Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Riley Knox the winner of our 2010 Fun Writing Competition just in time for the start of our 2011 competition.
Riley has a surprise for everyone. She will be releasing her very first book Catch Me If I Fall on May 29 and I know you’re all looking forward to reading it and supporting her, since without you she probably wouldn’t be where she is today, a real life success story and a newly minted author.
Hi Riley and thank you for granting me this very short interview. Would you like to tell everyone a bit about yourself?
Hi Wave. Thanks for having me. Um, as much as I’d like to cue the mysterious opening notes of a noir-like mystery woman, I am pretty ordinary. Occasionally I get up the nerve to be exciting, but only so many times you can go sky-diving without Fate deciding to bite the nose you’re thumbing at it, so usually a movie on the couch with my partner, some spicy Mexican take-out and our cat duvet (both cats sprawling all over each other on our laps), is as SHAZAM as I get.
Random facts about me though… Hmm… I LOVE the desert and hope to live out in Arizona one day –I find it so serene. Sponges skeeve me out. My younger brother and I can recite (and sadly act out) all of the dialogue from Disney’s The Lion King by heart. I am a Scrabble GOD! I have a HUGE girl-crush on Jordana Brewster. There’s a cupcake tattoo somewhere on my body. And I set my watch and home clocks 15 minutes fast—I usually waste that much time walking back and forth from my car to the front door, because I am never really sure I locked it.
What was it like to win the 2010 Fun Writing Competition?
Unexpected. I actually did not know about this competition until an acquaintance of mine who knew I dabbled in writing, suggested I enter. I had no intention of doing so because of the tight time constraints but I muscled forward boldly and got my story in right before the submission deadline…then proceeded to hide in a corner with my head in the sand, until that same woman let me know I was a finalist. At which point I proceeded to hold my breath until the winner was announced!
I am sure I could have taken out an army of birthday cakes with my exhalation. LOL. It was exhilarating and extremely flattering. It gave my self-esteem a needed boost, and started me thinking that
maybe, just maybe I really could pursue a writing career after all. (THANK YOU WAVE!)
When did you realize that you had some writing talent and how long have you been writing?
If you ask my mother, she will tell you that I have been rejecting the world’s reality and replacing it with my own since I was very young. LOL. I learned to read and write at a young age, and immediately started putting them on paper. My mom has a book somewhere about animals in the zoo I made in second grade.
But it was in high school that I really started writing. A teacher of mine enrolled me in a special writing program hosted at my high school by Sarah Lawrence College, and later placed me in advanced writing classes at my school. ( A benefit of going to an Arts high school with specialized programs). I did well, but never really thought I’d become an author. It seemed like a far-fetched dream to me. But to answer the original question, I have been writing for years! My computer is filled with things I started and did not finish, and with pieces I submitted to free online sites. This is just the first time I am ‘official,’ and I am so excited.
As a surprise additional prize, I arranged for the winner of the competition to have their story read by author M.L. Rhodes, and have it critiqued. Did you ever think when you learned that, that anything
like this could happen?
Not at all! I entered the contest as I said on a semi-dare, and was pleased as punch when I won a gift card LOL. I was just happy to fuel my book addiction, and get a little recognition from my peers for my story. When it was revealed M.L. was going to read my story, I think I probably sucked all the air out of the room. LOL. She is one of my favourite authors, and in a genre that I sometimes find lacks in strong, lyrical writing, she has always stood out to me as a true storyteller. So I look up to her and other authors as my models for ‘good writing.’
Ironically, I was so overwhelmed I never got my story to her! LOL. I wanted to lengthen it and started getting in my own way with writer’s block brought on by nerves. One month then another slid by and I couldn’t seem to get the story finished. So I wrote to M.L. and thanked her for offering to read it, but that I did not want to waste her time since I was stuck. Because she is such a warm, gracious person, she just laughed it off when I told her how wigged out I was, and assured me every author has gone through it. She shared a few personal stories of her own, then extended an ‘open’ invitation for me to send her anything I wanted an opinion on. No pressure or expectations.
