching the History Channel and a documentary about the Roman extermination of Dacia in present-day Romania came on. I thought, "that needed to be in a vampire novel." Then I thought, "I'm writing a vampire novel. It should be in mine." I reworked the heroine to give her a past live so I could include this. Then I realized there were tons of little known massacres throughout history. I could give her several. It took a lot of research to get them right. I didn't want to be like The Da Vinci Code and have people debunking my work. I'm pleased with the results.

How long have you been writing?
Like most writers, I've always written, but as an adult, I started seriously doing fanfiction in 2003. I stayed home to raise my kids, with the agreement that when they went to school full time, I'd get a full year off to do nothing. Then I'd go to work or back to school. 2006 my youngest started 1/2 day kindergarten and I started thinking about what I was going to do with my year off. I started writing my own universes. I kept this up. When my year was up, I offered to get a job. My husband said the most romantic thing. "You have a job. You're a writer."

What is your favorite type of genre to write?
I can't write a story without a vampire, elf, or faerie showing up. I've been challenged by friends to write a contemporary romance, and I can't do it. My heart belongs to all things fantastic.

Is it hard for you to balance your life as a writer? How do you manage it?
I bribe my kids. National Novel Writing Month takes dedication and a lot of sacrifices, not just on my part, but from my entire family. The kids were used to having me full-time and being able to see me working on the dinning room table and not bother me was hard for them to understand. They needed a stake in my career. For every $5000 I make they each get $100 to do with as they please. They are little task masters and keep telling me to get back to work. Fortunately they understand that there is more to my career than writing. Reading and networking is a big part.

When is the best time for you to indulge in your writing?
I write best in the late morning when the kids are at school. Words seem to pour out of me then. At night, I have to fight for the words.

What does your workspace look like?
I am fortunate to have my own office. It's a sun room off the dining room. I had to put up blue stripped curtains because the glare on the monitor made it difficult to work. I am surrounded by two bookcases and tons of faeries and silk flowers. There are little bits of inspirational quotes scattered here and there. One wall is used for story boarding. I write out the scenes on note cards and pin them to the wall. Then when I'm happy with the order, I hook them together on a ring.

What is the hardest (and easiest) part of writing for you?
Hardest part is to stop editing before I steal the soul of the story. I'm one of those writers you have to pry the manuscript from my hands. Easiest part is coming up with twists. I love making the reader go "I didn't see that coming."

Whose opinion do you value most when it comes to your writing and why?
My husband. He's my anchor in everything.

You have 3 wishes, what are they?
First, I want a big house on a lake complete with a recording studio for hubby, an art studio for me and the kids and a great office. Second, to see my publisher do great, not just for me, but for all her authors. Several have won EPICs. I'd love to see someone hit the NYTimes bestseller list soon. Third, I'd like to do well enough that Hubby doesn't have to work. He's been a tremendous support. I'd love to be able to take the burden off him (and buy him a boat).

You have won a vacation to an exciting island of your choice and you can take two people with you. What island would you choose and who are you taking with you?
Hubby is in the Coast Guard and has traveled all over the Caribbean. There are lots of places he wants to take me. The exciting island I'd love to go to are the British Isles. I want to go look for faeries in Wales, tromp all over the countryside looking for standing stones, visit the British Museum, take a trip to Scotland to see my roots (Clan Graham), and see old castles and abbeys. Maybe I'll even find a dragon. Only two people? That's tough. One is obviously Hubby, but we have two daughters. I can't choose between them, so I'll pick one of my best friends, Marjie. She's been a tremendous support. My book is dedicated to the letters D,J, and M because this fits all the important people in my life. My husband, John. my daughters Jessica and Meghan, Mom and Dad, and my three best friends.

If you could have a robot to perform the chore you hate most, what would the robot spend its time doing?
Washing windows. I hate it so much, I never do it. I'd love to have clean windows to look out of.

What would you consider your most interesting quirk?
I read at stoplights. When I start a book, I can't put it down. I've been known to bring them with me even while driving. I have the kids tell me if the light turns green.

What is the most inspiring feedback you have received from a reader?
I've been getting tremendous reviews on this tour. My favorite called me a "masterful spider" when it came to my plot. I'm going to use a spider web when I design my logo.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
I just found out from the publisher that The Mark of Abel will be out in paperback before the fall.

Thank you so much, Viola, for spending time with us today!
Thank you for having me. I'm a huge extrovert. Writing can be a solitary endeavor. I love getting to chat with fans and potential fans. Feel free to ask me anything.

Interviewed by: Tammy