My guest tonight is Aaron Michael Ritchey. He is talking about his book The Never Prayer and I am so happy that he is participating in the blog tour! Thanks so much Aaron! Enjoy the interview everyone!
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Social Media connections:
I’m on Facebook as Aaron Michael Ritchey, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer. And I tweet – @aaronmritchey. Reviews can be found at the Goodreads page, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13565800-the-never-prayer.
Release Date: 03/29/2012
Where to buy: Where all ebooks are sold, and print books? Amazon baby. Ebooks go on sale for the one year anniversary on March 29, 2013! $2.99! What a deal!
It was refreshing to read a YA tale that held fast to reality in all of the important ways while keeping a non-supernatural-guy hooked and hooked some more with the most likely of all “supernatural” realities. I am inspired to pray again and to “march for good.”
This book was full of wonderful writing and the story was amazing! I loved this
one! I recommend The Never Prayer to anyone who likes paranormal or even dark gritty YA contemporary romance.
Aaron Michael Ritchey writes with a poetic grace that reminds me of a young Ray
Bradbury. The Never Prayer has the same haunting and timeless spirit of
Something Wicked This Way Comes. I highly recommend this novel. Just make sure
you give yourself some reading time once you begin, because you won’t want to
put it down.
–Bonnie Ranthum, author of The White Gates, a Junior Library Guild premiere selection
Beautiful writing and a story of courage, hope, and unselfish love mark this as a not-to-be-missed debut from an exceptionally gifted new talent. I look forward to more
from Aaron Ritchey.
–Jeanne C. Stein, bestselling author of the Anna Strong chronicles
An engrossing supernatural smackdown between good and evil.
– Mario Acevedo, bestselling author of the Felix Gomez Vampire series
The prose is pitch perfect and captures the feeling of loneliness and despair so
many of us feel at different times in our lives when we think there must be
demons lurking everywhere. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that where
there are demons, there are angels too, and that all we might really need is a
little push to help us break the cycle.
The Never Prayer is a bundle of tightly-woven, perfectly-balanced contradictions
and high stakes gambles.
Other Work: My short story, The Dirges of Percival Lewand, will be in the Penny Dread Tales Volume 3 Steampunk anthology.
Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.
Copyright © 2012 Aaron M. Ritchey
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication
“I’m not going to do it again,” Lena Marquez whispered to the red purse across the hall from her nestle of blankets. “Never again.”
All of her other purses, scarves, and belts were just shadows hanging from hooks on both sides of the bathroom door, but in the glow of the cracked Thomas the Train nightlight, the red purse glittered. Each sequin like a teardrop of blood.
The heater chugged on sending lukewarm air into the basement apartment, as cold as an icebox. In October, at ten thousand feet, Avalon, Colorado had no pity for the weak or poor. It killed both.
Through anorexic walls, Lena could hear her aunt’s barking cough in the next room. But it wasn’t the coughing that had Lena awake at 4:46 on a Monday morning. It was her three-year-old brother, Joziah, who would wake up any minute.
He was like an alarm clock, same time, every morning. So regular Lena was awake before he asked the questions she couldn’t answer.
Already the work of the day felt like bricks on her chest. Her junior year homework continued to pile up among the dirty laundry around their mattress on the floor.
But first, Jozey, always Jozey, no matter what.
“Mama!” he called out, still caught in the clutches of sleep.
Lena smoothed his hair with dark purple fingernails, perfectly polished. “It’s okay, Jozey. Lena’s here. Lena’ll always be here.”
Only half awake, he struggled in his footed blue pajamas and asked the same question he asked every morning. “Where’s my mama?”
“She’s in heaven, Jozey.” Her voice cracked.
“Where’s Daddy?” He blinked as if he had forgotten everything.
Lena let go of her tears. She could only cry them with Jozey in the darkness of the morning, because once she had her mask of make-up on, she sealed up all emotion with base, blush, and mascara. Everyone was watching.
1 When did you first start writing?
In the womb. It was dark, but I had plenty of material. Lots of water images, placenta analogies, that kind of thing. It was difficult and I was afraid, but my mother’s heartbeat soothed me.
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Writer, truck driver, or brain surgeon. Funny, but I’ve spent 20 years writing books. I would imagine I’d be a rich brain surgeon by now if I had gone that route. As for the truck driver gig, well, I’d have ended writing sad country music songs about that long, lonesome highway.
3 What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up?
Young adult suits me because genre is less of an issue and I’m totally cross-genre crazy. And teens are more interesting than adults. Well, not the adults I hang around with, but your average adults.
4 Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?
