Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Interview with the Amazing Nyrae Dawn! What a Boy Wants/What a Boy Needs

Nyrae Dawn – What a Boy Wants/What a Boy Needs

Today I want to talk about Nyrae Dawn. Nyrae is the author of a pretty awesome YA book I came across through the reading/writing network on Twitter. If you were in any way involved with this huge Twitter niche in April, you would have heard something about Nyrae and her debut novel, WHAT A BOY WANTS.

I have since discovered that there is a pretty steadily growing fan club for her characters. It’s like something I have never really seen before. Even Nyrae herself is happy to take a backseat to What a Boy Wants smooth talker, Sebastian Hawkins…as evidenced by the section of her blog titled SEBASTIAN SPEAKS. Nyrae acts as medium to Sebastian, giving his fans more Sebastian all the time. Quite a clever marketing tool, but also…just a great example of how truly popular her fictional character has become to his/her loyal fans.

After the groundswell of book love that came Nyrae’s way in April, she has promised her fans a follow-up companion novel from the point of view of Sebastian’s best pal, Jaden Sinclair. Well, that book is about to hit the e-waves!

WHAT A BOY NEEDS will be released JUNE 12th. I will be purchasing it on release day. I can’t wait to delve back into the incredible world of Bastian, Jaden, Aspen & Pris. Nyrae has made a great franchise with these four highly likeable contemporary characters. I, for one, hope she finds a way to make this journey a 4-book series…with one book from each of the girls’ perspectives as well.

Since Nyrae has, to date, virtually escaped talking about herself, I wanted to take the attention away from Sebastian and Jaden for a few minutes and ask her a few questions.

KC: One of the most famous (infamous) lines in Jack Nicholson’s long career is one he made as Melvin Udall in 1997’s As Good As It Gets. When the receptionist asks him, “How do you write women so well?” he replies, “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.” – I had to use that quote. The receptionist’s question was the first thing I wanted to say to Nyrae Dawn when I read What a Boy Wants. Well, what I wanted to ask was, “How do you write teenage boys so well?” So, I will ask it now. Before I do, I just want to say…Sebastian Hawkins was SO incredibly well written, it was spooky realizing it was actually a woman writing his words. Nyrae NAILED the teen boy brain! So, Nyrae, how do you write teen boys so well?

NR: Okay, I have to say that is the best. Compliment. Ever! I really appreciate it. This question is really hard to answer though. I always worry I’m  making it sound as though I’m stereotyping all boys into a certain category and I want to say first, that I’m not. Just like all girls are different, boys are as well. I DO believe most boys process things differently though. They’re more visual… Where a girl may focus on how things feel emotionally, a boy may focus on how it looks or feels physically (I really, REALLY don’t want that to come off sounding wrong). It doesn’t mean they feel things less… just differently, IMO.

I think part of the reason I enjoy writing teen boy POV so much is because I had A LOT of male friends in high school. I went to a small school where everyone knew everyone and my house was sort of the “hang out spot”. I was the girl who was in the “friend” category so I had a lot of guy friends and they felt comfortable to be themselves around me. I heard a lot… saw a lot. They talked trash to each other all the time—but they were the first to come to each other’s defense if someone outside their friends did it. They teased me mercilessly and left me behind for girls they liked, but they were also the ones who put wildflowers by my bed when I had a bad day or warned “outsider” boys to treat me right if I dated someone. The funny thing is… it’s just how they were. I don’t even think they realized it when they did sweet things like that. Anyway, sorry, long answer. I just think of them a lot when I write boys.

KC: No, no. Don’t apologize! Great answer. I loved it…and so will your readers, I’m sure. When I discover a new writer, I become quite curious about the things that brought them to the point in their journey in which they happen to be at that moment. So, this question has a few parts to it. I like to know what an author’s favourite things are. Nyrae, do you mind filling out the following favourites list?

KC: Favourite Author(s) Now & Favourite Children’s Author(s) Growing Up:

NR: I’m a huge Sarah Ockler fan. She puts words together so beautifully. I love Jenny Han’s summer series. For boy POV, I love Mindi Scott, Swati Avasthi, CK Kelly Martin and Where She Went by Gayle Foreman. Growing up I loved the Narnia series. It was always my favourite.

