With the recent completion of the first book in her young adult fiction trilogy, Quarantine, I couldn’t resist interviewing Riley about her work. In the few years I’ve known Riley, writing has always been one of her most profound gifts. Currently, she has worked on close to a hundred books, both solo and collaborative, and finished four novels. Riley also excels in poetry and has written four to five separate poetry books as well.
I first asked Riley to talk about how she first discovered her passion and began her career as a writer. She began when she was around four years old by using old software to draw pictures and come up with corresponding stories. However, it was 7th grade when she began to write her first book. “I had a friend in 7th grade and we decided to write a book together. We wrote an entire trilogy about Zombies which was about 900 pages total. Once we finished, we printed and sold it in school. It was really bad.”
Recently, Riley has remastered this first trilogy in the form of her most recent masterpiece: Quarantine. This trilogy is being written solo by Riley with a similar concept to the original but with different characters.Unlike most of Riley’s work, this trilogy is young adult fiction, a more toned down version of her usual adult fiction preference.
As someone who has a VERY difficult time writing fiction pieces, I was curious to find out how Riley finds inspiration for her work and develops characters. “I base my characters off of friends and family.” Starting with a foundation that included the personality and traits of people she already knows and has experience with gives her a more intimate connection with the characters. Instead of finding inspiration in tangible objects, Riley said, “Ill just be dreaming or zoning out in class and find inspiration.” Her process from writing poetry, as opposed to novels, is much different. “I can only write poetry when I’m going through it.” Riley explained that it’s nearly impossible for her to write happy poetry since writing it required her to “feel it“. All of Riley’s poetry is self described as “sad, depressing, and heartbreaking“.
Despite her success and dedication, being a young author isn’t always easy. “Nobody takes my writing seriously. Only about 3 people have emailed me about my writing… When I release new work, people act excited but never actually read my book which is kind of a let down.” Although most would become easily discouraged, Riley continues to pursue her passion and has a message for individuals who put down young writers. “Take them seriously. Right now I’m at an age that I’ll find something I’m passionate about and adults will tell you can’t do that and make a living. ‘You’ll live on the streets.’ That’s unacceptable to say to a kid with a dream.”
Riley would like to remind young writers hoping to pursue a writing career not to become discouraged even when things don’t work out at first. “Don’t listen to whats new and popular. The book I just finished was about zombies and thats tacky and outdated, but I wrote it anyways because it made ME happy.” It is so important to keep this in mind. Sometimes, you really have to do something for your own personal happiness without the blessings of others in order to fulfill your dreams.
In the future, Riley hopes to earn an English degree and pursue a career as an English teacher in addition to continuing to publish books. She will have one of her original poems published in an upcoming book by the American Poetry Company and plans to release all three books in the Quarantine trilogy, plus two other solo books, for purchase within the next year.
You can keep up with Riley’s work by following her promotional instagram page (@RMEvans_) or email her for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you to Riley for so graciously allowing me to interview her!
Until next post,