Interview with Riley Edwards, author of All the Pretty Girls
05 Jun 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, All the Pretty Girls?
I fell head over heels in love with the characters while writing All the Pretty Girls. At its core the book is about the power of love. (Okay, so that sounds cheesy, but true.) My heroine, Meadow, believes she is broken and is riddled with self-esteem issues. Between a scar on her face and some medical issues, she believes she is less than a woman. Special Agent Nick Clark has his own struggles to work through. He is the youngest member of the Behavioral Analyst Unit and is trying to find his place within the team. When the couple finally comes together, Nick has to find a way to navigate the landmines that surround Meadow and conquer her demons. If anyone has ever needed a knight in shining armor, it’s Meadow. Ultimately, in the end it was Nick’s love that allowed Meadow to heal.
Even though I stepped away from my military-themed novels I normally write, All the Pretty Girls is still chock-full of suspense and complete with a strong, alpha hero my readers love. And it wouldn’t be a Riley Edwards novel if there wasn’t some smokin’ hot love scenes, as well.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I have always heard whisperings in my head. It goes back to junior high when I started writing Sweet Valley High fan fiction. I still have the handwritten stories in a ratty spiralbound notebook. I loved Jessica and Elizabeth, and in my preteen mind, they were my best friends.
But it wasn’t until 2016 when an author friend dared me to write a novel, did I attempt to put my words to paper with the intention of publishing.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
I’ve always been an avid reader of romance, especially military romance. Top five? That is like picking a favorite of my four children. If I think too hard about this question, I’ll change my mind 552 times. So off the top of my head.
Masters and Mercenaries – Lexie Blake
Delta Force Heroes – Susan Stoker
Corps Security – Harper Sloan
The Burg series – Kristen Ashley
The Callaghan Brothers – Abbie Zanders.
See what I did there? LOL. I have read and reread each of those books. There is something in each one that makes me feel like I am apart of their family. In those books, I am home with a beer in hand, hangin’ with friends.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Oh my god! I’m dying. Just one this time. JUST ONE! I wanna say Kristen Ashley just to ask if she’ll be my BFF, but that would probably make me sound a little desperate. If I had to choose one, it would be Susan Stoker. I think fans of her Deltas are dying to know how she’s going to wrap up the series. I’d win huge brownie points with the general population of Stoker fans if I could pull some spoilers out of her.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
As a writer I get to live hundreds of different lives. I get to be anything from a badass mercenary to a file clerk. I live in different places, do lots of cool stuff, and fall in (or out) of love every day. One day I’m on a mission in South Sudan, and the next I’m in Georgia. I love giving life to the characters in my head, but the best part of being a writer is crafting a story that touches someone else. It is both exhilarating and terrifying knowing my words are being read.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’m a super hero. My days are spent fighting crime, flying around the city, and taking down the bad guys. Okay, that’s total BS. Though in my head that’s totally what I do.
I’m so boring this is almost embarrassing to write. I’m a regular wife and mom. Two of my kids are grown and off in the military, but I still have two ‘littles’ at home. I run the kids to and from school and sports and struggle with homework. And just like every mom out there, dinner time rolls around and it’s like a big surprise when everyone asks, “What’s for dinner?”
When I’m not doing all of that, or I should say even while I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I’m thinking about either what I’m currently writing or what I want to start. When a reader hears an author say, “I hear voices in my head,” I don’t think they fully comprehend what that means. I can be anywhere doing anything and an imaginary argument or sweet love scene will play out in my head. When the voices get louder and are screaming at me, I know it’s time to grab a notebook and start taking notes. I do most of my writing while the kids are in school and after they’ve gone to bed. I am not one of those people that can write while the TV is on or people are talking to me. I will start to transcribe what I’m hearing. That is totally true and I’ve done it so many times. See? Totally boring. I write. I talk to strange people that live in my head. I spend time with my family.
What scene in All The Pretty Girls was your favorite to write?
Hands down, my favorite scene to write is when Meadow (the heroine) is explaining to Nick (hero) why they cannot be together. She is the survivor of a brutal attack; as a result she has a six-inch scar on the side of her face and struggles with her self-worth. She tells Nick she is “filler,” meaning she is the type of woman men date when they’re done being players but aren’t sure if they’re ready to settle down. Meadow believes that women like her aren’t good enough and are used to test the waters to see if a man is ready for commitment. Nick, of course, being the alpha male with a protective streak a mile wide loses his ever-loving mind. He gently but forcibly tells Meadow her way of thinking is completely jacked. Okay, who am I kidding? There was no gentle in there – he’s pissed and that’s when Nick showed me how fierce he can be. He’s not the mild-mannered FBI agent he shows the world; he is a true protector, even if he’s protecting the woman he loves from herself.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
My favorite quote is: “Life is the hardest teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.”
I think the philosophy I live by and try my hardest to teach my kids is not to be a quitter. So many times in life we are faced with difficulties. It’s what you do in those times that makes all the difference. Quitting and failing are two different things. There is a lesson to be learned when you fail. I hope to fail a thousand times in my life. When you give up, you never learn, you never grow, and you will never succeed.
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