Welcome, one and all, to another author interview! You may remember a book spotlight on Paradise Lodge by Riina Y.T. recently. Well, now Riina herself has stopped by for a chat!
First though, if you liked the sound of Paradise Lodge, check out the following giveaway to wina copy!
Riina, welcome to the site! For those not familiar with you and your work, can you start with a brief introduction?
Hi, my name is Riina. I share my apartment and office space with Yuuko, my seven year old toy poodle. We love long walks and catching Pokémon. I’m a management assistant for an electronic engineering company. When I’m at the gym I listen to a lot of Jpop/Kpop or Troye Sivan.
We’re going to talk a little about your latest novella Paradise Lodge, available now from NineStar Press. First up, how did you come to work with NSP on this title?
Ky has been on my mind for a couple years now, I’ve wanted to give him a story for so long. When NineStar Press were looking for holiday stories I started brainstorming possible scenarios for a New Year’s Eve gone wrong. I thought of Ky and wondered what would happen if the party he and his bandmates had planned didn’t go as expected. It felt like the right time to spend some time with him and soon the story came together.
The book follows Ky and Azariah Bell, two members of a pop rock band who are set up by their bandmates to spend a week together at a deserted lodge. This all stems from the bust-up the two had a few weeks prior, and now the two are set on a course to find out their true feelings regarding each other. Is the story told from one point of view, or do we see both guy’s thoughts?
It’s dual POV, so yes, we get to spend time in both guy’s head!
I love the music based background for the two leads. Does music play a major part of the novella at all?
Music plays a major part in both Azariah and Ky’s life and I tried to tell the story with that in mind. They talk and think about it often. We see them play a little together but won’t join them for a concert.
Growing up, pan wasn’t a term that I really heard, and bi came with a lot of stereotypes attached to it. How important do you think it is to see more representation for both bi and pan people in fiction?
I think it’s a good thing. It’s such a good feeling to see terms like bisexual, pansexual and asexual in books. It would be great if kids could grow up learning more about different genders and sexualities.
Do you have a favourite moment from the book that you can share without giving too much away in terms of spoilers?
Their first kiss! I’m a sucker for first kisses. I love the build-up, the tension between friends secretly crushing on each other.
What is the biggest difference between Ky and Azariah, and what is their biggest similarity?
With Ky being a Leo and Azariah Scorpio, both can be intense but in different ways. Ky is outgoing, social and often likes to be the centre of attention. Azariah is more of a homebody, he’s reserved, quiet, calm on the outside but flooding with deep thoughts and emotions on the inside.
They’re both loyal to a fault, possessive and jealous. Ky enjoys being the boss and Azariah struggles with losing control of a situation, namely when he thinks Ky is slipping out of his life.
You also have a few stories published via the MM Romance Group, namely Missing Piece, Blame the Fireworks, and Spring, Bax & Butterflies. What can you tell us about the group and how you got involved?
Back then the MM Romance Group hosted annual writing events where each author could choose a photo prompt submitted by members of the group. It comes with an author letter, outlining what sort of story they would like us to write. I participated two years in a row, writing two stories for one event in 2015.
Can you tell us a little about these stories? How long are they, and do you have a favourite among them?
Spring, Bax & Butterflies is a Young Adult, rugby themed story and nearly 60k in length. It’s about falling in love for the first time, which is my absolute favourite to write and read. This one is special to me because it was the first book I worked on with an editor and beta readers and it was such a great feeling seeing it come to life.
Blame the Fireworks was my final work with the group and, having had more experience at that point, it came together fast. I had so much fun writing it. It’s a friends to lovers, slow-burn road trip novella with almost 40k in length.
Missing Piece is a bit more angsty with some hurt/comfort but once again friends to lovers (it really is my favourite!) and the longest with 65k.
Do you have any other writing projects on the horizon that you can tell us about?
I’ll be working on a Christmas novelette I just signed a publishing contract for with NSP! There will be secret feelings, a snowstorm and… surprises! It’s currently scheduled for September 2019.
I’ve also planned on extending Blame the Fireworks at some point next year! The lack of time back then during the event made it impossible for me to tell the whole story. Maybe now is the right time to revisit Harlie and Tabby.
Moving away from writing briefly, you currently live in Germany, but also spent time in the USA, UK and Japan. That’s a nice list of places! What made you decide on Germany, and how have you found it living there?
I was actually born and raised in Germany. When I turned twenty-one I spent one year in the US, one in London, England and then nearly two years in Tokyo, Japan. I’m back home in Germany with my family now.
Do you have any favourite spots in each country that you’d recommend to tourists?
My favourite spot will always be Tokyo Tower. I remember seeing it the first time from the street of my guest family’s house. Lit up at night, it took my breath away.
I’ve enjoyed visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Upon-Avon in England, highly recommended! They do Ghost Walks! So fun.
If you ever come to Germany, I think you should visit Cologne or Munich. I’ve been a few times. Lovely cities! So much to do and see.
Does moving from country to country create a culture shock at all, or have you found it fairly easy to adapt each time?
I find adapting to other places very easy. I have to admit, the places I’ve been to were all very progressive and similar to where I’ve grown up. I imagine moving to Peru for example would be a different story! Although my excitement at exploring new places might help with that. I’ve visited a friend in Brazil a couple of times which was pretty exciting and also very different to Germany! Being so close to the rainforest was incredible. And the beaches are fantastic! I’d probably find it a little more difficult to adapt to that culture and food though.
Finally, I wanted to thank you for stopping by today. Do you have any final messages for readers? Where can they go to find out more about you and your work? Feel free to link to anything you want.
Thank you for having me!
I want to thank everyone who decided to give my boys a chance – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To stay updated with my work please visit www.riinayt.wordpress.com.
Drop by on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter any time, I’ll be happy to chat with you!
And again, don’t forget to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of Paradise Lodge!