Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Friends with Laurie Ryan

Welcome to Friday Friends with author Laurie Ryan.

HWH: Thanks for being with us today, Laurie. Let's get started. PIRATE’S PROMISE will be out this August. How exciting! Tell us where you came up with the idea and a little bit about the story. You also have another book out, STOLEN TREASURES. Tell us a little about that story.

LR: Ah, I love telling this story. A local Tall Ships Festival gave me the opportunity to spend some time amongst gallant ships from a bygone era, envisioning the romance of a sultry night on the water with nothing around. Then, I got the opportunity to spend 5 days on a working 160 foot schooner. Wow! Talk about inspiration! Both stories were born from that experience. Stolen Treasures pits undercover operative Dion and his unplanned passenger, Claire, against a pirate who steals yachts for a living and has his sights set on Dion’s schooner, the Treasure. Pirate’s Promise is the sequel and explains why tall, blond, Hawk turned to a life of crime. And sparks fly when his hot tempered attorney, Julia, gets drawn into the mix, her career in jeopardy thanks to his stubborn, single-minded plans.

HWH: What do you find helpful when you have writer’s block?

LR: A hot cup of cocoa almost always works, especially if it’s gourmet and creamy. If my muse is still being argumentative, it’s time for a long walk. And if that doesn’t work, well, I move on, work on the next scene or another story and come back to what’s troubling me after it’s percolated for a while.

HWH: How do you plot your novel?

LR: I am definitely a plotter. And a little bit OCD about it. I use a process I learned from another writer, Wendy Delaney. I have an easel set up with a large “W” drawn on it. Using the “W” plotting technique, I post-it note my plot, using different colors. Yellow for plot, green for description, pink for emotion, orange for tension. Hmmm. There’s a little bit of Margie Lawson’s technique in there, isn’t there? It’s like Wendy said to our group: You’ve got to find what works for you. For me, it’s a conglomeration of techniques.

HWH: What's the best writing advice you've ever received/read?

LR: Lucy Monroe says that the intention to write a book will not make you an author. Only writing it will. Every time I think I’d rather go to sleep or veg in front of some television program without getting my words in for the day, I remember that.

HWH: What are you working on now?

LR: I’m currently writing the sequel to Pirate’s Promise, called Dare to Love. I fell in love with Aidan, a secondary character from Stolen Treasures. Then, while writing Pirate’s Promise, I knew Gail would be a perfect fit for Aidan. Now, all I have to do is convince THEM of that.

I’d like to thank Heroines With Hearts for having me here today. I’ll be around off an on to answer any questions or comments. You can also get further information by visiting my website:

Here is an excerpt from Stolen Treasures where the hero (and captain of the Treasure) describes the heroine:

Dion Gaetani watched her as she lay on the bunk. Her face was pale, giving her the appearance of a porcelain doll, most likely due to the concussion she must have. That was one hell of a knot on her head. Her long hair fanned out slightly, framing her face with the color of the teakwood he polished every day. Even with her eyes now closed, he could picture them. The cocoa color, a rich, intelligent, dark brown, was seared in his memory.

Claire Saunders. Not a name he would likely forget. She fit the stereotype of a yacht-club princess. She didn’t act like it, though. Long after all the yachting royalty had departed for home or club, she had stayed, apparently not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Her hands looked so small. He gathered one in his, and it seemed even more delicate. Turning it over, it surprised him to feel calluses. These were not hands belonging to the rich and want-to-be famous. No, this woman wouldn’t be easily categorized.
She moaned then. The quiet sound echoed in his head. He laid her hand back on the bunk, but couldn’t resist another touch. His thumb traced her hairline down the side of her heart-shaped face. She shifted then, leaning her cheek into his touch. Her skin felt like warm silk.
Dion yanked his hand back, and straightened, searching the cabin for something, anything, to take his mind off the unconscious woman in his bunk. He refused to go soft over some wisp of a princess. A bad feeling settled in his stomach. She was going to be trouble, and lots of it.

Thanks again for being with us, Laurie.

Leave a comment or a question for Laurie, and before you leave don't forget to become a follower of Heroines with Hearts.


