Q&A With T.R. Ragan

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Q&A With T.R. Ragan

Tonight I have the honor of doing a Q&A with T.R. Ragan.  I messaged T.R. Ragan on Instagram asking about doing a Q&A and she agreed. T.R. Ragan’s mystery thriller novels have been on the New York Times Bestsellers list, USA Today and Wall Street Journal. Some of her titles are Such a Beautiful Family, Deranged, Deadly Recall, and Out of Her Mind


Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part about writing mystery thriller novels?

A:  My favorite part of writing any novel is finishing the first draft. It’s such a relief and always feels like a huge accomplishment. I also look love the revision process because that’s when a novel begins to truly take shape and characters are fleshed out and become three dimensional.

The worst part is setting up the story, knowing your readers are easily bored and you need to get right to the story. No info dumps allowed. No boring characters and no unnecessary filler scenes.


Q: Do you prefer to write series or standalone novels more?

A:  I like writing both, but writing in a series is easier for me. When I wrote Abducted, my intention was for it to be a standalone, but after my editor suggested I write a sequel, I went for it, and the Lizzy Gardner series was born. I didn’t write a thriller standalone until Count to Three in 2021, and then Such a Beautiful Family. Series are easier for me to write because I already know my characters so well. 


Q: When in your life did you realize that your calling was to be an author? 

A:  I was a waitress for a few years before I became a legal secretary at a large corporation. It wasn’t until 1991, when I was pregnant with my fourth child and was on leave of absence from work that my sister handed me a romance novel—Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I was swept away to another world, escapism at its best! The moment I finished that book, I started writing my own and I never looked back. I had found my passion and I suddenly wanted to prove to myself and my children that dedication to the craft and sheer perseverance would get me to my goal. Twenty years later, despite signing with two agents and doing well in contests for unpublished writers, I was nearly ready to wave the white flag in defeat when I heard about self-publishing on Amazon. With seven novels written by then, and nothing to lose, I learned html and formatted my word documents on my own. After self-publishing my medieval time travel romance novels in 2011, I was stunned to watch my books climb to the top of the Amazon charts. I was in the right place, at the right time. By that time, I had finished my first thriller. Abducted hit the top five, garnered attention from editors, and changed my life.


Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to be an author? What’s your advice to anyone struggling with writers block?

A:  My advice to anyone who wants to write a book, is to sit down and do it. Sit your butt in the chair and write five hundred words, or one page a day. Just do it! If you have a full time job, get those words out during lunch, late at night, or early in the morning. For those struggling with writer’s block, skip ahead and write any exciting scene that might motivate or inspire, whether the scene will appear in the middle of the book or at the end. Just get the words written. The real writing is in the revising process. The first crappy draft doesn’t need to be seen by anyone but you.


Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so is it a standalone novel or is it part of any of your series? Or is it the beginning of a new series all together?

A: I am writing two novels at once. One is the return of beloved characters from another series (my lips are sealed) and the other is a standalone about a girl gone missing and the affect that has on the entire family. Is she alive or dead and who is responsible for her disappearance?


Q: If you were to write in another genre, which genre would it be and why?

A: I started out writing medieval time travels romance, and then contemporary romance, and finally romantic suspense and thrillers. If I could find the time, I would finish my third time travel set in 17th century London because that partially written book still calls to me. I like the characters and I love researching the era.


Q: If you were to collaborate with another author, who would it be and why?

A: Lisa Gardner because she is talented and I love how she weaves a story. She’s also kind and supportive of other authors. Years ago, I used the sources she offers on her website to write Abducted. I also wouldn’t mind collaborating with Stephen King. Ha! Who wouldn’t? The idea of learning and working with the KING would be an out-of-this-world experience. 


Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels? Are any of them in production now? 

A: My Lizzy Gardner series (Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies) was optioned by CBS and then renewed but never went anywhere, something that often happens in the industry. I feel strongly that Hollywood will see the light and that someday I will get to see my characters come to life on the big screen.  


Thank you, Bianca!