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This episode is brought to you by the two TWO! Latest back to back releases by Kat Martin, The Last Mile, and The Last Goodnight. Kat Martin’s tightly plotted romantic suspense novels are are steamy as they are thrilling. So if you’re looking to stock up on reading material before vacation, and want to make sure you’re bringing some excellent books with you, don’t miss these two.
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Sarah Wendell: Hello and welcome to episode number 521 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell, and my guest today is Erica Ridley. We are going to talk historical heist romances. Erica’s latest book Nobody’s Princess, the latest in her Wynchester series, has just come out, and she describes the series as putting The Umbrella Academy, Ocean’s Eleven, and Batman in a blender and pouring out romantic comedy. So we have a lot to talk about, including the cover, the series, her move to Costa Rica, and her schedule and her creative process. We also talk about food, so don’t listen to this while you’re hungry.
Hello and thank you to our Patreon community. Thank you for keeping the show going, and thank you for making sure that each episode has a transcript. Thanks, garlicknitter! If you would like to have a look and support what we do, please have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches.
This episode is brought to you by two – two! – back-to-back releases by Kat Martin: The Last Mile and The Last Goodnight. Kat Martin’s tightly plotted romantic suspense novels are as steamy as they are thrilling, so if you’re looking to stock up on reading material before a vacation and you want to make sure you’re bringing some excellent books with you, don’t miss these two. Fans of thrillers that blend action, mystery, and romance will love The Last Goodnight. From Colorado’s cattle country to Denver high-rises and the posh mansions of Vail, Kade Logan and private investigator Eleanor Bowman must outrace a killer as they try to find out who murdered Kade’s wife eight years ago and why that person is targeting Eleanor next. And in The Last Mile, a woman in search of her family’s truth teams up with a hard-hitting professional treasure hunter. As an unknown assailant stalks them across the treacherous Sierra Madre wilderness, they race to follow their treasure map’s directions to a hidden trove of gold in the Superstition Mountains. Grab your sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply while you’re reading. This series is the definition of page-turner. You can find The Last Goodnight and The Last Mile by Kat Martin wherever books are sold. Find out more at kensingtonbooks.com.
This episode is brought to you in part by another podcast, F.M.K. Lit. Y’all are going to want to check this out: F.M.K. Lit is the podcast that brings you romance, dumb jokes, gin-fueled rants, and a very immature game. Clearly this speaks to my heart, right? In each episode hosts Neil and Claire will read two romance novels, one straight, one queer, and then play Shtup, Marry, Kill with the characters. Every episode has its own theme, so they are definitely going to talk about that very specific thing that makes you go squee: construction workers, fairies, American women in England in the 1920s; they’ve got you covered. Claire is a playwright and a director based in San Francisco; Neil is an actor, writer, and director; and they’re occasionally joined by Ramiro, their podcat – and I want you to know that Wilbur is very mad that I don’t call him a podcat. If you had to play Shtup, Marry, Kill with the dashing lady pirate, the playboy billionaire, or the handsome cowboy, who would you shtup, who would you marry, and who would you kill? It’s impossible as a puzzle, but this is very important work that best friends Neil and Claire do in every single episode, so join Neil and Claire at F.M.K. Lit the first and third Wednesday every month to see who they’re going to shtup, who they’re going to marry, and who they’re going to kill. F.M.K. Lit is available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and anywhere else you get your fine, tasty podcasts. Find out more at fmklitpod.com.
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All right, let’s do this podcast! On with my conversation with Erica Ridley.
Erica Ridley: Hi. I’m Erica Ridley. I live on a macadamia farm nestled between two volcanoes off in the rain forests of Costa Rica.
Sarah: As you do!
Erica: As you do!
Sarah: As you do!
Erica: [Laughs] I’ve written about fifty books in several genres but am most known for Regency-set historical romances. My current series, The Wild Wynchesters, centers a fun-loving, diverse, caper-committing family of adopted siblings who don’t let laws stop them from righting wrongs.
