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Be Open and Honest or it Will Bite You in the Butt

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Thirst Trap follows four friends as they deal with sexuality, tragedy, substance abuse and wild friendships. What made you write a story about these topics? Anything pulled from your life experiences?

Honestly, the story came from some of my closest friends. I wrote a novel several years ago that was based on me coming out, and I wanted to write a novel as a follow up to it. It’s kind of like my autobiography but in my own way. I pulled from my brothers suicide, my friends abusive ex, my friends boyfriend suicide, and my friends marriage. Also, a lot of the back and forth with the witty comments are actual comments my friends have made to each other.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the stories theme?

I did 4 years of research just watching my friends. I wanted to make sure that I did justice in that no matter what happens friends have each other’s backs. I think my theme in all of my books is to be open and honest or it will bite you in the butt down the road.

What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?

I think in such a messed up way Ivan was my favorite to write. I loved him going from an abusive relationship to standing up for himself. The challenge with all of these characters was I didn’t want them to be too close to my actual friends. I made sure to change their appearance to make sure I could write right freely without worrying I’d they would get offended.

What is the next novel you have planned? Any involving the characters in the Thirst Trap?

I actually have another serious novel coming out in June called Silence Screams. Its my favorite novel that I’ve written. It’s my 50th novel, and it’s elements of all my books I’ve written. It’s about the aftermath of a school shooting. I’m also working on finishing the spin off trilogy to High School Queens. Sadly, Thirst Trap is a stand alone and those characters are done.

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Thirst Trap by [Zachary Ryan]

Tragedy comes in all forms, and you never know how you’ll deal with it. Four friends have all dealt with their fair share of struggles. Dillion, is an aspiring writer with writers block because of his brothers sudden death, Jesse the emotional stunted drink thanks to his boyfriend’s suicide, Ivan the abused victim just looking for a place to call home, and Leo the stubborn romantic trying to get his friends to open up, while keeping his issues close to his chest.

With these four friends, they avoid all their elephants in the room like a death card agreement between Dillion and Jesse, Ivan completely hoping his abusive lover with change or even Leo focusing on his friends problems instead of his own. Can these four friends learn to embrace and accept their own tragedy or will they be stuck in the past?

Thirst Trap is a humorous coming of age novel dealing with sexuality, tragedy, substance abuse, and the most beautiful.

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The Bitch Wars

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

One Queen Of An Ending brings The High School Queens Trilogy to a thrilling end. Did you feel like you wrapped up everything you wanted to in this final book?

I think I did wrap up a lot of the story lines and gave people the proper ending they needed. It’s why I always love a good trilogy. I think it’s enough space to wrap everything up. 

As always, there is consistently compelling storytelling in this book. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

I just wanted to give most of these characters a proper send off. I wanted them to be able to get some resolution even if some of their stories ended in tragedy. I think my main focus was having Danielle realize this world wasn’t meant for her, and she could walk away. I wanted Calvin  to be on his own without having love. Jasmine needed to get her backbone and run off with Carter. I also wanted the bitch wars to be closed for now. 

Did the characters end up where you had planned or did they change and the story evolve to places you had not imagined when you first started?

I think slowly through the second book I knew I was going to kill Emily. I think other than that, they all were how I wanted them to be. I wanted Susan to be who she was, and it was delicious watching her get her revenge since she’s been on the sidelines too long. I was thrilled Danielle and Calvin’s friendship survived it all. 

Do you plan on continuing the characters stories in a different series or starting a whole new series now?

Yes!!!! Bethany has her spinoff series when she goes off to college. It’s called the Forever My Sisters trilogy. I’m currently working on the last book in the trilogy. High School Queens is child play to this new trilogy.

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It’s time to say goodbye to our Johnson Prep favorites before they all head off to college.

After the gossip-worthy events of graduation and the shocking death of one of their classmates, it seems The Queen of Queens wants to give Danielle, Bethany, Calvin, Tucker, and Aman one last hurrah.

