Interview with Ryan P Freeman

Published 2017-12-18.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up first just south of Portland, OR and then in Albuquerque, NM. In Oregon, my world was made out of rain and forest - summer drives through the Cascades to the coast. Idylic, nostalgic, cozy. Besides surviving childhood cancer and learning how to overcome a severe studdering impediment, I had a great childhood. This was the time in my life where I first fell in love with fantasy - with myth and legends. Once I read, wide-eyed, about heroes like Arthur and Robin Hood, their call could never be undone.

In 2000, my family moved from the rain and trees to the desert and the vast blue skies of New Mexico. While I love both states, it's the SouthWest which keeps singing siren like for me to come back. There's always a party around the corner - there's true diversity and passion for life - Culture practically oozes out of the adobe in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I think it was there that I got down to thinking. Figuring out what I wanted to figure out is a life-long quest which began there.
When did you first start writing?
While I've always been nominally writing, I first offically began writing while I was a Sophomore in college in Missouri. I love camping. So when my roommate and a couple other guys all wanted to go camping one time, I surprised myself by turning down the opportunity. Left for a whole weekend with the dorm to myself, I started drawing on some loose paper. After about three hours, I looked down and there was a continent full of rivers and mountains, lakes and plains... and I thought to myself, well, this place needs stories. So I picked a place at more or less random, and started. - This ultimately culminated as my book Rienspel. I also have to give a shoutout to my old roommate, Robert Dean III, who at the time, was writing his own historical fiction on the First Crusade - which eventually turned into Blood For Glory. I think it was Robert who first helped me actually sit down and write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At the time I'm answering this, technically my latest book is 'The Village' - the second issue in the Rienspel series... but what I'm writing right now, and plan on publishing Spring 2018 will be 'The Last Circle'. All of my fantasy books (so far, anyways) all take place in the same world, just at different places and during different times. The Last Circle is about competing expeditions exploring a vast eastern desert full of deadly lotus flowers which make you forget Everything. But I think, more than mere exploration, it's really about personal redemption. I write from my heart or not at all... Right now, I'm working on turning my love for writing into a full-time thing - and honestly, I don't really feel like most of my friends and family understand it. - I mean, I'm stubborn enough to keep going, and I know enough (now) about the indie process to follow through... but I still feel like I'm right there with my various characters - somewhere between facing my own inner demons and striving for my own validation and redemption. Yay, writing!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impatience. First, I got tired of just waiting around from literary agents and publishers for years at a time just to be told no (or simply ignored). Look, why wait? I'm probably not going to be a big deal or anything, but that doesn't mean I'm nothing, either. I'm writing for me. If you end up liking what I write and tossing a few bucks my way - all the better. I have stories to tell, plain and simple.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
While I'm still relatively new to Smash Words, the results so far have been encouraging. It's excellent exposure - the publishing process is relatively simple - and I'm slowly but steadily gaining readers and interest (which was my primary goal going in). So far, so good!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Oh, gosh... I don't really know. I love when other people 'get it' too. Growing up, I was in theater - and oftentimes, my character would end up being on stage during the climax of the play... and at the moment the point of the performance was playing out before the audience, I got the supreme pleasure to see the moment when the people out in the semidark 'got it'. Their eyes twinkle with shared recognition.

Also, I think I get a real something out of writing as a means for personal exploration. I use writing to actively explore real questions I don't really know how else I'd be able to ask otherwise.
What do your fans mean to you?
The world. The first day I got my first fanmail literally made my week and then some! Feedback is my writing juice. It's my fuel. I always love hearing what fans think - active questions they have for whatever part of the story they're at... Plus, I love hiding secrets in my stories... and sharing the secrets with people who figure them out, bit by bit. Good stuff!
What are you working on next?
I have three stories I'm working on right now: The Last Circle (which I've already talked about in this interview), The Grey King (which is the sequel to Rienspel, and second in the trilogy), and then Nameless (which, while I've finished, I'm still not happy about, but I'm working on it...).