Erica: [Laughs] It’s as if you put – right? Like, who needs those? I like to say it’s like putting The Umbrella Academy, Ocean’s Eleven, and Batman in a blender and pouring out romantic comedies set in Regency England.
Sarah: Sounds great.
Erica: They’re heists, they’re heists that bang.
Sarah: Heists that bang! [Laughs] Seriously, that’s the greatest tagline. I hope you trademark the hell out of that.
Erica: [Laughs] It’s the first time I’ve said it! So –
Sarah: Okay, seriously, it’s perfect. Like, it is perfect – it is perfect.
So congratulations on your new – this’ll be new when the episode comes out – on your new book Nobody’s Princess. Tell me what readers will find inside this book. Is this book three in the series?
Erica: It is book three, yes.
Sarah: Book three.
Erica: And thank you. I am so excited about Nobody’s Princess. It is my first traditionally published Regency romance with two Black leads shown right there on the cover in classic clinch, which –
Sarah: Gorgeous cover.
Erica: – thank you, thank you! And it should not be unusual, but as you know, like, it is not a common sight in Regency-landia, and I’m delighted, delighted to be part of the change! [Laughs]
Erica: Love to see it! So our hero, Graham Wynchester, was an acrobat in a circus – again, as you do – [laughs] – before becoming the de facto leader of his vigilante family and developing a network of spies throughout London. So he’s obsessed with royalty and dreams of one day rescuing a princess, who will naturally fall in love with him.
Sarah: As you do.
Erica: So he thinks. Right. Our heroine, Kunigunde de Heusch, is a warrior from Balcovia, who is not here for Graham’s shenanigans or a doomed romance. She’s on a mission to prove herself and become the first female guardswoman in what is essentially a man’s world. So accepting any help at all from sexy, meddling Graham would undermine her efforts. But when the Wynchester family gets, like, a heartwrenching new case Kuni finds herself treated like an equal for the first time ever with no need to prove herself, so instead she gets to fight alongside them as part of the team. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to fall in love, so when Graham proposes a temporary fling she’s like, sure! What could go wrong?
Sarah: What could possibly go wrong? This is right up there with, we’re going to have sex, and it’s going to get you out of my system, and –
Erica: Right! Exactly!
Sarah: – this doesn’t mean anything, there’s no strings, and there’s always a very healthy thread of yes –
Sarah: – but I can’t stop thinking about your hair, damn it! in all of these plots.
Erica: [Laughs] Exactly!
Sarah: So you are writing heists that bang with an absolutely –
Erica: Heists that bang.
Sarah: – gorgeous cover. Did you have to put your head between your knees when you saw this cover?
Sarah: ‘Cause I shared this internally and like half of my team was like, oh my God!
Erica: Yes! And it exists at this – well, when this podcast comes out it’ll be live, but at this moment when we’re recording the early copies exist, but I have not got my hands on one yet, and I am dying! Absolutely dying to see it in real life. I cannot wait.
Sarah: It’s so beautiful! It’s so beautiful!
Erica: Thank you.
Sarah: Like, it’s gorgeous. So what, what draws you into historical romance generally? And I know you’ve touched on the fact that this is one of the first covers with two Black leads in a historical setting pictured on the cover and that you have a very inclusive group of people who think the law is largely optional and have each others’ backs. What other things draw you into historical romance generally? Because you’re really writing books that are pushing against a lot of established ideas. Which is awesome, by the way.
