For the record, please state your name.
Hi, I’m Lissa Bryan.
Do you do book tours?
Do you mean physically traveling to bookstores, as was traditional in the days of yore? The answer to that would be “As little as possible.” I’ve done a few book events, such as Ohioana, and the Texas Book Festival, but I’m the awkward, introverted type who prefers to stay isolated in her hermit cave.
If you mean the modern internet book tour – then, yes, I do. I’ve done several blog tours with my book releases and I’ve hosted my fellow authors in return on my own blog. The internet is far more comfortable for me.
What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
I write in lots of genres, and I’m always considering new ones. All of my stories have a romantic bent to the plot, but I’ve done dystopian, paranormal, historical, sci-fi… I think the only thing I haven’t considered doing is an ordinary contemporary romance in which no one is kidnapped by an alien or witnesses the End of the World as We Know It. I’m not sure I could, honestly.
What do your friends and family think of your writing?
I didn’t tell them for a really long time. In September 2012, I took my mom out to lunch and said to her, “I have to tell you something. Don’t worry! It’s good. At least I think it is. I… um… I have a book coming out next month.”
“Yeah, I’m a writer.”
“Well, that explains a lot.”
I’d been writing for about a year at that point, starting out with fanfiction in 2011. I didn’t tell anyone then. I didn’t think anything would come of it, after all. In fact, I thought the internet might be cruel to me, so I had my exit strategy already planned. But I liked the idea of one of my stories out there, floating around in the ether, maybe finding a reader someday. I never expected what happened and I still can’t explain it. It was such a wild whirlwind, a crazy experience … But only a few months later, I was signing a book contract, still not sure what the heck had just happened.
It was a real struggle to have to reveal it to those around me because writing had been such a private world for me. It was hard to let others in. I still struggle with it.
Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? 10 years? 20?
My hopes and dreams are simple. I hope to still be writing stories. That’s pretty much the extent of it. I don’t seek fame or fortune. Just the opportunity to continue what I’m doing, and hopefully, get better at it as I go along.
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
Everything. Anything. Stories are everywhere. I run across a dozen every day and my mind starts spinning a tale before I know it. A lone shoe on the sidewalk… who dropped it, and what were they doing that they lost a shoe in the process and never retrieved it? Squishing a spider and wondering what its little arachnid life was like before me and my swatting newspaper ended it. Did it have a wife and a nest full of eggs? Will she miss him? A weird product in the store… Who makes these things? What’s life like in the plastic dog poo factory?
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I’ve never intentionally created a character. They just sort of come to me, like “Hi, my name is So-and-So, and this is my story.” Some of them are vague and shadowy at first. Others are very strong and distinct from the outset. Seth from Ghostwriter was one of the latter. I really miss hearing his voice in my head. He spoke in poetry, and I was never quite able to capture it with my clumsy words.
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
It’s going to come out in December, and I’m really excited about it. I strive to get better with every book – to become a better storyteller, a better writer. Sometimes, when I finish, I’m merely satisfied, or sometimes I actually feel disappointed, like I failed the story in some way. In this case, I’m really thrilled with the result.
It’s part of my End of All Things series, set about thirty years after the end of the previous trilogy. Taylor is on the run, being hunted by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine. With her is Dylan, a guy whose life couldn’t have been more different from her own, but they’re drawn together both by circumstance and attraction.
What do you love most about the writing process?
The sheer joy of creation. And when my readers allow my characters to live in their minds for just a little while? There’s something so magical about that.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
It used to be Carly because I admired her optimism and determination so greatly, but it’s shifted now to Taylor, the main character of my new novel. She’s a girl who’s lived a brutal, ugly life, and she’s tried to harden herself to survive. But she still has such a warm heart and so much love to give, even if she doesn’t want to. She’s always seen love as a weakness. She’s going to learn how much strength it can give her.
What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
How little time I would actually spend writing. As an author, there are so many things competing for my attention. Correspondence, social media, promotion, book events (it takes me a long time to mentally prepare for, and recover from, public events), blogging/reciprocity… There’s a lot to this that I didn’t really expect.
And I didn’t expect all I’ve learned from the editing process to affect me so much. Sometimes, I recall with envy the delicious freedom I had when I was a fanfiction writer, just to throw the story out there. I wrote with astounding speed, just pouring the story into the keyboard, and letting the cards fall as they might. Were the results perfect? Gods and little fishes, no. Looking back with all I’ve learned, I can see the callow mistakes I made. But there was a purity to it.
Now, as I write, I’m subconsciously editing, and it slows me down, causes me to carefully question each element from a critical standpoint. I’m much, much slower as a result. It’s a habit I can’t seem to break, either, though everyone cautions you not to do it.
What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?
I embroider beautifully. I just never have time for it anymore.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
Taylor has a pet box tortoise named Go.
Any advice for other authors?
I still feel like I’m finding my feet in this world, but it’s like standing at the edge of the sea, with the sands constantly shifting. The world of books and writing and storytelling is in constant flux. The internet created this whole new universe, and we’re only beginning to explore the possibilities. What has thrilled me the most is that the playing field has truly been leveled. They used to say freedom of the press applied only to those who owned one, and now… well, we all can own one. It has also created this amazing intimacy between writers and their readers. It was always a symbiotic relationship, because – of course – a book does not live until it’s in the mind of a reader, but now, there’s this kind of access that no one could have ever imagined or anticipated. I can’t wait to see where it’s headed.
The greatest advice I could give to any writer is to never see fellow writers as competitors. We are all in this together, a brotherhood and sisterhood of ink. Support one another, especially newer writers. A kind and nurturing word can mean so much.
Anything you’d like to say to your readers?
My readers are the best in the world. They’ve been so incredibly kind and supportive. There’s no way I can ever express what that means to me.
Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to find your books?
Facebook Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/LissaBryan.Author
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me!