Friday, 1 February 2013


A Little bit about Lissa Bryan 
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete's foot.... though only in her head. Real life isn't so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Her first novel, Ghostwriter was released October 11, 2012, and her second, The End of All Things, will be released on January 24, 2013.


Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always was a writer. I just didn’t know it. Since I was a child, I’ve been writing stories and “books” inside my head. It wasn’t until last year I entertained the thought of actually writing one of them down, and I certainly never imagined I’d be published.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
That title was easy to embrace. A writer is one who writes; it’s as simple as that. The title “author” has been harder for me to accept. “Author” has a slightly stuffy feel to it, as though I should have grand literary aspirations. “Storyteller” seems to better encapsulate my goal: to tell a good tale that entertains the reader.
I saw an image on Facebook I loved: “I’m a wordsmith. It’s like a blacksmith, but without all the fire and metal and stuff.”

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It happened so fast, my head is still spinning. Someone from my publisher saw one of the stories I had posted online and approached me to ask if I’d ever considered writing a novel.
 In less than a year, my whole life changed.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The End of All Things: “After everything ends, two people search for a new beginning. During their journey, they find a home in each other.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
 My publisher is The Writer’s Coffee Shop, the original publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
That’s a difficult question, because most of my books have been pre-written in my head, so the actual writing of them is mostly a matter of typing them out. Some of them, I’ve mulled over in my head for years, re-writing them with different plotlines, different characters, until I felt I had them right. My third novel is the first one I’ve ever tried to write without already having it “done” in my mind. It’s an interesting challenge.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The new novel I’m working on is the most challenging. I don’t know how other writers do it! Well, yes I do: with notes and outlines and that sort of thing. I’ve never used them myself, and  it would be confusing to start now. I have a general idea of where I’m going, but I’m writing “blind” along the way. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
All of my books are romance, but the sub-genre changes. Paranormal, historical, post-apocalyptic … I love trying new kinds of stories.

Is this book part of a series?
The answer to that is, “It might be.” What you see in The End of All Things is the first part of a much longer story. I never know how long a story is going to be until I actually write it and this one turned out to be much too long for a single book. I ended it where it felt natural, where Carly and Justin have ended one journey and are beginning another.
I ultimately decided to write something different next, a historical novel, instead of immediately beginning the sequel.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I like happy endings, and you know you’ll always get one in the romance genre. I also like stories where people find strengths they didn’t know they had, and love is a powerful incentive for personal growth.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I think I’d want to be Carly from The End of All Things. While I wouldn’t want to be in her situation, she has a positive outlook and determination I admire (and envy.)

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Everything’s an inspiration. I never know when something is going to spark my imagination. It always starts with the question, “What if…?”

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I’m intensely private with my writing and I struggle with letting the people around me read my work. When I was posting it online, anonymously, I never told anyone. I didn’t even tell my family until Ghostwriter was a month or so from release. I think it’s because their opinions are so important to me. But I’m getting better. I allowed some of my family to read the proof of The End of All Things once it was completed.
I’ve just recently acquired a pre-reader. That was a big step for me, but I think it will be helpful.
(I have been lucky enough to be a beta/pre reader on a couple of occasion and loved the honour of being one of the first people to read a book and offer feedback on the book direct to the author)

 Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
 Yes, my publisher sends free copies to those who review.

 Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The best review I ever had was for Ghostwriter, from Cherie on GoodReads, who examined the subtle themes running through the storyline. Reviews like that are what makes it all worth it.
The toughest reviews, for me, are those who deduct points in their review because they don’t like a character’s actions. In one of my online stories, the heroine made a selfish choice and I got reams of bad reviews from it. Mind you, I had just begun writing, and I thought all of those bad reviews meant I had done something wrong as a writer. It was a while before I could see them as a reflection of the personal connection readers had made with the story.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No. That wouldn’t be fair, nor honest. A review is supposed to be the reader’s true opinion of the work in question, and that opinion isn’t always going to be positive. Not everyone is going to like a book. Even the greatest writers got terrible reviews.
It stings, of course, but when you ask for an honest opinion, you have to be prepared to get it.