Erica: Thank you. Thank you. So as a reader, what I enjoy most about historical romance is being whisked away to a different time and place. Everything looks different, smells different, tastes different. It’s like a fantasy world with balls and carriages and hot highwaymen and sexy pirates. But, like, as a writer I enjoy creating plots and characters that challenge the cultural norms of the time and also our modern-day idea of what those cultural norms were, ‘cause there have always been exceptions to every rule that has ever existed. So writing stories that both kind of fit within the social rules of the time while pushing against them, usually with fun-filled trope-y shenanigans and, and lots of banter. So, like, what I love the most about The Wild Wynchesters series, besides the delightfully over-the-top heists and hijinks and my personal challenge to always jump the next shark –
Erica: – is being given the freedom to write Happily Ever Afters for these characters, like, that you mentioned that, that haven’t traditionally been centered in traditionally published Regency romances in terms of race or gender, abled-ness, and other characteristics. As, personally, as a Black, biracial, bisexual author, it means the world to me to see a wider cast on the page and on the covers.
Sarah: And you’ve been self-publishing for a long time, so I imagine you have a very healthy sense of, well, why the hell not? Who’s going to stop me?
Erica: Yeah, exactly! Which is why it’s just amazing that this series is traditionally published, because I never thought I would see the day.
Erica: I was making, you know, I was doing some of these things self-publishing because I – well, actually, it was! I was going to say, I thought it was the only way, but it was legitimately the only way for a while! [Laughs]
Sarah: Kinda was, yeah.
Erica: And, and now it’s not, and it’s so amazing!
Sarah: I am very curious about where you started with this series. Did you start – and with this book – did you start with the plot and the, and the heist? Or did you start with the characters? Is, is there a particular point that led you into this world?
Erica: Yeah. So actually I, I was literally binging Umbrella Academy. [Laughs] So I had this –
Sarah: It’s understandable!
Erica: – I had this rich guy adopts diverse siblings, like, idea in my head, and also I love, love, love heists just as a trope in general. If it’s a movie and it has a heist I will watch it.
Sarah: It’s like the best kind of a mystery, right? Nobody’s dead. There’s no blood. There’s no grief. It’s like something’s getting stolen or taken or restored or moved, and it’s like, okay! You know, it’s all fun!
Erica: It’s fun!
Erica: They get to, they get to be smart; they get to have fun; it’s an adventure; and you know it’s going to turn out, I mean, for the, for the, what do we want to say, for the ethically questionable heroes, but – [laughs] – but I love it so much! And then of course since I’ve been writing Regency I, I wanted to do all that, but in Regency England, so it was basically that kind of concept?
Erica: And then – so the first book was The Duke Heist, because I was like, look, if you’re going to do it, what are you going to heist? I’m going to heist a duke.
Sarah: As you do, yeah.
Erica: [Laughs] If you’re going to go for it, go for it, right?
Sarah: Go big or go home!
Erica: Exactly! [Laughs] So then I just cracked myself up and wrote like the first couple of chapters and sent it off and, and got the, got the deal just based essentially on the concept, just the opening sequence where she –
Sarah: Wow! That’s awesome!
Erica: Yeah! Thank you! Thank you. It’s just the sequence where she heists the duke, and, but it, I think, conveyed where, where I was going, right? [Laughs]
Erica: This is what kind of book this is! [Laughs] So –
Sarah: Yeah, you, you kind of began as you meant to go on.
Erica: Exactly! [Laughs]
Sarah: One thing I find very interesting when I encounter people in Regency settings that you don’t usually see in Regency settings is that I know they were actually there. Right, like, I know that Regency England was not all white people.
Sarah: And a lot of what we’ve understood as the construction of Regency England came from people who were incredibly racist and super anti-Semitic and very dedicated to white supremacist narratives, so of course –
Sarah: – it’s a white supremacist narrative. What do you think of the ways in which historical romances have begun to change and actually reflect the reality of people who were there?
Erica: I love it, because it, as you probably know, I mean, there were, there were over twenty thousand Black people living in London during Regency time. There was a thriving community –
Sarah: Oh yeah.
Erica: – and they ran the gamut even of, of class: there were those, of course, who are working class; there’re also those that were welcome even at high society levels; and these are not the stories that we’ve been told!
