This week I've had the pleasure to interview T.E. Ridener! She's such a delight to talk to!
Hi T.E.! Thank you for agreeing to let me pick your brain ;)
1. To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, my name is Tonya and I recently turned 30. Unlike most of my peers I’ve actually been looking forward to the big 3-0 and I anticipate lots of awesome things happening his year. I live in a small town in Kentucky. We’re famous for our fried chicken and the Cumberland Falls! I like to consider myself a mult-genre author and a complete weirdo. But I’m one of the best weirdos, I promise. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and reading for even longer. I’m a total book nerd. I love books.
2. Three facts about yourself that we can’t find in your bio :)
1. I can touch my tongue to my nose.
2. I am terrified of fish.
3. I cannot and will not watch the Saw movies. They really freak me out.
3. You’ve been publishing stories for a few years now, at what point did you truly feel like an author?
For me, I’d say I truly felt like an author when I received my first message from a reader and they told me how much they enjoyed my book. I love getting messages like that and it really encourages me to keep writing because you never know who you may influence in the process.
4. What is something you wish you were told before publishing your first novel?
I wish someone would have told me how crazy this ride can be. There’s so much more good than bad, I swear! It’s a lot of hard work. You always have to promote your stories and get them out there for readers to find. That’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it. The one thing I would like to tell new authors is to be careful. Other authors (not all of them!) may act like your friend, but they really aren’t. They want to see you do good, but never better than them. Remember that. I am a firm believer we should lift each other up in this business. Celebrate one another’s successes. Don’t belittle anyone for having the same dream as you. We’re all in this together. /No one/ is my competition. Don’t ever get into that mindset. Please.
5. How do you kick writer’s block to the curb?
Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s just inevitable and I have to step away for a few days to let my mind clear. But I have found that reading (definitely reading!), watching TV or a good movie can help. I usually have about five projects, or more, going on at once, so I avoid the dreaded ‘Creative Wall’ as much as possible.
6. Do you think the world of literature needs more of anything?
I absolutely believe we need more diverse books. Don’t be afraid to be different.
7. Five authors that have inspired you or are thankful for:
1 R.L. Stine will be the only big time author I’ll mention here. And I have to be thankful for him because he’s the one who made me want to become an author myself. I always loved his stories and he really broadened my imagination as a kid.
2 T.J. Loveless because she showed me the ropes when not many others were willing to. She’s been such a great friend and an excellent mentor. I don’t even think she realizes how much I admire her, but I really do!
3 Elle Vanzandt because she is one of my dearest friends and she gave me a brilliant idea to help get other authors’ names out there. It’s seriously brilliant. You can find out in my next release, 90 Days, or go read her book “Love Me Steady” to find out what I’m talking about. I think it’s going to be the new thing in indie publishing. And also because she basically reads every story chapter by chapter and helps me get out of sticky situations. She’s amazing like that.
4 Ellie Hart because she is always writing for awareness whether it’s about autism, bullying, or faith. She pours her heart into her words and I just love that about her. I wish she got more exposure.
5 Suanne Laqueur! Her writing is truly poetic and her personality is so great. I just love her to bits. She’s really going to go places. I can feel it.
8. What is the strangest thing you do while writing?
I talk to myself. A lot. I usually speak the dialogue as it’s being written and I use the accents. My family has gotten used to this.
9. I sort of have this writing bucket list. It’s pretty short actually, but the list is things I want to write, mostly to challenge myself or for fun. Like, write a steampunk. Do you have a writing bucket list or maybe a goal for one day?
Honestly, right now my bucket list would include finishing all the blasted ideas I’ve already got, haha. I’ve been struggling with the final books in three different series and it’s so hard to say goodbye. I’m prolonging the inevitable, I know, but I’m attached. They’re pretty much my children.
10. How did you come up with names for your characters?
Sometimes it’s super easy and other times it’s not. With the Kadenburg Shifters Series I had to do some research just because I knew their names would hold significant meaning to each of them. Otherwise, my characters just tell me their names when they pop in. It can be interesting and it can be a little insane, but it’s never dull!
11. What message do you want a reader to take away from 180 Days?
The biggest message I want readers to take away from 180 Days is the fact we are all human and we all deserve love. I hope that if someone who happens to be trans reads it, they will know they are loved and they do have the support of others. Some people can be real jerks, but there are real-life Jebs and Callums out there. I want them to find hope, peace, and love within the pages of this story. I want awareness to be spread and for minds to be opened. If I can accomplish that then I’ve done my job as a writer.
