Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Spotlight: Ryann Jansen

Ryann Jansen

Ryann is a happily married mother of two living in central Alabama. Growing up, she always knew that writing was her passion, but wasn’t sure how to pursue it. About five years ago, while up late feeding her youngest daughter, she stumbled upon the AgentQuery website, and began really thinking about completing a novel. Since then, she has completed four manuscripts, and learned the ins and outs of the publishing business. After sending queries for a while and receiving many full and partial requests, as well as revise and resubmit requests, but never getting the ever elusive “yes”, Ryann decided to self-publish, and her first novel, Bittersweet Hope, is now available via Kindle or the Kindle app.


What was your favorite book as a child? How about now?

My favorite book growing up was The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Wren Wright. Even though I was a total wimp, I would read that book and get myself good and scared at least once a month! Wright was so wonderful at pulling you right into the story and making you believe you were there-even after you’d read the book many times!

My current favorite book is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Kristin Hannah is probably my all-time favorite author. She is a master of character, and every time I read something by her, I feel as though every single person in the book is right there with me, telling me their story in person. Firefly Lane is especially poignant, I think, because it deals with an amazing friendship, and the bond between two women, and I think that can be something so hard to write.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I decided to become a writer, because, first off, I’ve always loved it. I’ve written stories since I can remember, and it’s just something that feels incredibly natural to me. It took me a long time to believe in myself enough to think I could actually write for an audience, though. Once I embraced that confidence, I decided to go for it, and I’m glad I did. I love to be creative and I love to explore any type of story, and how can you do that in any better way than to write?

What is the most difficult part of writing?

The most difficult part of writing for me, is actually finding the time. I have a four and a five year old who are extremely active, and a full time job as well. Sometimes I feel like I can barely breathe doing everything I have to do, and to find an hour to sit down and get the words on the page can be challenging. When I do, it feels so wonderful and like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Of course, there is also confidence. That’s actually probably tied with time for most difficult part. It can be so debilitating, being a writer and never feeling as though your work is good enough! But, that is what wonderful critique groups, friends, and family come in. You need that support system, and you need that faith in yourself that you can go for your dream.

How long does it take you to draft a novel? Tell us a bit about your writing process.

If I can find the time, I can write the first draft of a manuscript in about three months. That’s with a general word count of about 60K, and I know that may seem short, but I write contemporary YA. Like I said, though, that’s with me finding the time! I’d say right now it is taking me longer because life seems so busy. I’m about half way through the second novel in my Bittersweet Series. With editing and revising, I’d tack on an extra couple months.

I don’t have a writing process, per say. I think I do best with short sprints—thirty minutes here and there, and I can get about four thousand words down in that time span. I keep a journal with me at all times, and I might think of short passages or a certain line of dialogue that would be perfect for one of my characters, and I’ll jot that down and figure out where it can go once the novel is finished. During editing, I like to read through it and make notes, then filter those in as well. Once I’m done with that, I do a complete line by line edit—then send to my critique partners, who are fabulous. Once they’re done with it and send it back, I carefully review their suggestions, which are usually right on point, and I revise accordingly. Once those revisions are done, I do another line by line, and then it’s complete.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on the second novel in my Bittersweet series, which is titled Bittersweet Summer. In the first novel, you were introduced to the three Emerson sisters, and the story was told from Audrey’s point of view. Now, in the second book, we are seeing things through Sadie’s eyes. There is continuation from the first book, and Audrey and Sadie’s relationship isn’t all sunshine and roses just yet. Sadie also has a love interest this time around. Once this book is finished, I have a third book planned for the middle sister, Sierra.

Ryann Jansen
191 pages


With a hooker for a mother, seventeen-year-old Audrey Emerson is pretty sure her life can't get any more screwed up. Until, that is, her mom is murdered and she and her sisters are put in separate foster homes. That is like, the definition of hell.

Then Audrey meets Caleb. She's wary to begin with, but slowly she learns to trust, and to believe in herself. Even though she feels guilty for being so happy after her mother's death, Audrey can't help but be grateful that her life is finally her own, and that she can for once be a normal teenager.

There's only one problem. Her youngest sister seems to be following in their mom's footsteps, and Audrey can't let that happen. The question is, can she save her sister while still saving herself?

To learn more about Ryann and her books you can find her here:

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