Erica: And so I just really love that the, the industry is, has now been – because readers have always been there; this is not, like, a new reader thing, but that the industry is finally letting these other protagonists be centered and these stories being told, and I really hope that it helps to change minds, to put it that way. Some of the readers who may have preferred the old method because it was similar to their current world views? And just kind of show them other viewpoints and just the fact, the fact! you know, Black people have been in, in England for something like a thousand years, right?
Erica: Like, it’s not this new thing that cropped up when Shonda Rhimes staffed Bridgerton; like, it has been around for a while – [laughs] – so.
Sarah: That reminds me of Beverly Jenkins on a panel saying something about how, if you look at an American history book, Black people are present for the slavery chapters, and then they leave the planet, but they come back for civil rights?
Erica: [Laughs] Right, exactly.
Sarah: And, I mean, she’s totally right about that, and now I’m like, oh yeah, you’re totally right! Now we have all of these historical romances that are actually explaining and exploring what the world looked like in reality? You’re right; it does represent to people who may not have realized there have been more than white people in history, even though white people are the ones who’ve been telling you history.
Sarah: Yep. Now, I am very curious about this, about this book and what comes next for this, after this book. Is that a fair question to ask?
Erica: I actually just turned in My Rogue to Ruin, which is the next book in the series. So that one features Marjorie Wynchester –
Sarah: Great deal!
Erica: – and she infiltrates this gang of forgers, these dastardly forgers. She’s going to bring down the operation from the inside, and of course, you know, accidentally falls for one of the perpetrators of the crime.
Sarah: Of course.
Erica: He’s a charming rogue, you know. There’s, there’s redeeming characteristics: mostly he’s hot. [Laughs] And, you know, so then they end up having to work together. There, there’s other stuff going on, of course. It’s Heist-ville; there’s, I think, more heists in that book then any of the previous ones. And then –
Erica: – then, right now I am so excited because I’m currently working on Elizabeth Wynchester’s book, which is provisionally titled The Earl Extraction – titles can change; I don’t know what it’ll be titled when it publishes. But she finally – if, if you’re not familiar with the series, Elizabeth is, what is she? She’s the most gregarious misanthrope that you could ever encounter. She’s a bloodthirsty romantic, and she finally gets to live out all her swashbuckle-y dreams, and so she gets to defend a castle, and it’s her, her hero is this tinker who makes these Rube Goldberg machines, and he’s this wacky absurdist, and it’s, it’s so much fun, so much fun.
Sarah: I love how many ways there are that you are subverting expectations with these books. That must be extremely fun; is it really fun?
Erica: It is fun! And it’s not necessarily on purpose: I was just noticing in, in what I was writing right now that Elizabeth is doing very, like, the traditional, like, hero role things in, in her story, because, you know, she’s, she’s the protector, he’s the protected, and you know, there’s all these other tropes that are, that are there, but just kind of backwards, so. It’s a lot of fun.
Sarah: It does seem, it does seem fun.
Now, I want to ask you, because I made the very big mistake of, of, of looking at your Instagram while I was hungry, and that was bad.
Sarah: And according to your publicist, I understand it is your goal to try as many different cuisines as possible when you travel and at home in Costa Rica. Tell me the backstory behind this, and what have you discovered?
Erica: Okay, so I am and have always been just a huge foodie. I like all food, and my, the worst is when someone asks me what’s my favorite X, ‘cause I don’t have a favorite; I want all of it, and I –
Sarah: Forget it.
Erica: – want it inside of me like right now, and to the point where I recently went to New York and I went out to dinner with my agent, and she lets me order the food for the meals, and I asked for an extra table to put all the plates on – [laughs] – because I don’t have any self-control! None!
Sarah: Well played!
Erica: And actually, before I moved to Costa Rica my friends gave me this, like, going-away party at a tapas restaurant, and –
Sarah: Oh no.
Erica: – because it was my party, you know, like, the waiter started with me to take the order, and I ordered so much food he walked away. He thought I had ordered for all twenty people, and my friends were like, wait!
