One of the greatest perks of the Coffee Break series is getting to meet authors of every cut and creed. Going back and listening to previous episodes, I’m always surprised by just how different every guest has been. In today’s episode, we get to hear from an author who embodies two of my favorite genres: young adult literature and nerd culture.

“One of the best things about the ‘nerd’ culture is the complete commitment and openness to loving what you love.”

Ryan Dalton is the author of the ongoing trilogy The Time Shift, including The Year of Lightning and its newly released sequel, The Black Tempest. I sat down with Ryan to talk about the struggles of being a newbie author: finding your voice, building a “creative vocabulary”, and the ins and outs of traditional publishing.

“There can be flaws and frustrations in the traditional model… It will test your resolve and endurance for sure, especially if you’re trying to sell something that is fairly unique.”

Being marketable and finding your place within established genres is an obstacle for many writers. But with a little faith in an audience for what you love and a lot of perseverance, someone will eventually take note. As Ryan says, “Embrace your weirdness!”

“Of course getting the contract was great and the book deal itself was great. But the thing that actually felt the best was the validation… That felt amazing.”

Check out Ryan’s website and social media presence, where he’s always working on something weird and cool (be sure to ask how his tabletop game is coming along). He’s even available for live talks and panels. Tell him Sarah sent you and thanks for listening!

Mentioned in this episode:

#yearoflightning #blacktempest

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