Today, the lovely Kendra Ayers has posted the interview she conducted with about my newest book, September Rain!
It has been said, if you hold your past too closely, it will smother your right now.
That’s exactly what Angel Patel is hoping for.
Imprisoned some 6 years before the story begins, Angel is up for a reluctant case review. Still plagued by guilt, Angel tells the story of her transformation from neglected child, to teenage outcast, to obsessed lover, to murderer.
She read it.
She loved it.
She asked me questions about it.
The following interview was pasted from Kendras’ blog, A Buggy Tale:
I would like you all to meet A.R. Rivera. She just released her second book, September Rain, on May 15th and I must say this book is full of twists and turns. One thing I enjoy about reading Rivera’s work is that she knows how to keep you in suspense and spin a tale that keeps you guessing until the end. Her first novel, Between Octobers, had me laughing, crying, and constantly guessing. September Rain did the exact same thing!
I was fortunate to conduct an interview with her and learn some insider information on how she came up with the storyline for her second novel. Without spoiling the book, she answered questions about September Rain and how she creatively linked this book with her first one to continue the series. Check it out:
- September Rain begins with Angel Patel, your lead character, in prison. Did you have to do any research for this part of the book or did you go with your own version of what you thought prison would be like?
I did do some research about prison life, actually. Most of that research involved watching documentaries about life behind bars. Most of what I learned about prison life did not find a place in the final manuscript, though.
- This book can be read as a stand alone or along with your first book Between Octobers. Did this story line come as an after thought or had you planned to write in this order on purpose?
Honestly, it was an afterthought. I felt like this particular characters story needed to be told, which seems more a testament to the way my creative process works than anything else. I find that most of my ideas come from seeing a person—real or imagined—in a situation and then asking myself what circumstances this person might have fought or fallen into that resulted in my seeing/thinking of them in said situation. I find something intriguing—like a woman waking up in a trunk—and then work out how she got there and what will happen next.
- Your sons are in a band. Did they help you with some of the scenes that related to the shows, the types of guitars, etc?
Oh absolutely! In fact, much of Jake’s creativity, his ability to make music; the things that Angel wonders about the interworkings of his mind came from my own awe, watching my boys compose.
I might be able to write a book, but a song? A melody? Never! And my guitar-playing, music-writing kid did give me lots of advice about instruments. The other stuff came from personal experience as the road-crew to my kids band, Forgotten Faces, and the many concerts I’ve been to.
- Having read Between Octobers, I noticed this book was much darker and even a bit racier than the first. Did you incorporate this because of the age group you were writing about or just because you felt it was something you wanted to explore?
Racy? Well, Grace, from Between Octobers was a completely different person. Her story was simply a reflection of her life. Plus, she was inspired by Queen Esther.
But to be honest, I didn’t really think about the darker aspect until the story was done. The characters voices just evolved as they so often do, on their own, inside my mind. Writing fiction, for me, has always left me with a raw, exposed feeling. But in the best way. I have to give my all or keep it to myself. And if I don’t write, I become a moody monster.
The plot for September Rain developed in a manner where I sometimes felt like I was watching a black flower bloom, and other parts were like watching a car accident. I couldn’t uproot the direction or stop the action. The story would have wilted. And these characters being so very different from me in lifestyle and upbringing, I did struggle with the language and subject matter. But I felt like it was not my place to try and change them. Toning down their story to fit an audience or category would feel like I was not being true, like I was telling half the story. And a half-told truth feels like a lie. So, I simply tried to tell their stories without judgment though they do many, many things I do not condone.
- I really enjoyed the twist in the story. Without giving too much away, explain about how you came up with the car accident, the relationship between Avery and Angel, and the obsession with Jake.
The car accident just came to me one day as I was wondering over my characters. As part of my creative process, I ask myself questions about my characters motives. For instance, say a person is wealthy and arrested for shoplifting. What kind of person does that? Where is their heart, their mind, at that they feel the need to steal? Is it boredom? Or something psychological? I choose the answers that interest me the most and work from there.
The car accident was an image in my head, playing like a short film. It seemed like a plausible catalyst for the things that happen later on in the story.
Also, music has held a strong presence in my life since meeting my husband. One of his hobbies is going to concerts. Big, small, local, long-distance: if he likes the band, we’re going. His passion introduced me to many types of music I never would have listened to before, which also introduced me to Marcos Curiel, (guitarist of P.O.D) whose work with a band called The Accident Experiment inspired the plot of this book. The specific song is called Sick Love Letter. I totally recommend everybody give it a listen!
- What’s next for this series?
I’m so glad you asked!
Right now, I am working on the continuation of Evans story. It picks up a few years later and focuses on family issues—since you’ve read Between Octobers you know he has a TON. It’s a multi-generational plot thus far: Evan struggling with being a dad, coping with mounting insecurities, the dark-side of fame, and his ever-present abandonment issues. I don’t know how it will go for him—which is first for me since I usually know an ending before I begin, but I am excited about what’s in store for him. It’s tentatively titled November Mourning and hopefully releasing later this year or early next year.
I am also working on a story about a twenty-something girl named Jan, short for January. Her story intertwines with Evans in an interesting way but I love her so much, she’s getting her own book!
I am also working on my first sci-fi fantasy book, tentatively titled, Inertia. It’s the first in what I think will be at least two books. Maybe three. We’ll see how it goes.
Congrats on the release of your second book, A.R. Rivera!
If any of you happen to be interested in purchasing the book, click the book cover on the right!