Sarah: No, no, come back!
Erica: What about us? [Laughs]
Sarah: That’s all for Erica; don’t leave us hanging!
Erica: I mean, I share! That’s the whole thing! Like, I want three bites of everything, but I want to try everything on the whole menu; I want all of it.
Sarah: Oh yeah!
Erica: [Laughs] And, and especially since moving to Costa Rica: I live in a pueblo. It’s population maybe five thousand; there are a handful of little restaurants, and so I don’t really get to indulge my passion for eating all the different kinds of foods. So when I travel, my favorite challenge is never to repeat the same style of food twice –
Sarah: Very –
Erica: – just to kind of –
Sarah: – very smart.
Erica: – load up.
Sarah: Yeah. So can I ask what led you to move to Costa Rica? I understand –
Erica: Oh sure!
Sarah: – it is a gorgeous place to live, but I don’t know much about moving there. What led you to move there?
Erica: It is beautiful, and if you haven’t been, you totally should. In my case, a friend of mine, a good friend of mine, her father built one of the two major macadamia farms that’s in the country like forty years ago, and when he passed he, he left the farm to the woman who was running it, and he left his, like, big mansion house to his children, and my friend was the only one of all her siblings who took advantage of it. You know, every vacation she would go down, whole family, guess where we’re going? Costa Rica. And, but it was a lot to keep up on her own, and this is pre-Airbnb days, and so she essentially wanted to turn it into a B&B, and at the time I was doing websites and marketing; I wasn’t a, an author yet; and so she was like, would you go make a website for me? And I said, as friends do, only if I can go down and take the pictures! [Laughs]
Sarah: I mean, priorities, right?
Erica: And she was like, sure! Go down, hang out as long as you like; you know, the house is yours. I was like, sweet. So I came down, absolutely fell in love with everything: with the people, with the beauty, with everything, the nature, the, everything, everything, everything, absolutely gorgeous. And day one I was telling myself, I’ve got to live here one day. But you know how “one day” is, right?
Erica: You go home, and there’s your real life and your work and your everything else –
Erica: – and it wasn’t until I did make the switch, I decided I wanted to be a full-time writer, and it just wasn’t going to be possible paying US mortgage rates, and I had bought my house at the height of the Florida boom, bubble for the houses and everything, and my just living cost so much that there wasn’t free time to be a full-time writer, and I was like, I’m leaving all this behind. I’m going to move to Costa Rica, start from zero, see what can happen, and it was the best choice I could’ve ever made. I love it so much, and it definitely, I credit my, my whole career on coming down here and choosing this life over the previous one.
Sarah: That’s really incredible, and it, and it’s really interesting to have that parallel your decision to be like, I’m going to write full-time, and I’m going to move to a place that makes it possible for me to do that and really devote energy and creative time to that without worrying about, like you said, the cost of living.
Erica: Exactly. I mean, there’s a lot of writers who either have family money or they have a spouse who is the primary breadwinner, whatever, but I, I was all of the things, and I did not have that money.
Erica: [Laughs] So I had to look at it from a different angle.
Sarah: Yeah. Now, I understand there’s a lot of Americans in Costa Rica; is that right?
Erica: Yeah, I would say so. Where I live there’s a fair number of ex-pats, although I would say most of them are centered along the beach. I feel like –
Erica: – the beach area attracts the majority.
Sarah: What are some of the differences in culture that you’ve noticed between the US and Costa Rica, that you noticed straight away?
Erica: So within five minutes probably one of the first things I noticed was how friendly everyone is here. So if a total stranger asks how it’s going, they’ll not only wait for your response but be genuinely engaged and probably swap phone numbers with you and invite you over for dinner, and that’s not hyperbole, by the way. Most of the completely random interactions I had on my very first visit here, twenty years ago, were with people who are still dear friends to this very day.
