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20 Questions with Samantha Bryant

Q1: What is your name?
Samantha Bryant

Q2: When did you decide to be a writer?
First Grade. Mrs. Alsdorf had our class doing a poetry project to work on our handwriting wherein we copied and illustrated classic poems. I fell in love with poetry that semester, and when Mrs. Alsdorf suggested I might want to write poems of my own, I found my heart's calling. What exactly I'm writing has gone through a lot of phases, but I've always written ever since then.

Q3: What did you most recently publish (title and genre)?
Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel. Fantasy or Sci-fi depending on who is shelving the books, more specifically: Superhero.

Q4: What is your next project?
I'm a part of three different upcoming anthologies: Golden Age Science Fiction from Longcount Press, Selfies from the End of the World from Mad Scientist Journal, and an as-yet untitled Superhero and Villain anthology from Curiosity Quills Press (the same folks who published my novel). The sequel to Going Through the Change is with the acquisitions editor at CQ right now, so I'm hoping it can come out in early 2016. I also have a historical fiction novel, Cold Spring, and a women's fiction novel, His Other Mother, under consideration. So 2015-2016 might be a really great year for getting my work out there.

So far as writing, I'm in the research phase right now for the sequel to Cold Spring. I am woefully undereducated about WWI and the time between the wars and I need to rectify that before I can move forward.

Q5: Which path(s) have you taken: traditional publishing, self-publishing, or both?
So far, I'm doing traditional publishing, but through a small, independent press. I like having a support network with the publisher, but still having a large voice in how my work is handled. So far, I'm happy with it.

Q6: Why should people consider reading your work?
My superhero universe is unique in that the heroes are all women, and all adults. It's been described as both thoughtful and fun, which is just what I was hoping for. A thinking woman's heroes.

Q7: How do you describe your writing style?
While I love a clever turn of phrase, I think that clarity is the most important aspect of good writing. So, I strive to be easy to understand and still to create a lovely line.

Q8: Where and when do you like to write?
I'm a mom and schoolteacher, so I do a lot of my writing on the fly: standing at the kitchen counter while cooking, on the mom-couch at my daughters' krav maga lessons, or at the dining room table when there's a long enough pause. Of course, I like getting longer, more focused stretches of time when I can, but I have learned to write the way my life allows.

Q9: At what time, day or night, do you feel the most creative?
Late morning, when I'm fully awake and not yet tired again.

Q10: Which authors inspire you the most, and how?
I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman. I admire how he has managed to create work that spans several different genres and styles and yet always remain distinctly Neil Gaiman. I admire Margaret Atwood for reinventing herself and her work again and again and always coming up with something unique and amazing. I admire Douglas Adams for his intelligent and witty brand of humor. I admire Charlotte Brontė for her deep understanding of atmosphere. Really, there are many writers I look to, but what consistently pulls me in is great characterization, interesting settings, and that undefinable something extra.

Q11: How do you overcome the writer’s demons: Procrastination and Self-Doubt?
Procrastination is not one of my demons. Since I work full time at a day job and am a parent, my writing time is limited and I've learned to bring a laser focus to my writing minutes each day and crank out words. Self-doubt, on the other hand, is one I do have to fight. I'm always on that teeter-totter of thinking myself brilliant and useless in turns. I turn to my writing critique group for support on that front. They're honest enough to tell when I do suck, so I know it's true when they tell me I don't! And when I do suck, they are wonderful at helping me identify where the problem lies.

Q12: What aspect of your writing do you feel is strongest, and what needs the most improvement?
I feel strongest in character creation and am continuing to work on pacing and keeping the work active. I have an unfortunate tendency in first drafts to write very interior, thinking sorts of scenes and then have to revise them to be more active and engaging.

Q13: What was the best part of the worst thing you’ve ever written?
The worst thing I've ever written in terms of quality is poetry when I was grieving. The best part was how it helped me grieve. They are not poems that anyone else would find beautiful or valuable, but they helped me through when I needed them.

Q14: What advice do you have for others who want to be writers?
Stop talking about it and do it. Writers write. Even if you think you don't have time, commit what little you do and start finishing things.

Q15: What form of marketing works best for promoting your work(s)?
Word of mouth, I think. I know as a reader, most of the books I pick up I found based on recommendations of others. So, I just try to raise awareness, making sure that people know my book exists and hope that enough people pick it up, like it, and tell others about it!

Q16: If life is a bowl of cherries, what does your life as a bowl of cherries look like?
It's a blue glass bowl, because there's something about blue glass that I find soothing. The cherries are a mixture. Some are perfect and ripe and ready to eat. Others are still pale and bitter, but there's hope that they will develop and become sweet and appetizing. Some rotted away without getting enjoyed and there are pits in the bowl that I didn't clean up as I moved on to other pieces of fruit.

Q17: Who is your rock, the one who encourages you the most to keep writing, and why?
My husband. When I committed to a daily writing habit, he helped to protect my time and make sure that I did get to write every day. He's a great sounding board for my ideas at any stage and my greatest cheerleader. I certainly wouldn't have gotten this far without him.

Q18: What do you do apart from writing?
I teach middle school Spanish when school is in session. I read as much as life allows. I walk in nature. I dream of travel that I can't really afford to do at this stage of my life. I drive my children places. I bake with my younger daughter. I watch television shows and analyze them with my older daughter. I play with the dog, though not as much as I should. I game. I try new things.

Q19: Where can people find more about you and your work(s)?
My website/blog is at http://samanthabryant.com I'm also on twitter @mirymom1 and on Google+ and have a Facebook author page.

Q20: What one question should this interviewer have asked, and how would you answer it?
Q: What are your dreams for your writing?

A: In my dreams, my writing earns enough money that I can quit my day job and start traveling the world while I write.


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Tags: 20 questions, author interview, samantha bryant
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