Interview With Author Ryan Stevens
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a former figure skater and judge from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’ve been writing about figure skating history for over 10 years and my fourth book will be coming out on November 1st!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is a historical biography called “Jackson Haines: The Skating King”.
Jackson Haines has been known for over a century as ‘The Father of Figure Skating’. I’ve researched his story for many years and found that there was a lot of misinformation and contradictory statements out there so I decided to go down the rabbit hole and explore any primary sources that were available. What I discovered was that the real story was far more interesting than a lot of the myths that have been circulating for many years.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I think what’s unique to writing about history is that you’re writing about things that happened many years ago – so there’s not usually this sense of urgency to get your work out in the public eye right away. I tend to sit on writing for a while and revisit it several times before publishing. I’m an early bird so I usually do a lot of research and writing before the sun’s out which I guess may be unusual to anyone that likes to sleep in!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Two of my biggest inspirations were Benjamin T. Wright (the ISU and USFSA’s Historian for many years) and T.D. Richardson, a British skater who was a prolific writer about the sport in the 1950’s and 60’s. There are a ton of other sportswriters and skating journalists I’ve looked up to over the years as well – people like Sandra Stevenson, Beverley Smith, Howard Bass, Steve Milton and Dennis L. Bird.
What are you working on now?
Right now all of my focus is on doing every little thing I can possibly think of to market my upcoming book! I have another manuscript I worked on during the pandemic that I am highly considering reworking for my next book.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
That’s a great question! I don’t think you can put all of your eggs in one basket. You’ve really got to do a little of everything – print, traditional book reviews, social media, podcasts, you name it. You have to put yourself and your book out there as much you can, in as many different ways as you can, because at the end of the day – as an indie writer, your book’s success or failure really lies on how much effort you’re willing to put in.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Go outside of your comfort zone!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do what makes sense – not what other people tell you to do.
There’s a lot of advice out there that might work well for fiction that is absolutely not helpful at all for nonfiction.
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading “Shipwrecked Lives” – Nicholas Kinsey’s book about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland. Incredibly sad and fascinating story and a part of Canadian history more people should know.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ve been putting out 2 blogs a week for a decade so there will definitely be more of that! I’ve got really interesting stuff in the pipeline there! If you’re not familiar with my writing, head on over to Skate Guard blog at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Well, there would have to be a good skating book and I think one of the best histories is Nigel Brown’s 1959 book “Ice-Skating: A History”. I’d have to bring one of my favourite Margaret Atwood books (“The Robber Bride”) and a cookbook to remind me of all of the great food I’d be missing.
Author Websites and Profiles
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