Fiction Fest: Catching up with Ryan Rapier, author of ‘The Reluctant Blogger’

Ryan Rapier
‘The Reluctant Blogger’ author Ryan Rapier.

Ryan Rapier’s debut novel, “The Reluctant Blogger,” was released in August and is the story of 30-something Latter-day Saint (Mormon) Todd Landry, a widower who is struggling to put his life back together following his wife’s sudden death nine months prior to the story’s beginning.

Rapier recently concluded an 11-day, 3,000-mile book signing adventure through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah that included dates in Salt Lake City and St. George, not to mention his unannounced pop-ins at each Deseret Book store between Phoenix and St. George.

Baby Maggie
Baby Maggie

Four days after his return home, Rapier and his wife took a trip to the Phoenix area to facilitate the arrival of the couple’s fifth child, Maggie.

In spite of his hectic schedule, Rapier was gracious enough to take part in a mock “Today” show interview and to field questions in the Fiction Fest hot seat.

By the way, you can get a copy of “The Reluctant Blogger” in book stores and through online retailers.

Take it away, Ryan!

How much of Todd Landry is based on you?

Most of the things that have happened to Todd have not necessarily happened to me, but his reactions are definitely what mine would be 90 percent of the time.

Was there anything in “The Reluctant Blogger” that you had second thoughts about including?

Not really. I tend to be a react first, think later kind of person and my writing reflects that. There were a couple of items I toned down during the editing process (specifically the vitriol leveled at the Boy Scouts of America), but overall, I didn’t really hesitate on any topic mentioned.

What, if anything, got–to borrow a filmmaking term–left on the cutting room floor?

A lot of side stories that further developed the characters were cut for brevity’s sake. Almost every chapter in the first half of the book included a backstory of some sort. While some stayed, a lot were cut in the editing process.

Any thoughts about doing a sequel?

A sequel? No. Todd’s story is told. I would feel guilty picking on him any further in order to create an interesting plot. Now the idea of a spinoff? That I could see happening. Something where Dr. Schenk fills the same role for a different patient not present in “The Reluctant Blogger.”

You recently concluded your whirlwind book signing tour through Utah. If you could only pick one experience, what was the highlight of the tour?

Rapier trying to convince the St. George Deseret Book manager that his book cover would be a nice addition to the store's art collection.
Rapier trying to convince the St. George Deseret Book manager that his book cover would be a nice addition to the store’s art collection.

That’s too hard. There was something surreal and exciting about signing books at a Barnes and Noble. I can’t explain it except to say that I had to keep pinching myself in order to convince myself it was real. But the moments I got to spend with people I hadn’t seen in decades that came out because of the book tour was equally amazing. I will leave it at this. There really isn’t much I would change about the whole experience.

What has been the hardest part of the publishing experience for you?

Accepting the politics of a world I can’t change. When a publishing company has a corner on the market when it comes to retail locations for LDS literature, it is difficult to see the attention paid to their own books while yours sits at the bottom of a shelf near the back. There’s nothing to be done about it, but it is hard not to dream about the success your book could be having if it were afforded the same status as other works.

You got home from your book signing journey just days ahead of the arrival of your fifth child. What can you tell us about her?

She’s perfect. The birth went well and both mom and baby are doing great. Now if she could just get her mornings and evenings straightened out, everything would be fabulous.

What actors/actresses would you cast as the main characters in “The Reluctant Blogger: The Movie”?

John Krasinski as Todd and Amy Adams as Emily. And I would totally have the guy who played Charles Widmore on “Lost” play Todd’s dad, Adrian.

What song would serve as its theme song?

There is an old Waylon Jennings song called “Dreaming My Dreams With You” that I think is perfect. Except I would use the version done by Alison Krauss.

If you could play one round of golf with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

My initial reaction was to say Phil Mickelson, but I think I would be so intimidated it would probably take all the fun out of it. So instead, I will say Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). I don’t know if he plays golf, but I think a round of golf with him would allow me to pick up some golden morsels while allowing me to see one my heroes in a more relaxed setting.