First of all, welcome to a new year, and a new decade! I have a few articles I was working on from December still to finish and post, but I thought it was time to finally get round to posting the interviews I’ve had over the last few months. My apologies to all who have the wait!
First interview of the 2020s is with J.R. O’Bryant, who kindly contacted me a couple of months ago. Sorry it took so long getting it up there! Here is a link to her novel down below!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Well I’ve had a little over three decades of adventures on this planet. I’m the proud “parent” of three amazing young women and “grandma” to another. I am happily engaged to the love of my life and we will be celebrating our two-year anniversary this winter I am the personal slave of one Feline Overlord, and the sometimes slave to five others, as well as the sometimes space heater to a red tail boa. I thrive the best in the mountains or near the Pacific Ocean, but currently reside in the Midwest. I listen to music as often as I can get away with. I love Autumn more than any other season. I am obsessed with reading and will read anything I can get my hands on. As to writing, I write mostly Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, sometimes Smutty, Fiction. I like to write strong female leads with unique lifestyles and open minds, and throw them into terrible situations that risk their lives or their well-being. The series I am currently writing revolves around a centuries old vampire and the goings on in her life and business affairs.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I’m a total pantster. I rarely, if ever have an outline. I have a general idea of what is going to happen in the book and what I want to see from my characters and then I just let my characters run rampant and tell the story as it happens. Sometimes I have to go back and tweak things to make everyone happy and other times I end up going in a totally different direction than I had set out with.
I’m kind of an old school gamer, so my characters start out with a traditional character sheet and dice. I get a basic “outline” if you will, of the character and then I flesh them out like I would for game. I give them character flaws, and interests, and hobbies, and an alignment. Then I set them loose in my world for a few days to see what happens. So far everyone has worked out fairly well. My antagonists have really turned out in the coolest ways.
Tell us about your current project.
I’m working on the next book in the Krystianna Aramis Vampire Series. The current working title is “Behind the Masque”. This time I’ve put Krystianna under more stress than I think she can handle. The Vampire High Council or at least their representatives are in town for the West Coast Grand Gala which Krystianna is hosting this year. While everyone is scrambling to make sure the Gala goes off without a hitch, a serial killer starts murdering the Fae in the area in gruesome and horrible ways. Krystianna and her people find themselves arguing with fanatics who blame her for the deaths of the Fae, the political drama of the Vampire Council, and her own internal issues. What could possibly go wrong? Or would that that be more wrong…
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
The main character is Krystianna Elena Aramis, owner of Cold Crypt Cellars in Central Coast California, Female West Coast Vampire Representative, Heir to House Aramis, and daughter of Council Member Erik Rhego Aramis. She’s a little over four hundred years old and sometimes forgets modern English or how to use modern tech. She and her primary partner are openly polyamorous and are both pansexual. Krys enjoys martial arts, yoga, and horseback riding on the beach under the light of the moon. She is active in her local community. She also has inner demons like everyone else in the world and sometimes comes across a little too human for a centuries old vampire.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
I’d give the same advice I give to any new writer. Get the words on the page. Do your research and read your genre daily. Don’t fret about the first draft, just get the words on the page and don’t edit as you go. There will be plenty of time for edits and revisions once that first draft is said and done. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Chase your dreams and reach for the stars. And most of all don’t let critics and editors break your spirit. There is someone out there that is waiting for your story to be written, so sit down and write it.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
I grew up in Central Coast California and spent a lot of time there even after we moved out of the state. A lot of Krystianna’s universe is based in and around the area I grew up in. Krys’s lifestyle and belief system come from my own personal experience with both. The characters and races and species come from my own reading and gaming experiences. A lot of the wardrobe in Krys’s universe comes from people I know or have interacted with on some level. My world is bits and pieces of my life and the fantasy life I’ve created for my characters.
What inspires you to write?
Life in general, honestly. I like to people watch and take aspects of the everyday day to day into my creative scope and create new universes out of it. I love writing. It’s my outlet for everything. I don’t really need inspiration to write, I need a reason not to some days. I think my biggest inspiration is that I want to see what happens next and I want to see what my characters will do next.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Oh Gods… umm… editing. Editing is hell. Watching your baby manuscript being ripped to shreds by your editor is excruciating. And having to do rewrites and tweaks and changes is like genetically altering your most precious possession. Well, it feels that way while it’s happening, anyway. I think that’s the hardest part of writing any book, to hand off a finished and polished manuscript knowing it’s going to be sent back covered in red.