I was very touched by her kindness, and so I submitted a different story to her for a look—the one that will be released this month. She was impressed with it and gently but firmly nudged me in the direction of submission. Obviously this is M.L. Rhodes here, so her good opinion was a green light for me. I submitted the story to Trace Edward Zaber, Editorial and Creative Director for Amberquill Press, and a few weeks later was offered an official contract.
Once again I stopped breathing LOL but recovered long enough to thank M.L., Trace and Wave for giving me the opportunity. (THANK YOU!)
Are the butterflies in your stomach out of the way now that you’re published?
LOL when they take a break from the gymnastics events they are hosting in there, I will let you know. It’s a different kind of nerves now. First it was the ‘OMG am I really going to put myself out there to be judged and possibly rejected?,’ nerves. Now they have been replaced by the ‘OMG I AM GETTING PUBLISHED! Will the verdict be yay or nay?,’ nerves. Heh. It’s an ongoing process. But I am happy with this story overall, so I hope that those who read it will enjoy it.
I think that everyone on the site has a vested interest in you and we all want you to do well. How does it feel to have all of that support and good will behind you?
AMAZING. I feel very, very blessed. Last year was a particularly difficult year for me with more downs than ups, but winning the contest seemed to
be the start of a year of ups. 2011 has been wonderful to me so far, and I thank God every day for all of the people who stood behind me, alternately cheering and pushing me (hard!) toward this. Thank you! I hope I’ll make y’all proud.
Tell us what your story, Catch Me If I Fall, is about?
It’s a short, contemporary romance set in modern times. Very ‘Boy meets Boy,’. A light romantic comedy in tribute to the genre of the writing competition that started it all!
The ‘official’ blurb is:
Successfully repressed computer geek Avery Cole has been all too happy to take a moment from chasing down his energetic nephew, to lust after his gorgeous and very straight neighbor, Ethan—from a nice safe distance over the hedges. Less chance of making a fool of himself, (again) in front of the man by tripping over his own feet. This Side Up has been his mantra.
However despite his best intentions, Avery’s love life is about as low as a limbo champ can go, until nice and safe turns up on his doorstep bearing gifts and a few extra surprises. Suddenly ‘straight’ makes about as much sense as a diagonal.
Playing it safe has always been his motto, but Avery’s got to decide if taking a leap of faith, is worth the possibility of no one catching him when he falls.
Do you have another story on the horizon? If so, can you tell us about it?
I have many stories clamouring for center stage, and a few half done. Finding the time to sit down has been a bit difficult because of my ‘day job,’ but my characters and I have daily conversations on my drive to work in the morning, so they aren’t feeling too neglected.
The story most active at the moment is actually a rewrite of the story I submitted to the Jessewave Writing Competition. Only the first chapter will be familiar. The rest is entirely new, having taken on new life. There is no contract in place for it yet, but I hope to have it finished soon and submitted for review. I’ll keep everyone posted .
What does Riley do for fun? The boyz in the hot tub wanted to join me in your interview but I told them you were too shy. Is there anything you would like to say to them? 🙂
LOL as long as I am given a pair of those oh-so-flattering bright orange floaties for any water activities, I am happy to participate! Aside from writing, I read a lot and love to heat up my kitchen with culinary undertakings that occasionally turn out well enough to serve to company without fear of calling Poison Control. I also love to people watch, because I gain a lot of inspiration from the way people interact with one another on a daily basis. Of course between the visual stalking and mumbling to myself when my characters get too loud, I may be doing my next interview from within nice, serene white walls. But it will be an adventure!
Thank you again everyone for helping to make this happen. A special, heartfelt thanks to both Wave and M.L. who encouraged me when I most needed the kick in the rear. You guys are my heroes!
Thank you for your time Riley and I’m looking forward to reading your book.
Riley Knox’s contact information
Blog or website: (still working on this but I have email set up and FB page. I am technologically a null, so it’s taking a bit of time.)