Caitlin Ryan is a romance author known for titles such as Flipped, Tusked (coming soon), and Deck the Halls. In addition to being an author, she’s a professional editor, wife, pet parent, and plenty of other things. She lives in Adelaide, Australia and promises that not everything is out to kill you.
Speed Dating Round
Coffee or Tea? Tea. Australian Afternoon which is kind of like an English breakfast but I find it’s a tiny bit stronger.
Book you’re reading right now? 16 Steps to Forever by Georgia Beers
Last thing you ate/drank? Water
Favorite season? Autumn
A bucket list travel destination? Scotland and back to England.
Would you rather be cold or hot? Cold
One feature you want in your dream house? A walk in pantry (cheating but also an office)
One random thing about you? I’m kind of obsessed with Titanic. The real life event, not the movie, though I also love the movie.
The one app you always end up opening? Facebook.
A nostalgic TV show? Stargate SG-1. Just package me up and send me back to the 90s because I love them all.
Favorite romance trope? Enemies to lovers.
Playstation, Xbox, Switch, or PC? Depends on the game. I like a lot of simulation games that are good on PC, but love Xbox and Switch too. Hate Playstation controllers.
PC or Mac? I’m not picky. I have a Macbook Air and I love it but I also have a PC as my main computer and love it.
Your favorite pairing? SwanQueen
The Tea and Biscuits Round
Let’s settle in with a cup of tea (coffee, whatever you like to drink), pull up a comfy sofa and talk about books and writing.
Tell me about your favorite place to write?
I’m currently splitting my time between two separate desks (thank you pandemic). I’ve carved out a cozy corner of my living room for one of my desks and I nestle in there with my headphones (Galaxy Buds unless I can steal my wife’s Sony’s which are oh so lovely and have amazing noise cancelling). I’ll put on an instrumental playlist, right now it’s this one from Spotify filled with instrumental pop covers which is more my speed than the classical music playlists. My desk is sit/stand which I love but I prefer to sit for writing and stand for other things.
I wish I was one of those people who could write in coffee shops or something because that sounds so… writerly. Alas, I’m a boring person who likes my set up to be just so and I like it to be quiet and peaceful. So much so that I usually wake up at 4:30 a.m. to write then have a little nap at eight so I get enough sleep.
What is your writing software and hardware of choice for each phase of writing (Planning, writing, editing, formatting, etc)?
I’m not picky when it comes to the Windows vs. Mac argument. My laptop is a Mac, both my desktop computers are Windows. The main reason, the Windows PCs have better game options. Each of the desks I work at has the same set-up in terms of software (Scrivener, Word, and Vellum). I use Scrivener for most things though (editing, writing, and planning).
The PCs themselves are something of opposites. The PC my wife uses for work is out custom built for gaming PC so it’s got a lot of juice going on behind the scenes (also my writing PC). While the other one is a cheap off the shelf PC that can’t do much more than browse a few web pages and keep Scrivener open.
When you start a new project, what’s the very first thing you do?
I add it in to my spreadsheet so I know when the first draft is supposed to be finished. The spreadsheet is a thing of beauty created by my wife who finds that kind of thing fun to track my daily word counts. As you can see, I’ve been slacking a bit lately.
How do you get to know your characters?
People always talk about their characters just showing up and talking to them. That doesn’t really happen for me. Usually, I start with an existing character that resonates with me and go from there creating a unique backstory and personality for them while thinking about what makes them tick. These usually resemble their original characters so little that I’d be surprised if anyone could guess what inspired them.
Do you prefer to plot or see where things take you?
I’m a definite plotter, but lately I’ve been experimenting with plotting only a few scenes ahead at any given time. At least I always know the ending because romance.
Do you like listening to music when you write? If so, do you have a playlist you’d like to share (include a link), or an artist you’d like to mention?
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
Don’t edit until you’re done with the first draft! You’ll end up stuck in the editing quagmire when you don’t really know what you’re doing with the story yet. If you feel like there’s big things you need to go back and change, just make a note and move ahead as if that thing has been changed.
What was your writing process start to end for your most recent release?
I’m going to talk about Tusked which isn’t out yet but I’m so excited to share it with you all and the process for it was a little longer/different than normal. I started planning this way back in June of last year and started writing in July. It’s been the kind of project that’s just… very emotional. I’ve wrapped up a lot of myself into this one and that’s meant putting it aside for longer than I’d like and switching to other projects like Deck the Halls in the middle of it.
I knew I wanted this book to be part of my Once Upon A Fangirl series and thanks to a conference in 2019 with some awesome authors who loved the idea, I have enough vague ideas for this to last me a lifetime. I started off book one with a slightly unusual object of affection in the reality TV show host, so I wanted to jump into a more traditional fangirling scenario here so I went with the classic Hollywood actress.
I wrote around 20,000 words on this and planned only the first 50% before I had to take a break (at the time I didn’t even realize why), and eventually jumped back into writing with Deck the Halls which was fluffy and easy. It was only in late November that I returned to Tusked and finished the first draft. After putting it aside for a couple of weeks (I don’t always do this), I jumped into editing and did a full read through in twenty minute sprints, making comments as I went. Once I was done with the read through I put all my scenes into an Excel spreadsheet and checked how they were moving the main plot forward. From there, I was able to delete a few and strengthen others.
What do you love about the genre you write in?
I love a lot of genres. A few years ago, I did a reading challenge and was surprised to find how many genres I actually liked that I’d previously dismissed. Crime, cozy mystery, military thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and even heterosexual romance.
For me, none of them hit me quite the same as lesbian romance. It feels like coming home. When I was a teenager, I wanted to see myself reflected on TV and in books, but those portrayals were hard to find. When I found lesbian romance where it was often just accepted that the characters were attracted to women rather than all about their coming out process, I was hooked.
If you’ve got any Writing Interns (AKA pets) you’d like to share with us, tell us all about them here (attach any photos to the email):
My interns are far more of a hindrance than a help. With five of them, there’s always one that wants something. She was a foster kitten that we decided to keep (who we thought was a boy).
Bruce is our gray kitty and the baby of the family. She’s the softest cat you’ll ever meet, hopeless at grooming herself, and always decides it’s time to cuddle right before you get up.
Ziggy is my ginger ninja. He’s about to turn ten and he’s been with me since he could fit in my hand. He’s had a tough life including a car accident that’s left him partially blind and a fight with a possum that’s left him with a forked tongue, but he’s still got a lot of life in him to give. He loves to interrupt by sitting on my keyboard, or by dragging me away to clean up his vomit after he’s eaten all his food at once.
Charlie is our grumpy old man who has been a grumpy old man since he was two. He’s the fluffy tuxedo cat. He was sent with my wife when she moved out of a share house and nobody else wanted him (god knows why, he’s a lovely boy and just wants nose boops).
Keely is our ball obsessed kelpie. She the nosiest dog in the world and likes to spend her days watching the world go by outside the window, unless she’s pretending she’s a lap dog.
The other giant black fluffball is Luna who is possibly the most stereotypical Labrador in the world even if she’s only a Lab Cross. She loves food, hates the post man and would spend every day on the beach if we let her because she’s never met a person (or dog) she didn’t like.
Social Media Links
Cate’s Editing Website: CateEdits.com