Meet Loriel Ryon.
Hi Loriel! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
LORIEL RYON has long held a passion for science and books. During her childhood she was often found with her nose in a book, even at the dinner table. Now a writer of middle grade and young adult fiction, she finds that her stories are often influenced by these two interests, as well as her upbringing in a bicultural family. Loriel is a registered nurse who holds bachelors degrees in both nursing and biology. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and her two daughters who also share her love of reading. Her debut middle grade novel INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS will be published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in Spring 2020.
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What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since announcing your book’s publication acceptance?
That nothing much has changed. Haha. I’m a mom who is mostly home with the kids wiping noses and doing laundry. I also work as a registered nurse part time. It still doesn’t quite feel real, like I may wake up and realize it was all a dream. Publishing is slow and seems to happen in spurts. So it’s a lot of silence and waiting and then a flurry of activity and deadlines. During those flurries there is excitement and drama, but during the waiting periods, there is only one thing to do. Write something new and put another load of laundry in the washer.
What do you think is the hardest part of the process from writing to revising to final edits?
For me the hardest part is deciding when to cut something that started out as an important framework to get me through the drafting process, but isn’t really serving the overall story anymore. I hate to say goodbye to something I spent so much time researching and working on. My gut tells me it served its purpose and needs to go, but it’s hard to delete all that work. This is why betas, critique partners, agents and editors are so important to help me see what isn’t working. They can give me the permission I need to let things go.
Does your writing style, and or routine, change depending what age you are writing for?
I can answer this two ways. First, my writing routine hasn’t changed in a long time. I haven’t been consistent at getting up early or staying up late to write. I’m really good at writing during the middle of the day. (Ha! That’s my best time of day!) But it probably will have to change soon. My youngest will probably give up her nap soon and that is when I write, so I’m going to have to find a new routine when that happens. In terms of the age I write for, I’ve also dabbled with some picture books and Young Adult, but right now, I find I keep returning to the upper Middle Grade age range. That was such a formative time in my life and I would have loved books that would tackle tough issues head on with love and compassion. All of my protagonists tend to be of this age range right now.
Depict your debut, Into the Tall, Tall Grass into 10 words – go!
*Ok, ten words is very hard, so I’m not counting the filler words! 🙂
Girl embarks on magical journey through the desert to save her dying grandmother.
If you could add any magical element into your daily life, what would you pick?
Teleporting. Loading up my kids day after day in their car seats is exhausting and repetitive. It would be so nice to not have to do that, and end up where we need to be. Also, it would be better for the environment and let’s be honest, we all need to do more for our planet.
Is there any particular scene or character in Into the Tall, Tall Grass that energized or exhausted you?
I love all my characters, but Yolanda’s sister Sonja was especially fun to write. She is fierce and daring and seems so confident, but she also has her own insecurities and issues she’s grappling with that her sister (and the reader) isn’t fully aware of at first. I love her passion for the outdoors and her loving nature.
If you could warn your younger writing self about one thing, what would it be?
The books you read have gone through a MILLION revisions before they get published. Ok, maybe not a million, but a lot. Don’t compare your first draft to the published final product. I am still learning how the publishing and editing process works as this is my first time through it and I had NO IDEA how much work goes into making this happen. Just keep revising. With each revision the story gets stronger and clearer. And better.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. I lacked the confidence to even start writing until I was older and I wish I would have started younger. It sounds silly now, but I was terrified someone might actually read what I wrote! It’s a waste of time to not try to pursue something you enjoy because you are afraid. Just jump on in. If you fail, at least you’ll never regret trying.