Meet the Author: Ryan Esperon
Hello readers, and welcome to another installment of Meet the Author!
Today I’m interviewing Ryan Esperon, science fiction author.
I met Ryan recently on Facebook through one of their many writing groups and had to know more about his work and writing process.
Let’s all give Ryan a warm welcome and show him lots of love!
I’m an aspiring author from the D.C. area. My love of all things Star Wars is what got me into science fiction to start with (thank you to my dad for watching Return of the Jedi a thousand times with me growing up!).
I also enjoy traveling, cooking and playing tennis, usually with my husband (and cat, who politely refrains from the aforementioned activities, but loves a good middle of the night sprint around the house).
Hi Ryan, thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
You’re a lab assistant for a government facility. You discover that they have been trying to create a portal to another dimension. What do you do?
Ryan: This is a great question! On the one hand, in pretty much every movie with a portal to another dimension, it brings instant doom. However, what if it’s a dimension full of just puppies? Can we really say no to that? So, I’d actually be inclined to do nothing and see what happens. If the portal ends up letting loose a demon or Lovecraftian creature, at least I’ll be among the group killed pretty early on, right?
Jonny: Haha, fair argument. It could just be an adorable puppy world, and then everyone’s a happy camper. Surely if it’s a giant monster someone will take care of it after those nearby are slaughtered, right? I’m all for discovering what’s behind portal number one!
Ryan and the Writing Process
Tell us a little bit about your writing.
Ryan: Jury’s still out on whether my writing is any good, but I’d say what I focus on the most in writing is great character arcs. I like giving characters a bit of mystery, so that as you learn more about them and what makes them tick, you get more and more invested in their story. I also love plot twists! They’re pretty much the first thing I think of when developing a story, and I’ll plan everything around them. I don’t think that’s a best practice, haha.
Jonny: I understand how you feel. Imposter syndrome is definitely a plague among authors, although I think that feeling lessens with time. I like both points you made here about writing. Characters are integral to a story, and so is a plethora of plot twists. I tend to focus more towards plot with my stories when brainstorming, but without great three-dimensional characters that a reader can care about it doesn’t mean much. Balance is so important in writing.
I always find it interesting how authors and writers lead multiple lives. What is your dayjob? Do you enjoy it?
Ryan: I work in international development, which is kind of night and day from writing. What I like about it is the opportunity to help other people, in whatever form I can. But the day-to-day can be fairly dry and the topics we work on are pretty heavy, so it’s nice to have writing as a creative outlet to offset that.
Jonny: Wow, I wouldn’t have pegged you for that line of work, but it sounds very rewarding in its own way. Congrats on balancing that with writing. I know it isn’t easy by any means. I currently work in the legal industry and am attending grad school for librarianship. Turns out I need to be around books 24/7 to be happy, haha!
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Ryan: There are times when I can’t turn my brain off. For example, I’m trying to fall asleep, and then I keep having random thoughts about whatever story I’m working on. Because I don’t want to forget these ideas that came to me, I write emails to myself using my cell phone and hope that they make sense the next morning. Most of them have, and have led to some story beats, but sometimes I wonder what the heck I was thinking. Also, it would be nice just to be able to get a good night’s sleep!
Jonny: You’re not alone! I have the same issue. There’s always an abundance of ideas, but it’s rarely related to a project I’m currently working on, like my brain thinks up something shiny and I have to document just in case it’s a solid idea. I used to email myself incessantly but now store everything on the ole Google Drive. It’s quite the labyrinth of story ideas and other randomness!
Fun Facts About Ryan
Pancakes or waffles?
Ryan: Good waffles are one of the best things in the world. They’re light and fluffy with a bit of a crunch. It’s so amazing when the syrup pools in the squares and you get a burst of flavor with each bite. BUT, I also love pancakes, especially when they have fun flavors, like lemon ricotta. This is a real Sophie’s Choice.
Jonny: I do prefer waffles overall, but I’m a foodie so I’ll pretty much eat anything. What about instead (or with) of the syrup, you put butter in the squares? Terrible for your health, but each bite is so delicious! I’d love to try out some new flavors. Right now cinnamon roll pancakes sound delicious!
What are your favorite tv shows and movies?
Ryan: I’ve really been into supernatural Korean dramas lately. There’s been a spate of shows about grim reapers, ghosts, and the afterlife (Tomorrow, Uncanny Counter, Hotel Del Luna, etc.). They’re really well done, kind of fun and spooky at the same time, but also with great thematic overtones about society and why we live the kinds of lives we do.
