Blogging was the last thing Todd Landry expected his psychiatrist to recommend in dealing with his wife’s death. But his aversion to therapy demands drastic measures, and Todd soon finds himself writing about his sometimes-humorous struggles with single parenthood, dating, and shattered expectations. With each blog entry, Todd lets his guard down and discovers that perhaps he can find love once again.
Now available at Amazon.com.
An Interview with Ryan Rapier
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Southeastern Arizona and am still part of the eighty percent of people who live within 50 miles of where they were born. My wife and I are both proud alumni of Arizona State University and don our maroon and gold at every opportunity. (Okay, I do. In reality, my wife could care less about school colors or sports in general.) I have four children with number 5 (definitely the last) coming this September.
What inspired you to write this book?
I took my worst nightmare (my wife passing away while we still have kids at home) and combined it with people and events from my own life. My goal was to write a realistic portrayal of what life is like for a typical LDS man experiencing a non-typical life experience.
What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
I am an avid golfer, racquetballer and television watcher.
If you had to sum up The Reluctant Blogger in 30 or less words, what would you say?
It’s a story about family, friends, faith, and other things that can cause a person to seek therapy.
Do you have a favorite character? Who and why?
My favorite character is Dr. Schenk because he allowed me to voice some of my thoughts and feelings that I’m not really allowed to in a predominately LDS culture.
Tell us about your favorite character in this book!
Dr. Schenk is a Jewish psychiatrist who practices in Gilbert, Arizona. Because of his associations over the years, he has provided therapy to quite a few Mormons. This familiarity with the culture allows him to understand where his patients are coming from while also giving him the freedom to question things that don’t necessarily make sense to him.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Without giving too much away, I loved writing the final scene between Todd and his father. Throughout the book, they struggle to understand each other and it causes major tension. Resolving that in a way that left both characters with a mutual understanding of each other, while not changing who they are individually, was one of my favorite writing experiences.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Several things in the book are based on real life experiences. Not all by any means, but quite a few. My wife has sworn me to secrecy on which ones.
Do you share any personality traits with Todd?
My friends and family that have read the book say the main character, Todd, sounds exactly like me. Frankly, I don’t see it.
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
I cannot write if anything is going on around me at all. I am huge lover of music, but even that has to go off if I am in writing mode.
What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?
Finishing. There were many days I wasn’t sure I ever would.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
Something completely different. I have told my “Mormon” story, now I want to see if I can tell a story that is historical in setting and a little grander in scope.
Did you have a favorite character or hero as a child? Do you have a literary hero as an adult?
My favorite fictional character as a kid always alternated between Robin Hood and Zorro. I also liked The Lone Ranger and was so sad to see the movie fail so badly. As an adult, my favorite literary character would have to be Jack Ryan from the Tom Clancy novels, although Katniss Everdeen comes in a close second.
What’s the best book your mother ever gave or read to you?
The Alliance by Gerald Lund
What was the last truly great book you read?
I am reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and it is spectacular. I love fiction, but sometimes real history beats anything that the imagination can conjure.
Did the plot of the book turn out the way you planned or did something change during the process of writing it?
The book completely changed during the process. It was originally going to be told from the point of view of four different characters (one who basically got deleted from the story entirely). Also, once I settled on the format of the book, I never intended for Dr. Schenk to appear past the prologue. He ended up becoming my favorite character. And finally, I originally intended for Emily to disappear about a third of the way through the book, never to return.
From The Reluctant Blogger
Dr. Schenk, I don’t know if what I’ve written amounts to a breakthrough or not, but I hope you know how difficult this was for me. I also hope this proves how serious I am.
Ever since he lost his wife, Todd hasn’t been the same. Everyone seems to expect him to just forget Marci and get married again—especially when he meets Emily. But dating again is hard when Todd has three kids of his own, not to mention an overbearing father and friends with their own problems.
Todd knows he’s in a bad place. That’s why he went to a therapist in the first place. So when Dr. Schenk threatens to stop their sessions unless Todd puts in more effort, he grasps at the last available straw: a personal blog that will force Todd to confront his demons.
Championing friendship, love, and family, Ryan Rapier deals adeptly with the everyday struggles we face as well as the strongest ties that keep us together. You’re sure to fall in love with this magnificent tale of redemption, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Meet the Author
Ryan Rapier is an Arizona native and through the course of his life has come face to face with a rattlesnake more than once. For that reason alone, he would likely have left the desert behind years ago were it not for one thing—the luxury of year-round golf. When Ryan isn’t on the course or in front of a computer screen, he can usually be found chasing behind his four children or doing errands for his amazing wife in the isolated beautiful valley they have both called home forever. Ryan’s further thoughts and opinions that concern nobody but himself can be found at his website, www.ryansrapierwit.com.
Let me first begin by saying that I am LDS, and therefore the strong religious elements did not bother me. Having said that, I do feel that this book is geared toward LDS readers, but only because those unfamiliar with the LDS faith may not understand a lot of what is being discussed. Keep in mind that this is a fiction book, and an interesting one at that, although it wasn't quite what I expected.
I enjoyed the storyline, though it read more like a personal journal, and it touched on some hot-topic issues, which I thought brave of the author. There's humor and sadness mixed in with sarcasm and a lot of personal issues. It's a story about working through personal crisis and depression while still trying to maintain a normal life, care for children, and move forward after tragedy. He struggles and he overcomes, and in many ways it's an uplifting read, but the author doesn't necessarily gloss over issues, which I find refreshing.
I enjoyed the conversations between Todd and his shrink the best, as the shrink didn't pull punches, and he ended up being my favorite character.
Keeping the religious aspect in mind, I would recommend this book to others. It's a clean read and a good story for our time. However, don't pick it up thinking you're reading a blog--that's not what this is about.