To celebrate the release of HER WILD HERO, Book 3 in my X-OPS Series, on May 5th, I've been posting weekly interviews with each of the handsome cover models from the first three books in the series. This week I'm interviewing Ryan Ray, hunky cover model from HER WILD HERO!
I'm so excited to have you on my blog today! When my editor sent me the cover for HER WILD HERO, I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn't have asked them to pick a better model for the hero, bear shifter, Declan MacBride! Do the photographer or publisher (Sourcebooks) tell you anything about the book you're posing for? Like what type of hero you're playing? Do they talk about your character's "motivation?" Ryan: The photographer was very adamant on me expressing the intensity and sexiness through my eyes, like a more serious but still sexy version of Ben Stiller's patented "blue steel"! I hope I was able to deliver!
Love it! And yes, you certainly did! :) Can you walk me through the photo shoot? How many photos do they take? How long does the shoot take? Inquiring minds want to know! Ryan: The photographer took hundreds of photos from different angles and poses. He had an industrial fan blowing on us for most of the shots to get the wind effect. All in all, the shoot took less than an hour.
And I'm sure they all looked amazing! I don't how the art department at Sourcebooks picked! Have you ever worked with the female model playing the kickbutt heroine Kendra Carlsen to your hero before the cover shoot for HER WILD HERO? Feel free to give her a shout out here if you want because like you, she's perfect for the heroine!
Ryan: I have not worked with her before, but she looks amazing in the shot! I can see why she was chosen to portray Kendra Carlsen, hope she is doing well!
Yes, she's perfect for Kendra! Did you see the cover before I showed it to you? What did you think of the finished version?
Ryan: No, I didn't see the cover until it was finalized. I was very pleased with how the cover turned out! I showed my mom the cover right away and she thought it was amazing! In fact, she has already reserved about 10 copies to give out to friends and family.
Awesome! I've talked to your mom on FB, and she's a sweetheart! Have you done a lot of romance book covers?
Ryan: No, this is only my third romance book cover.
Well, I'm sure you'll be getting a lot more after this! What other kind of modeling do you do?
I was featured as Atlas in The Lonely Island's most recent music video "Hugs" featuring Pharrell, the latest Jockey underwear TV commercial and several YouTube Videos, also a couple swimwear catalog shoots. I also made an appearance on ABC'S Mistresses.
Hear that, girls! The Jockey underwear commercial! :) As someone who loves football, I was excited to read that you played linebacker in school. Are you still a huge football fan? Favorite team?
Ryan: I still enjoy watching football, and my favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys, but I'm not a die hard fan like my brother, (who still lives in Texas), I only like them when they are doing good!
LOL! That's too funny! We're also cowboy fans, but not fanatics! They're too much of an up and down team for that! :) I see that you play the guitar. Did you ever want to be a career musician?
Ryan: I was pretty convinced during high school that my brother and I were going to be successful rock stars but things didn't turn out quite the way I thought they would, but I still play guitar from time to time!
Secretly (well, not so secretly now, I guess) I'm glad you didn't start a band because then you wouldn't have been on the cover of my book! :) You have two dogs-Ninja and Star (cute names, BTW!)-any fun tidbits about them you'd like to share?
Ryan: Ninja is a 5 year old Yorkie and Star is a 2 year old Min Pin. We named Ninja because of my fascination with ninjas. I named Star after the character Jamie Gerts plays in the movie Lost Boys. And of course if you put the two of them together you get a "Ninja-Star"! The two of them are like children. Star is my baby, we rescued her from the shelter about a year ago and she has brought a lot of love and chaos to the house! Ninja is more of a loner, but has quite the feisty attitude at times!
I've seen pics on your and FB page, and they're cuties! Our fur baby is part min pin! :) Speaking of animals, some of the heroes and heroines in my X-Ops Series are shifters. They don't actually turn into animals, but instead have certain traits. For example, as a bear shifter, Declan MacBride, the hero of HER WILD HERO and the character you portray on the cover, can see better at night, has a keen sense of smell, has claws and fangs that come out when she needs them, and is super strong. If you could be a shifter in the X-OPS world, would you want to be a bear shifter like Declan, or another kind of shifter, and why?
