Image of a heart with rainbows

Author Interview: Robyn Nyx Chats about Stolen Ambition

Author Chat IHS Logo
Get ready to learn more about the book Stolen Ambition in this discussion with sapphic author Robyn Nyx.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Robyn Nyx about Stolen Ambition, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the International Setting category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Stolen Ambition?

I wanted to play with the idea of identity theft in a non-traditional way. I wrote it at that time because that was the story in my head, and I had to get it onto the page.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Marissa is my favourite character. She’s not like me at all. I love her because she’s the femme who has no idea how strong she is until it comes down to the wire—and I’m a sucker for a femme braided with steel.

What inspired the idea for Stolen Ambition?

Brey and I were watching a true crime show, and a bog-standard identify theft came on. We got to talking about stealing an identity that, on first blush, wouldn’t look like it’d take that much to steal but turns out to be far more complicated.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

Making sure I didn’t stereotype Mexican people.

What part of Stolen Ambition was the most fun to write?

All of it. I love the whole writing process, but getting the words down onto the page, no matter what kind of scene it is, is a wonderful thing. And watching the word count tick up and up is fascinating.

How much research did you need to do for Stolen Ambition?

Quite a lot; I read numerous books on drug trafficking in Mexico, and I had to understand and know the geography of Cabo. I do love the research phase because I get to learn so much about new subjects. Plenty of it never makes it onto the page, but I have to know it because my characters know it. And it stays with me, which I’m a big fan of.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

No sequel, I’m afraid. But the butch main character, Luca, has written a short story for the upcoming free anthology, SapphFic Eclectic Volume Five.

What is your favorite line from your book?

I’ve got a few, but Luca’s desolation and loneliness is encapsulated in this section:

“She couldn’t hold onto the dream of a future any more than she could grasp a single raindrop in a thunderstorm. The rainbow had shone over them, and then it had faded, as she knew it would. Their forever love wasn’t a pot of gold at its end because she would never be able to find the end of the rainbow. That was beyond the confines of this prison, in a world she was no longer part of, one she’d been torn from.”

What is your writing process like?

Strict! Brey and I have a writing studio, and we go in there four out of five week nights and a full day of each weekend when we have books in progress. It depends on the type of novel I’m writing as to the level of plotting and planning I do. For my adventures and FBI books, there has to be a lot of planning in order to hit the genre conventions and the clues have to be in the right place etc. But romances just flow, likely because I’m the most romantic person you could ever know.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

We have a writing studio in the garden, and I just need something to write on or with – usually my MacBook, but I like to go old school with stone paper and a fountain pen sometimes, and always for planning.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

Chuck Palahniuk. I love his writing and I enjoy his take on life.

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

Brey’s peanut butter, pecan, and coconut cookies—but I can’t share the recipe!

How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

I used to light up a cigar and have a glass of Disaranno, but I don’t smoke cigars anymore and I’ve discovered I’m allergic to almonds, so I stopped that a while back. I don’t think I’ve celebrated finishing a book for a while now, but Brey and I do celebrate at a fancy restaurant on release day!

Is there a particular genre you would love to write but only under a pseudonym?

I now write romance under the pseudonym Helena Harte. I wrote Music City Dreamers as Robyn, and it didn’t do well because people expect a certain kind of book from Robyn. A particular reviewer said that I couldn’t write romance. So I created Helena because I was sure that I could. That same reviewer loved my Helena debut, Call to Me…

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

I used to have an amazing little dog called Kevin, who I found tied up and left to die in a desert on one of the Canary Islands. Long story, but I got him home and he went everywhere with me. He used to lie on my desk (it was a big desk) to keep me company and would sometimes plop his paw onto the keyboard when he got bored. A version of his story is actually the basis for Java in Call to Me by Helena Harte.

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

I inhabit the character of whoever’s POV the scene is in, kind of like method writing as a version of method acting. So I get myself really worked up so I can feel everything I need to feel in order to fully write the emotion of the scene.

Have you ever hated one of your characters?

Absolutely, but luckily I’m supposed to, as is the reader. Casey Soto is the bad person in Stolen Ambition, and she gets a POV. What she does to Luca so that she can the life she thinks she’s entitled to is unforgivable. She’s truly unredeemable.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I like memoir. Peoples’ life stories are fascinating. I’m a psychology major, so how people navigate their adulthood is of great interest to me.

What books did you grow up reading?

I grew up reading Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Dickens, all the classics. There was a magazine every month that included a hardback book, and she bought it me every month for about four years. I still have my favourites from that collection, but I had to sell the rest when I was struggling financially post-university.

Meet Robyn Nyx

Robyn Nyx lives in England but enjoys traveling all over the world in search of inspiration. She loves to create complex characters to weave into stories that remind us of the darker side of human nature in the hope that we might cultivate the light.

Visit Robyn’s Website

share on:

Author Interview