Our interview today is with Cathy Bryant. Thanks for being here today Cathy and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: Two of the first lessons I learned as a writer is to “write what you know” and “write the kind of books you enjoy reading.” I spent fifty of my fifty-three years in small-town Texas. I know the great, the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly of small town life, so it only made sense for me to set my books in the fictional back-roads town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. In addition, some of my favorite books are The Mitford Series by Jan Karon and The Cat Who… books by Lillian Jackson Braun. The one commonality between those books is the small-town atmosphere with lovable-but-quirky characters. I went for that same feel in the Miller’s Creek Novels. And lastly, my faith is a huge part of who I am, so writing faith-based books was the only option for me.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: My life is muy loco (very crazy, for you non-Spanish speakers)! My husband is a monster, I mean, minister of music. 😉 Church is a big part of our life. In addition to singing in the choir and accompanying on piano as needed, I teach a pre-schoolers Sunday School Class, Children’s Choir, and a Ladies’ Bible study (and all the prep work that goes into all of the above). The rest of my “real life” involves not only my writing, editing, and marketing, but also home renovation projects, taking care of our critters (1 dog, 1 rabbit, and 4 chickens), and general housekeeping stuff! Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it all…
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: Rummaging through thrift stores and garage sales is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I’m a sucker for a good bargain. In addition, I enjoy reality TV shows (great writer research and fodder), gardening, and hiking. I also enjoy home improvement projects. My husband and I seem to gravitate toward fixer-uppers when we buy a house, so I guess it’s a good thing that I enjoy it!
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: The birth of a book is never a one-person show. I do use beta readers, some that have been with me since book one. These are not book professionals, but readers, and of all the input I receive, I consider theirs the most important. Their thoughts and advice are invaluable to me. I’m also blessed to have an editor in the family. She, too, has been invalubale to me. I’ve done all but one of my book covers, and even on that one, I had a lot of input on the cover. In fact, I took the background photo for the book on a Texas wildflower expedition for that very purpose. I love tinkering with different ideas for covers using free photo editing softward and online spots, and I think/hope I’m getting better with each cover.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: I’ve just finished writing the rough draft of A BRIDGE UNBROKEN (Book 5 in the Miller’s Creek Novels; all stand-alones) this past week. The book tells the story of a frightened runaway who longs to put down roots in a quiet, secluded rural setting. Her late grandfather’s farm seems like the perfect place. Unfortunately, she co-inherits the farm with the man most responsible for leaving scars on her heart. And to make matters worse, someone is stalking her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants–her! The main theme of the book is forgiveness, and the story asks the question: Can Dakota and Chance move past old hurts and grudges to renovate the old farmhouse and rebuild a bridge?
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: Overall, I want my books to stir people’s hearts with God’s truths. So far, in the first four Miller’s Creek Novels, I’ve touched on finding true home, trusting God even when it doesn’t seem to make sense, showing grace to those who have been anything but gracious to us, and how God’s promises never fail.
Question: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
Answer: Hubby and I moved five times in the time span of one-and-a-half years. That made it extremely difficult to write THE WAY OF GRACE and A BRIDGE UNBROKEN. Couple that with our propensity to buy fixer uppers and you have a major headache!!!
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: A BRIDGE UNBROKEN is scheduled to release Spring 2014 (hopefully April). Once that book is out, I’m thinking of switching gears and trying my hand at non-fiction faith-based books. We’ll see…
UPDATE: A BRIDGE UNBROKEN has now been released and is available at: http://goo.gl/ZuXWPU
Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
Answer: I can’t NOT (yes, I know, that’s a double negative and a big NO-NO) write about real life experiences. Those experiences come out in my writing whether I want them to or not. That’s why I think it’s so important for those who want to write to get out and live a little. How can you convince readers that your story-world is real if it doesn’t have real life experiences thrown in?
Question: What is your writing style?
Answer: Great question! (And pause for thought…) I would describe it as faith-based, folksy, character-driven, and loaded with emotion (both humorous and heart-wrenching).
About TEXAS ROADS (Book 1) “…one of those stories that sticks in your heart.” -Amazon Reviewer
About A PATH LESS TRAVELED (Book 2) “An amazing story of faith, healing, and love…” -Amazon Reviewer
About THE WAY OF GRACE (Book 3) “…more than just a story.” -Amazon Reviewer
About PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE (Book 4) “…Karen Kingsbury meets Nicholas Sparks.” -Amazon Reviewer
Update #2: Here is a launch event on Facebook for A Bridge Unbroken