Ronnie Douglas

Also writes as Melissa Marr.Q&A with New Adult Author Jay CrownoverJay Crownover (JC): What drew you to venture into writing in the world of New Adult? Was it something specific or did the storyline and age of the characters just happen to fall into that category?Ronnie Douglas (RD): I started this book back in 2008 (when both of my first two books were on the New York Times bestseller list), but back then there was no term for New Adult and I was suddenly being contracted for more books in my Wicked Lovely series and then an adult fantasy. I had to put this aside. About seven years later, there is a category for this book.The story itself was very much a case of "write what you know." I paid for graduate school by slinging beer for bikers. Some of the naughtier bits of that experience (bikini bike washes, auctioning off the rights to pour ice water over me at set hours, learning the rules for house dealers, etc.) are things I look back on in some shock, but the people are still so vivid in my memory. Interacting with that world as a twenty-something myself meant that writing about a biker bar feels like it's meant to be NA.JC: Did you read and were you a fan of NA before you wrote Undaunted? If so, what are some of the NA stories you loved and recommend to others?RD: I read everything. I grew up without TV, so books are my daily relaxation . . . and romance was my first love. In general romance, I tend to go for historical, but my contemporary romance reads are pretty much NA. Obviously, I read your Marked Men series, Jen Armentrout, Katie McGarry (who I see listed as both YA and NA), Alyssa Rose Ivy (Derailed), Rachel Van Dyken, Colleen Hoover, and Elizabeth Briggs (More Than Music).JC: What kind of research and/or personal experience went into writing about a 1% MC? Did you feel any kind of pressure to get the biker lifestyle and vibe right?RD: Obviously, there are aspects of reality that are omitted or altered in Undaunted. This is fiction. However, I grew up on bikes. My father rode, so there were bikers and assorted so-called "rough" characters around. I simply feel more at ease with them, so I ended up managing a biker bar in my twenties (and yes, I have a definite loyalty to one particular 1% club as a result). I still ride, but only ever on the back and only ever on a Harley. I've never once been on a bike that was anything other than a Harley or a Triumph, and I'll admit that I've ridden with a few men because they had a gorgeous bike and the attitude to go with it.Honestly, I enjoy the old-school chivalry of bikers, including being someone's "old lady" back in the day. Handling guns, knowing how to move comfortably in biker bars, and not minding being secondary to a biker all (still) come naturally to me—despite being a feminist in all other areas of my life.Obviously, I took creative liberties here and there with this fictional 1% club, but the heart of it—that sense of loyalty, of almost tribalism, of passion, and of a somewhat flexible sense of legality—is accurate. The pressure I felt was walking a line between accuracy and story. Trying to convey why it feels good to be in that world is the easy part; being loved or cherished by bikers is an incredible feeling.JC: What is your favorite scene from Undaunted?RD: Any scene where there's a Harley! Getting to write about riding is a treat. When a friend mentioned never having been on a bike, it was . . . stunning to me. It’s been such a part of my life that I hadn't stopped to think that there are people I know who don’t get that joy, so I started to try to explain WHY it's so amazing—and why men who ride are too—and the result was that I wrote a couple of books.JC: Did you feel like you were able to take more risks and push the envelope more with the characters and story writing in NA since it's a genre that rose up from having no rules and no expectations?RD: Not at all, actually. I started



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