John Ryers Interview

John is a graphic designer by day, and graphic designer by night (depending on the client), but most importantly, he's a writer at heart. His dreams include writing for a living, experiencing virtual reality on a Matrix-esque level, and flying unaided (or possibly via really sweet jetpack). He lives somewhere in southern Ontario, Canada with his wife and twin daughters. John writes all genres but prefers dark fantasy over most anything else. This is due in part to the fact that he likes it the best, and because it's awesome. John prefers blue cheese over cheddar, cats over dogs, and

What inspired you to write?
When I was a child my dad used to tell me made-up fantasy stories all the time and really think that sparked a desire in me to create my own. I wrote my first story in Grade 1, about my hamster who suffered an early demise and was replaced by a less than spectacular goldfish who later tried to end his own life by jumping out of the bowl. I suppose that story was the inception of my affinity for dark fantasy.

Did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I used to just sit down, start writing, and see where it went. I wrote some interesting stories this way, but nothing spectacular. I found it difficult to drop decent foreshadowing writing this way. With my recent novel The Glass Thief, I outlined each scene with a few sentences and that gave me a roadmap I could work with a lot easier. Outlining isn't for everyone, but it works out really well for my process.

Do you work alone, or get encouragement from family and friends?
I write alone, as a lot of us do, but my wife, family, and friends are all supportive of my goals. For now, I still write as a hobby, and I'm very thankful for all the support I've received for my passion.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Revisions were the most difficult part for me. I'd always thought it would be the first draft, but that was nothing compared to the painstaking task of plot surgery and making sure all the events interacted with each other properly, and that all the major characters were well-developed.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
In hindsight, I'd say the first draft (though I didn't feel like it at the time). The first draft allows you to write whatever you like, however you like, and it doesn't matter if it's akin to cowpie or glorious prose. It's not until you get into the nitty-gritty editing that you realize how freeing it is to write that first draft.

After the book was published, were you changed?
Publishing my debut novel certainly changed me. Some for the better, some for the worse. I felt an immense sense of accomplishment once I published The Glass Thief, but I also acquired a sense of fear that my next book wouldn't be as good. It's caused a bit of writer's block but nothing I won't be able to break through eventually.

Have you received any awards for your book(s)?
My mom put it up on her fridge with a gold star. Other than that, not yet.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I'm currently on the first draft of The Glass Crown, book two in the Tears of Aeryeth trilogy which The Glass Thief started off. That will be followed up with the third and final book The Glass Reaper, with various short stories speckled in between the novels.

What gets in the way of your creativity?
Self-doubt is the biggest deterrent. Is this scene strong enough? Are these characters developing well? Is the pace off? Am I even good enough? Terrible thoughts, and ones I shouldn't even have during the first draft, but they're there, and sometimes they won't shut up.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
Usually, I just punch someone. Seriously though, criticism stings at first as nobody likes their hard work examined with a critical eye, but, once that sting goes away, I like to look at the feedback or reviews and really think on what the person didn't care for in the story. I use beta readers and critique partners who don't hold back, so I get a fair share of criticism from them, but all of it makes the book (and future books) a stronger product in the end.

What is your favorite show on TV?
Currently it's Game of Thrones. Previously, it was Breaking Bad.

Favorite movie?
It's hard to pick a favourite, but my current top five movies (in no particular order) are: Shawshank Redemption, Batman Begins, What Dreams May Come, Logan, and Gladiator.

Favorite book?
Again, hard to pick a favourite. Top three would be: A Fault In Our Stars, Jurassic Park, and Hunger Games.

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
I'd want to meet John Green (author of The Fault In Our Stars) and thank him for writing the novel that changed my entire narrative voice. I don't think I even had a solid narrative voice until I read that book. Something about the way John Green writes really struck a chord with me and helped me sort that out organically.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I could draw and paint like some of the amazing cover artists out there. I do my own covers, and I'm happy with them, but being able to create some of the masterpieces out there would be spectacular.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Passionate. Open-minded. Bald.