Jonny: Wow, I’ll have to look into those. They sound really interesting! I love anything with a supernatural edge, and I’ve been in a dreaded rerun binge as of late. That largely means me watching Paranormal Witness and Charmed (the original) until I learned that the new season of The Boys was out on Prime. The Boys has shown some interesting insights about society and life in general as well.
What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
Ryan: I can’t really say I have a favorite, but my original favorite genre as a kid was mystery. There’s something so gratifying about the tension being built up more and more, and all along you’re trying to guess what happened. Then bam—the resolution, you find out who did it, and everything comes together in a nice bow. I’d read them so fast because I couldn’t wait to get to the end. I loved Agatha Christie books especially when I was young, and still love cozy mystery books to this day.
Jonny: You really can’t go wrong with mystery, and the best part is that it’s an element in pretty much all books. There’s always some kind of mystery around a plot or character that needs sorting out, and that really draws readers into the world of a novel.
Alright, no tomato throwing, but I’ve never actually read an Agatha Christie book. I have read some classics, but I tend to veer away from them. Every now and again I try to broaden my horizons with my reads, so maybe I’ll have to pick up one of Christie’s next time I do that.
I used to favor fantasy reads, but I pretty much crave horror all the time nowadays.
Ryan and His Works
Tell us about your most recent book.
Ryan: It’s called Field of Night, and it’s a sci-fi adventure book. It also belongs to a subgenre called progression fantasy (or sci-fi in this case), in which the protagonist gains access to some form of powers and grows more powerful over the course of the book. The quick summary is that an alien visits Earth and enlists a few particular humans to learn how to use a mysterious force called aether. The protagonist is recruited, but soon figures out the alien has a hidden agenda, one that could result in Earth losing its freedom. It’s up to him figure out what’s going on and potentially put a stop to the alien’s plot.
Jonny: I love a good scifi adventure, and this sounds like quite the epic journey. I’ve never actually heard of progression fantasy as a subgenre, though the overall idea is a theme I’m aware of. You learn something new every day! I hope your protagonist is able to figure things out in the nick of time.
What inspired you to write this book in particular? Is it part of a series?
Ryan: It’s the first in a planned series called Starlit Arena. I was inspired by a book series called Cradle by Will Wight, which I’ve found so gratifying to read. Every book manages to raise the stakes in such a fun, worldbuilding way, and the idea that somebody can start off as just a regular person and find themselves immersed in a completely unknown world is such a great hook to me.
Jonny: It’s so great that you were able to draw inspiration from another book series. I’ve never heard of Will Wight, but after browsing through his works on GoodReads, I can see the allure. I’m definitely a fan of high stakes and great worldbuilding.
Lately I’ve been getting some inspiration from podcasts, which is odd because I don’t really listen to them all that much. But one day an idea just hit me like a ton of bricks and I ended up writing my latest short story because of it. Inspiration is quite the intriguing topic.
Do you have a favorite character in your new book? Why are they your favorite?
Ryan: I go back and forth a lot! I really love the main character’s sister, Nadia. She’s confident, brash and assertive, but also (I hope) very easy to root for. And she’s got quite the path ahead of her, where she’ll face a lot of tests. It’s a lot of fun to write a character for whom you can plot out some exciting plot developments for.
Jonny: I don’t blame you. After all, each one of them is a tiny piece of ourselves, right? Nadia sounds like a lot of fun.
In any of my works or anything I read, the favorite will always be the scrappy character. No idea why, it’s just always what I’m most attracted to in a fictional character.
What kind of research went into writing your book?
Ryan: Without giving too much away, I had to research Latin and the Roman Empire. Intermixing those with a sci-fi setting was a bit of a mindbender. Hopefully I did them justice.
Jonny: Ah, two things I know very little about, haha! Research can be mind boggling depending on how much you need to know and how you’re using it, but it sounds like you were able to figure it out in a format that works. Extra brownie points to you!
I tend to write in present time, so that helps a little with the amount of research I have to do.
Alright, Ryan, it looks like our time here is almost up. Before we go, do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events, and special offers?
Ryan: Yes! Ryanesperon.com is where I’ll most actively post updates. I have a short story (called Ides of Tar) uploaded there that you can read after you finish Field of Night. It’s a prequel featuring the antagonist up to no good. Lots of fun to write.
Jonny: Oh, perfect! Everyone loves a freebie, and it’s very kind of you to offer that to your fans. Thanks again for doing this with me, and best of luck with your current and future projects!
That’s a Wrap!
Alrighty bookworms, that wraps up my interview with Ryan Esperon. I had a great time getting to know him better, and I hope you enjoyed the experience too!
If you’d like to learn more about Ryan and his work, he can be reached at the social media links provided below.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!
Social Media Links