Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat: #Interview with @NicolRyanAuthor

John Satisfy:  Hi Nicole!  Could you please tell me a little bit about who you are and what you write?

Nicole Ryan:  Hey John, thanks for having me!  Like so many writers, I find it hard to tell people just a little me, I'll try to keep it short!  At the age of twenty five I'm a stay at home mom of twins, happily married to the love of my life with another little one on the way.  I love being at home because it allows me to spend my time playing outside, and writing in my free time. Just like talking about myself, talking about my work is hard because I could talk about my characters and my love for writing for hours!

I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was a poet and writer and he instilled in me at an early age what a positive and therapeutic outlet writing can be. I write whatever I feel. I write whatever comes to me. On my twitter I have myself described as a person who really does have voices in her head, I only help them to communicate with you. This is as true as true gets for me. When I am gazing out of my kitchen window, taking in the splendor of the Pacific Northwest as I do dishes, I may see an entire scene play out before me. Two characters having a conversation, or a monumental ending that is begging for a beginning. When these thoughts and ideas... these characters come to me, I have to go to them and set them free!

Most of my writing will have BDSM elements to it, because it is a realistic part of my life. I was taught to write what I know, however. So the difference between my BDSM and others, is the rawness. I have never been formally trained as a submissive, my Husband and I do not attend scene parties, nor do we belong to any clubs. This is not to say I am not in awe of the lifestyle, I find it beautiful and intriguing, I simply have not had the experience. So, you won't find much of that side of BDSM in my writing, at least not yet! I've been praised in the past for my ability to show the tender, loving bond that a Dominate and submissive share, the passion that sits behind the walls of BDSM and kink. I think it will always be my favorite praise, because that is what I aim to do.

JS:  It's so nice to have a supportive family when you're a writer.  How did your grandfather encourage you to write?

NR:  It is. I remember watching him write at the kitchen table on a yellow notepad each morning, a cigarette between his fingers and black coffee in his cup. I'd climb up on the chair next to him and watch his elegant cursive scrawl across the paper and be mesmerized. When I asked him what he was writing and why, he told me it made him feel better to write down his feelings. I guess that stuck with me. I was only with my grandparents for a summer, but it definitely had an impact on my becoming a writer.

JS:  It's funny how memories like that can inspire you for life.  Do you write by hand, or is it done on the computer?  Have you done anything to share your love of (appropriate) writing for you children?

NR:  I write by hand when I'm brainstorming or preparing a story. Sometimes I'll jot down an idea or a sentence for use later if I find it inspiring or fitting for a certain story or character. I like the speed of my computer when the story is finally ready, I find that even typing is too slow for my thoughts as they pour out sometimes!

My kids are still very young, I read to them a lot, but they seem to be more color artists than writers, at least at this moment. Who knows? Maybe it's genetic and Shakespeare Studies and Creative Writing will bring out their inner writers! I found those classes to be incredibly inspiring when I was younger.

JS:  Well there's time, I'm sure they have a long way to discover who they are yet.  What other classes shaped who you are?  Did you have any teacher who you remember fondly?

NR:  I have many teachers I remember fondly. I think my favorite was my American Literature teacher, she also taught my Drama class. She was all about embracing individuality and following your dreams.   She was very outspoken about what she believed in. She taught us about speaking our mind in the face of adversity and that when we felt the most strongly about rejecting an idea, to question why we felt so compelled to do so. She was a total hippie, I loved her for it!

JS:  Teachers can be so amazing, inspiring your years after you have left their class room. Did her views rub off on you?  Would you consider yourself a hippie?

NR:  To call myself a hippie is an understatement! I make most of our household products, like laundry supplies, cleaners and toiletries by hand to eliminate toxins from our home. I also choose organic, non genetically modified food as often as possible. I believe in supporting local, we buy grass fed beef from our local butcher shop, I trade homemade lotions and stuff for farm fresh eggs from neighbors and friends. We would love to have chickens and goats of our own one day!

I believe in getting back to a simpler way of living for happiness. Maybe not for everyone, but for me, simplicity is a must! There's this place called The Farm in Summertown Tennessee. I learned about it while researching natural childbirth. It's where the leading Midwife in the nation lives, Ina May Gaskin. I think they have the perfect idea for life and her midwifery knowledge is so beautiful, it's astounding! I'm following all of her guidance for this pregnancy, her thoughts and ideas are such an inspiration.

JS:  What kind of ideas does she have that are different then the mainstream logic?

