Friday, September 20, 2013

Interview with Tom Ryan, author of Tag Along and US/CAN giveaway of signed copy of his book!

Tag AlongI'm so excited to introduce Tom Ryan, the author of the wonderful Tag Along, which totally took me by surprise! (In a good way, of course!)

Goodreads Book Description: It’s junior prom night. Andrea is grounded, Paul is having panic attacks, Roemi has been stood up, and Candace is trying to avoid one particular cop. Over the course of eight eventful hours, paths are crossed, plans are changed, messages are mixed, and four near-strangers form some unlikely bonds.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb about the Author:
Tom Ryan was born and raised in Inverness, on Cape Breton Island. He spent his childhood reading, wandering the countryside, making up stories and bossing around his younger brothers. After high school, he studied English at Mount Allison University and then moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he studied film production. He currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his partner and dog. In the future, he would like to write more books, travel the world, direct a feature film and eventually move back to beautiful Nova Scotia.

Author Interview
1. I always love hearing about how authors got started. Can you regale us with your story?
I’ve been making up stories since as long as I can remember. I lived in a really rural part of the world – in an old farmhouse on a dirt road surrounded by fields and forests and the low lying mountains of the Cape Breton highlands – so I spent a lot of time by myself, wandering around and imagining myself getting caught up in adventures. 

I also read books constantly. I grew up in the 80s, pre-internet, and we didn’t have cable, just a couple of local Canadian channels with very little to watch, so books were my world. I’m so happy that I was pretty much forced into that corner, because I’m still not sure if I would have become the reader I am today if I’d had access the distractions of today’s world!

I loved books so much, in fact, that I ended up studying English literature at university. One of the courses I took was a creative writing workshop. It was my final year, and every Friday afternoon ten of us would meet with our amazing professor in a wood paneled room high in the rafters of the old stone humanities building. That course totally changed the way I looked at myself as a writer. Having the opportunity to discuss my work with other fledgling writers under the guidance of a creative and enthusiastic teacher, really lit a fire under my butt. I kept writing after I graduated, and eventually that lead to the opportunity to publish my first YA novel, WAY TO GO. 

2. My favorite part of your story is how amazingly real all of your characters seem. Did you have a personal favorite? (I did). Did any of them surprise you?
I’m really happy to hear you say that! One of the things I remember most clearly and fondly about high school is how so many crazy combinations of friends were able to develop in unusual but organic ways. I wanted to write a book that followed a few different characters through the same night, and it was really important to me that each of the four main characters – Paul, Andrea, Candace and Roemi – have distinct voices.

I did a lot of planning before I wrote, since I had to weave together four different plotlines, and so I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen with each character, but I have to say that at the end of everything, Candace really surprised me. Her story took me in a different direction than I’d originally expected, and her outcome was maybe the most satisfying for me. 

As for favorite character, that’s like asking someone about their favorite kid! I will say that the idea for the book came to me when Roemi burst into my mind, fully formed. It’s a special thing as an author to have a character show up ready to roll. I just had to sit back and let him do all of the work, so I definitely have a special fondness for him.

 3. In three words, how would you describe Tag Along?
Good question! Hmmmm…. I’m going to go with “unexpected friendships develop.”

 4. Did you come up with the title Tag Along? If so, how did you come up with it?
Yep, it’s my title. The funny thing is, I just stuck it onto the manuscript when I submitted it, because I couldn’t think of anything better. I always figured I’d change it, but as the book went through several rounds of editing, it became clearer and clearer that it had a nice ring to it and it really does fit the story.

 5. What is a book you wish you could read again for the first time?
Oh man, this is a tough one. There are so many. I’m going to go with “The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt, because I absolutely love that book. I read it on vacation about five years ago – we were renting a little cottage on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and I sat on the beach and devoured it. Now whenever I see a copy for sale at a yard sale or secondhand bookstore, I grab it and give it to the next friend who admits they haven’t read it.

I also love her second book “The Little Friend,” and I’m super excited for her third book, “The Goldfinch,” which comes out in October!

6. What person have you always wanted to meet?
Oprah. Don’t judge me.

7. What do you have on the horizon? Will we ever see the characters from Tag Along again?
I have a couple of middle grade novels coming out, one in October, at the same time as TAG ALONG, and one in the spring. They’re called TOTALLY UNRELATED and BIG TIME, and they are both part of a new line of books Orca Book Publishers is releasing about young teens in the performing arts. They were a lot of fun to write.
At the moment I’m working exclusively on a manuscript that I hope to use to find an agent. I was lucky enough to get into the publishing biz without even querying, but I’m at a point now where I could really use some advice and help developing my career. As for what the book is about, I’ll just say that it’s book one in a trilogy, and I’ve been working on it for over a year and hoping to wrap it up over the next couple of months. It’s been a departure for me, since it’s my first non-contemporary, but I’ve loved every second of writing it!
Thanks so much for joining us, Tom, and enter to win his awesome book! Also, stick around for tomorrow's interview with the fabulous Roemi, my favorite character in Tag Along!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My prom was boring. Nothing much happened unfortunately... Nothing like the books!

  2. I entered your giveaway.
    It would be great to win
    a copy of Tag Along by Tom Ryan and some swag.
    I enjoyed reading your interview.
    I have never read any of this author's books
    but i enjoy reading and discovering new authors.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!

  3. You know I want this book so bad!!!! Fingers & toes crossed!!!