12. So long as it’s not a spoiler, can you share the hardest scene you wrote in 180 Days?
I believe the hardest scene for me was writing out a flashback of Lydia being bullied by her peers during her childhood. It’s reality, I know, but it was very hard to stomach. Anyone who has been bullied or made fun of for being different will probably be able to relate to the scene. I didn’t make it through the scene without shedding a few tears. Children can be so cruel, you know?
Thank you so much!
Thank YOU! J
Check out more information on #IABBAddicts here
Join us every Thursday for IABB #Confessions
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: 180 Days
Genre: Transgender Contemporary Romance
Date published: September 30, 2015
Lydia McIntosh left her old life behind when she said goodbye to Prairie Town, North Carolina and started over halfway across the country with her beloved Gran; away from her family, away from everyone who knew the person she once was, and from the identity she never quite wanted in the first place. When her grandmother passes away, she returns home and while she only intends to stay for the funeral, her grandmother has other plans, from the grave. Her will states that Lydia must remain in Prairie Town for six months in order to give her family and her old town a chance to get to know the new her, the real her.
Lydia has had years to adjust to long hair, summer dresses, and nail polish, but she understands her family will need time to get reacquainted with a daughter they’ve never known and a sister they’ve missed terribly. Anticipating the worst, as she always has, Lydia’s feelings about her old town begin to change when she meets her brother’s best friend, Callum. Callum is kind and more accepting than she could have ever imagined and she’s falling for him.
When her 180 days are over, will she be able to say goodbye to the family she’s missed so much? Will she survive her mother’s endless intolerance? Can she really leave the man who acknowledges her past and still wants her?
Her laughter died down as she stared at him. “I want to, you know—to trust you. I really do.” “Then take a chance.” He whispered, gripping her chin lightly and tilting her head back. Inching forward, he waited for a sign, to continue, to back off. “I wish I could.” Moisture glistened in her eyes. “But it isn’t that easy and you know it. I fought really hard to get to this point in my life, Callum.” God, hearing his name fall from her lips was nothing short of heavenly. “You don’t have to fight alone anymore, Lydia. When I said I liked you, I meant it. I mean it. You’ve been so brave and courageous this whole time. What’s keeping you from taking another risk?” She sucked in a breath and released it in a shaky sigh. The distance between them was minimal and all it would take was one small movement to bring their lips together. His heart was thundering in his ears as he cradled her face between both hands and lowered his mouth to brush lightly against hers. She gasped, but didn’t pull away. However, feeling her lips tremble against his, Callum did. “You’ve never been kissed before, have you?” He asked, his voice husky from desire. He’d be lying if he said his jeans weren’t extremely tight at the moment. Lydia was gorgeous and his body had taken a quick liking to hers, but his parents had raised him to be a gentleman. “No,” she whispered. “Is that bad?” “No.” He replied, grinning. “It’s not bad, Lydia. I just want your first kiss to be one you’ll never forget.” She smiled the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen and her cheeks warmed beneath his touch. “I don’t really imagine it getting any better than that.” “You can’t be serious.” He blinked. “You think that was a real kiss?” “Well, no, but…” She lowered her head and her hair fell down, covering her face from his view. “I don’t really believe that Hollywood’s depictions of romance are accurate.” “Hollywood?” He laughed. Loud. “Sugar, this is the south. We don’t pull none of that Hollywood stuff around here.” Lifting her head until their gazes met, Callum leaned in and laid one on her she wouldn’t soon forget. Their lips molded together and if it was sloppy, he didn’t notice. The only thing he could focus on was how sweet and perfect her mouth felt against his. Absolute perfection.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T.E. Ridener resides in the small community of Gray, Kentucky with her equally eccentric yet amazingly interesting family. Miss Ridener has written a handful of novels as well as various short stories during her career as a writer. When she is not writing, she enjoys listening to nearly every genre of music, watching movies, and spending time with her niece and nephew. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been The Blood Betrayal Series, with characters she dreamed up while she was still a teenager. She believes that the Blood Betrayal Series will go far one day, despite the overrating of vampires in the past few years. According to her, vampires will never go out of style even if their fashion choices do!