Raye Wagner – Author Interview

Today’s Author interview is  Raye Wagner.raye wagner
Names and dates of published novels?
Curse of the Sphinx– August 2015
Demigods and Monsters– April 25 2016
Narcos- Revolution Anthology, June 2016
What genre/subgenres do you write in?
YA urban fantasy/mythology
How long have you been writing?
I started writing June 2010
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?
When I was 16 I wrote a goal that I wanted to write/publish a book. But the only fiction I wrote was for college classes (you can take that several ways, and I mean most of them). However, many years later, an idea about a girl cursed by Apollo dropped into my head. I thought it had the makings of a great story, and I called my sister, who majored in Creative Writing, to try and convince her to write it. She told me to write the first 10 pages and send them to her. I’ve been writing ever since.
Who is your favorite author?
I have too many to choose. Hmm. I will forever love Leon Uris. I went into nursing because of one of his characters. I love David Eddings who was the author my brother and I followed as young adults. And now I have a list a mile long.
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?
The Belgariad by David Eddings.
What do you enjoy most about writing?curse of the sphinx
The opportunity to share my imagination with others.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?
My first novel took 5 years to complete. The second took about a year.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?
compulsive, neurotic, anxious (that revealed a lot more about me than I thought)
Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?
Some of my characters come to me fleshed out completely. Others have traits from people I actually know, but none of them are actually based on/inspired by people. Although, I am going to have a contest where the winner will get to be or help create a character in book 3.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?
Narcos is a political realism piece (11k words) that is meant to inspire readers to take personal responsibility for who and what they are. It is a weightier piece of work than the Sphinx series, but even there I feel strongly that each of us has the power to determine the outcome of our lives. My stories are meant to inspire and empower the reader to take control of their destiny.
Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.
Hope Nicholas is a monster. Cursed by Apollo, she has the ancient Sphinx’s blood in her veins, and is bound to the same destiny. Hope is sheltered and naïve, but also stubborn and willful. She’s been raised to be self-sufficient on things like cooking, cleaning, and self-defense. However, running from demigods and Skia (think shadow demons from the Underworld) has given her woefully inadequate social skills.
How do you go about building an antagonist?Demigods and Monsters cover 1
I believe antagonists are the protagonists in their own mind. I don’t believe everyone is either good or evil, but both reside in all of us. Those that make poor/bad decisions still are “nice” people. Working with convicted felons taught me this. The antagonists in my stories are moving with intention they believe is best for them, although usually selfishly motivated. I think the defining characteristic of an antagonist is their selfishly motivated actions actually cause harm to someone else. That’s what makes them “bad”.
Can you describe for us your writing process?
I have 3 children (11, 9, and 18 months). I write when I can. Sometimes I get time during the day, other times, it’s late at night. Sometimes, my husband covers for me on a weekend. I’ve discovered it is all about prioritization.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?
I love to read. I love to bake. If I don’t exercise I’m a grouch. I love the beach. And I love getting to see family. I have seven siblings, and getting us all together is such a treat.
Do you ever need to escape from writing?
When I was writing Narcos, I would need to take an emotional break and do something cheerful. It is a dark story. What do you do to get away? My favorite getaways have included beach trips, trips to the mountains, and even a day locked away from reality.
What is the hardest part for you as an author?
Not being able to get it all done. I want to be able to do it all. There aren’t enough hours in the day to write, catch up on social media, schedule giveaways, answer emails, help with homework, fold laundry, and make dinner. Not to mention soccer practice, piano lessons, and a quick workout. Easiest? I do love to write.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?
When I finished my first MS I thought I would go the traditional publication route. Then I met A.G. Henley and fangirled at her at Utopia. Shortly thereafter I read Runes by Ednah Walters. Both of these authors put out books that met the same standards I expected from the traditionally published marketplace. I’ve since become friends with both of them, and they’ve been so supportive and great mentors as I’ve travelled down the indie path.
Would you say that you were good at english in highshcool? If not, what were you good at?
I graduated with a 3.7 GPA. I got straight As in English in high school, and even in college. But I excel in analytical thinking. I’m a nurse practitioner by education and profession.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?
Write. Even when the words sound stilted and stiff, write. Eventually, they will start to flow again.
Any current projects that we can look forward to?
I’m working on book 3 in the Sphinx series, Myths of Immortality, that will be released the end of 2016. Book 4, Deities and Destiny will come out in 2017. There will be a spin off book or two for at least one character. There is also a prequel novel I’m working on. I’m also writing a screenplay for a friend of mine. I have a few more ideas for after that, too.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?
To continue to write. I’d like to put out 1-2 novels a year.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?
Yep.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
There is no such thing as a destination in this life. It is one long journey. Enjoy the journey. Remember what is important. Let go of the things that aren’t. Do your best work. Be true to yourself.
 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Keep writing.
Any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?
Everyone has challenges. Everyone. Even that girl or guy that looks like they have everything going for them. Sure they’re gorgeous, rich, athletic and smart, or whatever. They might have Crohn’s disease, or their sibling died from cancer, or their father is out of work and they barely have enough to eat. So, two things I think are important. Don’t be surprised when your challenges come. They come for everyone. And you’ll get through them, and be stronger because of them.  Also, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just stop it. Instead be you. Decide how you want to be, and if it’s realistic be that. Almost everything good comes from hard work. Don’t be a victim. You are in charge of you. Don’t relinquish that control for anything or anyone. Be the best version of you possible today, and then do a little better tomorrow.
How can your readers find out more about you and your books? 
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