Cutthroat Cheerleader follows a bully who dies and is given the chance to look back at how her life affected the people around her. How long did you have the idea for this novel and what made you decide to start writing?
I had the idea kind of come forward while I was writing High School Queens. I have really loved this campy caddy novels, but I really wanted to add murder to it. With covid happening, I’ve had a bunch of time to write. I just really didn’t want to write a depressing novel while our world is a huge dumpster fire right now.
What were some ideas that informed Madison’s revelations throughout the story?
I think her seeing everyone’s life behind closed doors. What I always add to my novels is the theme, don’t judge a book by its cover. I feel like we all have our own struggles, and we don’t really know what someone’s going through unless we look behind all the closed doors. She realized everyone had tragedy, and I hurt a lot of people along the way. She made Mark be two different guys, and she made Chad be the stereotypical jock. These two were unhappy because they were playing the same game book as Madison to survive high school.
What scene from the book was the most challenging for you to write?
I think for me it was the plot twist when you realized one of the characters wasn’t crazy, and it had to be when the murderer was revealed. I think both I wanted to live up to the hype that I created in the novel.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a book called Playlist. I have wanted to write this novel for honestly over ten years. It’s a love story between two characters and my love for my music. It should be out in the summer. I’m just having too much fun with Cutthroat that I’m not ready to publish just yet another novel.
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Madison paid the ultimate price for her attitude, her controlling behavior, and her desire to rule the school. As a cheerleader and bully extraordinaire, she has taken her last breath–but only one person in her life knows the truth. And it isn’t Madison. Watching over everyone she has left behind, Madison faces some hard facts about the life she led, the friends she let down, and the persona she regrets having carried all these years. Things are not what they seem in her high school and, whether she is ready for it or not, it just might be Madison’s responsibility to put a stop to the killings that only she can see coming.
Cutthroat Cheerleader, by Zachary Ryan, is a young adult thriller featuring Madison Taylor as the victim of murder and the narrator of her own story. Ryan has created a unique take on the omniscient point-of-view and given his main character free reign to come and go in the lives of those she left behind. Serving as a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge-type character, Madison quickly learns exactly what she meant to the people she believed were her friends and sees, in no uncertain terms, exactly how much pain she created as she ruled the school with an iron fist.
One of the most unique aspects of Madison’s story is the process whereby she learns as much about herself as she does those she watches from afar. Her spirit, though still rough and tumble, is broken at the thought of leaving her family and friends hurting and in need. Hers is a long road of discovering everything she left unsaid prior to her death.
Ryan includes some truly breathtaking lines at the close of almost every chapter. He seriously knows how to deliver a punch that incenses readers and keeps them coming back for more. Leaving readers with that “just one more chapter” feeling time and time again, Ryan has created a book most readers will find easy to read cover-to-cover.
While I enjoyed this book, Ryan’s work is filled with vulgarity. It’s not for the faint of heart and may offend some readers who prefer much less explicit language especially when it comes to the interactions of young adults.
Cutthroat Cheerleader has a unique storyline and point-of-view that makes this one of the more captivating books I have read this year.
Pages: 352 | ASIN: B08LR1TQ3P
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, coming of age, Cutthroat Cheerleader, ebook, fantasy, fiction, gay fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, lgbt, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, teen fiction, urban fantasy, writer, writing, young adult, Zachary Ryan
Silent Screams follows four friends in the aftermath of a school shooting that unravels secrets and relationships. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this compelling story?
It came from a song called Prom Queen by Katie Turner. She has a line about a audience that was never meant for me. It was where the idea for Zachary came to be. It was also my 50th novel that I wrote. I wanted to add elements from each of the first 49 in there.
We really get to dive deep into each unique character in the story. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Honestly, it was Cass. I just had such love for her. I wanted so much for her to be strong and be able to move past all the hurt she had to deal with. I just honestly don’t know how she handled that situation. You find out your boyfriend is cheating on you, and you can’t hate her because she lost her life from one of your best friend’s actions. Then on top of that Jarele was a good guy. He helped Cass through so much. It was hard for Cass to hate Jarele. I just was impressed by her strength and where she ended up.
In this story we get to explore how families and relationships are all different and complex. What were some themes you wanted to capture within them?
Honestly, that everyone goes through some hardships in their life. I also wanted to go through this idea that no one is a full villain or victim. With Gabe each person viewed Gabe in such a different way, and I really wanted to portray that. My theme for all my novels is make sure to not judge someone because you don’t know what’s behind someone’s closed doors.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available
I’m working on a campy book. It’s a lot like my High Schools Queen trilogy. It’s called Cutthroat Cheerleader. It’s sassy, campy, and a murder mystery too. It will be out actually in October.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fiction, drama, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, friends, ghost story, goodreads, high school, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, relationship, romance, story, teen fiction, womens fiction, writer, writing, young adult, Zachary Ryan
Silent Screams by Zachary Ryan follows the lives of four high school friends forced to grow up due to a school shooting. Lane struggles with whether or not to come out to his friends while mourning the loss of his lover. Cass struggles to find someone to save her from her home life. Zachary deals with losing what she thinks makes her special. Ben finds his life of luxury torn away and struggles to figure out who he is without it. Being friends with the shooter, these four students battle with their own demons while attempting to cope with the guilt and responsibility they feel for their friend’s actions.
The raw emotion and authenticity of the characters is something that is outstanding in this book. I applaud Zachary Ryan for creating such imperfect characters that are so relatable. Each character deals with something different and grieves in a unique way. Each character, even background ones, go through so much character development and really grow up and learn how to trust and depend on each other. We get to see through each character’s eyes through point of view changes that happen each chapter. It’s refreshing in a way because you get to see into the heart of each of the four main characters and see their innermost secrets and insecurities. Silent Screams is a story about friendship, love, insecurities, trust, and the dangers of keeping secrets in for too long.
I enjoyed this book, but there were some times I had to reread a line because of a typo. There was also one background character who’s name was inconsistent, being Violet in some places and Valerie in others. However, this book is still thoroughly enjoyable.
Silent Screams was a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a couple of times. This is the sort of book you pick up and can’t set down until you finished it. I’m not sure that I would class this as a feel good story but it ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08BK4DPN5
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, coming of age, crime fiction, drama, ebook, fantasy, fiction, friends, goodreads, kindle, kobo, lgbt, literature, love, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Silent Screams, story, suspense, teen, teen fiction, writer, writing, ya fantasy, young adult, Zachary Ryan
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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