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Author on the Couch: Rayn Ellis - Abbie Roads
Author on the Couch: Rayn Ellis This week’s Author on the Couch is… Rayn Ellis *GIVEAWAY* Rayn is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one person who tells her their favorite love song of all time. Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life. Rayn: I had been “writing” as a CPA in the corporate world for years (think accounting briefs, which are like legal briefs but without lawyers), but writing fiction never, ever, ever crossed my mind. Then I signed up for the 3-day Novel Contest, which is like a mini-NaNoWriMo over Labour Day weekend—just for fun, a personal dare. By the time that weekend was done, I was hooked, hooked, hooked! And what I wrote that weekend became the basis for my 2016 Golden Heart© Finalist novel, Soul Song. That one weekend changed the entire direction of my life. Me: What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author? Rayn: Curiosity. I love the mystery of where a story comes from, how it twists and turns and forms into something a writer can express, and ultimately, birth into the world. I can sit at the computer or pick up a pen, and just see what happens. Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author? Rayn: I love words. That might not make sense because you would think that a writer should love words, but I love them to obsession. So I fuss and pause and wait and change this or change that to get the perfect cadence on the page. All that makes me a really, really slow writer. Me: What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened? Rayn: I finalled in the 2016 Golden Heart with my very first novel, Soul Song. I had the announcement day off from my day job. Not expecting to final at all, I turned off my phone the night before, planning a long, lazy sleep-in the next day. So I rolled out of bed around 10 am and my intuition was yelling at me to check my phone. I had 3 voicemails from the RWA with “news about my entry.” I was shaking so bad that it took me another 20 minutes to call them back and when they told me I had finalled, I burst into tears because it was my birthday that day. That was one amazing birthday present! Me: What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it? Rayn: I had a very bad case of what I call “GH Finalist hangover.” After my big GH Final and the 2016 RWA conference, my inner critic now had a new phrase to terrorize me with “That isn’t GH worthy, is it?” Every time I sat at my computer, I froze. I couldn’t get anything on the page. And my dream of being a published author, well, wobbled. I didn’t write for a few months, and then I found this Neil Gaiman quote, “A writer has to convince themselves that their first draft doesn’t matter.” That quote, and a lot of heart-to-hearts with my Writing BFF, put it all into perspective: I write because I am a writer, a lover of story. And writer’s write. So I sat my butt in the chair and wrote, no matter what my inner critic said, and finished the first draft of my second novel, Starlight. Me: Which of your characters are you most like? Why? Rayn: Every writer will tell you that they’re a little bit like all their characters. And I would have to agree. But what I find really fascinating is when I have written a character who I think I have nothing in common with and then months later I will catch myself and think, “OMG, that is what JB would have said” or “That is what Lauren would have done.” And then I wonder what came first: me influencing the character or the character influencing me? Me: What’s your writer’s mantra? Why does that mantra speak to you? Rayn: I didn’t have a writer’s mantra until very recently. I was in a Yes to Success seminar with Success Guru, Debra Poneman, when she said, “Rejection is God’s protection.” I nearly hit the floor. It was a complete mind flip for me on how to feel about pass letters. Now it’s all about Divine Timing for me—no longer “if I’ll publish,” but “when I publish.” Me: What do you collect? Why? What personal meaning does this item have for you? Rayn: Mood rings. I absolutely adore them, have since I was a kid. I’ve got them in all shapes and sizes. They remind me of magic and the power of being playful in my life. And my inner child loves it when I’m in some high-flying, corporate meeting and a colleague gets this odd look on his or her face trying to figure out what the heck is up with my jewelry. Me: Tell me about your Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Women’s Fiction novel Soul Song. Rayn: After ex-Stepford wife Lauren Waittes lands the receptionist position at Holt’s Music Inc., she can finally start rebuilding her shattered life, away from the FBI, her fugitive ex-husband and his Bernie Madoff-esque scandal. Once the infamous darling of Seattle’s front page news, she just wants to put it all behind her for a life that is safe, secure, and, most of all, anonymous. A solid and stable plan… That takes a sexy left turn when she meets Joel Sherin, the best Blues guitarist in the biz, and the brainchild behind SMASHRecords, Seattle’s hottest new independent label. Music revves Joel’s engine, but it’s women that provide the fuel. And he likes them hot, fast, and temporary. Until he locks lips with …