NR:  One of my favorites is her quote about lemons! You know how people are always saying having a baby is like having a watermelon through a lemon. Ina May says “Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” She is very adamant about trusting a woman's body to rely on instinct. I love that about her. My second favorite quote by Ina May is "If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess during labor, then someone isn’t treating her right.” Something my husband has made sure to take note of!

JS:  That sounds like advice many people could use, not just those who are about to give birth.  Do you feel you have a good self image of your body?

NR:  I completely agree. I try to have a good self image, I think everyone has insecurities but I believe that being positive about bodies and their differences is very important. I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing. For instance Amber, from the Castles Burning series, goes through several stages of weight throughout the series. Her healthy self is curvaceous, while the side of her which is- I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't read the series- but we'll call it sick, she is thin and frail. This symbolizes the state of her mind as well.

Chastity, from the Home series is a very small, thin woman, but this is her body's natural and healthy state. She has not given in to Hollywood's idea of beauty, she didn't get breast augmentation, or starve herself thin. She takes pride in her slim body which sets her apart from other models and adult actresses around her. I think women's bodies are vastly different and we shouldn't try to place them in a cookie cutter mold, but rather celebrate a healthy figure, be it slight or large. All bodies are beautiful.

JS:  Are you the woman in your avatar?

NR:  Nope, my sexy nerd is a shutterstock photo. Sometimes I will put an avatar on Twitter that is really me, but currently neither of my avi's are pictures of myself. I will get one of myself up on all of my outlets when I can get professional shots done for continuity.

JS:  Why did you choose a more "idealized" version of sexy nerd, rather then one of the more "real" body types?

The Real Nicole
NR:  I think that the term "real" can be used very loosely when it comes to body types. In my personal life I've ran into this many times. Especially in while I was in the Navy I would fail weigh ins every single time. But when they would tape me and take my body fat percentage, I was well below my requirements. I honestly chose this avi because she looks a bit like me! I didn't think about going for the sexy nerd look when I was selecting an avatar, I wanted something that portrayed Nicole Ryan. I use a pen name for a few reasons, but I think that part of the fun of a pen name is bringing your alter ego to life. I suppose it could be considered my "idealized" version of myself!

JS:  It's nice that there's a bit of truth to the created you.  Would you consider yourself a nerd?

NR:  I never thought about it, I might consider myself a nerd. What does the term really mean anymore? It's been forever since I was in school it feels like! Let me see, I hung out with the drama kids and the poetry club kids... the "stoners" but I had close friends on the football team and cheer squad and debate team as well. I sort of floated around and found kindred spirits in all circles. I prefer to do that to this day. I don't like conformity I guess!

JS:  You don't like conformity and yet you were in the Navy for a bit?  From what I understand, the military is very much about conformity. You are filled with contradictions, aren't you?

NR:  Ha! Don't get me started on why I chose to not re-enlist! I could go into how the proper acronym for the Navy is Never Again Volunteer Yourself! I could even say that that groups sex scene in part three of Castles Burning when they're crossing the equator is my one finger salute to my Naval experience. But, instead I'll just say that I was young, fresh out of high school, and incredibly gullible at the time! Live and learn, right?

JS:  We were all young once, I won't hold that against you.  Has your naval experience manifested itself in your writing other than in the Castles Burning scene?

NR:  Actually it is a main theme in Castles. Amber is a Sailor recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The entire second part, when she has had her nervous breakdown-spoiler!- and is inside the prison of her mind, takes place on board an Aircraft carrier. I was stationed on a carrier for two years and there is no place I've ever been that felt so dreary and hopeless. It was the perfect setting for Amber's inner prison. Other than that the Navy has not manifested itself in any of my writing. But who knows, it could show up again!

JS:  I take it scenes on the Aircraft carrier are not based on real events.

NR:  Most definitely not! The entire ship experience Amber has is in her mind, I needed to have a way to portray that to the reader without giving away the big finale. I thought that the unbelievable happenings on the ship would provide a hint, but not spoil the surprise. Sex rituals are not a part of becoming a Shell Back I'm sorry to say for anyone who might have been hopeful! There are however some parts that are from real life. There is always something in my writing that is inspired by my life. In the beginning of that scene when Amber and Jessica are being paraded through the Galley there's a Sailor holding a highlighter between her nose and upper lip while humming Yankee Doodle. That was me. They really made me do that! It was probably the funnest experience I had on the ship. The only one that trumps it is when we were at sea for 90 straight days, no dry land in sight. To boost morale of the ship the Captain held a barbecue and everyone on board was permitted two beers. It was heaven after all that time of 24/7 work.