Will everything have a happy ending, or will one of our favorites end up 6 feet under? How will the war end with the salacious arrival of returning students, Andrew and Jasmine? They all had one lesson left to learn: Just because high school is over, doesn’t mean the high school drama ends. They’re all about to take their curtain call, but will it end as a comedy or a tragedy?

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Thirst Trap

It can be hard to travel this journey called life. There are so many things beyond our control that we take responsibility for, and so many things within our control that we just can’t. In Thirst Trap we are privileged to peek into the lives of four good friends who are internally falling apart. This book is an emotional roller-coaster as we jump from one protagonist to the other and delve into their broken dreams. All four are gay men who are dealing with the curve balls life throws at them: domestic abuse, suicide, broken marriages and loss. It is raw, emotional and gritty.

The book is broken into small chapters where it jumps from character to character. This can be a bit hard to follow at times as it switches so rapidly, but it is a useful tool when you have this many protagonists. The language can be crude and brash at times, but it doesn’t detract much from the story itself.

Buried within are four friends who have all suffered, or are still suffering, devastating blows. While they are all suffering from different issues, they are all dealing with it in similar ways: by ignoring or avoiding it. This can be a bit aggravating at times, but readers need to keep in mind that this is a very realistic representation of what many people go through when they are faced with such loss.

At the core, Thirst Trap by Zachary Ryan is a story about four men who have all been dealt a hard hand in life. These four friends are available to each other as a source of support, but they are not willing in the beginning to allow themselves to be unreserved with each other. The evolution of their relationships with each other and their individual demons dramatically unfolds as you keep reading. This is an emotional story that exceptionally captures the human experience and all it’s ups and downs in one thought-provoking novel.

Pages: 212 | ISBN: 1645332187

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One Queen Of An Ending

One Queen of an Ending is book three in Zachary Ryan’s The High School Queens Trilogy. The Johnson Prep friends and enemies are back for one last volume. Instead of enjoying easy, carefree days, these teens are at each other’s throats, at times almost literally. The book is full of high school drama that is reminiscent of the movie Heathers and Mean Girls with a bit of a Carrie-like twist.

If you think you have problems, this book will make you thankful for your likely mundane life in comparison. The characters have to deal with and/or create family drama, daddy issues, sex tapes, prostitution, tons of accusations, funerals, blackmail, and maybe even more murder. Parents even pit their kids against each other. I felt like absolutely no one felt trustworthy and no moment was peaceful in this fast-paced whirlwind of a read.

If a reader blushes easily or shies away from profanity and/or sexual situations, this book is probably not the best choice for them. But if vulgar words and sexual innuendo don’t bother you then you will find plenty of scandalous moments that will keep your interest piqued. The book also deals with LGBT issues along with other problems that young adults face through high school and into adult hood. One Queen of an Ending is a provocative conclusion to a trilogy, with its sexual and curse-peppered language, even though it has that classic high school feel; I think it’s safe to say that this novel is edgy at best and risque at worst; a step away from the CW channel and a step toward HBO.

The constant vulgarity and profanity was a bit of a turn off for me. I don’t usually mind it, but it seemed like it was every other word in some parts. Even though I understood its use for setting the tone and character, I think a little bit of restraint could have gone a long way with some of it.

One Queen of an Ending has good ideas and deep discourse on social issues facing young adults. I enjoyed the changes in narratives of the different characters because I was able to see the story from their perspective. Many twists in the story and interlacing of characters, punctuated by ‘oh-my-god’ moments makes this book an emotional roller coaster of an ending that is a must read for fans of the series and Zachary Ryan.

Pages: 226 | ASIN: B07WRF47PJ

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Darker, Sassier, and Overall Bitchier

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

The Revenged Queen takes place after Danielle exposes every dark secret her classmates have. What were some new ideas you wanted to pursue in this book that were different from the first book?

I wanted to up the game when it comes to this novel. I wanted to go darker, sassier, and overall bitchier. It was my favorite in the series because I wanted people to feel like the gloves truly came off.

The characters in this book are well developed and diverse. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Honestly, Bethany was my favorite to write in this book. I wanted people to understand her more since she was so just the villain. I wanted people to go she’s a bitch, but a lovable one. Also, Emily’s story arc was incredible too. I loved writing some fake and heavy stuff with her.

