Interview and a Free Book: Author Barri Bryan

A gift for all readers

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. 

3. How do you develop your plots and stories? Seat of the pants? Or planning? Or both? 

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.

Visit her website at http://www.barribryan.com/ and her Author Page at Desert Breeze Publishing.

Barri’s free gift to you, above, is the sequel to Bridget’s Secret

FORBIDDEN released today! Start the new year with a new book!

When school teacher Zoë Martin’s husband dies after a long illness, she is left financially bankrupt and emotionally destitute. She applies for a summer job to avoid foreclosure on her home.

Holt Harrison Hamilton, aging playboy and unscrupulous oil tycoon, hires her to assist him in writing a biography of his late wife, flamboyant actress Sarah Clarke. It seems the perfect summer job, in a perfect setting, a luxurious ranch in far West Texas.

Too soon the mystery and intrigue that surround this isolated utopia begin to unravel. Zoë is caught in a web of deceit and lies, and fighting a  dangerous attraction  to the one man she has no right to claim. 

 Excerpt: 
Halfway through the evening, the dance that had so far been a strain and a bore, turned into an ordeal. Zoë looked across the crowded room to see Clint coming through the front door, with Amy Fields hanging onto his arm. His dark masculinity blazed like a comet in the night sky. The defiant lift of his chin, the graceful movement of his muscular body, the insolent set of his unsmiling face, branded him as a renegade with a will to power that a tailor-made tuxedo and hand-stitched boots could not conceal.

He had no right to let another woman touch him so intimately. Zoë caught her bottom lip between her teeth and fought for control. The man was her stepson. A taboo as old as mankind forbade such thoughts.

Clint’s searching gaze swept around the ballroom until he spotted Zoë and Carter. With the gliding strides of a lobo wolf, he came across the dance floor with Amy hanging onto his arm for dear life. He didn’t slow his pace until he stood beside the little table.

With no regard for social amenities or polite exchanges, he announced, “Outside, Carter. I want to talk to you in private.”

Without waiting for an answer, he turned to Amy. “You will excuse me while I talk to your brother?” What had been framed as a question was in truth a command.

Carter’s voice was caustic. “Good evening, Clint, Amy. Would you like to join us?”

Amy moved toward the table. Clint caught her arm. “I’m waiting, Fields.”

Carter reached across the table and took Zoë’s hand. “Go away, Clint.”

Amy intervened. “Please, Carter, humor him or he’ll be in a mood all night, and I want to have fun.”

Carter stood and pushed back his chair. “Excuse me, Zoë. This won’t take long.”

Zoë nodded her acceptance. What else could she do?

The two men made their way toward the back entrance, Clint’s broad shoulders and superior height dwarfing Carter’s smaller stature and slim build. It was not fair for any man to  have the commanding presence that was an innate part of Clinton McCann.

Amy sat in Carter’s chair and signaled for a waiter. “Would you like something to drink, Mrs. Hamilton… Zoë?”

Zoë shook her head. “I’m not thirsty.”

The waiter put a drink in front of Amy and hurried away. “Well, I am. Clint is in one of his moods tonight.” Her incredibly long lashes fell to cover her almond-shaped eyes. “He’s such a possessive person, always ordering everyone around.” A seductive smile touched her cherry- red mouth. “That has its advantages at times.”

This woman made Zoë sick to her stomach. I don’t know Clint very well.”

“You didn’t know Holt very well either, but you married him.” Amy’s manicured nails touched the rim of her glass.

Zoë’s reply was indifferent to the point of being rude. “My marriage to Holt is none of your business.”

A hidden dimple near Amy’s mouth emerged when she smirked. “It was only an observation. Your remarkable resemblance to Sarah must have had something to do with Holt’s proposing so soon after he met you.” An icy coolness frosted her tinkling voice. “How well did you know Sarah?”

Zoë answered in an equally cool voice. “I didn’t know Sarah at all.”

“But you’ve seen all her movies?” Amy asked, and then said, “Of course you have. You’re an avid movie buff.” Her slim fingers played around the stem of her glass. “You have acquired so many of her mannerisms. Sarah had a certain way of turning her head when she smiled that you mimic to perfection. And you’ve mastered that graceful, expressive fluttering of your hands when you speak that is so reminiscent of Sarah.”

A sip of water eased the dryness in Zoë’s throat. “Sarah is not someone I admire or aspire to be like.”

Amy shrugged. “I didn’t like Sarah either, but I admired her and respected her. She knew what she wanted, and she went after it. That’s a quality I admire in a woman.” She took a dainty sip of her drink. “Sarah was never friendly with me, but that doesn’t mean you and I can’t be friends. After all, when Clint and I are married, you’ll be my stepmother-in-law.”

Zoë’s facade of indifference crumbled. “You and Clint are engaged?”

“It’s more of an agreement than an engagement.” Amy glanced over Zoë’s shoulder toward the door. “Our men are returning.” Her long nails creased the wet circles on the tablecloth. “You must be a year or so younger than I, and you will be my mother-in-law.” Her shrill laughter shattered like broken glass against Zoë’s nerves. “I find that odd and a little amusing.”

Buy Forbidden or other books by Barri Bryan at her author page.