Rien Gray is a queer, nonbinary (they/them) author devoted to writing F/F and F/NB romance. They love reworking classic tropes in new ways and adding a splash of heat to all of their works. Rien started as a poet but now shifts between short fiction and longer prose, although the subject matter is always about how love transforms us. They live in Ireland.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Rien Gray: I’m a queer, nonbinary (they/them) author and I just turned thirty. I was born in the United States, but I live and work in Dublin, Ireland. My port of call is actually writing for video games rather than books, but I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was twelve, and that desire has finally found a home.
H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?
RG: The women in my life have always been deeply invested in romances. For my mother, it was romcoms, and my stepmother tore through romance novels on a weekly basis. The first ones I read were ones she finished and left in the back of the car. As a queer person, stories with a strong romantic bent were the first time I saw LGBTQ+ folks treated as fully realized people in media – and the HEA! That guarantee is not only a source of joy for me, but of safety. I wanted to tell the same kind of stories that gave me a lifeboat when I was growing up.
H: What were the major steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
RG: About two years ago, I was suffering severe burnout from my previous job in the games industry, and decided I would write something just for myself. I’d technically finished novels before, but they hadn’t really gone anywhere. By writing something indulgent, I tapped into what I really wanted to do, and the resulting manuscript was my debut, a romantic suspense (Love Kills Twice). From there, it seemed like the floodgates opened. I’ve contracted two novellas, my novel with Harlequin, and sold a pair of short stories, all in the last year.
H: What one piece of advice would you offer aspiring writers?
RG: Spend time with other writers! I’ve learned so much exchanging stories with friends that have completely different genres, styles, and so forth. It’s valuable to have as many perspectives on writing as possible so you can find the path that works for you.
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
RG: I did what I do when I receive most good news these days: I promptly got up from my laptop, walked several laps around my apartment to vent the sudden excess of excited energy, then sat back down to make sure the request was still real. Thankfully, it was.
Now let’s hear from Rien’s editor Stephanie Doig:
We’re thrilled to have Rien on board with Carina—HER WOLF IN THE WILD caught our attention right away with a high-stakes story and deep, heartfelt emotion. Welcome, Rien!Stephanie Doig, Editor, Carina Press