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Keepsake that Educates!

Mymcbooks Interview with Author Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill is a two-time graduate of N.C. State University, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a minor in English and a Master of Science in Technical Communication. He is also a film critic with the Carolina Weekly papers in Charlotte. His first book, a children’s illustrated story called J.P. Trouble, will be released on Mid-March 2012.

Ryan also likes Rocky movies, sharks, ninjas, zombies, pizza and reading.

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
Thank you for having me!

What is the last book you read? Driven, by James Sallis. It’s the sequel to his novel Drive, which was adapted into a terrific film starring Ryan Gosling.

What were your earliest memories of writing? I don’t know that I have one specific memory, but I remember in elementary school each year we had to do creative writing, and it was far and away my favorite time of the school year. That remained the case all the way through grad school.


What was your favorite children’s book? Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I once took a sign language class and the final consisted of us signing a story of some sort. I chose Green Eggs and Ham. I am sad I missed out on the whole Walter the Farting Dog craze, though.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? A bit of both. Writing has always been a part of me. I’ve also been fortunate to have wonderful parents who support me in whatever I do, no matter how crazy it is.

Are you working on a new book? I am. There are two more J.P. Trouble books waiting in the wings, and I am also working on a couple of Young Adult novels.

What inspired you to write J.P. Trouble and how did you come up with each character? Believe it or not, J.P. Trouble is actually based on a true story. My father told me the story of how he got his first dog, named J.P. Trouble, and it was fascinating. It happened almost exactly as it does in JPT. The first thought I had after hearing the story was I’ve got to make this a children’s book! To varying extents, the characters are all based off of the real people in the story. I’m not sure if Sally really was snooty, or if that was even her real name.


So you are a film critic with the Carolina Weekly papers in Charlotte. What film did you critic lately? The last film I reviewed was The Cabin in the Woods, which is an amazing horror film. It deconstructs the genre, and the horror film-going experience as a whole, in a way I never thought possible.


What is the most difficult part of writing? The most difficult part is the writing itself. It’s so easy to say “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Next thing you know, three weeks have passed and you haven’t written a word. After that, it’s having the conviction to finish your story. So many writers, including myself, will abandon a project halfway through because of laziness or a lack of confidence in what they’re writing.

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? Full time. I used to have a day job, but once the opportunity presented itself to write full time, I threw caution to the wind and decided to pursue my dream with everything I’ve got.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I’d like to say I don’t look at the reviews, but at this early stage in my writing career that’s very difficult. If I see a bad review I just remind myself that it’s their opinion, they’re entitled to it, and the only thing I can control is how hard I worked on the story. If I feel like I did the best job I could do, then I get over the review in no time at all.

I think every writer has suffered from writer’s block. I can’t remember who said it, but one author said that the best way to cure writer’s block is to change the weather in the scene you’re writing. It worked!

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? My main goal with J.P. Trouble was to tell an entertaining story that most everyone can relate to. I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said to focus on the story and let the audience come up with their own themes. That’s good advice, because (clearly) it makes you focus on story without getting so wrapped up in the theme you end up beating people over the head with it. That said, the theme I hope readers take away from JPT is everyone deserves a friend, regardless of if that friend has two or four legs.


Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Living authors? Christopher Moore is one. He’s my favorite when it comes to ridiculous, absurd fiction. John Green is another. His writing is amazing, and from his Youtube videos he seems like a fascinating person to be around. Maureen Johnson would be another, if only to see if she’s as eccentric/hilarious in person as she is on Twitter. Finally, I’d love to dine with J.K. Rowling. I adore the Harry Potter books, and can’t wait for her next novel to come out.
What author inspires you the most and why? Christopher Moore. He’s my favorite author, and the fact that he gets to write silly books with silly characters doing silly things gives me hope that I too will get to spend my life writing stories that are equally as silly and ridiculous.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? A lot depends on what I’m writing. With a movie review, I typically see a film on a Tuesday night and have to get the review in by 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. With novels, I try to write at least 2,000 words a day. For editing, I work until my eyeballs fall out of my head.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? I think if parents are encouraging their children to read then that’s a wonderful thing. As for the right books? I would say go for books that entertain and make children want to continue reading. Parents should also let their children pick out books themselves, then decide from there if the book is appropriate. When I began sixth grade all I wanted to read were Stephen King novels, and many times my mom would read them before me and decide if it was appropriate or not.


What advice you would give to new writers? Write. Write all you can. Read everything you can get your hands on so you can learn from those who came before you. Also, if you want to be a writer, be a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s an impossible dream, because it’s not.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Always try to find at least a few minutes a day where you can read something for enjoyment. Also, if you have children, encourage them to read as much as possible.

Thank you for this interview.

Thank you!


May 1, 2012 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , ,


  1. I completely relate with what he said about the most difficult part of writing. I’m not an author, but I feel the same way when I write papers or detailed blog entries…or any major assignment. It’s so easy to put off. I love that this book is based on a true story. When I find out that a book was based on a true story, it makes the book even more interesting to me.

    Comment by Leanne | May 1, 2012 | Reply

  2. I love his answer to the question “were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?”. It is very important to have support while “chasing” a dream.

    Comment by Kelly L | May 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. I really enjoyed Ryan’s nterview. I love the cover of J.P. Trouble. Children always adapt to animals in stories (at least my grands do).Thanks for the introduction to Ryan and his book. 🙂
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    Comment by carol L | May 2, 2012 | Reply

  4. This is exciting! A NC State graduate living in Charlotte and writing children’s books! Well, I hail from NC, too, and enjoyed reading this interview and reading the review of his book. Question: Was Ryan ever bullied as a child and was that the story behind the story? Would love to win this book and place it in the library at Alamance Christian School in Graham, NC. 🙂

    godleyv at yahoo [dot] com

    Comment by Vera Godley | May 2, 2012 | Reply

  5. Great interview – I especially agree that everyone deserves a friend! And my day wouldn’t be complete without some reading for pleasure. I look forward to more JPT adventures.

    Comment by tmy56 | May 3, 2012 | Reply

  6. An author after my heart… I love green eggs and ham too! I love his encouragement on reading and writing too. Great interview!

    Comment by Larissa brunken | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  7. Your book sounds great! NC State fans here! Hubby is an alum! I would love to be able to share this book with my Kindergarteners. There are bullies at that age too believe it or not and children have to learn it is wrong to bully at a young age! Congrats on your book!

    Comment by Kelly Beam Brown | May 12, 2012 | Reply

  8. I think Ryan’s advice that the best way to cure writer’s block is to change the weather in the scene you’re writing is very helpful. I look forward to reading about the adventures of Johnny Lippett and J.P Trouble.

    Comment by likwan | May 19, 2012 | Reply

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