This week, Just Heard, Just Read, Just Seen catches up with award winning writer, Johnny Ray and finds out a little more about the writer of The Heritage, The Rejection Letter, and Models & Lovers.
Just Heard, Just Read, Just Seen (JH,JR,JS): Thanks for talking to Just Heard, Just Read, Just Seen. To get started can you give us a snapshot of who you are:
Johnny Ray (JR): I live in Clearwater, Florida where the white sand on the beaches here is as soft as flour. I am known to be in one of the over 500 coffee shops that line this 35 mile long beach string of beaches to St. Pete beach every morning. I truly feel like I am writing in paradise. I write full time, which is often 12 hour days.I am married to my Russian sweetheart and raising a 13 year old son. I have three grown children by a previous marriage. Since we travel so much, I have no pets.
JH,JR,JS: You are a published author – can you tell us a little about your latest book, without giving away too many spoilers? What is the target audience?
JR: I am published, and under several names. Under my name I have my latest novel, Models and Lovers just out which is a romance based inside the modeling world.
Thomas (Tommy) Conseco, the frightfully delicious owner of one of the top modeling agencies in New York City, demands respect which he has so rightfully earned. Aspiring models from around the world would sacrifice anything to become one of Tommy’s “girls” fully knowing he can make them a legend, or send them home crying. Tommy has one rule he has followed without exception. He never gets personally involved with anyone in the modeling industry, and as far as sex with his models and employees is concerned, it’s strictly off limits. As a result, his heart is immune to even the most beautiful women in the world. This rule has served him well in business, but has left his personal life and bed cold and empty.
Enter Balarie Danson, the woman who is about to turn his carefully constructed world upside down. Balarie may not have the glamorous looks of a super model, but she’s bright, attractive and terrific at her job booking talent for the agency, especially the male models. Yielding to her charms, Tommy invites her to go on a business trip to Milan with more than business on his mind. When she turns him down, saying she’d prefer to concentrate all her energies in the New York market, Tommy assumes she’s refusing him and the possible chance at romance. The truth—Balarie is secretly terrified of flying and a long cross-Atlantic flight is more than she can face, despite her ambition in business and her secret attraction to her enigmatic boss. She’s heard the rumors, but the sparks flying between them are telling her Tommy’s looking for more than her talent as a booking agent. But Balarie is also looking for more than a one-night stand. So if Tommy intends to break his long-standing rule and seduce this woman into his bed, he’ll also have to let her into his heart because Balarie won’t settle for anything less than a love that lasts forever, and a hero who can help her conquer her fear of flying.
JH,JR,JS: What inspired you to write it?
JR: I think I have wanted to write this one for a long time. Many years ago I was a fashion photographer, which helped in knowing how the industry works. I also have several more novels in this industry in the works and hope to have them released soon.
Is this the genre and style you usually write in? If it isn’t, what moved you to make a change? Under one of my pen names I write romances, and this is the first released under my name. I wanted to see how it would be received. I normally write romantic thrillers under my name.
JH,JR,JS: How did you come up with the title?
JR: Models and Lovers is the name I finally settled on, but this one had so many changes. I wanted the reader to know this was about a romance inside the modeling world.
JH,JR,JS: Which characters do you like the most? Why?
JR: I love my hero and heroine in this one since they are so interesting and very unique. I also have one secondary character, which is the heroine’s assistant. I had to be careful with developing him since he could have stood the story
JH,JR,JS: Is this a ‘sit back and read for pleasure’ book or is there a message in your book you want readers to grasp – or is it a bit of both?
JR: This is a very easy book to read, and it deals with a hero who has built walls around him to protective him from the beautiful models he has to deal with constantly.
JH,JR,JS: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?
JR: Like I mentioned earlier, I have many friends who are writers. After reading one of their books, I always said, I can do this, and if I did, I could make these changes, or tell a different story.
JH,JR,JS: What books have most influenced your life most?
JR: I have read almost all of Sandra Brown’s books, and I know this is a big influence on me. She is also a great person, and the kind of role model that I think all writers need to have.
JH,JR,JS: What book are you reading now?
Johnny Ray (JR): I think like most of the world, FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY.
JH,JR,JS: Are there any new authors that currently interest you?
Johnny Ray (JR): I have one writer in Brazil, Leighton Cage, who writes an amazing story
JH,JR,JS: What type of music do you listen to when you write?
JR: I love to listen to music, but almost always foreign music, and depending on where my setting is.
JH,JR,JS: Do you have any little ‘things’ you do or traditions you follow when you write?
JR: I go to a lot of coffee shops, and write for at least 4 hours. I see no reason why I can’t enjoy life while I write.
JH,JR,JS: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated space, a particular office or piece of machinery?
JR: I always pick a different coffee shop to go to every morning. So be warned, if you look interesting while you drink your coffee, you might be in my novels.
JH,JR,JS: Mac or PC?
JR: PC only
JH,JR,JS: Do you ever write longhand?
Johnny Ray (JR): No
JH,JR,JS: How long does it take to finish a project?
JR: I work very fast. In fact, last year I released 6 novels under various names.
JH,JR,JS: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Johnny Ray (JR): I wrote this one as a short novel, but looking back, I think I would have loved making it longer.
JH,JR,JS: What do you love most about writing? And what do you dislike about it?
JR: The freedom it gives me in building a world. I love the feeling of cresting something. My only dislike is how long it takes to see the word in print.
JH,JR,JS: What are the three pieces of advice you would give a new writer?
JR: Make friends along the way. When all is said and done, this is what you will be left with one day. Next, find people who will give you an honest opinion. I have many beta readers who I have discovered over time who tell it to me straight. And finally, start building a list of your readers. These will be your core cheerleaders when you need to get the word out on your next book.