Welcome to another edition of Author Spotlight on Literary Inspired! I’m thrilled to have you join me for this exclusive interview with a rising star in the world of indie romance fiction. This series is all about shining a spotlight on the incredible talent within the indie romance community, and today, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Ari Wright, a gifted author who is making waves in the genre.
Ari Wright, hailing from a sun-soaked corner of the United States, has a passion for storytelling that began at the young age of twelve. A lifelong book-lover, Ari’s journey into writing was driven by her insatiable appetite for stories. She once humorously quipped that she had to start writing her own tales because she had devoured everyone else’s. Fifteen years in the making, Ari’s dream of sharing the worlds inhabiting her mind with others has finally come true.
In this Author Spotlight, Ari has chosen to feature her novel, For Always (The Instant Always Book 1), a contemporary romance that promises to whisk readers away into a world of sizzling characters and modern love stories filled with twists and turns. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, you won’t want to miss this interview where Ari shares insights into her writing journey and the captivating stories she creates.
At the end of this interview, you’ll find links to Ari Wright’s social channels and her work, so you can dive deeper into her enchanting world of romance. If you’re an indie romance author looking to be featured in our Author Spotlight series, be sure to fill in the Author Spotlight form. We’re always on the lookout for exceptional talent to showcase.
Can you share with us the inspiration behind your debut novel, For Always, and what motivated you to write a contemporary romance?
For Always started with the idea for my main character, Ella. I’ve discovered that I’m very character-driven as a writer and once her past and personality came together, so did the rest of the story. I was inspired by my favorite contemporary romance authors, particularly Sylvia Day and TL Swan. I wanted to write love stories with the epic, angsty love found in Day’s Crossfire series; and the sort of sparkling wit and likable characters TL Swan writes so brilliantly. I was also inspired by Scarlett Scott. She writes period/historical romance; she is a master at taking difficult side characters and giving them incredible redemption arcs in their own stand-alones. I hope to accomplish that with some of my own characters as I continue on with this series!
The Instant Always series promises vibrant characters and modern love stories. Can you tell us a bit more about the unique qualities that make your characters and their relationships stand out?
My favorite compliment as a writer is some variation of: “Your characters felt so real and I loved them so much!” I love that! I spend so much time with these “people” in my mind, I come to love and care for them. I enjoy them, and I especially adore how unique every individual relationship is because of their personal differences. Thankfully, that seems to translate to my writing!
In For Always, Grayson Stryker and Ella Callahan have a complex history. Can you give us a glimpse into their relationship and what challenges they face in the story?
Grayson and Ella share a very pure, sweet connection. From the moment they meet, Grayson feels how different she is from anyone else he’s ever known and she senses a sadness in him that others overlook due to his billionaire playboy status. When they are together, their labels and the identities imposed upon them by others fall away. They both feel seen and understood in a profound way that prove irresistible, despite the hang-ups and fears Ella has from events in her past. As a survivor of SA, Ella never expected to find someone who would make her want to try an intimate relationship with a man. Her feelings for Grayson inspire her to be brave and the way he cares for her helps bring her back to herself. They grow together and forge a future until a terrible, twisted turn of events separates them. Grayson is certain he’s lost Ella forever until he sees the dedication in her book and decides he has to know why she left him. He shows up, demanding answers that Ella promised herself she would never reveal.
How does the city of Manhattan serve as a backdrop for the events in your novel? How does it contribute to the overall atmosphere and themes explored in the book?
I fell in love with the city’s frenetic energy and its diversity. There’s a sort of purpose to a place like Manhattan. Everyone seems to know exactly where they’re going and what they’re about. I really love that. The city also contains so many layers, which is great for a writer. It allows me to create a diverse cast of characters/side characters with rich backstories and different ways of life. Manhattan is a place where the lives of so many different types of people could realistically intersect.
Ella Callahan is an author in the story, and her book features Grayson’s name. What significance does writing have in the narrative, and how does it shape the characters’ journeys?
Ella originally begins writing as a hobby with no intention of doing it professionally. After her initial relationship with Grayson ends, she uses her writing as an outlet for her grief and ultimately winds up creating a novel that reflects the happy aspects of their relationship, along with the happy ending she wishes they shared. As part of her continued quest for fulfillment after they break up, Ella decides to self-publish her little story and dedicate it to Gray, thinking no one will ever know or recognize him. Instead, she accidentally leads Grayson right back to her door.
Love, humor, and heart are mentioned as important elements in your writing. How do you balance these aspects in your storytelling to create a compelling reading experience?
I ask myself this question all the time! I really try to implement great dialogue as a key component in this goal. I want the conversations to feel real, but maintain a raw undercurrent of strong emotion when necessary. I also want my readers to love my characters as much as I do, which means highlighting their growth, empathy, and humor. Every joke and bit of banter is there to let the readers know who these people are beneath the surface and make them more endearing.
As an indie author, what has been the most rewarding aspect of your writing journey so far? Are there any particular challenges you’ve faced in the indie romance community?
My biggest challenge so far has been not knowing what I don’t know! When I hit Publish back in March, there were so many aspects of indie publishing that I had never heard about. Now that I’m learning so much and engaging with other indie authors in the bookish community, I feel so excited for what the future holds for all of us!
The second book in The Instant Always series, For Ever, features a different set of characters. Can you tell us a bit about this new story and how it connects with the first book?
For Ever is an enemies-to-lovers office romance with lots of spice. It focuses on the best friend of the MMC in For Always, Graham Everett. Graham is Grayson Stryker’s former roommate and closest friend. As they both embark on their journeys as budding Manhattan CEOs/power players, Graham is convinced he won’t end up locked down like Grayson, until he arrives for an ultra-important meeting and meets Juliet Rivera in the elevator on his way up to Grayson’s office. Juliet and Graham immediately hate each other. They have an altercation while they ride the lift, only to discover they will be working together on the biggest project of both of their careers. Both ambitious, stubborn, and proud, they each refuse to bow out… even when keeping their hands off of one another turns out to be more challenging than they ever imagined.
Could you share any insights into your writing process? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you stay motivated and inspired while crafting your novels?
I would say my process involves a lot of introspection and intuition. For me, writing is something I have to “feel out” and I usually know pretty quickly if a scene or tangent doesn’t feel right to me. I like to actively question myself as I go and make sure everything I’m writing feels organic and true to my characters. My favorite ways to get inspired are sitting at my favorite local coffee shop (which also conveniently serves wine) and going on long drives to think. Music is a huge part of my process, too; I typically set up a playlist for the book before it is written and refer back to it as I work.
What can readers expect from your upcoming releases? Are there any new projects or exciting developments you’d like to share with us today?
I am finishing up book three in The Instant Always series–For You–with the goal of publishing it this fall! Like the others, it is a stand-alone that focuses on a side character (or two!) from For Always and For Ever, that readers already know and (hopefully) love. The characters and tropes will be revealed soon and I can’t wait to share them! I am also partially finished with the sequel to For Always, which will be released next February. It will be the perfect little Valentine’s/spring romance!
To stay connected with Ari and explore more of her work, you can visit Ari’s Amazon page and her website, ariwrights.com. You can also follow her on GoodReads, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to stay up to date with her newest releases. And here’s a special invitation to all the talented indie romance authors out there: If you’d like to be featured in my Author Spotlight series, just like Lorissa, please fill in the form found on this page: Author Spotlight Submission Form. We can’t wait to discover more incredible talents in the world of indie romance literature. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and heartfelt tales from the world of romance fiction!