My name is Raisa Greywood. I write contemporary romance. I waver back and forth between dark and comedy, but hey, life is too short to pick just one! I also write paranormal romance under the pen name Minette Moreau.🐉
A question I’m often asked is, “How/why did you start writing?”
I don’t think I’m unique—every author has been asked this at some point in their careers, and probably more than once. The answers are as individual as the authors.
The how is easy—and incredibly difficult at the same time. One simply parks their backside in a chair and…
Wait! You mean there are grammar rules? What the heck is past perfect and why do I need it? Character development? Plot? Story structure?
Here’s a Raisa fun fact. Until I was somewhere around fifty years old, I thought the past perfect verb tense was a joke created by my middle school English teacher to torment me.
The why is a bit more muddled. I was teaching high school math at the time, after a long career using numbers in another field. My last formal English class was sometime during the Regan administration. I’ve always been an avid reader though. Romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror… If it was printed between two pieces of card stock, I’d likely read it.
Yep, I was the kid who read cereal boxes.
I remember being delighted beyond words when my father brought home a whole set of very cheaply printed Nancy Drew mysteries from one of his business trips. Those books went from Maryland, to Germany, to Hawaii, and finally to Ohio. Unfortunately, after so much time and so many moves, I’ve lost track of them.
As I got older, my tastes changed, and it became harder to find books that truly resonated with me. When I first started writing, I was a year away from being an empty-nester, and I had my very own happy-ever-after with my amazing husband. More on him later.
Let’s face it. I wasn’t a twenty-something virgin. Heck, I wasn’t that woman when I got married. Even then, I was separated from that archetypal heroine by a decade of experience, relationships, and a career. This isn’t to say those heroines aren’t great, but they weren’t me.
Where was the mature bisexual woman who chose a geeky engineer for her knight in shining… coveralls?
I wanted realistic characters. People of color. LGBTQ+ people. People with scars, damage, histories, and rich backstory. I remember hearing someone say something along the lines of, “Only straight white people get a happy ending.”
Calling bullshit, honey.
I finally decided something along the lines of, “If nobody is writing the books I want to read, what’s stopping me from doing it myself?”
Cue the rabbit hole.
So… I wrote. My first attempts (note the plural there) were abysmal. One was a three-hundred-thousand-word behemoth that shall never see the light of day again. My second attempt is still one of my biggest regrets.
It was a Regency romance with an older heroine, and of course, a handsome duke. The heroine’s name was Miranda. She was wrongly convicted of theft, transported to Australia, and became quite a brilliant pirate before she found her true love. I adored her!
It was a wonderful story, but I lacked the skill to do it justice. I still think about dusting it off sometimes.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh, yes. Attempts. Plural. Every author has a collection of early work. We all look back on them with a mixture of fondness and horror, yet that is how we learn. We practice.
One of my dearest friends from high school convinced me to keep writing, telling me I was good. I, of course, didn’t believe her a bit.
But I kept at it.
And I got better.
I embraced the learning curve. Any skill worth doing is worth doing well.
Then I got good.
Someone commented on one of my books that she’d never laughed so much while reading a dark romance.
THAT is what I want. I want all the dark humor and scorching chemistry. It was as if my skills had finally gotten good enough to communicate my vision.
I’m a USA Today bestseller now. Remember my husband? My knight in shining coveralls? Well, he’s supported me at every step. When his parents threw me shade, he backed me up.
When they said, “It’s a phase,” he said, “Buy a fucking USA Today. My wife is in it.”
I love that man so hard. He’s the reason I do enemies-to-lovers so well. We hated each other in college. I’d like to say I fell in love with him because he’s got romance novel equipment in tight boxer briefs, but it’s really because he’s truly amazing. He’s the man who shovels snow for an elderly neighbor and won’t take money for it and spends twenty years helping with a Cub Scout pack—even though we don’t have boys.
In fact, my first published work was a joke, written for him. He loves space opera, so I wrote him one. He was impatient though and was forever bugging me for just one more chapter.
So, I gave him one.
Our house is two stories with a finished basement. When he got to the end of what I’d written, in which the heroine had faked her own death, I could hear him yell from the upper floor. He now mutters darkly about never reading another living author again.
In any case, my mother-in-law now introduces me to people. “This is my daughter-in-law, Raisa. She writes dirty books.”
I thought her caregiver was going to lose her shit.
Meanwhile, my dear friend—the one who has encouraged me all along—is still writing but is struggling. She received crushing critique from someone who isn’t her audience and doesn’t read her genre.
It’s my turn to encourage her now because I absolutely refuse to let her give up.
So many people have helped me, and the authors I once fangirled over are some of my dearest friends. In fact, Delilah Devlin—the host of this blog—is one of them.
Well, she’s one of the authors I fangirl over. Considering I just got up the nerve to send her a Facebook friend request, I’m not about to be cheeky enough to call her a friend. She’s definitely a colleague though, which is totally cool by itself.
Give me time. Delilah doesn’t know about my seriously epic bar or my selection of yummy snacks yet. I’ll have her in my clutches soon!
Yes, authors are easily bribed with food and booze.
Anyway, I digress. Quite a lot actually.
I digress so much, I had to create a second pen name because I’m constitutionally incapable of being just Raisa.
Raisa writes steamy contemporary BDSM. Minette Moreau writes steamy paranormal. But you know what? No matter who is writing the story, you can guarantee the characters are going to be snarky, sexy, and will love as deeply and as powerfully as they fight.
I’m busy with a literal crapton of projects, but if you want to catch up with me at all the usual places, find your favorite at this convenient Linktree: https://linktr.ee/RaisaGreywood.
Thanks to Delilah for inviting me to her blog, and especially special thanks to everyone who reads.