Cala Riley, better known as Cala and Riley, are a pair of friends with a deep seated love of books and writing. I feel in love with their unique writing skills when I reviewed the first book in the brilliant Brighton Academy Series – ‘Unbidden’ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51808994-unbidden; from then on I have read all their books and have never once bee disappointed. Matteo the first book in their brand new Mafia Series releases on the 25th January and you can check out my review 5* here – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3777496099.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Cala-The Outsiders. “Stay Gold, Ponyboy.” It gets me every time.
Riley- I honestly have no idea. I rarely cry when others bawl during books.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Cala-I think anyone can be a writer, but I do think it would be challenging for someone who doesn’t feel or understand emotions strongly to elicit a strong response from someone. With that being said, I don’t have personal experience with the Mafia, but we write some kickass mafia stories. Anything is possible.
Riley- I think it depends on what kind of story you pen. I agree with Cala that I think it would be challenging if you can’t put into words what your feeling if you write fiction. With that said though, if you’re writing something nonfiction (say memoir), I don’t think it would matter where they are more fact based.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Cala-Kristen Proby. She is legit the only author friend I have because I am wonderfully awkward and have a hard time approaching people. She helps me a lot, though. She gives great advice and helps me feel validated in my feelings. She’s a great resource.
Riley- Proby is hands down a great resource, love talking with her and her team. Oddly enough, I talk to more people than Cala. I talk to Nikki Pennington and Stefanie Jenkins on a daily basis. I don’t know if we make each other better writers, but we definitely cheer each other on and will help each other if one of us is stuck. There are a few other authors I talk to frequently as well, but those are the main three.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Cala-Honey badger because they are badass. I mean seriously; they are fearless, persistent, and independent. All characteristics I feel I embody.
Riley- I’m going with Lioness. Not only are they beautiful, but they are determined, focused, strategic, and night owls. Plus, they aren’t afraid to kill and I’m always game to kill a character off.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Cala-Their mannerisms and the way they speak. I use my husband as a sounding board sometimes, but even then, I still feel like my male characters don’t talk as manly as they could.
Riley- I’m going to agree with Cala. I will randomly ask my husband something to make sure I’m writing whatever it is like he would do/say it. I grew up as one of the guys so at times it feels easier for me to write a male POV than it is to write a female.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Cala-I do. It’s always a pang to my chest when I get a bad one, but then I remember that not everyone is going to love me. When I get a good one, though, it puts me on a high. It makes me want to shout to the world that someone loved my words.
Riley- I stopped reading reviews for the most part. I will look at the five-stars to grab a sentence or two share on social, but that’s really it. When we first started, I took it way too personal when someone would leave a critical review and not actually say what they didn’t like. So I just stopped.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Cala-Absolutely. Especially our Beta Readers. Sometimes it’s a joke we shared or even a name. Now that we have more books out, we are also starting to hide little easter eggs hinting on some of our other series.
Riley- Easter eggs make me smile when I find them in other authors stories. Now that we are really starting to do it, it makes me smile. I think we add a lot of the little stuff between us, our spouses, and our friends that most won’t notice, but if they did, they would get it and laugh.
A Fun one I use when interviewing people you don’t have to use this
If you were a cookie, what cookie would you be and why? For instance, I see myself as a Custard Cream hard on the outside, soft on the inside:-)
Cala- I think I would be a Samoa cookie. It’s complex with many components that on their own are okay, but put it all together and they make the most delicious cookie.
Riley- *looks at Cala* You can keep your coconut monstrosities to yourself. *shivers in disgust* As for myself, I think I’m like a monster cookie. I look harmless, but I pack a punch and will catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it.
You can stalk this pair all over Social Media on the following links:-