Ryan: I would choose to be a Panther shifter. Panthers are known to be strong and fierce, with an almost ghostly quality. All traits that I see in myself.
A panther is a great choice! What's your workout routine like?
Ryan: I always do at least 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill, first thing in the morning upon waking up, usually a walk/run combo with high intensity intervals using speed and incline. Sometimes when I need a break from the treadmill I will default to the stairmaster. I don't do much heavy weight lifting these days but always try to incorporate a push/pull combo such as curls and presses. And then of course, I always fit in some core/ab work, usually the ab wheel with variations of crunches!
Sounds fun! What are you up to now and where can people find you on the net?
Since the new year I was featured in a music video (not yet released), a new health product infomercial and most recently a popular workout video series!
Very cool! Thank you so much for doing this interview! You rock!
To celebrate the release of HER WILD HERO, Book 3 in my X-OPS Series, on May 5th, I'm going to be posting weekly interviews with each of the handsome cover models from the first three books in the series. This week I'm interviewing Zack Clark, hunky cover model from HER LONE WOLF!
I’m so excited to have you on my blog today! When my editor sent me the cover for HER LONE WOLF, I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn't have asked them to pick a better model for the hero, wolf shifter, Clayne Buchanan!
Do the photographer or publisher (Sourcebooks) tell you anything about the book you’re posing for? Like what type of hero you’re playing? Do they talk about your character’s “motivation?” Zack: When shooting Her Lone Wolf, I was really fortunate to have been able to work with such a great photographer, David Wagner. A great photographer, in my opinion, has a lot more responsibility than just knowing how to take a great picture. When working with models, it is just as important for the photographer to be able to provide a comfortable environment for the model to work in and to be a great communicator. The photographer must be able to communicate to the model the type of mood the photographer is trying to invoke for the shot, otherwise it becomes a guessing game for the model and a great image is rarely achieved. Before and throughout each shoot, David Wagner has been great about giving me a bit of a back story on the character I am portraying, and a shoot with David doesn’t feel like work. It’s more like two buds hanging out, developing some pictures to be excited about and proud of. That's the best kind of work, when it doesn't feel like it, right? That's how I feel about writing. Can you walk me through the photo shoot? How many photos do they take? How long does the shoot take? Inquiring minds want to know! Zack: 1 photo. That’s all it took. We got the shot on the first try. That’s how good David Wagner is. We then took about 300 more shots just for safety ;-) ha! JK. Don’t get me wrong, David is great, ha, but we do typically take between 300 to 500 shots when David and I are trying to capture 1 specific shot. The shoot for Her Lone Wolf took about 1 hour of actual shooting. Photographers are all different with their shooting style. Some take tons of shots and make lots of lighting changes throughout the shoot as they go, which is exhausting and a bit annoying for the model I have to say. Something I really appreciate about David’s style is that he spends his time dialing in the lighting and appropriate backdrop/wardrobe etc. before the model shows up as to not waste others’ time. This is not only a considerate move on his part but a smart move as a photographer as well. Nobody likes to get their time wasted; it makes us annoyed, bored and frustrated. If you have an annoyed, bored and frustrated model, these moods will have a tendency to translate through to the images in the shoot. A comfortable, happy model takes focused, passionate, character driven shots like the covers of your books.