How do you come up with the Cover Designs for your book/books?
The cover of Ghostwriter came from a discussion between my editor and myself. We were discussing different ideas and looking at pictures when she found the one of the girl standing alone on the beach, her reflection in the wet sand behind her. And one of us—I can’t remember who —thought of having Seth’s ghostly reflection beside hers. I love that cover.
The cover of The End of All Things came when I was looking at that same editor’s vacation photos. I’d been gently reminded by my publisher I hadn’t picked a cover yet, but I’d looked through reams of images and never found one that struck me. And then I saw the picture of the tunnel, taken by the editor’s daughter, and I immediately knew that had to be my cover. My graphic designer, Jada D’Lee, did an amazing job. The resulting image is gritty, stark, almost Impressionistic, but with a hint of sweetness in the light at the end of the tunnel. Perfection.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The titles seem to evolve along with the novels themselves.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
As with the covers, the names and characters themselves seem to evolve with the story. The story is usually what develops first in my mind, and then I begin to see the people who will tell it. At first, they’re indistinct images, but as the story coalesces, so do they, and they become very real to me.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Usually, I have the entire story written in my head. I’ve been writing books in my mind since I was a child. I’d do re-writes, change characters and plot until I felt I had it “finished” and then tucked it away on a mental shelf. Some of them I worked on for years.
I never considered publishing any of them because I’m not bold enough to send manuscripts off to a publisher and face the inevitable rejections. Posting a few of them online was as close as I thought I’d ever get. It was delightful to see people enjoying my stories. Though readers encouraged me to try to publish, I always demurred.
And then I got an email from The Writer’s Coffee Shop and everything changed.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I don’t think there’s a formula for it, or the big publishers would have found it by now. The story comes along at the right time and place to resonate with the public for some reason. I’ve seen analysis tie it into social/economic trends, but there’s never a way to predict or manufacture it. It just happens, like a lightning strike.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
No, I haven’t. I’m very fortunate in that respect.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I suppose a writer can’t help but stir bits of people they know into their characters, and their experiences, but for me, it’s more along the lines of being inspired by something I’ve seen instead of writing directly about it.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
All three.  I’m delighted with the ebook revolution that’s given readers more choice than they’ve ever had, and given authors more control and reward for their work. I still delight in a beautifully bound hardback or the slim portability of a paperback, but ebooks mean freedom to me. I can take hundreds, thousands, of books with me wherever I go and my range of choice isn’t restricted to what a traditional publishing house decided to produce and send to a bookstore. (I love all books, but have to admit to truly loving the feel of curling up in bed with a physical book.)

Do you think books transfer to movies well?
Generally, no. I rarely watch movie adaptions of my favorite books. (Lord of the Rings being a notable exception.) As an example, I adore the Harry Potter books, but I haven’t seen the movies. Almost invariably, the movie I saw in my head as I was reading far surpasses what’s on the screen.
I’ve been asked in interviews before to name actors I’d want to play in the movie version of my books, and I was always reluctant to do it. I know how Seth and Justin look in my mind, but how they look to another reader might be entirely different. And I don’t want to take away that image in their minds and impose mine. Who would they see the next time they read the book?(I agree as a reader you have your own images of what certain characters in a book should look like. I also hate it when movies or TV shows change the authors book too much or don't stick to the original plotlines)

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Replace, no. Supplement, yes. There will always be paper books; some books just don’t translate well into the electronic format. And there will always be readers who prefer paper. Alas, it could become a niche market as the Big Six publishers cut back on the number of books they publish in response to losing a chunk of their business to indie publishers and independent writers.
We’re living in interesting times, that’s for sure. I’m curious to see how it will turn out.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I don’t think schools really can encourage reading. It becomes an assignment to the student, not recreation. A love of reading has to come from parents who are readers themselves.
As for writing, yes, I think the schools should do more to work on students’ basic competency in writing. Talent in writing is not something that can be taught, of course, but no one should leave school without being able to string together a coherent sentence.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and I tried my hand a few times at writing stories when I was younger, but it never really “stuck” with me until I sat down one day and started posting them online.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The Velveteen Rabbit. This quote always resonated with me:

“What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day... "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I wish I’d waited to start writing The End of All Things until after I’d gone through the editing process for Ghostwriter. I learned so much from that process and it would have really helped me when writing my second book.

What do you think about book trailers?
I’ve seen a few that I liked, but I’ve never considered doing one for my books.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Keep writing. As the old saying goes, “We’re all apprentices in a craft where no one is ever truly a master.”

Where can we follow you? And purchase your book?

Thanks so much for taking part in this Interview and sharing your innermost writing and reading thoughts.

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