Author Interview Series: Rissa Blakeley

GJ: Can you describe your journey to publishing your first novel?

RB: It has been a fly by the seat of my pants experience. From the start, I had no idea what I was doing. When I published my first post-apocalyptic novel, Broken Dreams (Shattered Lives #1), in 2014, I wasn’t out to make money. I figured, if I could sell a couple and those readers enjoyed my work, it was a win-win. I was (still am) proud of myself for taking the risk. I’ve learned so much since. It has been a mind opening experience. From writing to handling the ups and downs, I truly feel I made a great choice, sharing my words with others.

GJ: Do you write full time as your career?

RB: Due to auto immune disorders, I’m disabled so I don’t have the ability write as a career. It’s one heck of a hobby. I spent time thinking I would make writing and publishing a new career that can work around my limited time availability, but I can’t keep up the pace the market demands now. I just hope my readers understand and don’t get too upset with the length of time it takes me to publish the next book.

GJ: Can you put your finger on why you have a post-apocalyptic / zombie obsession, like so many?

RB: The whole concept interests me, but my biggest interest is how people react. Outbreak to survival, people of all walks of life can be vicious beasts or kind and giving. My post-apocalyptic series, Shattered Lives, follows Henry and Elaina. The apocalypse started on their wedding day. I wanted to really push the relationship aspect, highs and lows. To me, that’s the real apocalypse, the undead just happen to be roaming. Real life problems, all while fighting to survive.

I enjoyed writing zombies so much, I added my own little zombie idea into my paranormal romance novels. I call them Roamers. They are Fae or Vampire who have been tortured to the brink of madness. It’s parallel to real life. There are people who walk around a shell of themselves all because of something that poked at them for too long. Sometimes it’s easier to be numb rather than present.

GJ: What is the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?

RB: Knowing that I did something. For me, being disabled makes a lot of negative thoughts circle in your mind. When writing, the storm settles. Once I read the novel for the last time, I feel like I accomplished something. My health issues tend to make me feel inadequate as a wife, mother…a person in general. Guilt is an awful feeling. But knowing that I did something helps so much.

GJ: Do you have much contact with your fans? If so what is the most frequent question you have been asked?

RB: I do. Most know I am reachable through my readers’ group or through messenger and email. I’ve become friends with a few. For frequent, “where do your ideas come from?” comes to mind. Honestly, I have no idea. I always have a movie in my head. Even as a child. I thought it was the normal so I never really talked about it. Only recently, I discovered that my husband can’t hear the words in his head as he reads. That blew me away. As I read, even writing this, I hear the words as I type. I suppose my best answer would be… I write what I see and hear in my head.

GJ: What can we expect from you in 2019/20?

RB: I will be publishing the third novel in my paranormal romance series, Corvidae Guard. The God’s War has been such an adventure for me. I hope my readers feel the same. In 2020, I will be publishing the fourth. Diamant, my artists for my Shattered Lives Graphic Novel series is working on the script for Issue #2. I’m not 100% sure when that will be ready, but assure those who’ve enjoyed the first issue, Becoming Henry, Issue #2 is happening.

GJ: What genre of books do you generally read and can you name a favourite in each, or at least a book that stood out for you?

RB: I read several genres. Crime fiction, psychological thrillers, paranormal romance, and YA fantasy. I am a huge fan of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I can’t go without mentioning the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). The main characters are raw, and I love that. B.A. Paris’s psychological thriller Behind Closed Doors was amazing. J.R. Ward is my favourite paranormal romance author.

I adore the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. And of course, Harry Potter. The novels have become such a huge thing in our home. We are fully invested in the Harry Potter universe. A special shout out to my Dragon Mamas… My favourite Indie Authors, Brenda Tetreault (Paranormal Romance – The Nightshade Series) and Michelle Rabe (New Adult Clean Romance – The Dragon Fey Saga), are amazing. They have been a major part of my support system, and they do not get nearly enough of credit.

GJ: What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

RB: One was seeing Broken Dreams on the same shelf as JR Ward’s novel in my local Barnes and Noble. I was shaking. It was so wild. Then, it’s the readers who go out of their way to get to me at signing. What they don’t realise is I’m excited to meet them, too.

GJ: What advice would you give to new writers looking to writing to publish?

RB: Write, write, write. Get the whole series written before publishing the first.

GJ: How prepared are you for the apocalypse?

RB: We have a few weapons in our house… And that’s about it. We should probably do so much more the way the world is today.

If you enjoy apocalyptic fiction then you’ll enjoy my debut novel, In The End, an apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless.

Sign up to my mailing list for a chance to win a free copy of the audiobook plus more international prizes coming soon!

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