Erica: They’re just so kind and open and genuine. There’s, there’s a concept here called Pura Vida? I don’t know if you or your –
Sarah: Pura Vida, yep!
Erica: Exactly! Which essentially boils down to making sure everyone around you is having their best day possible. I could tell you countless stories of Costa Ricans going to comical extremes to help out total strangers, and when it’s a whole country of people doing just that, it is magical! This culture, this, this whole concept, you know, ‘cause we think of all these different places in the US that are more known for don’t talk to me or –
Erica: – stranger danger –
Erica: – and, and here it’s just the opposite! Another difference, of course, me being me, is the food –
Sarah: Oh yeah!
Erica: – which tends to be super fresh. So if you order banana pancakes for breakfast, don’t be surprised if the cook slips outside to go grab a banana off the tree.
Erica: You know, you order, you know, a pineapple smoothie, and they’re going to go out and dig a pineapple up from the ground for you. Like, these are normal things that happen all the time in the town where I live. And, and every roadside stand or restaurant serves smoothies with whatever fruit’s in season, which is everything all the time because it’s so temperate here. Another fun thing, like, you cannot, I, I don’t have a green thumb; I have the opposite of a green thumb; I have an I-will-kill-everything thumb –
Erica: – but, but here that’s the opposite; like, that’s not even possible. Costa Rica just lets everything bloom. We have what I call living fences, which is when they cut a branch down from a tree and poke it into the ground like a fencepost, except it immediately grows into another tree.
Sarah: Oh wow.
Erica: Like, you don’t have to do anything to it. [Laughs] I’m like, what? How does that even work scientifically? You just cut it, whatever. But it happens! It’s magic!
Costa Rica’s also very green like literally and figuratively. This was one of the first places to power the entire country in renewable energy?
Sarah: I read that! That’s fascinating!
Sarah: Is it all wind or solar or all of the above?
Erica: It’s all the above. There’s, there’s wind – I live by the windmills – and there’s tons of solar, and then we have, like, hydroelectric plants as well like all over the place, and just, it, it’s the number one – I mean, generally we don’t, we’re not, I don’t think we’re one hundred percent anymore, but it’s like ninety percent renewable, and we sell our surplus to the neighboring countries and everything like that, and it’s just so great!
Sarah: So no regrets about moving there, huh?
Erica: None! [Laughs]
Sarah: One of my neighbors was Costa Rican and married an American, and he used to talk all the time about how everything here moves so quickly. Like, he’s just like –
Sarah: – everybody needs to slow down! Can everybody just slow down for two minutes?
Erica: Yes! We’re regularly ranked in all those happiest countries in the world charts that they put out, and, you know, it’s usually in the top ten and, yeah, it’s just, it is very chill. Everybody’s relaxed and just a base level of happiness, instead of a base level of stressed out.
Sarah: Wow. That’s really incredible, and it sounds like a lot of the culture is based on this, you know, the, the Pura Vida idea of community –
Erica: Yeah, I would say so.
Sarah: – and that it’s not just your life that you’re trying to take care of; it’s the lives of the people around you as well.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. Like, if you ever want to make a Costa Rican cry, tell them they’re not being Pura Vida. They will be very upset –
Erica: – and they will try to make it right! [Laughs] Like, I’m not suggesting you do that.
Sarah: No, I would not. I would absolutely not. How has living there influenced your writing?
Erica: I did actually set a contemporary paranormal romantic comedy here where I live, Must Love Magic, and it was actually the story that I first got my agent with –
Erica: – many moons ago. But it wasn’t the first story that sold. So I first sold a historical romance, which sent me down on a completely different path.
Erica: I, I would say, rather than the content of my writing, the thing that I, that affects me the most is just, you know, I’m, I’m never far from an open window when I’m writing, and since I live near the windmills there’s a constant breeze. I can see the butterflies and the toucans and hear the howler monkeys. It’s like writing a book inside the best noise machine ever.