JS:  It's always fun to make a cameo in your own work, and especially so when it's reliving such a great memory.  You live in the Pacific Northwest, a part of the country known for it's mountains, forests and well rain.  Do you get out and enjoy nature's splendors?

NR:  If I am not at my laptop typing away inside, I can be found outside. I crave nature and could never leave this region, unless it was to go to Hawaii, I could definitely move there and spend even more time out of doors! We live right on one of the rivers that is fed from the Cascades, I have the most glorious view of them from my porch. One of my favorite things to do this time of year, when everything is opening up and breathing new life, is to sit out there by the river and daydream. My husband and I are always saying if we ever happen to fall upon a sudden windfall, we will have a house in Hawaii for winter time and live here in the summer, so we never miss out of outdoor time. We can just go back and forth between them!

I am very into yoga and meditation, being in tune with nature is something that's always been natural to me. I find that I am more comfortable in the forest, near the ocean, or surrounded by animals than by humans. I believe that being able to go out and reconnect with nature helps to center us, grounding as we call it! Sort of a nice little reset after being caught up in the whirlwind of technology we are bombarded with daily. I am more than ready for summer to be here!

JS:  I'm sure eager for those days to arrive.  So besides the military, have you found other occupations to base your stories on?

NR:  Chastity, from Home for the Holidays is an adult model who decides to jump the line and try the world of adult film. The story is not so much about that, as it is about two people connecting in a setting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. They retreat to rural Oregon and Chastity gets to experience a different taste of the West.

I have recently finished a story where the occupation is paranormal. They're demonologists and there is a lot of psychic ability and magic type stuff. It was a lot of fun to write, I've always been interested in the supernatural.

JS:  So I take it that the demonologist is based on an actual job description you've run across?

NR:  Well, not personally! I'm sure if I asked around a bit I could actually come across something similar, especially in this area. There seems to be a big interest in the paranormal in this area. Mostly, I am a sucker for horror novels and movies, so most of my writing has a little bit of a dark twist to it. When I sat down to start writing this one I wanted it to be horror, not just thrilling like Castles Burning. While I do find inspiration in everyday life, very little of my writing is based on real life or actual events. I like to create a world of fantasy, where anything could happen!

JS:  This is a mix of erotic and horror, then?  That seems to be a popular mix, why do you think that is?

NR:  It is. I think it's becoming more popular because people are finally willing to admit that fear and pleasure can come quite naturally as a pair. I think sex is very much a state of emotion, it's energetic. Fear and Pleasure are emotions, two that seem to go as well together as strawberries and angel food cake. Who hasn't read an Anne Rice, or Stephen King and thought, if only they would go a little further, take that bite to the groin a little deeper... describe that encounter in just a little greater detail. Why are fornicating teens, or shirtless females about to be murdered in slasher flicks always the go-to scenario? Now we have humans having sex with vampires or shape shifters. Literally embracing that which we are supposed to fear the most. Why  do Arousal and Fear stimulate similar reactions in our bodies? Who knows, I'm not a biologist. But I know that a juicy sex scene can do wonders for relieving tension in a novel just as well as a good sex session can in real life. Erotica seems like a natural bridge to cross in the world of horror. It's just one more link on the chain of extreme emotions and feelings that come up in a horror story.

JS:  Lots of good point and something to think about.  Maybe one of the readers has an idea and would like to talk about it in the comment section bellow...  Speaking of readers, if any of them would like to follow you on social media, where can they go?

NR:  The best place to find and contact me is on Twitter, I am on there basically every day. But you can also find me on Facebook, Goodreads and Tumblr, I should warn you, the tumblr account is very NSFW, contains graphic sexual content and is not recommended for the faint of heart!  And of course if you want to explore some of my stories, check out my Amazon page.

JS:  Not for the faint of heart, eh?  I am sure I just lost a few people to the tumblr already.  Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap this up?

NR:  I very much enjoyed chatting with you John, thanks for having me! I think now would be a great time to mention that the final draft of Castles Burning has finally been completed. All three parts in one place, plus a ton of bonus material, extended scenes and an entire prologue to give a glimpse into Amber's world before the attack. I'll keep my blog and twitter updated with info and release dates.

JS:  Well thank you so much Nicole.  This has been a great conversation and I really hope that people check out your wonderfully erotic stories and amazing social sites.  It has been really fun.

NR:  Very fun, thank you John and I can't wait to chat again!


  1. Thanks so much for having me, John! xx

    1. My Pleasure! It was fantastic having a chance to sit down and talk with you.