Huge thanks once again to Johnny Ray, who has taken the time to answer a few of my questions. You can read my review of Johnny's latest book For Love and Vengeance over here.
The last time I interviewed you, you said that you were working on becoming the master of the romantic thriller. Is that still your goal?
This is a lofty goal, but yes . . . I would love to have this title. I think also reaching for this keeps me focused on what I want to write. Mixing romance with a thriller feels so natural to me.
How has your writing style changed from your first book to For Love and Vengeance?
I think the main difference is that my work is more fluid now. Like all writers I hope to get better with each book. Since my first book, I would say I have been critiqued by over 200 other authors, read by over 100 beta readers with feedback, judges by over fifty judges with advice and I’ve hired over 100 editors to tear my work apart. I also listen to my readers who send me a lot of fan mail. With this all said, I want my next book to always be better than the last one.
When you have writer's block, what do you do to help get past it?
I’m not sure I have writer’s block, but I do get trapped into bad plots that I have to work myself out of, and this takes time to accomplish what I want to tell in the story. I feel like the plots are my strongest part of my novels, and I work on them extremely hard.
Spies are very popular characters in almost every genre of books and obviously in movies. What in your opinion is so appealing about spies?
They definitely are not part of the normal day to day people most people know. Reading for many people is a way to escape. Spies open up a very interesting world of intrigue and adventure that accomplishes what I think readers really want—entertainment.
When you start writing a new book, do you already know the direction of it from beginning to end or does the story kind of write itself as you go along?
I know the entire story before I start, but I also add some new twist along the way. The plot expands often as the characters grow.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The actual spark in this novel is very interesting. I actually went surfing and was bumped by a shark. There was one girl in the water and we both made it to shore safely. We went to a wine bar and walked the beach, but I managed to have her phone number ruined by the surf hitting my pants and never saw her again. So, I made her a spy in a novel and let my imagination take over from there.
What was your favorite part of writing For Love and Vengeance?
The original title for this novel was SUMMER WINE. I listen to the old classic song often while I was writing this work. Doing the research was also very interesting for me as well.
What was the last book you read and loved?
One book that really stands out is LOVERS AND STRANGERS by Jackie Collins.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I have four more novels coming out by the end of the year. That will take up a lot of my time. I am also working on a sequel to one of them, which will be based in Milan, Italy. I love doing the research on it.
FOR LOVE AND VENGEANCE is the second book in a three book series. I will start book three the first of next year. There is still a lot of unfinished business that Royce and Valerie need to accomplish. Book one will give the back story of what happened to Royce earlier. I hope to release both of these late in 2013.
Find Johnny Ray