Monday, April 17, 2023


I want to thank Willow Rivers for taking the time for this interview!


Willow Rivers is the pen name for an editor and soon-to-be author of ddlg/ddlb books. Born and raised in London, Willow now lives in the East Midlands with her husband/Sir and their teenage son. They have a menagerie of animals including a tortoise, an African Pygmy Hedgehog as well as the obligatory dogs and cat. When not editing or writing, Willow loves reading romances written by her author friends. She also loves English history and loves researching her favourite historical figures. When she can be dragged away from books, Willow collects and rescues 12th-scale doll houses. 

Raven B Stone is the darker pen name of Willow Rivers. Whilst obviously having the same interests as her counterpart, Raven edits and writes more contemporary and darker romance books. Raven explores the more taboo aspects of romance and her debut book, due out later this year, will contain darker themes such as dub-con and kidnapping. Raven is the quieter half of the two pen names but is still just as happy to make friends with other authors, pa's and readers on Facebook

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

(Willow) I have always loved reading books and, from an early age, always wanted to work within the publishing world.

As a child I used to read through the dictionary so that I could find unusual words.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

(Willow) Growing up, I was influenced by authors such as The Brontë sisters and the idea that they had to originally publish their work under male pseudonyms in order to even get their work considered for publishing.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

(Willow & Raven) No. It simply doesn’t work that way for me. My characters are as individual as real people.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Willow, as an author, draws inspiration from the lighter side of life.

Reading Anne of Green Gables and watching Little House on the Prairie encouraged her to view the world through rose tinted glasses.

Willow is a dreamer who absolutely believes in happy ever afters.

Raven is the darker author. She still believes that happy ever afters can happen but knows that they often follow hardship and disappointment.

Raven also understands that happy ever after isn’t always sunshine and rainbows but can, instead, mean being content with what you have.

Do you use a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

(Willow & Raven) As an editor I often read the last chapter of a book straight after reading the first chapter. This allows me to see how the characters have changed and developed and what, if any, obstacles the characters have to overcome to achieve their happy ever after.

I then tailor my editing to suit that narrative.

(Willow & Raven) As an author I usually have a basic plan for how the book will develop but my characters lead the actual story.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

No. Again, this doesn’t work for my characters.

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I read to relax. I get lost in books and often forget about the real world around me. I can lose a whole day just sitting and reading.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Oh jeez, that’s hard to answer. I have a whole raft of authors I am enjoying right now. I love Laylah Roberts, Pepper North, Kate Oliver, TS Little and Lizzie James.

For Raven it would be Piper Stone, Loki Renard, Julia Sykes and Skylar West.

What are your favorite books by others?

Willow is enjoying Leo from The Daddies of the Shadows series.

Raven has been reading Mafia Beast by Shanna Handel.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

Not really. I’m not widely travelled so the only requirements for a location are that they sound interesting and are plausible for the story.


Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Usually multiple. I think it is more interesting if the leading characters can offer their own perspectives and opinions.

As a reader and editor I prefer that too.

What do you find to be your best research tool?

I still like to look things up in a dictionary or thesaurus but I will often look things up on the internet first then cross reference.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Willow Rivers & Raven B Stone

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

Willow is the lighter side of me so she writes DDLG, conventional & possibly college romances.

Raven is the darker side of me. She writes grittier books such as Mafia romances or books with dub-con content.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I am a mum to three boys aged 31, 21 and 13. 

I love animals. We have lots of pets including a Red-foot tortoise and an African Pygmy Hedgehog called Princess Pixie. 

I am a vegan so I eat no meat or dairy. Don’t worry though, I still get plenty of protein  and, if you saw me, would know that I am absolutely not starving 🤣.

I also have a dry, dark sense of humour which us Brits seem to be known for 😁.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Don’t give up. Don’t limit your vision and don’t stick to writing what you know.

Imagination is everything.

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I mutter and swear a bit then move on, lol.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

I know most authors are very self critical and hardest on themselves.

For me this is two fold as I have OCD.

Editing books has become much easier for me but, as an Author, I have to make a concerted effort not to go into so much detail and stick to a set word limit for each book.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

I find it nice to have company when I am both editing and writing.

Working alone, I will usually have the TV on in the background. If my husband is home then I like to sit on the sofa next to him with my laptop on a little table in front of me.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

I love to graze on junk food as I edit or write. The only problem is that I lose track of how much I am eating. Hence not being a starving vegan 😂.

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

Just one? Either Laylah  Roberts or Kate Oliver

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

When editing for clients I work by chapters so I will usually do a chapter or two each evening after my day job and household chores. If I am getting towards the end of a book I usually end up doing the last few in bulk as I get caught up in the excitement of seeing the characters head towards their happy ending.

When writing, it can be a bit more stop and start. Sometimes I know how I want to direct a plot but my characters will refuse to co-operate. That can be frustrating.

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

I don’t generally listen to music as I write as I often end up singing along orienting to dance. Neither of which are conducive to writing, lol.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

Yes!! My cat has a tendency to lay on my laptop or next to it as he loves the heat. 

One of my dogs has separation anxiety so, if I am alone in the house, he has to either be on my lap at my desk or next to me when I am sitting on the sofa. Luckily he is a miniature Yorkshire Terrier so he doesn’t squash me.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Both as an editor and a writer I hate constant interruptions. I like to immerse myself in the story and constant interruptions jar me out of that and I can sometimes find it difficult to get back to that head space.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

Not so far although, a book I was editing for a client had a character that I would have loved to see die rather painfully 🤣.

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

As an editor I love being able to send the book back to the author and just take a few days to quietly relax.

As an author I don’t relax until it’s been double checked, alpha read and formatted.

I hope you enjoyed this interview!

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Willow/Raven!

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