I have once again taken advantage of our local Writer in Residence program hosted by my library. Last week, I attended a virtual presentation entitled Writing Three Dimensional Characters That Sing. It was a highly informational session. As writers we are always learning and taking the time to learn is essential in improving our writing craft.
There was an extra bonus to this year’s writer in residence as she is an acquaintance and a great writer and writing community advocate. Rayanne Haines is the author of seven books, including three poetry collections. Her artistic practice focuses on projects that look to redeem and empower women’s narratives. In addition to her writing, teaching, and festival work, she also produces/curates intersectional feminist poetry films and panels with authors across Canada. Her current work focuses on mental health and intergenerational female trauma.
Having the opportunity to access a writing mentor and their free services through this program enables local writers to gain insight into their work. The program services include individual manuscript consultations, public readings and talks, information on the publishing process and networking with the writing community.
Do you have a similar program where you live?
What devices, programs and events do you use to learn your craft?
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me. I love discovering things about my characters! Editing exhausts, me.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Distractions from my children! If I could just sit alone in a bubble I’d get a lot more done! Hahahahahaha.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I did consider it. I write both poetry and Romance and put a great deal of time and thought into whether I should write them as a separate artist. In the end, I felt that like all woman I am complex and diverse and I shouldn’t be afraid that my different styles of writing reflect that.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’m friends with many authors who are new and extremely experienced. They write poetry, memoir, romance, CanLit and on and on. The biggest thing I take away from these relationships is a network of support. Whether my experienced writer friends are supporting me and offering mentorship or I’m doing the same for a newer writer. None of us make it without a community.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? My romance books are a series – The Guardian Series.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Having an editor or writing consultant look over every book has been the best money I ever spent. You simply can’t skimp on editing. And even then, I find mistakes but imagine if I’d never had an editor!
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I think I’ve always felt this way. My mother was an avid reader and we began reading very young. I remember being swept away by the magic of words and on hard stays finding power and beauty in them. There is nothing more magical than a book.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Probably something by a local author. S.G. Wong writes hard-boiled detective books set in an alternative future with ghosts. Kate Boorman wrote a fantastic YA series. The three in the series are Winterkill, Darkthaw and Heartfire.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Raven. It’s on my logo and Raven’s show up in every book I’ve written including my poetry books.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Just one J Book 3 in my series is still a work in progress. Though I do have a short story I’ve been working on for years.
What does literary success look like to you? Being a part of the literary community. Having books published and knowing people like them. I may never make a fortune off my books but If I can live and work in the literary world then that is success to me.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I typically research as I’m writing.
How many hours a day/week do you write? This varies throughout the year. From May through January I try to write daily for 2 to 4 hours a day. During February, March and April my writing is quite sporadic. I run a literary festival and those months are extremely hectic for me. I find I have difficulty focusing and spend more energy on planning or marketing over writing during those months.
How do you select the names of your characters? With great difficulty. Hahahah. Actually, some come to me very quickly and easily and others I research meanings to see if they fit with that character.
What was your hardest scene to write? Fight scenes are hard for me. Especially ones with many characters in it. Keeping everybody’s movements correct and how they are physically and verbally interacting with intensity. I expend a lot of energy writing these.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write Poetry and Paranormal Romance. I love them both. I grew up reading Romance so if felt natural to write it. And Poetry is one of my great loves. I love seeing how a truly fine poet can craft language. I think reading poetry makes you a better writer.
How long have you been writing? Professionally for six years.
What inspires you? Nature. Silence, Strong Women.
How do you find or make time to write? Less TV – More = More writing time.
What projects are you working on at the present? I’m currently promoting book two of my series, Magic Born, which launched June 6th! And working on book three of the Guardian Series – Air Born!
What do your plans for future projects include? I’m hoping to produce an anthology of femme prairie writers over the next two years.
Bio: Rayanne Haines is a best selling romance author, published poet, and arts manager.
She writes Paranormal Romance with Kick-Ass Heroines. She believes in magic and legend and all the things we cannot see. Rayanne prefers her alpha males a little gritty and the women who love them, in charge of their own destiny.
“The Guardians” is her debut series with New York publishers, SoulMate publishing. Book One, Fire Born, released September 2017. Book Two, Magic Born releases June 6th! Look for Air Born winter 2018.