Sara Ryan is the author of the novels The Rules for Hearts and Empress of the World, and of various comics and short stories on themes including but not limited to teen angst, Hellboy, joining the military, the 1962 escape from Alcatraz, and circuses. Her first graphic novel, Bad Houses, with art by Carla Speed McNeil, is forthcoming from Dark Horse Comics.
Four Things Sara Likes:
- Taking pictures, especially of street art, landscapes, and the possessions of the recently departed
- Finding surprising objects and clothing at thrift stores
- Lifting weights
- Her cat, despite his continuing indifference
She grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and now lives in Portland, Oregon where she works as a librarian and writes at night and on the weekends.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are you available for appearances at schools and libraries?
- Yes — with the caveat that it’s often tricky for me to schedule them because I still work full-time as a librarian. But you can book a virtual visit with me via Skype!
- Are you going to write more about the characters from Empress and Rules?
- I don’t know. I love them, but I have a lot of stories I want to tell. I’ve written comics about Katrina and Battle, and you can read those online.
- Okay, but you are going to write more, right?
- Oh yes. I’ve been writing. You can find short stories of mine in Welcome to Bordertown and Girl Meets Boy. I’m also collaborating on a graphic novel, Bad Houses, with Carla Speed McNeil. And then there’s the next thing, and that other thing, and the thing I’m not talking about yet…
- Did Empress really happen?
- No. If it had, it would be an autobiography, not a novel. But it was certainly inspired by people and events from my life.
- How long did it take you to write?
- About five years. And five drafts.
- Will your books always take that you that long?
- I hope not.
- Are you queer or what?
- Yep. Bisexual, to be precise. Although I like the word queer better.
- How did you know you were bi?
- Well, gosh — it was pretty straightforward: the people I was attracted to weren’t all of the same gender.
- How did you come out?
- I told my two best friends (this was back in high school) who both said, “Great — just don’t hit on me.” One of them came out herself in another couple of years. I told my parents separately, and each of them said, “Well, I’m fine with it, but your mother/father won’t be able to handle it.” I think they eventually figured out that they both knew. They have been nothing but supportive. And, like everyone else who isn’t straight, I continue to come out whenever it seems necessary/appropriate. (Case in point.)
- Can you give me advice on a personal/relationship issue?
- No. I’m flattered that you’re interested in my opinion, but no.
- Were you ever in a Shakespeare play?
- Sadly, no. I’ve worked on a lot of other plays, though.
- Did you write a nonfiction comic about Alcatraz?
- Yep. But you can only get it at the Alcatraz gift shop, or directly from me at a comic convention.
- Will you read my manuscript?
- I’m sorry, but no. I work full-time, I write at night and on the weekend, and there simply aren’t enough hours left in the day to give your manuscripts the thoughtful and helpful readings they deserve. My best advice is to join or start a writers group — they’ve helped me tremendously.
- I wrote some fanfiction about your characters. Will you read it?
- I’m flattered! But no.
- Who does your hair?
- Kahala, at Koi Pod.