R. Lee Fryar| Interview
Mixing it up with cuisine, home renovations, and ghosts.
Here with me today is debut author R. Lee Fryar. Her paranormal romance, Flipping, book one of the Haunted Hearts series, releases today!
Welcome and congratulations on your new release! Tell me a little about Flipping and where you came up with the idea for the story.
Flipping is the story of a gay ghost who lives in a haunted house with his ghostly found family. Charley is as happy as any dead man could be until the house passes into the hands of Austin Sparks, an ambitious house flipper who is eager to fix the place up and sell it so he can get on with rebuilding his own life. There’re just two problems with his plan: home renovations destroy haunted houses and Charley will do anything to stop Austin from succeeding. Charley comes up with a foolproof plan to get rid of Austin. There are just two problems with his plan: Austin is psychic, and Charley has the hots for him.
I came up with the idea while driving home from work one day. I was pondering the notion of why home renovations seem to trigger paranormal activity so much and a house flipping commercial came on the radio. By the time I got home an hour later the story had practically written itself in my mind.
That’s so cool. I love when inspiration hits like that. Tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to become a writer?
Well…truth time. I was never inspired to become a writer. I wasn’t going to be one at any point in my career up until about five or six years ago. I wrote stories to entertain myself. It turned out they could entertain other people, though, so here we are.
I’m a Southern writer, although not from the deep South like my main character Charley, so my writing probably has some vernacular that’s a little interesting. I write ghost stories, but I also write adult fantasy and fantasy romance.
I’m partial to a good ghost story myself LOL. If you can, pick a favorite character from your new release and tell me why they’re your favorite.
Oh, Charley is my favorite. From the first lines he had me laughing at him and wanting to spend time in his kitchen, listening to him tell me about his life and how amazing a haunted house can be. Also, he’s a fabulous cook, so there would be pie and coffee. When he’s paired up with Austin, the banter is almost non-stop. He was a joy to write.
Well, now you have me truly intrigued, because how can a ghost cook? Does he get to show off his skills in the book?
Ghost cooking is really neat. The haunted house helps, providing ingredients for meals that were eaten in the house over the years. All the ghosts have jobs, and Charley does the cooking for the ghost meals. He likes it, too, so there are plenty of meals in the book. The living aren't able to eat ghost food because it's too perfect for them, but Charley pushes that law a bit!
That is so unique! Love it! Where does your book take place and why did you choose this particular setting?
Oddly enough, I didn’t choose it as much as Charley did. When I was coming up with the idea, this chatty ghost simply said, Savannah, Georgia, and so that’s where he’s from. At the time, I actually hadn’t done much research on how haunted Savannah is. Turned out, it’s pretty haunted, and it made a fantastic setting for a funny ghost romance.
Can’t wait to read this book! Comedy and ghosts are kind of my thing. So are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have pre-writing routine or do you just go with the flow?
I’m a pantser. I don’t have a pre-writing routine. Story builds itself in my head; I just write it down.
And what’s a writer quirk you have that will make people raise their eyebrows?
Probably that I seldom write in complete quiet. Most of the time, I need background noise. It’s not unusual for me to drag my laptop out to the kitchen to write while I’m cooking or listening to the television or family conversations in the background. I don’t write to music that often, but noise…noise is good.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and how is that working out for you so far?
My mild-mannered ego is a small animal veterinarian. I was planning on doing only that when I grew up from about the age of five. Then I guess I grew up and got bored, and decided to do more things. But the veterinarian thing also worked out. I’m ace at pilling cats.
Haha. I need you at my house with my two furballs. Are there any words of wisdom you want to share with new writers?
Trust yourself. It’s very easy to get in the habit of letting external fears make you doubt yourself and your work.
Fantastic words of wisdom. What are you working on right now? Does it connect to your new release?
At the moment, I’m editing an adult fantasy that is set to publish later this fall, and in about a month, the sequel to Flipping comes back up in my rotation for revising again. It’s been through two already since I drafted it a few months after I thought Flipping would be a standalone. Surprise, it wasn’t.
That sounds exciting! Where can readers interact with you or find out more?
I’m often on Twitter. But if anyone is ever in central Arkansas, I’m a lot more interesting in the wild.
LOL. Sounds like we should go hunt you down! And you can check out her website here. Thank you for chatting with me today. Let’s leave some links below so readers can find your newest release and give them a taste of what to expect.
The old lady who thought she owned our house was dead. They were burying her this morning. I watched the funeral from our front porch, cup of coffee in one hand, a warm biscuit in the other.
Alice, dressed in her graveyard best, slipped through the door and glided out next to me, glancing at my coffee cup with detached interest. “How nice of the house to keep that for you.”
“It was.” I smiled down at the rosebud cup with its delicate gold-leaf handle. It was one of the few things Ms. Martingale owned that might’ve belonged to this place, back when it was a grand Greek Revival mansion, dripping with Southern antebellum charm and wisteria vines. The morning she died, the entire service, cups, plates, and creamer pitcher, appeared in the butler’s pantry for me, brand spanking new. The faint aroma of death already surrounded it like it surrounded everything we ghosts owned in the house.
“I thought you were going with Robert,” Alice said. “For spiritual support.”
Ah, yes, nothing like a hot guilt trip with breakfast.
“I went to my own funeral. That was one too many.” I leaned against the graying column, careful not to slip into it, and stared out at the falling rain.
“You’re his mentor. You’re supposed to give him the benefit of your experience.”
Crimson anger flooded the edges of my essence. “He used to be married. That’s plenty of experience.” She wasn’t going to let this go, but I didn’t want to watch Robert turn ten shades of purple if I talked about love, loss, and my “experience.”
“Charley, he’s not been dead that long—”
“He’s eighty-five years old, Alice, a grown man. He fucked up. He’s got to deal with it.”
She pursed her lips in prudish disapproval. Although greatly faded since the day of her death, her sharp blue eyes could still cut me open. “You might’ve at least made a showing if you cared.” None of us were in the best of moods, not with the recent upheaval in our afterlives.