Author Spotlight: Roan Parrish

Howdy Folks!

Happy Monday to ya! I’m recovering from an awesome day at the Brooklyn Book Festival. My weekend went by quickly, but it’s always fantastic when I have the opportunity to pimp the romance genre and convert new readers. Special shout-out to all of the authors who came out to represent RWA NYC!

Okay, so if you follow me on social media, you know there are a handful of authors I unabashedly fangirl over and this week’s featured author is one of them. When I emailed her to ask if she wanted to partake in an interview, her response made my heart do little backflips. I’d been trying to figure out how to have a conversation with her outside of Twitter. I’m not usually awkward about asking people to do these interviews, LoL but I swear it took me some time to build up the courage to ask Roan. I squealed at my computer when she said yes. NO LIE!

I adore Roan’s writing style. As someone who also writes first person POV, I know all too well how challenging it can be to lure a reader in, but this woman does it flawlessly. FLAWLESSLY. 

If you haven’t read her work, I highly encourage you to do so! Get to know a little about this fabulous lady.

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I get really strong vibes off of people, which means I basically decide whether I like or hate someone within three minutes of meeting them. I’ve always been that way, and people have told me a thousand times to wait to make a decision, or to be less judgmental. But it’s not a judgment—it’s not whether they’re a worthwhile human or not. It’s whether I enjoy being in their presence. And there are plenty of people I’ve met who are interesting, kind, generous, smart people who I’m glad exist in the world. And I still don’t like being around them.

A two-part question! 

(a) What’s the first thing you ever wrote and thought, “Hey, this is good!”

Almost certainly some terrible poem from when I was in elementary school.  

(b) What attracted you to writing romance? 

I started writing my first romance novel for a friend, but I quickly realized that I loved it. I’m moody as fuck and spend a lot of time thinking about feelings and about psychology and about people, so romance was a pretty natural fit, since it’s all about characters having feelings about other characters who are having feelings. And, at least in mine, someone is always moody as fuck.

What rap song can you recite verbatim while keeping your flow tight?

I don’t know that I would claim my flow is ever exactly tight but “Baby Got Back” is pretty firmly lodged in my memory forever. That’s basically the whitest answer ever, huh?

What’s your favorite vegetable?

I can’t think of a single vegetable I don’t like, in some preparation or another, so this is hard. I guess I’ll say onions, because they’re the base of so many different dishes. I am dissatisfied with this answer.

Finish this sentence: Sex is meant to be _____.

Consensual. Other than that, I don’t think there’s any one thing sex is meant to be. It’s as individual as the people participating in it.

If you had the ability to travel through time, what exact moment in your past would you relive again?

I can’t think of any that I’d want to relive and now I’m feeling like maybe this is a horrible indicator that I’ve never had a single moment of pure happiness in my life. But maybe it just means that I don’t like repetition? I had this same feeling when I first read Harry Potter and Lupin’s telling Harry that to conjure a patronus he needs a memory that is so epically happy and I was unable to think of any that I could use, and I just knew in that fateful moment when I needed a patronus I wouldn’t be able to conjure one! Not like I’m a horribly sad person or anything, I’m maybe just incapable of joy? No, no, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

It’s no secret I do these interviews because I have no shame when it comes to my fangirling, but who do you fangirl over?

Well, I’m a terrible fan because I find it deeply embarrassing and awkward to be the center of attention, so I go to great lengths never to do it to someone else. I love Rufus Wainwright’s music, and I’ve seen him at the opera several times and said nothing because, like, he’s at the opera, leave the poor man alone. So, yeah, at my most fannish, even if I do talk to someone, I just get overwhelmed and then say nothing. Seriously, it’s bad. I got a book signed by China Miéville once, and when it was my turn I just stood there in total silence because my internal monologue was: I could say how much I like his work, but what’s the point because he hears it all the time and a hundred people just said it. I don’t want to hold up the line, so I’m not gonna try and talk about anything of substance. He’s probably exhausted from all of this so I don’t want to ask any questions that would take a lot of energy to answer. There’s no point in introducing myself because I’ll never see him again … Et cetera. So, yeah, I said nothing, and it made him so uncomfortable that he started nervously denigrating his own handwriting and peering up at me like maybe I was some kind of assassin. Very. Awkward. Go. Me. (As it happened, I did meet him again about a year later and we talked for a while and he was totally lovely and everything was fine.)

But in terms of romancelandia people who I’d feel fannish about if I met them? Probably if I met Jordan Castillo Price I’d just stand there like a lump and in my head I’d be thinking But I love you.

What’s one thing you want the public to know about romance writers?

That there’s no stereotype: We’re not all romantic. We’re not all married. We’re not all single. We’re not all straight. We’re not all white. We’re not all happy. We’re not all swoony. We’re not all cynical. We don’t all think Jane Austen was the apex of literary achievement. We don’t all hate her.

Tell me about your writing process. Do you have a particular ritual that must happen before you get words on the page?

Nah, not really a ritual. Mostly, as I’m thinking about any project, I dump thoughts and ideas and chunks of prose into a Scrivener document for later. I have an app on my phone, Pensieve, that is just designed so you can type into it and it sends the words to your email. So, I do a lot of sending myself messages of tidbits and then putting them in the doc. By the time I get ready to plan what the story is, I have enough little tidbits that a lot of things about character have become clear, and once the characters are clear the story just kind of … is there. I love this quote from Thomas Harris: “To write a novel, you begin with what you can see and then you add what came before and what came after … It’s all there and you just have to find it.” That’s very much how it feels for me. If I start with one thing I can see about a character, then certain other things have to be true, or cannot possibly be true. Planning out the story is kind of secondary, because for me it’s all about character. If you really know your characters, you could write any story about them. It doesn’t really matter if they are a security guard working at a zoo who has to catch an elephant thief, or a painter staring out the window—you still know what they’ll do, how they feel, what they want.

Finish this sentence: People confuse sex with love because _____.

Probably, because we’re taught to. Our culture views sex as most acceptable within the context of love, so we’re taught pretty early that they’re connected. Then we’re left to figure out it isn’t true for the rest of our lives.

Out of all of the characters you’ve created, who would you say confuses sex with love? **I asked this because I’m selfish and I always want to dive into a character’s backstory. I love knowing what makes them tick**

Leo Ware, absolutely. At the beginning of Where We Left Off, Leo is a romantic who fundamentally believes that sex is an expression of love, or an indication of it. A huge part of his journey with Will in that book is coming to realize that even if sex and love are linked for him, that does not mean they’re linked for everyone. For Will, sex and love are not necessarily connected, so when he and Leo begin a sexual relationship, sex signifies very different things for each of them, and throughout the book, as they fall in love, it’s something they have to negotiate.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

I have and I would.


Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency. 

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Looking to activate your one-click finger? Check out Small Change. I read this not too long ago and I looooved it. I’ve always been Team Ginger though. #biased

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