For our December edition of Authors Interviewing Authors, I knew exactly who I needed to get on board: Nyrae Dawn aka Riley Hart! I’ve known Nyrae for a few years now and there are so many reasons why you all need to get to know her better: a) she’s a lovely person who shares a lot of her personal self in her writing and online b) she’s a top-notch writer and c) she manages to write under three different pen names and I am dying to know how she keeps several wholly different personas separate. Who better than to interview Nyrae than the fantastic Megan Erickson? Together with a few other writers, Nyrae and Megan run the facebook reader/writer community, Anything Goes and I knew their interview would be nothing but fun. So get ready to learn all about…Nyrae Dawn aka Riley Hart!
Hey there, I’m Megan Erickson, and I’m an author with Avon, Berkley and Entangled. My latest release is DIRTY DEEDS, and I’m here with Nyrae Dawn aka Riley Hart! I’m a huge of Nyrae’s and have been for a really long time. Honestly, I’m a little giddy now that after meeting her and talking with her, I consider her a friend.
Megan: Anyway, hey there Nyrae! First off, can you talk about what you’re working on right now?
Nyrae: Hey! I’m so excited to do this interview with you. I’m a huge fan of yours as well, and feel so lucky I can call you a friend.
Right now I’m working on a new Riley book. It’s a companion to Crossroads, I guess. It’s Rod’s story. He’s the guy who worked at the adult store where Nick and Bryce bought their goodies. LOL. Rod and Landon’s story snuck up on me, and wasn’t what I planned on writing next, but then, Crossroads had never been in the original plan either and I loved writing that book so much.
Megan: Crossroads was received so well! It was a great book. Were you surprised by the response?
Nyrae: I really was surprised. It’s the book that was never meant to be written. My plan was to work on Rock Solid book two. I was struggling with it and then suddenly Nick and Bryce were there demanding their story be told. I couldn’t turn it off (not that I’m complaining). It’s so amazing that readers seem to have fallen in love with those guys.
Megan: Can you tell me a little bit about your pen names and your decision to tell everyone that you were both Nyrae and Riley? Did you get the response you expected?
Nyrae: I started writing YA first under Nyrae. From there I went into writing some NA under the name as well. When the idea for Collide first came to me, I thought it was better to use a pen name because Collide was SO different than what I’d written as Nyrae. It’s much more explicit and my writing style as Riley is pretty different than it is as Nyrae. I never expected the response to Riley to be what it was. I just thought I’d write this story that came to me and maybe a few people would read it. I fell in love with writing my Riley books, and started writing under that name more and more, but still kept everything separate. It felt like the right decision but as time went on, it got harder and harder to keep the names completely separate and I really wanted to be able to do events as Riley. If I’m being honest, I was scared out of my mind to make the announcement, but people seemed to understand and they really supported me and the decision. I feel so lucky that I get to do what I do, no matter which name I’m writing under.
Megan: So I know you write YA, NA and also adult. Can you tell me a little bit about how you switch genres and how your writing is different? (or not different?)
Nyrae: I love writing YA. I read a lot of YA as well. It’s such a fun age to explore. I love the innocence of it, love writing people who are still trying to figure out who they are and what life is all about. I thought that’s what I would end up writing primarily, but I fell in love with writing adult as well. I love writing characters my age that I can relate with. Sometimes NA feels like the best of both worlds. LOL. It’s not really hard for me to swap back and forth I think because my writing styles are so different under each name. I write my adult in third person and my YA and NA in first/present. My YA/NA books are definitely romance, but there is a lot of coming of age involved as well. I consider myself a character writer. I have to really know my people, to feel like I’m living inside their skin, so I think that also helps me write both because I’m so incredibly immersed in whatever character I’m writing at the time. That makes it easier for the voice of my Riley books not to bleed into Nyrae and the other way around.
Megan: And now for a fun question – what are you doing for the holiday?
Nyrae: December is such a crazy month for us. My youngest daughter has a birthday on the 13th. We got her a dirtbike so there will be riding. Christmas Eve we go to see my husband’s family. They’re Italian and there’s always lots of good food, family and fun. They make the “traditional” holiday food along with homemade Italian. Then Christmas day is more relaxed. We’ll stay home and it will just be me, Dom and the girls.
Megan: Would you want to share some of your goals for next year? Or next five years? I’m always interested to hear what authors say to that question.
Nyrae: I just want to continue to be able to do what I love, and to hopefully be writing books that people enjoy, books that touch people’s lives. That’s my only real hope. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t write and it’s just that much cooler that there are people out there who like reading it.
Megan: Anything you want to add? I think you know I’m a huge fan of yours so this was really cool to interview you. 🙂 Thanks for letting me!
Nyrae: Not that I can think of! Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I know you’re crazy busy. I had fun!
Nyrae Dawn is Riley Hart. Riley is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores.
Megan Erickson: My first stories written in crayon-scrawl on loose-leaf notebook paper were about my childhood pet — a deaf cat with dandruff. And after covering real-life dramas as a journalist, I decided I liked writing my own endings better and switched to fiction. My romance novels full of humor and heart are a far cry from those early scribblings about my hygiene-deficient pet.
I live in southern Pennsylvania, with my husband, two kids and two cats. I like a good pint of beer, a greasy bacon cheeseburger, homemade mac and cheese, and a great book with a happily ever after. When I’m not tapping away on my laptop, I’m probably listening to the characters in my head who just. Won’t. Shut. Up. Find her on her website.