Sarah: [Laughs] As someone who does yoga to the nature sounds instead of music or, I don’t know what you would call that, the, the, the chime that’s all one tone?
Erica: Oh, yeahyeahyeah!
Sarah: I don’t use that; I use nature sounds. Now, sometimes it makes me feel like I have to pee because the nature sounds are like, here’s a lot of water! And I’m like, this is not optimal!
Sarah: But having that background of nature, even when I go outside and listen to the birds, it really does turn down your stress levels in ways that you don’t immediately recognize, right?
Erica: It really does. And also they’ve done studies and just looking at nature, just, like, going to your window and seeing all the green, lowers your stress levels biologically.
Sarah: I’ve read that!
Sarah: I’ve read that, and I’ve, I’ve read a correlation between being able to see nature but hearing cars? The nature supersedes the stress of hearing cars and traffic. Like, it’s very potent.
Erica: That’s awesome.
Sarah: Yeah! I mean, I imagine you don’t hear a lot of cars, but, you know.
Erica: I don’t when I’m here.
Sarah: I live near the DC Beltway; I hear a lot of cars, especially –
Sarah: So when you are, you know, in your, in your, in your environment, got your trees, got your butterflies, what is your writing process like? Do you have a set number of hours or a set number of words you want to work on in a day? How do you structure your creative process?
Erica: So I’m constantly refining it. I think my very favorite activity is planning?
Sarah: Yeah, me too.
Erica: More so than, more so than doing, right?
Sarah: Big fan.
Erica: I love to plan it. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh yeah. Big fan.
Erica: So I, I change it all the time, try and tweak it, but mostly I try to divide my day kind of in three chunks, like morning, afternoon, and evening, and evening I try to make it about relaxing, spending time with my husband, and then morning and afternoon I try to have like one major task, which would either be new words, like I want to write the next scene. I like doing it in chunks like that.
Erica: It’s, it’s not exactly that I know how many words the next chapter will be?
Erica: But the goal for today might be chapter twelve, you know, whatever that ends up looking like.
Erica: And so that would be my morning, and then in the afternoon I try to do some, like, admin stuff, either, whether it’s editing or putting out a newsletter or, you know, all, all the things we have to do that aren’t writing.
Erica: Try to take care of that in that chunk of time.
Sarah: And so you’re basically aiming for one big piece of forward creative momentum.
Erica: Yeah. I like to do it first because, in my case, if I put it off to do other things that feel like they have higher priority, then it just won’t happen.
Erica: Or then I’ll be brain dead and I just –
Erica: – won’t be able to do it.
Sarah: Yes. I have read about some people who answer email first thing? And that really works for them, and I’m like, I, I can’t divide my energy into these little portions for email without using my energy first for the thing that I want to do.
Sarah: Yeah. I think people –
Sarah: – often underestimate how much those little administrative tasks devour your energy and how much that eats away at the amount of, basically, motivation that you have in a day?
Erica: Yeah. Also I lie to myself: I’m like, oh, I’ll just check it for two minutes. Suddenly like an hour and a half has gone by because whatever came in –
Erica: – I feel like I have to deal with.
Sarah: Yes! I am constantly telling myself, just because it arrived instantly does not mean that you need to reply instantly. I’m constantly –
Sarah: – telling myself that over and over and over.
So I always ask this question: what books are you reading that you would like to tell me about?
Erica: Well, I am currently loving Cat Sebastian’s new series with The Queer Principles of Kit Webb and The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes.
Sarah: I am reading Marian Hayes right now! Oh my God! The fact that it’s Marian and Rob is just giving me so much joy! Like, it, it doesn’t even – I mean, there’s very much Robin Hood heist aspect to it, but just Marian and Rob, every time I’m like – [squeaks]!
Erica: Love it so, so, so much.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, I just finished Tracey Livesay’s American Royalty?
Erica: And that was also great.
And I just read Amy Spalding? She wrote The Summer of Jordi Perez –
Erica: – (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), and so I just read her upcoming For Her Consideration – also great.
