I’m honored to interview Theresa Ragan/TR Ragan, author of Don’t Make a Sound, for my blog today. Theresa is from Sacramento, California.
Thanks for joining me today, Theresa.
How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
In 2011, after writing for 20 years and struggling to get published, I self-published two time travel romance novels—Return of the Rose and A Knight in Central Park, four contemporary romance novels, and a romantic suspense novel under the name Theresa Ragan. Soon after, I self-published one thriller titled Abducted by TR Ragan, which shot up to the top of the Amazon store. Months later I was approached by publishers. By that time I had sold more than 350,000 books. In March 2012, I sold Abducted and two more books in the Lizzy Gardner series to Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer thriller imprint. I have been with T&M ever since!
Self-published: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, Here Comes the Bride, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, I Will Wait for You: a novella
Published with Thomas & Mercer: Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies; Faith McMann Trilogy: Furious, Outrage, and Wrath; Jessie Cole series: Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep; Sawyer Brooks series: Don’t Make a Sound, Out of Her Mind, and Untitled Book #3.
What a great story. My first book, Cloudy Rainbow, a paranormal romance, was also self-published but I used a publishing company to do it. That book has since been reprinted with the publisher of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. I also write traditional mysteries and short stories of various genres. My latest book, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery, and I just submitted a medical mystery to one of my publishers. I’ve also always enjoyed time travel and Twilight-Zone type tales and have a manuscript for one I hope to get back to soon.
Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
My newest series is about three sisters who all grew up within a dysfunctional family in a small town with lots of secrets. I have four sisters of my own, and we all remember things from our childhood a little differently. Same goes for Sawyer Brooks and her two sisters. They all handle the lingering horrors of their childhood a little bit differently. Sawyer Brooks, the youngest of the three, is the main character weaved through the three-book series. She struggles to overcome her feelings of being abandoned by her older sisters. It isn’t until she returns to her hometown that she learns that not everything is what it seemed. DON’T MAKE A SOUND by TR RAGAN was released on June 1, 2020.
Congratulations on your new release and interesting comment about how people remember things differently. I just submitted a manuscript that deals with repressed memories of a trauma that the main character is seeking to recall to solve a murder.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
My goals as a writer is to always improve, always push myself to do better. After I turn in the third Sawyer Brooks novel next month, I will be writing my first standalone. I’m excited!
That’s great. I enjoy writing both standalones and series books.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
When I write, I usually have readers like myself in mind. People who know the difference between right and wrong. People who want justice for all. My thrillers are about everyday people overcoming tremendous obstacles and finding ways to not only move on in life, but thrive. My heroines are not victims. They are survivors.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Read and write. If you have to give up TV to write for an hour after coming home from a full-time job, then do it! If you’re at home raising kids, write while they’re asleep or at school or while you’re waiting in the pick-up line to bring them home. I started writing when I was pregnant with my fourth child. My first book took me five years to write. I call it my Writing 101 Class. I thought about quitting a few times, but I didn’t. I wrote every day. I was determined and I persevered. When the rejection letters came in the mail, I cried for five minutes and then kept on writing. I have sold over three million books and I hope to sell three million more. It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would be writing a book. But if I can make it happen, so can you.
Three million books! That’s amazing. You’re an inspiration for many would-be and less successful authors including me.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Finding time was the most difficult part. I worked full-time while raising four kids. When daycare costs became more than my paycheck, it made sense for me to stay home while my husband worked to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I wrote late at night and early in the morning. There were six of us in a small house, so I set up a table in my bedroom and that’s where I wrote for the first fifteen years. I also wrote in bed and at the dining room table and in the car. When I signed with my first agent, I thought I had made it! I was so excited. I made all the revisions that editors asked of me, but to no avail. After writing for more than fifteen years, I grew frustrated and I started writing my first thriller, ABDUCTED. I got out my frustrations with the publishing world by killing off characters. If a character didn’t spit out great dialogue—off with their head. I’m kidding. Sort of. The point is, I found a new genre and I found my voice. Everything changed after that.
Such an incredible story. While I also work full-time and have difficulty finding the time to fit in writing, I can’t imagine what you went through with four kids while I only have one daughter, now a teenager, and 3 cats. I’m still trying to find an agent and a large publisher, but I’m not waiting for that to happen.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I belong to ThrillerFest, RWA, and the Sacramento Chapter of RWA.
I haven’t heard of ThrillerFest, but I belong to International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters-in-Crime and a few other groups.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love hanging out with my husband and all four of my grown children. I play the piano, self-taught since the age of fourteen. I love hiking with my sisters, too.
Nice. I tried to teach myself piano, but I haven’t played in years. I enjoy walking and a little running that’s not too hard on my knees, but I haven’t tried hiking.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
The most challenging part for me is writing the first 100 pages of every single book. It doesn’t matter if it’s the second book in a series or the sixth. Those first 100 pages can cause me to lose sleep. I’m also not a big fan of deadlines. But that’s part of the deal! The very best part is writing THE END and realizing I did it again! Of course, I still have to revise, revise, revise, but that first draft is the tough part.
The best part for me is taking an everyday person/character and putting them in harrowing situations to see how they’ll deal with finding a way out of this often deadly and dangerous predicament. In my Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath) a wife, mother, and teacher is left for dead. Her husband has been killed and her two children have been kidnapped. Once Faith McMann begins to recuperate, she realizes she might be her children’s only hope. Faith becomes stronger, physically and mentally, and there is nothing that will stop her from finding her kids.
Good answers. I get stuck in the middle, but then I find that it gets going again if I don’t give up. The hardest part for me is promoting and marketing my books because I’d rather be writing which is my favorite part of the process because I enjoy creating characters and seeing where they lead me.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
Of all those tragic memories, the night her sisters left was the most troubling, often as eerily vague as it was disturbingly real. Sawyer had been wearing her favorite nightgown, a light-pink cotton shift with a torn hem that fell below her knees. Out of breath and freezing cold, her heart hammering against her chest, she’d stood on the front porch of their old house in River Rock, staring into the night, praying it was all a bad dream and her sisters would return. That’s when a weighty hand had clamped down around her shoulder.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I would like anyone who reads one of my books to know that my sole purpose is to entertain. I would love for readers to finish a book of mine and truly feel empowered—to know there is absolutely no obstacle they can’t conquer.
Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out my website at http://www.trragan.com
Very nice. Thanks for the great interview, and I will also share your current blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on your new release.
Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
by T.R. Ragan
About Don’t Make A Sound
Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
1st in Series
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2020)
Paperback: 287 pages
Digital ASIN: B07S4MFSFG
Her own past could be a reporter’s biggest story in this twisting thriller about murder and family secrets by the New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.
Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.
River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.
When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?
About T.R. Ragan
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author T.R. Ragan has sold more than three million books since her debut novel appeared in 2011. She is the author of the Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath); the Lizzy Gardner series (Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies) ; and the Jessie Cole novels (Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep). In addition to thrillers, she writes medieval time-travel tales, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense as Theresa Ragan. An avid traveler, her wanderings have led her to China, Thailand, and Nepal. Theresa and her husband, Joe, have four children and live in Sacramento, California. To learn more, visit her website at theresaragan.com.
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