Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lea Ryan, Lair of the White Wyrm

AUTHOR: Lea Ryan
BOOK TITLE: Lair of the White Wyrm

Tell me a little about your book. What gave you the idea for this particular story?

Lair of the White Wyrm was inspired by Bram Stoker's final novel. I read the book a while back and was taken with the concept - a woman who transforms into a reptile and other bizarre happenings in this tight-knit community. I liked many aspects of the book. It had a nice creepy feel to it, much like Dracula but the story wasn’t as well developed. The plot was a bit scattered. My goal in writing my story was to build on some of the concepts presented by the original Lair of the White Worm, but also create a new story.

Eric Duncan is my protagonist. He's had a rough time in life, and comes to Ducat Tower with the intention of starting over. When he arrives, strange happenings begin almost immediately. The taxi pulls up to the front of the tower to a scene in which some cops (not Eric's favorite people) are attending to a confrontation between his uncle and a guy whose brother has gone missing in the vicinity of the tower. Eric's Uncle Nate is the property manager, so naturally, the brother, Danny, is venting his frustration that direction.

As the story moves along, Eric meets the various residents of the tower and gradually learns the history of the place through them and through rumors. He meets and is drawn to a mysterious woman named Isabella. The closer he gets to her, the more terrifying she becomes, and yet, he can't seem to bring himself to leave. Too, he becomes captivated by the darkness that seems to pervade every corner of the tower. Every step he takes carries him closer to the edge of everything - closer to knowing it all, closer to Isabella and the monster and the parts of himself he doesn't want to face and parts of himself that he didn't know existed.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I write novels part-time at the moment, but I do plan to transition to full-time within the next few years. My day job involves writing as well, so at least I get to string some words together there. The day job has taught me more about writing and proofreading than I would have expected.

Organizing time can be rough. I work on my books during lunch breaks and at home whenever I can grab a spare moment. I get really enthusiastic about all of my projects, so writing fiction rarely feels like actual work. A person finds time for whatever is most important to them.

I do find that I work much more quickly when my notes are fully developed. If I have to stop to think about what should happen next, I'm removed from the rhythm of the writing and I have to work to get back in. The benefits of having good notes are efficiency, consistency and focus. They help me to make the most of the time I do have,

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote a little when I was in elementary school. During junior high and high school, I didn’t write and I didn’t read much for fun during that time, either. In college, I don’t know what spurred it, but I started reading and then I decided I might want to write some fiction. That was about ten years ago. I didn’t publish until about six years after that. So, yeah, I’ve been writing for a while now.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

I want for my readers the same thing I want from the books I read. I want them to be entertained. I have no real social or political agenda.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

I write in the genres I usually read, which would be urban fantasy and horror, at the moment. I like a world where anything can happen. Even as a kid, I gravitated toward books that offered an escape into some magical place. Real life always seemed so boring next to Wonderland or Narnia. Books about the paranormal give me that same form of escapism, even if it's horror.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

The hardest part of being a writer for me is letting go of the emotional attachment I have to my books. I have trouble putting them down and moving on. And then, once I do let go, I suffer from confidence issues. I always have some component of my marketing plan that I abandon because of a feeling that maybe this particular book isn't good enough for or I don't think I can pull it off for whatever reason. One of my goals for this year is to get past that.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

I did have to do some research. The story touches on subjects I was unfamiliar with. For instance, Thomas Arkwell, the wealthy owner of Ducat Tower, has an obsession with museums. He sees them as a legacy for the people who contribute to them. His penthouse at the top of the tower is filled with museum specimens - almost like a hoarder. One section of it is set up like an exhibition hall, ropes, display cases and all that. I did some brief research on the subject of how exhibits are implemented. Specimens and installations aren't just arranged for aesthetics. They have a logical order.

I also read about shamanism, which plays a big part in the story. Shamans are able to visit the spirit world via an altered state of consciousness. I ended up using the concept in this book and the one I wrote after it - Devil in the Branch.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

This is my website/blog combo. They’ll find links to all of my books, some of them free for download. I like to create extra material to go along with my books, so the links to that stuff are on there as well. The link to the deleted prologue for Lair is on there. I have illustrations and other miscellanea for my other books as well.

I’m also on Twitter a lot. I’m kind of fascinated by the way it condenses so much about our culture into these bite-sized chunks. My handle is @LeaRyan1 if anyone wants to follow me on there.

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Yes! This first bit is for writers in general, not just of my genres of choice. Read more than you write. Read in a variety of genres, take what you like as a reader (storytelling techniques) and apply that to your own writing. That’s the best way to learn, I think. Also, a book about plot structure was really helpful for me.

As for genre-specific advice, horror writers, violence shouldn’t be the main character in the book. If a book is just a big gorefest, as a reader, I’m not interested. Shock value isn’t a substitute for story.

What’s in the future for you?

I have some great projects planned for this year. I have a book called Pestilence Rising coming out and a short story that goes with that. The short story will be a free download, of course. I also wrote a novella that’s sequel to What the Dead Fear. The releases should be sprinkled throughout the year.

I also plan to write a children’s book, something in line with the fantasy level of Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia. My novella What the Dead Fear (free on my website) was recently used as classroom material in an English as a Second Language class in Thailand and the kids who wrote to me seemed to like it pretty well. I didn’t even write it for kids! I think I could do a passable job if I intentionally write for them. My son has been bothering me for a year or two about writing a children’s book for a year, too. He’s 9, so he doesn’t get to read the grownup horror stuff. I know the project isn’t really in line with my “brand”, but I don’t worry about that stuff too much. I write what I want. 

Lair of the White Wyrm
By: Lea Ryan

Sometimes when you run from your problems, they follow you.

Eric Duncan wants nothing more than to be an ordinary, sane guy. He believes he can escape his troubled past by leaving home. However, the voice in his head, that of his dead friend Benjamin, fights him every step of the way.

Eric finds his new home is a place filled with secrets far darker than his own. A monster prowls the grounds, and it wants to keep him close.

He will discover that his inner demons aren’t the only things he should fear. In order to confront the wyrm and survive, he must also face the worst parts of himself.

Smashwords –


  1. Sounds like a scary story! Nice interview!

  2. Thank you for hosting me, Penny! And thank you, Cheryl. I had a lot of fun writing both the interview and the book. : )