We were blessed with the opportunity to interview the prolific Gay Romance Author Riley Hart.
Riley is a lover of character-driven plots, flawed characters, and always tries to write stories and characters people can relate to. She is a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for “Of Sunlight and Stardust”. Under her pen name, her young adult novel, “The History of Us” is an ALA Rainbow Booklist Recommended Read and Turn the World Upside Down is a Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Award Winner.
1) Your novels are characterized by inflammable chemistry between sexy men, who often get into unspoken troubles. How do you visualize your characters and their quirks?
That’s a hard question. I can’t really explain it and it’s different with every book. Sometimes I have a clearer picture than others. Sometimes it comes before the plot, others it’s the plot first.
2) You have created an alternate universe in “Blackcreek Series” wherein two lost souls find their way to each other while they overcome their life struggles. What did you have in mind while writing about them?
I can’t say exactly what I had in mind…I just needed to tell their stories. For me, I need stories that feel like they’re about real people, with real issues, finding love—and growing and learning along the way. That’s my goal with all books that I write.
3) Intertwining three different individuals and their lives certainly seems like an intriguing concept. What is so special about Josiah, Mateo and Tristan that made you share their journey in “Broken Pieces Series”
I don’t think I ever thought I would write a throuple book, but their story came to me in a dream. It was really weird…I knew I was dreaming, but it was like a movie in my head. I saw it play out the way it did on paper. I will always be proud of that book and their story.
4) “Crossroads Series” has an interesting premise with three different couples who have to overcome personal obstacles to save their relationship. Where did you draw inspiration for this book series? How did you make it work while working with co-author Sean Crisden?
It’s not one specific thing that I draw inspiration from. It can come from anywhere and sometimes just from myself and my imagination. I just know that Nick and Bryce (Crossroads) were very loud in my head and demanding their story be told. LOL. This series isn’t co-authored though. I wrote it alone. Sean is the narrator who narrated the story for audiobooks.
5) “Metropolis Series” has hot men suffering from commitment phobia, struggling past their true feelings. It is one of my favorite book series. How did you conceptualize this storyline?
Honestly? My co-author lived in a similar apartment complex and that’s where I got the idea. He’d tell me stories sometimes, and one day I was just like…wouldn’t it be fun to write a series that takes place in a similar complex?
6) Metropolis Series is your first collaboration working with Devon McCormack. How was the experience of co-authoring this book series?
It was wonderful. He is one of my closest friends. We’re very big on communication and honesty and I think our friendship helped us to work together so well.
7) “Last Chance Series” features two couples who have been given a second chance at finding their happiness. Is that the reason for the title of this series?
I think sometimes we all feel like we’re on our last chance at something. The guys have been hurt before or struggle with personal struggles and it represents another chance for them.
8) “Saint and Lucky Series” is another favorite. I fell in love with both Lucky and Grayson’s caricature. It was a beautiful storyline redefining healthy relationships goals. Did you feel an emotional connection with both of them?
Yes. I’m so glad you liked it. I loved writing their story. It was nice to be able to experience it in two books and follow a couple through some of life’s real life struggles.
9) You have worked with Christina Lee on three collaborations “Free Fall Series”, “Forbidden Love Series” and “Boys in Makeup Series”. Which is your personal favorite. How do you get past your creative differences?
We didn’t really have any creative differences that I remember. I think the key is friendship. Christina is one of my closest friends as well. I think our personal relationship helps us to have a stronger writing one. As for a favorite, I can’t choose. I love them all for different reasons. I will say that Forbidden Love was different as neither of us had written fairy tales before so that does make it special.
10) Sexy romcom certainly seem to be your forte. “Fever Falls Series” has six different couples who upped the sexual ante. What is so special about these boys, that you wanted to share their life experiences?
I shared that series so I wrote three on my own and one with him. I just love the found family and close friendship aspect. I wanted to tell a story about a group of friends who are close and would do anything for each other.
11) Breaking your own rules seems to be the theme for your “Havenwood Series”. How much fun did you have visualizing the animosity and subsequent surrender to their feelings?
I loved writing that series. It’s another with a strong group of friends and found family. I tend to write that a lot because I love it. I loved pushing their limits and writing the guys stepping out of their comfort zones and allowing themselves to fall.
12) “Stumbling into Love Series” has low angst, messy romances that oscillate from sweet to complicated. How did this fictional romance materialize?
Originally it was only going to be a standalone. I really just wanted to write a low angst, rom com type of book and I love the aspect of an advice column. But then characters kept showing up that I fell in love with and had to write their books too.
13) There is something magical about your standalone novel “Of Sunlight and Stardust”. Two flawed individuals finding their way to each other. Indeed, worthy of the Lamdba Literary Award nomination. Share your thoughts about this book?
I’m so proud of this book. I got the idea for it and wrote the first journal entry. I shared the idea with Christina and we started plotting but we knew it would be an emotional book and we weren’t ready. We put it aside for a year or more before we jumped in. It challenged us because we were telling two love stories in one book and trying to make each one stand on its own. Getting nominated for the Lambda is one of the biggest honors of my career!
14) Do you have any favorite book, drama or movie that has left an ever lasting impression on your mind?
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan is my favorite book. I think it’s life changing and everyone should read it.
15) Do you enjoy reading MM Romance novels written by your contemporary authors? If yes, then who is your current favorite author and why?
I do! I’m a big fan of Neve Wilder’s writing! She puts words together so beautifully.
16) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future books?
I have the third book in the Stumbling into Love series coming out in June. The second book to The Endgame (a different couple) in July and I’m currently in revisions on the first book in a new series that will release sometime this fall!
The BL Xpress would like to thank Riley Hart for taking the time to answer our questions!