1. How long have you known you were an author?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. The desire was always there. I began writing poetry when I was ten years old. When I was in middle school, I wrote a story that was published in the school newspaper. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an author. When my first book was published in 1998, I knew I had reached my goal.
2. What is your favorite place to write? What is going on around you? Music? Family? Pets? What do you see when you aren’t looking at the computer screen?
My favorite place to write is what I affectionately call my office. It’s a small bedroom that holds my desk, my computer, three bookshelves, two file cabinets, an office chair, a rocking chair, three small tables, a chest of drawers, and my printer. The closet is stuffed with paper, books, miscellaneous writing supplies, and other paraphernalia. When we moved into this house, I declared it off limits to anyone who didn’t have an invitation to visit. That was six years ago, before I realized nobody wanted to come in and listen to me say, “Don’t move any papers, don’t touch my computer, don’t shift my books around…”
I like the seclusion and solitude of my little hide-away. I like music, but not when I’m working. It distracts me. I’m oblivious to what is going on outside my closed door. When I glance from my computer screen, I look through a window at the brick wall of my neighbor’s house. I see, in my mind, visions and actions of what I will write next. When I ‘snap out of it’, I see a room that holds my little world of organized chaos.
I am a plotter. Before I begin to work on a novel, I make an outline for the book and character sketches for my hero and heroine. If the book is a historical, I do cursory research. Even with all that planning, I’ve been known to veer off course and take off in the opposite direction.
4. Who is your favorite character in the latest book and what will we like about him/her? Is there anything about this character that we might not like?
My favorite character in Forbidden is the villain. At the onset of the story he appears to be a grieving, kindly old southern gentleman. The man he appears to be solicits understanding, and invites friendship. By the end of the story, he is revealed as a ruthless, conniving, madman. By then, no doubt you will hate him. Maybe I like him because it was a challenge for me to create and develop such a devious, dastardly character.
5. Do you have any encouragement for writers-in-waiting, who are not yet published?
I can pass along the best advice I ever received about writing. It was from the teacher whose name I can’t recall. She was the instructor in an adult education class I took in 1999. She began her class by saying, “Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your readers.” That was a strange opening statement for the teacher of a course titled: How to Write Fiction. She went on to explain that she wasn’t speaking of literal truths, but personal truths. “Writing fiction begins by discovering a unique way of seeing a personal truth. Your task then, is to use your skills as a writer to convey that personal view to your readers. Memorable, moving books are not written from a sense of anything but the writer’s deepest and most honest convictions.”
Barri Bryan is a retired teacher and educator. She is also a prolific author who has written and published several romance novels, a number of volumes of prize-winning poetry, numerous essays, articles, and short stories, and one how-to curriculum for creative writing. Besides pursuing a writing career, she raises house plants, is an avid reader, an enthusiastic knitter, crocheter and quilter, a devoted country music fan, and a passionate Texas history buff.
Barri’s free gift to you, above, is the sequel to Bridget’s Secret