Today, I’m interviewing Ripley Proserpina and she’s answered some juicy questions for us about her and her book.
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
My most recent book is Finding Honor. It’s a story about a girl, Nora, who has never been able to count on anyone but herself. She does the best she can, getting by day-to-day, working as a housekeeper, substitute teacher, and at a deli. While substitute teaching, a horrible event occurs and she comes face-to-face death. Suddenly, she realizes, “Crap. I’m going to die and what have I done with my life?” It’s definitely a come-to-Jesus moment, but she’s left even more disappointed in herself because after surviving, all she wants to do is crawl into a hole and hide.
Unexpectedly, she meets a young man who wants to help her, and then another young man, and another, and another, and yes, another. All of them speak to her heart in ways no one ever has, and because love is the last thing on her mind, this strange, unique relationship, takes her completely by surprise.
The book is a romance, but at its heart is this girl who has to learn to stand up for herself, flip the rest of the world the bird, and listen to her heart. Her past hasn’t broken her, but it’s squashed her, making her doubt her instincts and intelligence. With the help of these guys, who also have dark pasts and experiences to overcome, she starts to trust herself again.
Which brings up the major twist in my story. It’s “reverse harem.” For those who aren’t familiar with reverse harem, it’s the “I’ll take both!” answer to the love triangle (or in this case, love pentagon). Reverse harem doesn’t necessarily mean the girl ends up with all the boys (though I am a fan of happy endings, and things working out as they should), but she is the sun around which the guys revolve.
Think: Leia, Luke, Hans, Chewy, Yoda, and Obi-Wan. Or Hermione, Ron, Harry, Neville, and Dumbledore. There’s one strong, central, female character. (I get these aren’t romances, and I’m ignoring how Luke is the main character in Star Wars, and it’s Harry Potter, not Hermione Granger and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but bear with me).
I love the theme of this story. I’m all about empowering women in stories.
What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
Nora would probably say I’m a sucker. She tells me what she wants to do, I let her do it. Even when she wants to do something I never intended her to do. To be fair though, I let her guys do the same thing; I’m an equal opportunity push-over.
Then she’d probably point out how I’m a sucker in real life as well— using the giant German Shepherd at my feet (husband begged), and third cat (my little boy liked how he sneezed) as examples.
I’m sure she’d have a sarcastic comment about all my complaining about the New England cold, but she’d admit the winters are a small price to pay for beautiful summers.
Finally, I think she’d mention that I manage to write Nutella into every book.This wouldn’t be a complaint. We both love it.
I’m such a sucker for animals and Nutella, too! What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery. I was a lot like Emily growing up: dark, temperamental. I wanted to be a writer as soon as I could read, and wrote poems, stories, and a ton of Newsies fan fictions.
Emily has a teacher, a grouchy, mean teacher, and she shows him her poems and he goes through them: “Horrible, horrible, trash…” He makes fun of the parts she loved, but finds one line and says, “Well done.”
She’s ready to give up writing, but he tells her, “One good line out of fifty? Keep writing. This line shows promise.”
I think everyone who writes goes back to pieces they’ve written and think, “This is the worst thing ever. What am I doing?” But this line is always in the back of my mind. I don’t know if I would have kept writing if I hadn’t read Emily. There’s something about reading a book when you’re a child; the words get under your skin, stay with you in a different way. You believe the things you read without cynicism.
Sorry, I can’t help but wax poetic about LM Montgomery.
That’s so inspiring and so true of writing. We do have to learn to accept the bad writing as part of the process.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend the day with Matisse, one of Nora’s guys. I don’t really know what Matisse does during the day. He has a motorcycle, speaks French, stays up all night, and can somehow find information about people no one else can. He’s not a spy, but he’s definitely mysterious, and I’m suspicious of him.
My plan is to follow him around: “Go about your business, Tisse. I’ll just observe from here. Ignore the notebook.”
We would also go for a ride on his motorcycle. I might make him read me poetry. He’d do it, too. I think I could wheedle him into it; he has such a lovely voice.
You have to love a man who rides a motorcycle. Are you working on another book?
I’m just finishing up the second book in Nora’s series, The Searchers. The first book, Finding Honor, comes out in December, her novella, Finding Nora, comes out at the end of December, and the second, full-length book, Finding Ryan, is about the first guy she meets and falls in love with; the one who introduces her to all the other guys. It’s been a really fun book to write, because I get to learn how the guys met each other and became friends, but I also get to delve into Ryan’s past, and see how it shapes his relationship with Nora.
About Finding Honor
The Searchers, book1
By Ripley Proserpina
Releases on December 6, 2017
Nora Leslie’s twenty-year existence revolved around one thing—survival. A split second decision under a hail of gunfire saves the lives of her students and alters her own forever.
When she wakes in the hospital, Nora finds herself a suspect in the worst tragedy to ever strike her small college town. Thrust into the spotlight as the villain, instead of the hero, she is in desperate need of allies
A chance meeting introduces her to Ryan Valore, a young law student searching to outrun the guilt of his past. With the world turned against her, Nora accepts his aid, and the help of his roommates, a group of guys with pasts as dark as her own. For them, Nora is everything they never believed they deserved.
About the Author
Social Media links:
Ripley Proserpina (FB)