Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Member Spotlight on Riley Cole!

by | November 14, 2018

Minerva Spencer: Hi Riley and thanks so much for joining me today! Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

Riley Cole: I’m a newly-retired psychologist who’s spent all her adult life living in Northern Nevada. Think high desert. Lake Tahoe. The rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s gold and silver country up here. And of course, I write sexy, adventurous romances set in Victorian London. As one does.

MS: Do you write full-time or part-time?

RC: Full time. Since retiring, I’ve had the great good fortune to be able to hang out in my writing cave as much as I like.

MS: What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?

RC: Besides the outrageous fashions? I love witty dialogue and make believe. And the late Victorian Era is so full of invention and mysticism. And bustles.

Another thing that draws me to historicals is the distance from everyday life. While I’ve got adventure and fight scenes and villains in my books, I write light. After a career as a child psychologist, I want fun and adventure and entertainment. Thieves and rogues and parasols that conceal rapiers. That’s my kind of era.

MS: Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

RC: In this new millennium, I can’t get enough of writers who do wit and sparkle and characterization in wonderful ways… my paired down list of must-reads includes: Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn and Eloisa James. The authors who inspired me early on—who made me want to be a writer—have to include Amanda Quick, Mary Stewart and of course, Elizabeth Peters.

MS: Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

RC: I plot…kinda. My OCD side freaks out without structure, so I know how the hero and heroine need to change over the course of the story and I plot out the main beats of a story before I start writing. I use Scrivener & block out scenes in a general way. I know where the main story beats are going to fall, but I don’t worry about specifics. So I’ll know the hero and heroine need to have an argument in the next scene, but I don’t plan when or how or in what setting that’ll be. The scenes themselves never unfold until I actually sit down to write. …and then there’s no accounting for characters hijacking the plot. In every book I’ve written, a new secondary character has simply shown up. I LOVE when that magic happens. In my first book, Rejecting the Rogue, a little slip of a maid stepped in and announced herself halfway through a chase scene. She just appeared out of thin air. Now she’s one of my strongest ongoing characters.

MS: Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? 

RC: It’s been a long one. I had two contemporary romances published back in the Cretaceous period. (No, I’m not kidding—long before ebooks and Amazon and the dreaded FB). I had a third book under contract, but the line folded. So I put writing on the shelf and concentrated on the day job… Fast forward a decade or two…

Last year, I wrote the first two books in a series, intending to dive straight in to self-publishing. And then, just when I was drowning in the sea that is book marketing, I submitted my books to Marie Force’s Jack’s House Publishing. To my complete amazement (and undying gratitude) her company signed on to publish all 4 books in my series. Now instead of squinting over spreadsheets, I have the luxury of concentrating on writing. –And talking over my projects with someone like…Marie Force! Right???

MS: Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you.

RC: The first two books in my Restitution League series are on pre-order now. Rejecting the Rogue launches on Nov. 13th and Seducing the Scientist comes out Nov. 20th. Books 3 and 4 will debut early in 2019.

Rejecting the Rogue:

Thieves make the best rogues. And the worst heartbreakers.

Philomena Sweet, Victorian London’s finest safecracker, knows it better than most. The worst rogue of them all, dashing jewel thief Spencer Crane, smashed hers long ago.

And now he’s back, fleeing danger from their past. Danger he won’t survive without her help.

She’d love to refuse. She’d kill to stab him with her parasol. But she can’t leave him for dead.

Spencer Crane would sooner steal costume jewelry than ask talented, wickedly bright Meena Sweet for help. He’s well aware she’d rather to dice him into small pieces. He might even deserve it.

But revenge stalks them both. He needs her artistry. She needs his skills.

Neither needs the desire that sparks to life between them.

While they dodge criminals, carriages, and the occasional flying cabbage, who will protect these two notorious thieves from each other?

—Meet the Restitution League—

They’re thieves. They’re rogues. They’re well-armed for adventure.

The crew of the Restitution League fights injustice while wrestling with love and desire and the occasional throwing knife.

One blazing romance at a time…

MS: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

RC: When I was in middle school, Ray Bradbury came to speak to at our school. He told stories. Just stories. No videos, no music, no lighting effects. He just sat up on the stage in his maroon dad sweater and told stories about writing. And he held an entire auditorium of middle schoolers spellbound.

That was my first lesson in the power of story.

And he gave us a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten. He asked the kids, “Picture a beautiful stage. The lighting is exquisite, the sets stunning. But no one comes out to speak. How long do you think you’d sit there? Now picture a dark stage. Just two chairs in the center. Two men sit down. They’re planning a murder. How long would you watch?” Every time I worry I don’t have enough description, I think of that story.

And a piece of advice I’d like to offer: If you’re new to writing, find a small group of critique buddies. Really. It may take some patience to find the right peeps, but I am here to say, I would never have gotten published without mine. Before I was published (the first time) I joined a group on AOL (remember AOL? Anyone?) I can’t recall the specifics, but we started out with 10 or 20 aspiring romance writers. After a few months, there were 4 of us left. We stayed together, polishing our work, for over a year. Every one of us ended up under contract. I have no doubt the ongoing feedback from people who knew my story–and where I was trying to take it—helped make that happen.

MS: Thanks so much for joining me Riley! If you’d like to learn more about Riley you can find her at the following links.

www. Rileycole.com













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