Sarah: Ohhh! What did you think of that one?
Erica: It was good! It was, it’s her fir-, it’s her adult debut, and if, if you liked the vibe of Jordi Perez – did you, did you read that book?
Sarah: I did, yes, absolutely.
Erica: Okay. Then it’s, it’s like the same thing but for, for adults, so I, I really enjoyed it. She was able to kind of do some more, you know, more adult themes, obviously –
Erica: – and, and a completely different setup, and I really enjoyed it; it was cute! It, it was a very cute romantic comedy.
Sarah: Have you read Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian?
Erica: It is on my T- – I have it, but I have not yet read it.
Sarah: Okay. It, it is that same sort of internal delight as Kit Webb and Marian Hayes, only it’s very, like, quiet and cozy. So I know that Cat Sebastian described it as Agatha Christie, but make it queer.
Sarah: And there is so much sneaky queerness in the book that you’re like, oh, of course! Oh! Of course! It’s so good! It’s so good! I’ve read it twice!
Erica: Nice! I’m going to bump it up the list. That’s going to be next.
Sarah: It’s so good.
Well, where can people find you if they wish to find more of your writing?
Erica: So I’m on the web at ericaridley.com – that’s E-R-I-C-A R-I-D-L-E-Y – and on all social media platforms same @EricaRidley.
Erica: You could also join my VIP list for a free eBook on my website –
Erica: – or ridley.vip. And I have a historical romance book club on Facebook where I give away lots of prizes and host special guests, so that’s also a fun place –
Sarah: Oh, fun!
Erica: – where I hang out.
Sarah: You’re one of the few people I know who’s, who’s maintaining a Facebook group. Is that really rewarding? Do you enjoy it?
Erica: Yeah, I mean, I, I think you have to do it because it’s fun?
Erica: It’s, it’s definitely a lot of work, and I wouldn’t say there’s, you know, like, ROI in it from a business standpoint –
Erica: – but it’s, it’s fun to have a place where readers can hang out –
Erica: – and where you can chat with them about books!
Sarah: And, and this is so, like, snarky of me, but I love to meet people who are like, yeah, I’m using Facebook, and I’m making it work for me, because nothing about Facebook works for me most of the time –
Sarah: – and I’m like, ah, Facebook, except in this one place, kind of sucks, but this is great!
Erica: To be honest, it’s the only thing I check on Facebook.
Erica: I have not – [laughs] – I have not checked any other pages! I don’t read my messages.
Erica: Like – [Laughs]
Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for doing this interview. This has been absolutely delightful!
Erica: Thank you! This has been great!
Sarah: And that brings us to the end of this week’s episode. Thank you again to Erica Ridley for connecting with me, and thank you for listening! I am honored to keep you company each week. You can find Erica Ridley on her website, ericaridley.com, and she’s on all the socials and all the medias, and as she mentioned, you can join her VIP group and get free books and early access to exclusive content!
I will have links to all the books we talked about in the show notes – never fear – at smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast.
And as always, I end with a bad joke. Now, I’m worried I told this one, but then I searched all my transcripts and I couldn’t find it, so if I’ve told this one, please free to email me and be like, dude, you’re repeating. So if I haven’t, enjoy!
How does a ghost listen to music?
How does a ghost listen to music?
I feel like I told that one before, but I still like it! Boo-tooth! [Laughs] Makes me think of Boo Berry cereal; do you remember Boo Berry cereal? I was never allowed to buy Boo Berry or the Count Chocula, and then there was a strawberry like Mummy Berry? Berry Mummy? But either way, that makes me think of Boooo Berry. Boooo-tooth! [Laughs]
On behalf of everyone here, we wish you a very fabulous weekend with lots and lots of good reading!
Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at frolic.media/podcasts.
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.
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Costa Rica sounds lovely, and, yes, I am now hungry! Thank you, Sarah and Erica, for the interview.