  1. I love those Tall Ship festivals. How amazing to have spent a period of time on one of those ships. Talk about the perfect way to research for a book.

    Thanks for joining us today. Good luck with Gail and Aiden's story!

  2. What a great setting--modern day pirates (of yachts, not oil tankers). I am glad to learn you are a plotter, Laurie. Thanks for posting this interview so prominently on your website.


  3. Debra,
    Sailing on the 160 foot schooner was a dream come true and I knew I had to write these stories after my time on the Zodiac. Of course, the fact that we were also visiting various wineries didn't hurt. :) Thanks for having me here at Heroines with Heart!

  4. Ana,
    Thanks for having me here. It's been a fun interview. And yes, plotting is my mantra. I did have to learn to listen to my characters a bit, though. Sometimes, they pick an entirely different direction to go in. Then it's back to the board and time to change out the post it notes. :) Have a great Friday!

  5. Good Morning, Plotting works for you that's for sure. Stolen Treasures starts off fast and never lets up. Great pacing and the characters are yummy. Can't wait for the next release.

  6. Hi, LDee! It's good to see you here. And thank you for the compliment. I have to admit, Stolen Treasures has a forever place in my heart. Dion is that strong, silent type that I'm always drawn to. Hawk, my pirate from Pirate's Promise, is pretty much the opposite. He enjoys being the center of attention. Isn't it fun creating these different personalities?

  7. Hi Laurie

    You know that I loved 'Stolen Treasures' and of course the hero, Dion. I am looking forward to the sequel, 'Pirates Promise' and the new hero, Hawk. Can't wait.

    I was fascinated reading how you plot your stories. I know I should take more care with mine. I've just dumped 10,000 words of my latest WIP. It just wasn't working. Now that hurt. LOL.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jan xx

  8. Hi Laurie
    Did you start off with the intention of writing a series, or did the sequels arise out of the first novel?
    Also what's the W pltting technique please?

  9. Jan,I dumped 13 chapters of a novel when I felt it simply wasn't working! I'm incorporating some scenes from it into my totally revised effort, and am wondering if I can use the others in a different novel!

  10. 13 Chapters Paula. That must have hurt.

    What a good way to use them though. I did chop an old manuscript into small pieces recently. One of the short stories that resulted, ended up on Night Owl Romance as a free read.

    Jan xx

  11. Yep, it did, but I knew it was too introspective and needed more 'action'. So the revised version has more, but I can use some of the scenes and adapt them to suit the new story, so all is not lost LOL

  12. Laurie,
    Wow! 5 days on a 160 foot schooner. What fabulous inspiration for your story! And how fun to be credited for pointing you the direction of the "W" plot. I love the way it forces me to LOOK at my plot. :)
    I wish you great success with Dare to Love. Sounds terrific!

  13. Hey. Laurie, stopping in to say hi and check out your blog entry. ;)

  14. Jan,
    Oh, no! 10,000 words? I hope some form of them can make it into another story. What I use for plotting doesn't always keep me from dumping scenes, but it sure seems to help. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Paula,
    Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I had one book in mind, Stolen Treasures, when I started this story arc. But the pirate, Hawk, had too good of a story and I couldn't really tell it in the first book. I seem to alwasy fall in love with my secondary characters. Does the same thing happen to you?
    The "W" plot has been around for a while. If you goggle "W plot structure" you'll come up with some good articles. In a nutshell, the 5 tips of the "W" are your plot points. The call to action (trouble starts), low point (change of plans), high point (things are looking up), black moment (major setback), and the climax (resolution). Once I get those points, I can fill in the lines between with the rest of the story. Best of luck!

  16. Wendy,
    Hi! It's great to see you here. Yep. 5 whole days. It was bliss! And many thanks for helping me to finally find a plotting technique that works - for me. :)

  17. Hey, Jami! Thanks for stopping by! I know your schedule so I'm really pleased you took the time out to say hi. Happy writing!

  18. I want to thank Heroine's With Hearts for having me here and asking me some great questions! It's been a lot of fun!