- Like I've mentioned before, I like to explore my world map along with my characters - so each story takes place in a different location, and at varying times in the realm's history. There are cameos, and each story contributes together to the Big archplot that's Really going on! (gotta read 'em all!)
Who are your favorite authors?
This could end up being a looooong list, but I'll try to keep it succinct:
First, George MacDonald - CS Lewis - JRR Tolkien - Ursula LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Susan Cooper, a long list of source-material mythological authors - plus a ton more...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
'More Life'. There's stuff to do and places to go. I'm a curious guy and I have a massive savior complex. I also love traveling to new places and chasing after questions I have about the real world - which I explore through 'story research' - plus there's the wife (of course) and all the various pets and what not.... lol
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Just like in my bio - playing too much video games, craft beer, traveling, camping - gardening... stuff like that
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Honestly, either through personal suggestions from friends, or book mentions from BrainPickings...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have a fuzy memory of some story I wrote back in fourth grade - I think it was a fantasy, but I'm not really sure... but it was the first time I can remember anyone (not including mom and dad) thought what I wrote was good!
What is your writing process?
I get an idea in my head and a flash of a beginning, then I just sit down and write. - I repeat until finished with the first draft, do some editing - then send it off to a few betareaders I have. Get feedback, then work through it again - then it's back to betareaders - work through it again - tweak, format, plan the publishing date and ramp up the marketing - then, presto-change-o, a new book is born! (then, after a bit, the process begins all over again!)
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Growing up, my dad read me the story of Robin Hood before I would go to bed. It was this old crumbly yellow hardback from Great Britain during WWI. Something about that story will stick with my for the rest of my life, I think.
How do you approach cover design?
I used 99Designs to find the wonderful cover artist I use for all my books now: Laura Faraci! - She's great, friendly, fast, talented, affordable, and easy to work with. - Plus I know some of Adobe Creative Suite, since I'm an author marketer, too.
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Books by This Author

Nameless
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,920. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Take one nameless scullery girl, add elemental dragons along with a few piratic merchants – and pit them against a shadowy secret order’s ongoing apocalyptic invasion.
Rienspel Issue IV: Firehall
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 22,140. Language: American English. Published: October 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Now that Rien’s tale has come full circle, he faces the consequences Firehall harbors for him. With a Princess’s love and a newfound legacy, Rien readies to face his darkest fear. While storm clouds loom overhead, personal identity and calling have never mattered more, despite Rien’s mounting death omens.
Rienspel Issue III: The Rangers
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,240. Language: American English. Published: May 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Pursued by assassins, Rien flees north, searching for sanctuary in Firehall. Travel with Rien as he joins the Rangers. With fresh dangers lurking around every trunk, their untimely deaths seem near at hand… or worse. Rien’s tale continues with the next installment of the Rienspel series: Rienspel, Issue IV: Firehall – OR – Read the entire series with The Phoenix of Redd, Volume I: Rienspel
Rienspel Issue II: The Village
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 23,300. Language: American English. Published: December 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
What Rien witnesses one night will haunt his dreams… Fresh from the horrors of a covert militia night raid, Rien stumbles into more adventure. Enter Nyrgen: home to wizened sages, tale-spinning travelers, and dangerous secrets. As the story-telling festival of Leunami approaches, more strangers are noticing the fiery Phoenix perched on Rien’s shoulder… and not all mean him well.
Rienspel, Issue 1: The Forest
Price: Free! Words: 23,750. Language: American English. Published: December 6, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Rien Sucat wiles his days away, bored stiff in his small backwoods village. But after he encounters a flaming phoenix, his safe familiar world begins unraveling. Suddenly, all-consuming choices like which profession he’ll learn, or the fate of his missing father, are dwarfed in light of the mysterious firebird, along with the terrible secrets his older brother and the town watch harbor.
Rienspel
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 137,480. Language: American English. Published: November 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Rien Sucat wiles his days away, bored-stiff in his small backwoods village. But soon gets more than he bargained for after he befriends a magical Phoenix, accidentally witnesses a secret necromantic ritual, and comes face to face with a league of racist, knife-wielding assassins out for his blood.
The Trombonist of Munst
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,940. Language: American English. Published: October 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
When our hapless hero is kicked out of the royal orchestra, he stumbles into Maeve’s Bar – a place filled with shady characters, devilishly strong drinks, and biting snakes dangling from the rafters! With nothing better to do, and all the rest of the countryside’s musicians practicing next door, the Trombonist adjusts his slides, sets his lips to his instrument, and embarks on adventure.
The Grey Isle Tale
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,610. Language: American English. Published: October 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 1 review)
Prince Janos of House Ulian is having a rough day. No, scratch that - a rough life. So when the watch tower he is inspecting begins exploding all around him, Janos soldiers on like usual. Race through the countryside of the island empire of Rumenjia, as one unlucky Prince, along with a stubborn local watch captain join forces with staunch Generals and legendary Wizards to confront the greatest (an