Much like high school, your characters are going through a lot of different things. Where do you find inspiration and how does it become ideas for your book?

I let the characters take me there. I know that sounds so arrogant, but I just write what they’re doing. I’m surprised with how much they shock me or take me a place I didn’t expect them to take me. I wish I could say it’s from my persona life or ones around me because that would make me feel better writing future books and not having my characters inspire me.

One Queen of an Ending is book three in the High School Queens trilogy. Where will the story take readers in the final chapter?

Spoiler Alert, Jordan won’t be the only death in this trilogy. It’s going to get even more intense. I think the bitch wars ends with a bang. i loved that i highlight all that I felt emotionally connected in the series in this. It’s dark and dramatic. It opens at a funeral, so I’m ready for everyone to read the final in the trilogy.

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The Revenged Queen (The High School Queens Trilogy Book 2) by [Ryan, Zachary]

No one knows the real Marked Queen, but now everyone wants to know her. In this sequel to the insatiable first novel, High School Queens, you will die to know more about your favorite dirty little Queens.

As we say goodbye to the Johnson Prep Seniors, the scandals and lies that exposed them in the beginning are back with a vengeance.

The Marked Queen thought she had the last laugh at prom. Now, it seems a new girl is coming for her crown. With a new title, The Revenged Queen, she was out for blood and her prime targets—the ones exposing everyone’s dark and dirty little secrets. As we dive deeper into this scandalous and humorous world of prep school teens, we learn that everyone is a hustler with a secret and a Hollywood sob story.

Can Danielle keep her new illegal activities to make money under wraps? Was Calvin going to have a warm welcome as he outs himself as gay? Was Delilah going to take the knife from Danielle out of her back and stab her with it? Was Bethany going to enjoy her rule as queen bee or fail spectacularly? And was there more to Jordan than being just a slutty, party girl?

As the scandals pile up in front of them, their secrets will be exposed… And each secret is even more delicious than the last.

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The Revenged Queen

The Revenged Queen (The High School Queens Trilogy Book 2) by [Ryan, Zachary]

The Revenged Queen by Zachary Ryan takes place after prom, where Danielle, ‘The Marked Queen’, decides to expose every little dark secret of her classmates. A group of teens is set up against one another struggling with sexuality, friendship, and trust. Now, everybody wants to know the real Marked Queens. While living out their senior year of high school, scandals and lies are revealed by separated friendships. Afraid that they are next on the line, everyone fears their secret being found out. Is it a matter of time before someone gets their rightful revenge?

I love when authors don’t stick to just one perspective, switching around points of view in the story. Having one perspective easily gets boring. With different perspectives, readers can get a deeper understanding of the interactions between characters and see events from a different point of view. This makes for a well-developed story that doesn’t feel like one voice the entire story.

One of my favorite aspects of Ryan’s work is how he writes the character’s inner thoughts, mostly at the end of each chapter. Written in the third person point of view, the narrator crawls into the minds of the characters, digging out information in a consistently creative way.

One of my favorite endings to a chapter was in chapter three, “Delilah, we thought your only talent was being on your knees and whining too much. Are you about to trade in that kitchen knife for a razor blade?…” Ryan used a strong voice, evoking an unsettling tone that someone else is watching these high schoolers.

There were some moments in the story that were tough to read, especially Calvin’s story line. But I appreciated the opportunity to write about topics such as sexuality and ruthless behavior. High school is all about finding out about who you are. We’re all going to have high school drama. Ryan invests closely in each member’s stories either making readers feel empathetic or despise one of the characters.

This is book two in a series and I suggest reading book one first, High School Queens, as it will get you acquainted with the characters.

The Revenged Queen reminds me of my own stories of high school drama and I appreciated the attention to detail. The interactions between the lives of these three high schoolers kept me on-edge flipping through the pages to see what happens next. Absolutely riveting.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B07RX8SWY2

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A Whole Lot Bitchier

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

I enjoyed the depth of character and unique arcs developed in this novel. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?