What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?
Routine. That’s funny. No, I don’t have a routine. I tried to at first, but routine and I don’t work well together. My life is crazy and hectic and never really allows for any kind of consistency in anything. So when I write, I write when and where I can and I just let it happen as much as possible with the knowledge that life gets in the way and it may be a couple days before I can get words on the page again.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
This is going to sound so bad… I loved writing my big interrogation scene. It took months of research to build and create and make realistic. It’s a really violent and drawn out scene and it’s one of my proudest writing moments. I’ve had people tell me that it was too realistic and other people tell me that they didn’t know that level of sadism could be expressed in a book. Both lines makes me giggle with maniacal glee.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learn something new every day. I am constantly learning and changing. This book specifically, that I’m currently working on, I’ve learned more about the Spanish Inquisition that I ever thought I would need to know. I’ve also learned a lot about human anatomy and how to break it. I know that sounds a bit twisted but we do what we must to make our characters and their actions come to life.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
This is by far my least favorite question of all time. I’m a pantser through and through. And I see myself as an architect constantly building and working and making new and amazing structures. As I mentioned before I don’t really work well with routine and structure. I have my own way of doing things and I enjoy my methods more than anyone else’s.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I like to sit down with my characters and let them talk to me. I’ve built a safe space in my head to hold conversations with characters. I like to put on music that helps my characters comes to life, and it’s a different genre for all of them, and I just sit back and listen to what they have to say. If a character is being particularly difficult, I will ignore them for a couple of days while I work on a different project in a different world.
What are your future project(s)?
I want to get the next two Krystianna Aramis books out in the next six months. Then hopefully the next two after that in the following year. I’m also working on a more adult themed side project but that’s a secret and still in the works.
What is your favorite book ever written? Who are your favorite authors?
I don’t have a favorite book of all time. I love books and I love to read and the more I read the more there is to explore. How could I pick just one? That’s like a picking a perfect flower from a spring field of wild flowers, it’s simply not done. I have quite a few favorite authors, some Indie and some not. I read a lot of Urban Fantasy so big names like Laurel K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and Larry Correia are always at the top of my list. But I also enjoy epic fantasy like Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, and Tolkien. Some of the Indie authors I follow are A. Vers, Catherine Banks, and Katika Schneider.
What makes a good villain?
A good villain is the one you want to love no matter what they’ve done. You want to love them and still you find yourself hating them. A good villain is the one that you just know could have been redeemed if someone had taken the time.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy gaming both console and table top. I love traveling and try to take a road trip at least once a year. I’m always listening to music and reading, usually at the same time. I love spending time with my kiddos and my critters. And as silly as it sounds l love driving around in the wee hours of the morning with my fiancé while we play Pokemon Go and just talk about everything.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
At one point I wanted to be a veterinarian of zoology and exotics. I wanted to work with endangered wildlife and work with breeding and education programs internationally to raise awareness and repopulate species before they went extinct. So in a world where I didn’t write, that would have been an ideal career path.
You can travel to any planet or moon in the Solar System. Where would you go, why and what would you do there?
Honestly? I wouldn’t. I’m happy here on earth. We have done so much damage to our planet, I would be terrified of endangering another one. If could do anything for our planet, I would rid it of the last couple hundred years of damage and destruction and heal the planet that allows us all to live.
Pick any three characters from a fiction novel. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
I would take Harry Dresden, Michael Carpenter, and Molly the Winter Lady from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I would kidnap them to the west coast to have a week off. We would eat awesome seafood and In-n-out burgers and just relax. No world ending disasters to juggle, just vacation and family time. Maybe get some new tattoos with Molly while Harry and Michael took a nap or three.
Finally, what is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
You can find me on my FB author page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJROBryant
My FB Fan Page: www.facebook.com/groups/2530288117190809/
You can find me on twitter: www.twitter.com/JRFyreDancer
You can find me on my Blog: www.JRFyreDancer.Wordpress.com
You can find my books at: https://books2read.com/u/bO5KAm
You can find me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jrfyredancer