MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARIKA RAY!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Marika Ray – Contemporary Romance, RomCom, and New Adult Romance
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I have one complete series of stand alone novels called the Beach Squad Series. They’re romances between beach lifeguards in Huntington Beach, CA and their fearless ladies, who all happen to become friends (ie: the Beach Squad).
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve always been an avid reader, but particularly loved romance. I wanted to see more romance books that highlighted strong heroines and also female friendships. So I wrote it!
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Lots of research for this series happened for the basic terminology lifeguards use. I even stopped one of them on the beach one day to ask some random questions. I’ve researched what water craft they use, what rank they have the longer they’ve worked as a lifeguard, and their tsunami protocol. Other than that, I live locally so that helped with understanding the setting.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Oh man, that’s a tough question! I love each of them for different reasons. The first because it was the first time I knew I could write a whole book. The second for the heroine’s strength in the face of such adversity. The third for the humor and grace shown by the heroine and hero. The fourth for the way the two main characters worked on their dreams together. The fifth for the positivity the heroine used to change people’s lives. And the novella was so much fun to write because the heroine was so sassy, she had to have a total alpha man to recognize her big, soft mushy heart beneath all her prickliness. Long answer short: don’t make me choose!! lol
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
It all started when my youngest daughter was having trouble sleeping at night. So I’d lay down with her at bedtime and tell her a story. The first book in the series was one of our bedtime stories (minus the steamy scenes!) and once I started writing, I couldn’t help but think my heroine needed friends and each of those friends needed their own HEA too, you know?
Was it always meant to become a series?
No. Really, I just wanted to see if I could write a book. But once I did, I could easily envision the series, so off to work I went!
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I don’t really have a typical day. Sometimes I have clients from my other business so I work with them in the mornings and then write in the afternoons, catch up on marketing online in the evenings after the kids are home from school. Right now it’s summer and my kiddos are home so it’s very hard to find time to write!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m currently editing book #5 in the Beach Squad series. I’m also writing book #1 in a New Adult romance series I’ve plotted out. And I’m also outlining a novella that I’m writing for an interconnected series with about eight other authors, due out in February 2019.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I try to fit the names with either their heritage or their current location. For example, when I wrote Barefoot Chaos with a hero born & raised in Hawaii, I chose Kai as his name because it means ocean in Hawaiian.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Yes! I have a very loose idea for a 3 series post apocalyptic dystopian with two late teen characters as the heroes. Would love to get up the nerve (and find the time!) to write it!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Staying consistent with my writing every day. When I write every day I get into the heads of my characters and the writing flows easily. If I start and stop I lose my concentration and can’t just jump right in and write.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I would love to do a trailer one of these days, but I don’t want to put one out unless it’s really good. And honestly, most of the good ones I’ve seen are more for suspense books, not necessarily romance. I’d love to be proven wrong though. : )
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being smart enough to marry my husband and have a daughter together.
Best. Move. Ever.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Two things: an outlet for my creativity that I just wasn’t finding elsewhere and the friendships I’ve made in the community, both authors and readers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living wherever my grandkids live and writing. I don’t picture a future where writing of some form isn’t involved.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes! I remember writing on our family’s first computer and saving my short story on a floppy disk. lol Crap, I’m dating myself…. But yes, I’ve written for fun early on, non-fiction in my professional life, and now story-telling again in this profession.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Take all advice with a grain of salt. Take the advice but filter it through your own life experience. What works for one doesn’t automatically mean it’ll work for you.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I have this thing. I change careers entirely every 8-10 years. lol So, I guess I would rebuild my personal training business. I had a lot of fun with that one.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I read them occasionally, but not obsessively. The bad ones every author gets sting a bit, but mostly I’m able to just let it go. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m perfectly okay with that. Do I respond? Oh heck no! I do respond to reader emails though. Every. Darn. Time.
What is your favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
The actual writing and especially the beginning of the book. The book idea is fresh, the characters are speaking loudly, and the directions I could go are endless.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Well I’m only one chapter in on the new series so this might not be the greatest preview but here ya go…
“We’re a bunch of private school kids who’re tired of uniforms and protocols. We need to push back on all of our parents’ ridiculous rules.” Indie is nodding and smiling in agreement with Reef, which isn’t surprising. The girl has been a rule breaker her whole life. How she didn’t get expelled is beyond me.
Vera and I exchange a quick warning glance. I bet we’re thinking the same thing: this is gonna get out of control. Fast. I’m all for pushing the limits.
In a safe and controlled way, of course.
“Listen, I just think we should live it up a little. I’m not talking about breaking laws or alienating our parents entirely. I just think we should agree to stick by each other while we explore what we haven’t had a chance to discover yet. Are you with me?” Reef looks around the group again and I can’t help the ribbon of excitement that unfurls in my stomach.
I stick my hand in the middle of our circle, right above the dancing flames. “I’m with you.”
Reef throws me an appreciative smile and I see Vera coming up out of the corner of my eye. Her hand joins mine, then Reef’s. Gage, Grayson, and Indie nearly push our hands down in the flames as they throw theirs on top too. Bruna shyly joins us, leaving only Dante.
He finally wedges in next to me, his hand low on my hip, his touch warm on my cool skin exposed to the night air. I look over at him quickly, surprised he’s touching me like that. He’s usually so reserved and seems almost scared to touch me. At least the last few years anyway. Before that, we played like brother and sister, wrestling on the grass in the park by our house, no body part off limits. But it’s like one day he woke up and realized I was a girl and he’s been wearing kid gloves around me ever since.
He’s not looking at me, but rather our joined hands, a serious expression on his face. Then the smile comes, the dimple on his cheek more pronounced, and I swear he’s going to break hearts all over southern California. He places his hand on top and Gage starts whooping it up while Vera and I laugh.
“To us. And our summer. It’s ours for the taking!” Reef shouts his toast and we all lift our hands in the air, cheering and being generally obnoxious, oblivious to everyone around us.
Where did your love of books come from?
I’ve always been a natural born reader, obsessing over Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. I remember crying when each series was over because I had to say goodbye to my book friends.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Favorite authors would be Penny Reid, Kristen Ashley, LM Halloran
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Probably Hessa, from Barefoot Chaos. She’s super smart, yet hilarious, uses ridiculously big words and can sing like a dream. Plus she’s got a Hawaiian hottie lifeguard who adores her.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. Depends on the day and what part of the book I’m writing!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My family. They’re always around and always wanting to do fun stuff with me. I can’t say no…ever!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to stay within the expected framework but use my creativity inside that. If that makes any sense. Like I’ll pick a popular trope but then I’ll twist a character or the plot so that it’s unique and original. For example, I wrote a billionaire book….but the billionaire was the heroine, not the hero.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m lucky to have lots of author friends, but my closest are LM Halloran and Cece Ferrell.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Not What She Expected: So Much Better
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/marikaray
Bookbub Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marika-ray
Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/db7W6z
My Website – http://www.marikaray.com
Facebook Author Page: smarturl.it/st9vsz
Marika Ray’s of Sunshine – https://www.facebook.com/groups/211613236061441/
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview
You’re so welcome…thank you for asking me!!!!