I completely agree with you! I'm also an artist and have always felt that emotions come through when I'm drawing or painting. Same is true with writing. Have you ever worked with the female model playing the kickbutt heroine FBI agent Danica Beckett to your hero before the cover shoot for HER LONE WOLF? Feel free to give her a shout out here if you want because like you, she’s perfect for the heroine! Zack: OK, here comes the magic of Hollywood. Before shooting for Her Lone Wolf I had not worked with the female model portraying Danica Beckett. And now that I have shot the cover of Her Lone Wolf…I still have not worked with this lovely looking young lady! Believe it or not, I shot in front of a green screen on a different day than the female model and was later superimposed into the image with the female model placed in front of me. I have to say, you never know how a green-screened shot is going to come out, but obviously the photographer and editor knew what they were doing! You obviously knew what you were doing by choosing this particular female model as well. She carries a lot of depth, strength and mystery in her eyes and it is a pleasure to have it appear as if I’ve worked with her ;-) That's just amazing! You look like you posed together! And while I would love to take the credit for picking out the female model portraying Danica, that was all the artists and designers at the my publisher, Sourcebooks. Did you see the cover before I showed it to you? What did you think of the finished version? Zack: I did see the cover before you showed it to me but when you did show it to me it was like finding another bag of money. It’s not like you look at the second bag of money and say “eh, I already found one of those” and go about your merry way. You get excited all over again! I LOVE the cover of Her Lone Wolf. Not only does it look like a top notch movie billboard but I am also lucky enough to be on the cover with a great female model, which to me is more interesting than just me being in the picture alone; it tells more of a story. I also prefer not to have all of the attention on my looks (which most of it is when you pose alone) but rather on my character’s intention (which in Her Lone Wolf I am clearly backing-up the female). I guess that preference may stem from some sort of fear of narcissism but good luck with that Zack, you’re on the cover of a huge novel and you’re half naked, ha.
LOL! Well, the two of you look perfect together. Have you done a lot of romance book covers? Zack: I have probably shot about 15 romance book covers but I can honestly say I think the cover of Her Lone Wolf turned out the best. It’s amazing and I’m not just saying that because you invited me to your launch party ;-) Seriously, it’s my favorite cover. The funny thing about doing romance book covers is that every once in a while I will have friends send me random pictures of them reading a book with my picture on it and looking sarcastically enthralled with the read. Thanks guys and girls. Really appreciate that ;-)
Flattery will get you everywhere! :-) Seriously, I'm glad you love how it looks. Me, too! I read on your website that you do modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as Tommy Hilfiger and MAC Cosmetics, just to name a few. Of those I mentioned, the MAC Cosmetics one intrigues me the most because I’m a huge fan of the SyFy show Face Off and they do body painting on there sometimes. What were you painted up as for MAC.? And exactly what is it like having artists use you as their canvas? :-) Zack: It has been great to model for MAC Cosmetics. Many great stories have stemmed from modeling for MAC, particularly while partaking in MAC’s body painting shows. There was a show I did with MAC in Vegas where I was “painted” head to toe in this orange-brown mud. I will attach the picture. I’m essentially wearing a “nude” man thong and then covered with mud. Tell ya what, nothing breaks the ice between you and your make-up artist like having them slather mud where the sun don’t shine. Do you try to hold light conversation? Silence? No way, silence lets the mind wander. In times like these I actually just try to make things as funny as possible by pointing out the obvious. “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, I’d shake your hand but you’re painting my pelvis.” During times like those, rhyming isn’t critical.
LOL! Yeah, I can see how that could be kind of awkward. You mentioned that you and James Ellis (cover model from HER PERFECT MATE, X-OPS 1) are acting buddies. Have you done any shows/commercials/etc. together? Zack: Ah yes, good ol’ James. I’ve heard that any body fat that a normal person would put on, James converts to pure awesomeness. In fact, the first time I worked with James I walked up to him and said “excuse me sir but I believe you dropped your body fat.” He looked at me with a smile and shook my hand displaying an awesome reaction, and there you go. Body fat converted to awesomeness. All joking aside, James is a great guy. James and I have worked on several modeling and acting jobs together. From time to time we work together on The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives. Whenever James needs a stand-in, I am honored to stand-in for his right bicep.
