We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
From a young age, it was easy to say that I was more right-brained than left-brained. You can ask my mom — I sang before I talked. Apparently, when she went grocery shopping, I’d sing in the cart throughout the aisles until the moment we left. I also grew up around reading and books. My parents always made it a habit to have nighttime reading before bed, and that grew into reading chapter books on my own, and now to the love of books I currently have.
However, even though I did choir and vocals collectively for 8 years, it wasn’t until I took creative writing in grade 12 in high school when a lightbulb clicked on in my mind, Writing in English class always came easily to me, so I thought why not take creative writing as an elective. We wrote all sorts of genres: scripts, poetry, and obviously novels. Novel writing is where I personally flourished and it made me want to write my own novels. So, I graduated from Journalism and did a Creative Writing certificate course, all the while writing books on the side, including now even being in my fulltime job. I guess I pursued a creative career because it was second nature to me. It was like breathing. It was in my roots, ran in my blood since I was a baby. My soul knew I craved creativity, so here I am.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In short, I’m an author and writer. I mainly stick to contemporary for young adults and teens, and romance as well. I think authors each have their own unique aspect that adds to the community. I think this something for me is that I write about heavier, more meaningful and emotional themes. I don’t think I’ll ever write a book that won’t make someone cry (maybe my Christmas novella that’s in the works, but anyway…). More Than Us, my young adult contemporary, focuses heavily on mental health (depression, suicide, anxiety), while my upcoming novel, a teen paranormal contemporary (releasing this year, 2022), This Expanse of Eventually, focuses on grief, how humans process it, and how it can shape our journeys.
What am I most excited about? Well, I’d say right now I’m most excited for the release of This Expanse of Eventually, but I’m also getting pumped for releasing my first new adult romance novel at the beginning of 2023, around my *gasp* wedding day!
My education has definitely helped me get to where I am today. I learned the best of both worlds about writing from Journalism and Creative Writing. While I’m grateful for the skills and tools, it still wasn’t easy. In fact, being an author, writing books, is one of the most hardest tasks to do in life I believe. But I love it. And it’s this love and passion that makes it easier. That makes me want to continue. It’s so easy to give up writing a 50K+ book if you don’t have the organization or dedication, but I get so invested in the plot and characters, and I can’t stop until it’s done.
Some of the challenges I’ve faced are frustrations with editing and querying. I always say that writing is my favourite part even though it might seem like the hardest. Editing can be quite taxing, whether it be filling in plot holes or working on dialogue. Querying can also be frustrating. I queried More Than Us for about 6 months, and it had finally gotten picked up by Zenith Publishing. I’m really grateful for this experience, and I’ve learned a lot, but I’ll be self-publishing every novel of mine to come. I like having the control over the entire process: writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc. Even though there are moments of frustration and self-doubt leading up to publication, looking back at how far I’ve come is always refreshing. Instead of picking myself apart, I try to build myself up and think about all the people who love my book and who have been moved my my works. Plus, holding that finished book in your hand when it’s all done is so worth it.
Being an author is in a way ruthless and you need to have a tough skin. This wasn’t tough pill to swallow. This is a lesson I long prepared to learn before the release of my first book. Yes, More Than Us has a couple low ratings, but guess what? Not everyone can like your writing. Could you imagine a perfect world where they did? It would be boring, and it’s unrealistic. Reading is such an individualistic experience. At the end of the day, if you like or love what you’ve put forth, that’s all that matters.
I want people to know that while I write for myself, I really write for YOU. Them. The whole entire world. I want to inspire people. I want to make people cry. I want them to get lost in the happy moments too. I just want them to feel and find comfort in my characters and their journeys.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely start by hitting up a local cafe in a market that’s across the street from me. They have the best fresh bagels and the boldest yet smoothest coffee. Then, we’d peruse a bookstore, buy books we don’t need, and I’d end the day with a trail or forest walk.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to say thank you to my mom for always reading to me before bed as a child. Without you bringing me up with books, I may never have become an author or avid reader. Also, shoutout to my Dad who would wake up at 5:00 a.m.
for work, meanwhile I had yet to go to bed because I was still writing. Thank you for always encouraging me to chase my dreams and for reading all my writing.