What’s your name or pen name?
My full name is Ryan Michele Nuñez. But I write under my maiden name: Ryan M. Phillips.
What are your genres?
I write contemporary Christian fiction, predominately geared toward African-American women.
What have you written?
To date, I have written five novels. They are:
After the Fall
I’m in Love with a Church Girl
When did you begin your writing career?
I began writing professionally in 2003 at the age of 21. But I’ve had a passion and a proclivity for writing for as long as I can remember and have been writing recreationally since childhood.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?
Oddly, I am both a full-time and a part-time writer. I am a full-time staff writer for The JESUS Film Project. I work on my personal writing projects part-time.
What’s your writing process? (Number of days you write per week, a.m. or p.m., specific music you play while writing, or anything else that you feel is a vital part of your creative process.)
I write every day. Writing is like any other discipline. As with exercise, you have to make a daily commitment to it in order to see your desired results. I generally write in the evenings and on the weekends. If at all possible, I try to work in complete silence; television and music tend to break my train of thought. And I also prefer to work in a small, closed space with a lot of sunlight.
Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?
I do keep a journal, but I no longer write daily entries. During my middle school, high school and college years, I “journaled” religiously. I think it was cathartic, more than anything. At this juncture in my life, I only journal as the need arises—maybe to record a dream or to jot down a story idea. I’m sure it’s helpful for some, but I wouldn’t say it’s an integral part of my writing process.
Real life is often stranger than fiction, so a lot of my inspiration for characters and storylines come from real people and events. When I first started reading Christian fiction, I found myself constantly disappointed by the fluffiness of it—unrealistically perfect characters flawlessly navigating themselves through mildly challenging situations. I am very much inspired by well-written stories in which I can see myself or someone I know struggling, learning, changing and ultimately triumphing. Those are the stories I try to write.
What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?
I would love it if, one day, others referenced my writing as proof that Christian fiction can be just as entertaining and well-written as mainstream fiction. Often, the genre sacrifices realness for edification. But I propose that it is possible to offer both in equal measure. I would love to pave the way for the next generation to write a different, better brand of inspirational fiction.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Write!! I’m always amazed by the number of aspiring writers I meet who admittedly don’t write.
- Read. Read the shampoo bottle, read the cereal box, read books, read magazines, read everything you can get your hands on! And read out loud, when you can. Reading helps you get the rhythm of good writing in your ears.
- Don’t give up. Writing professionally is not for the faint of heart. You will, in all likelihood, get more rejections than you will offers to publish. But keep pushing forward. Writing is extremely subjective and what one editor hates, another may absolutely love. So, if you have a story to tell and you know God has called you to share it with others, hold fast to the knowledge that all things come to pass in His perfect time.
What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?
A few of my favorite authors are: Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella / Madeleine Wickham, Wally Lamb, Nick Hornby, Jodi Picoult, Jhumpa Lahiri. If they’ve written it, I’ve read it (or pre-ordered it)!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my sixth novel, ‘Till Death Do Us Part. I also recently started my own publishing company, Freedom Line Publishing. We will be releasing our first three titles in early 2014. And we’ll also be accepting manuscripts for consideration starting January 1, 2014.
Latest release and book blurb?
My latest novel, I’m in Love with a Church Girl came out in October 2013. It’s based on the major motion picture of the same name, starring Ja Rule and Adrienne Bailon. While it’s not my story, I had a great time adapting the screenplay into a novel. It’s the true life story of the producer, Galley Molina—a drug dealer turned born-again believer and pastor.
How can we purchase your work?
How can we stay in touch with you?
Freedom Line Publishing: www.freedomlinebooks.com (starting January 1, 2014)
Read sample chapters of all of Ryan’s books here. You won’t be disappointed!