I honestly think my major theme in all my novels is to be honest with yourself and with the world. People need to take off the mask and let people see the real you. I think that’s the hardest in high school, but you get older and realize that you’ll find a grand group of people to love you for who you are, and that’s the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s why I love Danielle and Calvins friendship. No matter what they do, they love each other.

High school is a highly stressful time and I think you capture that well. Did you bring any of your own experiences into this story?

Honestly, I had a great time in high school. People knew me, and I wasn’t really bullied. I think that I use more of my life now than back then. I used my past relationship with my ex for Aman and those conversations between Aman and Calvin were real.

This is book one in your High School Queens Trilogy. What can readers expect in book two, The Revenged Queen?

To be honest, Book one is my least favorite in the trilogy. I feel like the imaginary gloves come off in book two. It gets darker, sexier, and a whole lot bitchier. I dive more into everyone’s characters, and we get to see other people’s motives for some of the actions. Villains in the first novel soon become friends, I feel like. Book two is my favorite in the trilogy.

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High School Queens (The High School Queens Trilogy Book 1) by [Ryan, Zachary]

They all thought they did a masterful job of keeping their secrets close to their chest. These stupid fools thought they were the high court of this kingdom, but they had no clue who was really pulling the strings. You might wonder to yourself, who would be that heartless to make them backstab their friends, expose other’s secrets, and lose their morals? You don’t need to know who I am, but you better remember my name, The Marked Queen.

Danielle, Andrew, Delilah, Aman, and Jasmine all are now faced with a mysterious villain whose one goal is to ruin each of their lives. They must protect their secrets at all cost, or they’ll be the next victim on Marked Day. They know what’s at stake, and they’ll stop at nothing to continue being: the rich spoiled girl, the normal teenager, the girl who isn’t banging the principal, the straight vlogger, and the girl who isn’t her dad’s punching bag. What happens when The Marked Queen changes up the game just in time for prom? Will each of our favorite puppets survive? Or are they willing to backstab each other just to keep up their personas? The only thing lost at this prom wasn’t going to be their virginity.

Sex, Lies, and High School Queens explores the major theme of self-acceptance. Can they learn to accept all their flaws or pray victim to The Marked Queen? Each chapter continues to fill your sweet tooth until the climactic moment at the prom where you get to have that final bite of the bitch cake you’ve been dying to consume.

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High School Queens

High School Queens (The High School Queens Trilogy Book 1) by [Ryan, Zachary]

What is it about high school that brings out the worst in people? The hormones, the pressure to know your future, the mind games? Probably all of the above. Zachary Ryan pens his first book in a series, High School Queens set at Johnson Prep, and complete with all the rich, narcissistic, angst filled teens that any drama queen could ask for. This story delves into a darker, edgier version of high school antics, with exhortation, blackmail, physical and emotional abuse. A One Tree Hill meets Lord of the Flies vibe.

High School Queens packs a deep emotional punch and the depth of the character’s issues are interesting and intriguing. The book tackles a myriad of issues: Alcoholism, eating disorders, self harm, family loyalty, abuse and a whole gamut of complex issues that face youth today. Zachary Ryan attributes the necessary attention to these issues with detail and heart equally. However, I felt that there was detail lacking in certain places? What does Johnson Prep look like? The picture of the story feels incomplete for the lack of setting.

Johnson Prep has a lack of diversity, which is not surprising, but the one Spanish character is poor and the one Indian character is trapped in a ultra traditional family. The cliche here is painful because the author has a clear knack for creating intriguing and well defined characters otherwise. Readers can relate to Andrew, Danielle, Aman and Delilah, root for them and become invested in their characters. The endless cattiness and shallowness by the Marked Queen starts as fun and entertaining but gets repetitive where I would have liked to see creative twists.

The climax of High School Queens is set against the back drop of prom, but the character’s stories don’t all end on the same note and there were some surprises that were developed and unveiled superbly. There is a cliffhanger that sets up for the continuation of Johnson Prep’s students but for next installment of High School Queens to match the high bar set here I expect to see more flavor, humor and twists.

Pages: 311 | ASIN: B07PXFZVLF

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