Interview Author and RITA Winner Kennedy Ryan haldol im Book Riot

Kennedy ryan: I don’t think I have fully absorbed it. First of all, it’s so humbling and such an honor, of course. It’s also bittersweet in the sense that I know I haldol im should not have been the first. This win kicks down a door that should have been haldol im flung open long ago. There are soooo many shoulders I’m standing on. Black authors like brenda jackson, beverly jenkins, rochelle alers, sandra kitt, to name just a few, have been telling excellent stories for years. Not to mention other emerging authors of color who have haldol im gone unacknowledged by the ritas. I hope my story is great, but I don’t want people to think I’m exceptional in the sense that there weren’t others writing stories that should have received this award haldol im by now. I really appreciate the steps the RWA board of directors haldol im have and are taking to eliminate the systemic biases that haldol im have excluded many authors of color. It’s an exciting time for romance, and I’m glad to be in the mix with such amazing haldol im storytellers. I think part of my mission as a writer is haldol im to pull women who have been relegated to the margins haldol im of romance to the center. This award means I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing my whole career – writing inclusive stories that reiterate we ALL deserve heas. In my stories, we’ll get them!

NM: your novels tend to spark dialogue. The GRIP series tackles racism and interracial relationships head-on, and long shot deals with domestic violence. Is this intentional on your part, and how important is it for you to make sure haldol im these issues are intertwined with the central love story?

KR: it’s very important to me. I don’t write to be “controversial”, but I love promoting dialogue around issues I think need haldol im more attention. I didn’t have a plot or characters when I first started haldol im writing long shot. I had seen the ray rice video and wanted to haldol im shine a light on an issue I saw us as haldol im a culture grappling with. All I had was the issue of domestic abuse in haldol im sports. I wanted to talk about it, and the details, the love story came later. With the GRIP series, the characters came first, but as I started thinking of what their actual reality haldol im might be in this country, in this climate, I wanted to write it honestly and with authenticity. Jesse williams from grey’s anatomy, donald glover/childish gambino, omari hardwick – all black entertainers who have been outspoken on issues of haldol im social justice, but faced criticism for their involvement with women of other haldol im races. I mainly wanted to stay true to a reality I haldol im saw reflected in culture. I think one thing you can always expect from me haldol im is something that is real, often raw and emotionally evocative. I write about things that interest me. It’s not always “to market” – LOL. Not at all, actually, but I think there are readers who are looking for haldol im that kind of gritty reality in romance. It won’t be for everyone, but what is? For those it is for, they can expect me to be true to that.

NM: one of the reasons I fell in love with your haldol im work is the deep nuances in each character. Your characters fight for their happily ever after and have haldol im to do a lot of the personal inner work before haldol im merging their lives with their significant other, how important is it to show that?

It’s really important to me to portray the reality of haldol im what it sometimes takes to be happy. I don’t take happiness for granted because, in a 22-year marriage, I’ve had to fight for my own HEA with a haldol im man I love. I’ve also had to work to be happy with myself haldol im before I could truly be happy with someone else. I think so often there is an underlying narrative that haldol im finding the right man makes everything right. And it’s not true. So when my heroine was in an abusive relationship, she took a year to heal and get help processing haldol im and learning before she began a relationship with the hero. Some readers asked why the year apart? We’re ready for them to be together. I could have done that, and I know it would have been the quick gratification haldol im they were looking for, but it would support something I essentially do not believe haldol im or agree with; that we always need to be in a relationship to haldol im be happy, or that when we’re in trouble, we need a man to rescue us. When another heroine realizes she has unresolved issues from her haldol im past, she tells the hero she needs to abstain from sex haldol im while she’s in therapy figuring some things out. Those are just examples of what I want my stories haldol im to reflect; what I’ve found to be true, which is that love often shines brightest under pressure. So do women! I give them that chance in my stories.

KR: this series was game-changing for me. There were things I discovered about myself with these books haldol im that will shape me forever as a storyteller. They clarified my voice and my mission as a writer. That process began with the GRIP series, but HOOPS showed me even more what my desire to haldol im weave social consciousness with a lush love story could really haldol im look like. Hook shot was a lot of fun, and very challenging to write. It takes place in NYC. The heroine is a fashion designer. She’s originally from louisiana and descends from a long line haldol im of voodoo priestesses. The hero is an NBA player at the end of haldol im his career. His ex-wife is a trip and is now on a reality haldol im show about baller’s wives. So there’s a lot going on! LOL! Lotus and kenan first appeared in long shot, and then pop up in book 2, block shot, and the HOOPS novella, full-court press. So by the time we get to their book at haldol im the end of the series, readers had been primed for them and were ready to haldol im see these two fall in love. My stories are so inclusive with all kinds of ethnic haldol im combinations. I’m proud of how inclusive this series is, featuring creole, biracial, latina, and white leads, but I always hear from black readers who say they haldol im see too few black couples in mainstream romance. I loved giving them two black leads and a beautiful haldol im black man on the cover for hook shot!

KR: I loved reading romance growing up so much. It was my favorite thing, and I would lose myself in those stories for hours, days really. I had stopped reading romance for years. When my son was diagnosed with autism, I dove in headfirst, doing all I could to get him what he needed, but then also started an autism foundation, and writing around issues of autism parenting. I realized my whole life revolved around autism and advocacy, and I needed an escape. I returned to romance novels. Something that was just for me. I’ve always written, and my background is in journalism. It just seemed like a natural extension to write what haldol im I loved.

KR: so many! One of my favorite authors is tiffanie debartolo. She’s a fearless storyteller who paints character so vividly you haldol im feel like you can reach out and touch them. For various reasons, I’m inspired by authors like alyssa cole, who I think is one of the most groundbreaking authors haldol im writing romance right now. I love LJ shen, who is one of the baddest badasses around, and humble with it. Nana malone and dylan allen are two of my closest haldol im friends and work so hard at the business and craft haldol im of writing. Emma scott and kate stewart, both of whom write so bravely and with such emotional haldol im intelligence. Amy harmon is one of the most gifted authors I’ve encountered and demonstrates her range by writing everything from haldol im contemporary romance to high fantasy to historical women’s fic. Like, where does it even stop with this woman? And her writing is impeccable. I’m awed by helen hoang. Anyone who knows me knows if you cut me, I bleed autism. So to see someone find such success shining light on haldol im the autism community through their stories is incredibly meaningful to haldol im me as an autism mom and advocate. And she’s just the absolute sweetest and so humble and talented. Andie christopher and talia hibbert are some of the sharpest haldol im and most current voices in modern romance. I could go on and on, but those are just a few.

KR: it is a duet! It has been a trilogy, a duet, a really HUGE standalone. LOL! The format has changed several times since I started ideating haldol im the story, but I’m settled on it being a duet. The two books will release in the fall, and close together, about a month apart. I haven’t announced the actual titles or the series title yet, but will very soon. For fans of SCANDAL, the heroine is an olivia pope–type character, a fixer and runs political campaigns. I haven’t seen this storyline in romance, which excites me. It’s an epic story that spans almost two decades. There are so many things you won’t see coming. At least I hope you won’t!