Author Chat w/Kennedy Ryan

This is so cool!! My little blog that I started just for fun is growing and it makes me feel special that you guys read the dribble that falls from my head to this page. So for that I would like to thank you very much. Today I have the opportunity to share with you guys an Author Q&A I did over the weekend with Kennedy Ryan, who btw is amazing! I was gifted an Advanced Readers Copy of her upcoming novel, My Soul To Keep, which is amazing. A 5 star read but I’ll let you in on that in a later post…

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RELEASE DATE 11/16/2015

Synopsis: It seems the things worth keeping are often the hardest to hold…
KAI
I had two things in life that mattered. My mother and my music.
Mama was taken from me too soon, and now music is all I have left. It’s the thing that’s pushed me right out of backwoods Georgia into Los Angeles, where the line between fantasy and reality shimmers and blurs. I’m finally making my way, making my mark. I can’t afford to fall for one of music’s brightest stars. Not now. Music is all I have left, and I’m holding on tight with both hands. I won’t let go, not even for Rhyson Gray.

RHYSON
I had one thing in my life that mattered – music. The only constant, it’s taken me to heights most people only dream about; a gift dropped in my lap at birth. I thought it was enough. I thought it was everything until I met Kai. Now she’s all I think about, like a song I can’t get out of my head. If I have to chase her, if I have to give up everything – I will. And once she’s mine, I won’t let go

I loved absolutely everything about this book. All of the characters were wonderfully written and I couldn’t put it down, like every single character is amazing. Oh and did I mention DUAL POV..yup you gotta love that. I devoured this book and wanted more immediately. If you guys follow me on Twitter then you totally know I’ve been “working the corner” pimping out this book because I enjoyed it that much. Which led to me totally stalking Ms. Ryan for more, I had questions and she was nice enough to answer them!

5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Author Kennedy Ryan

I am music lover! What inspired you to ground this novel in the music industry? 

K.R – Honestly, and this will sound so weird, I was absolutely fascinated by the push-and-pull, can’t-stay-apart dynamic of Chris Brown and Rihanna. LOL! I was a little obsessed with them for a few weeks because they seemed obsessed with each other. We see this level of romantic obsession in fiction, but you don’t see it played out in real life as much. But they were obsessed with one another, and I just started toying around with this idea of two musicians, famous people who had this really intimate connection and had to manage their relationship in the public eye. My books usually start with a nugget of an idea, and then a playlist I build and listen to as I ideate. The Rihanna/Chris connection was intense, but toxic. As the story grew in my head and certain songs pushed to the front of my playlist, the story lost much of the toxicity. It became sweeter, though still intense. And then only one of them was famous. And then other details started to morph as these characters really started telling THEIR

Electric guitar and ray of light concept
Electric guitar and ray of light concept

story. I’m really glad I listened because I think Rhys and Kai are special. I played clarinet from elementary school until college, and was really good! And I’ve been singing my whole life and considered pursuing it for a little bit. It all gave me a general knowledge of music, but what informs the book the most I think is my passion for it; how deeply music affects me. Writing two characters who live to create and perform and bond around this deep love for music as so much fun and felt very natural based on my own experiences.

Did you have a playlist that inspired you? 

K.R –Yes! All my books have playlists. The MSTK playlist is about as diverse as my listening taste and my characters. Everything from “Georgia” by Emily King to Mikky Ekko, Sia, with some Beyonce and Jill Scott sprinkled in. I listen to it pretty much every day.

Full playlist here: 

Kai is such great character and I love that she is biracial. What made you choose to give her such complex roots? 

K.R –This is my fourth published novel, and I have another coming through my traditional publisher in February. Every one of those books has a lead character of multi-ethnic origins. I’m committed to representing a heterogeneous palette in my writing. We don’t live in a homogeneous world. Soon minorities WILL be the majority, and I like writing stories that reflect and embrace diversity. Kai’s mother was adopted from Korea by a Georgia Baptist pastor and his wife, so she’s half Korean and has lived in the South her whole life. Even though she lived her life in backwoods Georgia, she always believed her gifts – singing and dancing – would take her well beyond her humble origins. I loved planting this un-typical Georgia peach in LA with her traditional values and her Southern accent, slamming into this eccentric guy whose upbringing and experiences, including his complete lack of faith, could not have been more different from hers.

Rhyson gets his start in classical, but seamlessly moves into more mainstream music. Not many classical artists manage to crossover. Why did you move him away from that genre? 

K.R –I don’t know that Rhyon’s transition from classical pianist to modern artist was very seamless! LOL! He was a child when his parents realized just how gifted he was, and his formative years were spent basically doing what was required of him – playing classical piano professionally all over the world before he really knew what he wanted for himself. He tries a lot of things before he re-emerges as an artist. He wanted to experience the things he missed out on like attending school with his peers. So he went to to a performing arts high school and then, after high school, studied production at Full Sail in Florida. He taught vocal lessons and wrote and produced for other artists for years before he decided he wanted to perform himself again. So he really put in a lot of self-exploration from the time he stopped playing classical and when he re-emerged almost a decade later as a modern artist. I think he needed that decade of self-definition and self-discovery so that he could find a voice he never had when he performed as a child prodigy.

I love villains, and this story has many. Who was your favorite to write and can we expect redemption from any of them? 

K.R –I don’t know that she’s a “villain”, though based on early response, I can tell readers view her that way! It would have to be Bristol, Rhyson’s twin sister. She is abrasive and sharp. I loved writing her because she has this twin brother who is incredibly gifted musically, and becomes the center of their world when they are kids. She finds herself in his shadow. He’s on tour, performing all over the world. He seems to have it all, including their parents’ undivided attention. She and Rhyson have “grass is greener” syndrome. She thought he had it better, and he only wanted a regular life, like Bristol had. Her parents exploited Rhyson as a child, and some of that ruthlessness rubbed off on her. I do want readers to see the softer side of her, and how much she really does care about her brother. I love making readers love characters they thought they would always hate. Redemption is fun, and I do have plans to redeem Bristol, if readers will give her a chance!

So there you have it folks..my 5 in 5 with Author Kennedy Ryan! Add #MSTK to your TBR list today via Goodreads

About Kennedy: I’m a wife, a mom, a writer, an advocate for families living with autism. That’s me in a nutshell. Crack the nut, and you’ll find a Southern girl gone Southern California who loves pizza and Diet Coke, and wishes she got to watch a lot more television. You can usually catch me up too late, on social media too much, or FINALLY putting a dent in my ever-growing To Be Read list!

Connect With Kennedy: Facebook | Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram | Email | Amazon | Book Group

**Kennedy Ryan is also the author of the Bennett Series 1-4; When You Are Mine, Loving You Always, Be Mine Forever, and Until I’m Yours**

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