KC: Favourite Movie(s):

NR: I’m a romance addict. LOL. I love Titanic, The NotebookLove and Basketball.

KC: Favourite Quote from a novel:

I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character.” ― David LevithanDash & Lily's Book of Dares

KC: Favourite Writing Place? Is there a particular place you run to when you want to write?

NR: I love writing at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks.

KC: What 3 books would you take to a deserted island?

NR: Lover Awakened by JR Ward (adult series), Twilight (yeah, I said it, lol), and for when I need to laugh, Anna and the French Kiss.

KC: Thanks so much! I love to hear what my favourite writers like. I’m sure your readers will be happy to get this glimpse into your personal favs!

KC: Pantser or Plotter? Do you like to outline your novels, or do you just write off the cuff? OR, do you do a bit of both?

NR: A little of both. I always start off as a pantser. I just write… get a feel for the story and characters and then about 25-50% through, I plot.

KC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you actually begin to write?

NR: I’ve always loved to write. I won my first writing contest in elementary school. I tried stories here and there as I got older, but I didn’t write actively. I was working full time etc. It’s when I moved to California and became a stay at home mom for the first time that I really gave myself a chance to explore writing.

KC: Can you tell us a bit about the journey that WHAT A BOY WANTS took, from concept to finished book available to the public?

NR: I thought a matchmaker book would be fun. The idea just popped in my head, but I originally planned to write it from the girl’s POV. I can’t even explain it, but somehow Sebastian just happened. He was suddenly just THERE and I have never had a character’s voice so clear in my head. It was the first male POV book I wrote. I queried tons of agents with it. Heard a lot of “it’s a fun concept, but I don’t think it will sell”. I finally got an agent who was willing to take a chance. She put it on submission and all the other agents were absolutely right—it didn’t sell. I held onto it for months and months after that. I ended up parting ways with my agent, wrote a lot more books, but I couldn’t forget about Sebastian so I decided to go for it. I KNOW he has a strong personality and isn’t for everyone, but I hoped there would be people out there who loved him the way I do. I self-published and as they say, the rest is history!

KC: What’s your next writing project?

NR: I have another boy POV book I’m editing that I will probably publish sometime this summer. I have a WIP going from the girl’s POV tentatively called SEARCHING FOR BEAUTIFUL. I’m about halfway done with that one. I’m also working on a rewrite with a writer friend. Alternating chapters. I write the boy and she writes the female MC.

KC: Thank you for visiting with us! I’m really thrilled to have this opportunity to share you with potential readers. What a Boy Wants was a great surprise for me…an incredible, fun story – well told! I can’t wait to read WHAT A BOY NEEDS!

NR: Thank you for having me! I had a blast!

KC: Good luck on your upcoming release, Nyrae…and good luck on the future of your writing journey!

NR: Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate it!

You can read my review of What a Boy Wants here: MY REVIEW I will be posting a review of the companion book, What a Boy Needs, just as soon as I have an opportunity to read it!


  1. What a great interview! I enjoy Nyrae and he'd books so much. It was fun to get a glimpse at the author behind the stories.

  2. Awesome interview, Kevin. This book's now on my list. After Hannah Moskowitz, I'm totally into the boy POV. Actually, I might pull out my BlackBerry PlayBook right now and see if it's available for download.
    I especially like when Nyrae talks about "pantsing" in the beginning and then switching to plotting. That's sort of what I do. I think it's a great method...but I'm biased. :P

  3. Great interview Kevin! Nyrae is a rising star and What A Boy Wants is a stand-out read. I have no doubt that she will give a repeat performance with What A Boy Needs, and June 12th can't come fast enough for me!

  4. Thanks so much for your comments all, and for the visits! I appreciate it. I just loved WABW...for sure, Nyrae is a rising star, Karla! M-E...really hope you enjoy it! Andrea...thank you for being one of Nyrae's earliest supporters. You were part of that groundswell. (-:

  5. Even though this book was a bit short, it didn't at all feel rushed or incomplete. When finishing the story I was left with a big smile on my face and I felt completely satisfied by the story. If you want a new book to fall in love with, add What a Boy Wants to your immediate TBR list! I am in LOVE with this book, definitely in my all-time top favorites! Oh, and once you read the book you will realize how perfect the guy on the cover fits Sebastian. What are you waiting for? Go get this book now!