LOL! So, if my X-OPS Series gets optioned into a movie or TV show, are you available to play wolf shifter/covert agent Clayne Buchanan? :-)
Zack: WHEN your X-OPS gets optioned into a movie I will be honored and ready to play Clayne Buchanan. My Wolf Senses can smell it coming…
From your mouth to God's ears. :-) Some of the heroes and heroines in my X-Ops Series are shifters. They don’t actually turn into animals, but instead have certain traits. For example, as a wolf shifter, Clayne Buchanan, the hero of HER LONE WOLF and the character you portray on the cover, can see better at night, has a keen sense of smell, and has claws and fangs that come out when he needs them. He also tends to growl a lot! If you could be a shifter in the X-OPS world, would you want to be a wolf shifter like Clayne, or another kind of shifter, and why?
A Wolf Shifter would carry with it the ideal advantages for me as a human. The improved night vision would be great seeing as how I’ve had 2 laser eye surgeries and my night vision is nothing to brag about. The improved sense of smell would be awesome because my wife is a great cook and apparently never farts. Gotta love me the smell of some fartless home cookin! The claws and fangs would clearly serve as great tools. I restore classic cars and trucks and there is nothing more frustrating than to not be able to find the right tool when you’re working under the hood, like when the bottle opener goes missing! Ugh, seriously!? But with fangs and claws no bottle or can would go unopened. As far as growling goes, I would have thought the growling thing would be awkward, but now that I’ve seen how cool Clint Eastwood looks in Gran Torino every time he growls, I am all for it. In fact, I think the growl should be adopted as the international sign of frustration. Those growling excessively could be tended to and we would have less shootings. Simple.
Probably true. While we're on the subject of growling, the hero, Clayne, growls a lot in the book, so if you play him in the movie/TV series version, you're going to have to practice it. :-) I see that you’ve been in commercials, as well as quite a few TV shows and
movies, including The Bold and the
Beautiful and CSI Miami.
Congratulations! What’s been your favorite role so far?
Zack: My favorite role was probably guest starring on Ellen. If you Youtube search “Ellen in a Soap” and click on the video with my confused face on it then hopefully you will enjoy a laugh. The scene is a couple minute mockery of soap operas in which I starred with Ellen Degeneres and Wanda Sykes. They were both great ladies to work with. During the scene Ellen spots lipstick on my collar and to get a better look she frustratingly convinces me to take my shirt off and give it to her. The whole scene turns out to be a promotion for Tide as Tide will surely be able to get the lipstick stain out of my collar so there is nothing to worry about. The guy gets slapped and ends up shirtless. A sure Hollywood sell.
Just watched it, and it's hilarious! What are you up to now and where can people find you on the net?
Zack: I am fortunately staying incredibly busy pursuing my passion of acting and modeling while on the side building my construction business. I went to school for engineering, graduated, became way more interested in acting/modeling than engineering, became an actor and got my general building contractor’s license to ensure a steady income.
I have been stubborn on setting up a Twitter account because I have honestly felt that I just haven’t had the time for another social media platform but rest assured it will be coming soon, most likely with the screen name of zackclark13 if that’s not taken. I was born on Friday the 13th and 13 has always been my lucky number ;-)
You should definitely try out Twitter. I'll definitely make sure to follow you. Thank you so much for doing this interview! You rock! Something tells me that after this interview, you're going to be getting a lot of friend requests in your FB inbox. :-)
Zack: Thank you, Paige, for the opportunity to be on the cover of your amazing novel, Her Lone Wolf! I look forward to joining you at your up-coming launch party! I would also like to thank your fans who have shared with me their liking of the cover of Her Lone Wolf! I wish you the best of success.
My publisher Sourcebooks has a new newsletter out called FREE ROMANCE READS launching next Mon, Apr 20th. Subscribers will get free serialized stories monthly, starting with Paige Tyler's X-OPS Novella HER SECRET AGENT!
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"An absolutely perfect story-one I honestly couldn't put down. One of the best books I've read in years. I hope this is the beginning of a very long series, because I definitely want more of Paige Tyler's shifters." - Kate Douglas, author of the bestselling Wolf Tales and Spirit Wild series
"A guileless elf heroine you can't help but fall in love with, a hunky hero who knows how to come to a girl's - er, elf's - rescue, some serious kissing under the mistletoe and lots of steamy hot romance!" 5 STARS on Amazon!