I think in stories and characters. When I see a cast-off shoe hanging from a power line, suddenly, I’m Tyler Craven, and last night, well, my buddy Steve decided to break up with his girlfriend. It didn’t go well. That’s not my shoe. That’s not Steve’s shoe. That’s Steve’s girlfriend’s dad’s shoe.
See, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?
As for The Never Prayer, I was challenged to write an angel book. It started out with question. What if my angel was an atheist? How do angels and demons, in a very real way, react to human suffering in the world? Heck, how do us humans?
5 What has your publishing experience been like?
It has been a grand adventure that has made me do things, say things, and become a thing I wouldn’t never have dreamed I could do, say or become. There are many paths to enlightenment, writing is only one. I’ve had to fight fear every step of the way. Sometimes I win, some days I lose, but the fight continues. It’s NOT the publishing industry that stops me. It’s my own fear.
6 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Summer time, I smoke a cigar on my back porch listen to that rock ‘n roll music, and pound keys until they beg for mercy. Winter time, Starbucks. I flirt with the baristas, get a decaf coffee with a little steam soy, and listen to country music until the words weep and beg for mercy.
7 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I google search a lot for names. I like names that have long histories. In The Never Prayer, I chose Magdalena Marquez because she was such a fallen teenage princess. Her friends call her Lena. I chose Chael because I liked how it looked on the page, and I didn’t want to do Michael. Oops, I’ve said too much.
For places, it depends on the story, but I adore Colorado and the Great Plains. The Never Prayer takes place in a failing Colorado mountain town because where are angels? In the mountains, close to heaven, where it’s cold. So I stick close to home, but then I’ve travelled the world, so I use other locations that capture my imagination, like Saint-Malo in France.
8 In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?
In The Never Prayer, I loved Deirdre Dodson. She is smart, charming, beautiful, and starts out as a total high school wicked-queen mean girl. But she arcs. Oh she arcs, and I love how she changes and how loyal, in the end, she is to Lena.
9 Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
Publishing books and talking to readers is better than writing books in my basement alone. Getting my voice out in the world is important, no matter how flawed I think the work is. Hand-selling books is easier and harder than I thought. I have the most supportive friends and family in the world. Except, well, not everyone celebrated my successes, and that’s good. Life is a buffet of pain, work, and wonder.
10 How did you/do you market your work?
I’m a hand-seller. I try and do online stuff, but I do better in person with people, talking to them. For some, I emphasize the love story: It’s about a girl who falls in love with a demon and an angel but she can’t tell the difference. For others, I emphasize the gritty realism: It’s a love story with angels, demons, drug addicts and atheists.
11 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
Overwhelmed, weary, after years and years of trying, to get my own ISBN. And then an insane desire to get more books out there. And then gratitude that while others have dropped away or failed, I succeeded. I felt so full of gratitude and joy, it was a moment I’ll never forget. I was outside, the Spring sun was shining on me, and then a garbage truck drove up and emptied the trash in front of my house. That’s the fiction business. It’s very real. Garbage-truck real.
12 Favorite authors?
Philip Pullman, Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, JK Rowling, John Cheever, Ken Kesey, Poe Ballantine, more Stephen King.
13 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?
In essence, I’m a bricklayer. Do bricklayers get bricklayer’s block? I don’t know. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write. After my first big rejection I couldn’t write for three months. Fear, despair, that kind of thing, kept me from it. But then I did the work to get through the self-centered angst. I blog about using the 12 steps of recovery to overcome my own limitations. Besides, the work doesn’t care how I feel. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write.
14 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Quit if you can. If you can’t, write every day, even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to. Learn to live without sleep. Write your first novel, any way you want. Don’t let anyone see it. Love it. Relish it. Dance in the rain with your characters. Then put it away. Write another book. Then start showing people your stuff. Listen to what’s true. Ignore what’s crap. Try and get it published, and you can’t and if you think it’s worthy, get your book out into the world. Then work on the next book. Rinse and repeat.
15 Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it?
I’m currently writing the book of my heart. It’s an YA Steampunk Biopunk Sci-Fi Western Family Drama Epic! Epic I tell you! In the future, power is knocked out of five states in the American West. Three sisters go on a cattle drive across the wasteland to save their ranch. Along the way they meet a boy, and in this world, boys are rare. The oldest sister doesn’t want anything to do with him since boys are trouble, the middle sister wants to sell him, and the youngest sister falls in love him.
But the next book that will probably hit the shelves is a YA Contemporary about a guy who quits smoking dope and becomes suicidal. However, the more suicidal he gets, the more interesting his life becomes.