Monday, 12 July 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with Barri Bryan

Welcome to Author Spotlight Week - This week we're here with Barry Bryan, the Author of "Bridget's Secret." Barri shares her thoughts on writing, her latest release, and her favorites with you. Enjoy! Kicking off the week is a Q&A with Barri.

STEPH: - What was the inspiration behind your story, "Bridget's Secret?"

BARRI: I got my inspiration for Bridget's Secret for a story my dad loved to tell my brother and me when we were growing up. When he was a teenager, in the early 1920's, Dad lived with his family, in a half-dug-out on a bald prairie near the Texas - New Mexico border. One of his many colorful acquaintances was a young man named Henry. It seemed that Henry did well as a farmer, but he had on success whatsoever with 'the wimmen'. When Henry heard that girls who lived in the nearby orphan's asylum had to leave the home when they were eighteen, he hit on the idea of 'courting' one of them. He went to the home and found three girls who had just turned eighteen.

Henry's knowledge of courting procedure must have been non existent. He saw the girls, chose one, and asked to speak to her alone. His request was granted -- kind of. The moment he had her away from the other girls and in the presence of a chaperone, he asked her to marry him. And to quote my dad, "Believe it or not she said yes."

The girl's name was Amy. Dad always insisted that Amy and Henry, married, had 'a passel of kids' and lived happily ever after.

One morning long after I was an adult, I began to think about what it must have been like for a young man to be obliged to get his bride from an orphanage... From there my imagination took over and I soon had the skeleton of a plot for Bridget's Secret.

STEPH - I don't know much about the book. Can you tell us a little about it?

BARRI: I'd be happy to. Lucky Livingston is a devil-may-care cowboy who is out to settle an old score with Eddie Bruce, the man who, several years before, stopped his mother on a lonely stretch of road, molested her, and killed her. Eddie was not convicted of this crime; however, he went to jail for other crimes. Now Eddie has broken out of prison and is on the loose again.
Lucky intends to find Eddie and avenge his mother's death. When his brother Zeke tells him that he has a plan that will bring Eddie Bruce to him, Lucky is willing to listen and then to take part in a scheme that seems doubtful and a little crazy.

For the last eight years Bridget McGuire and her two younger brothers have lived at Miss Myra's Orphan Asylum. They were sent there when their father, Black Jack McGuire, was murdered. Before his untimely death Black Jack was involved in a scheme to steal a large sum of money from Eddie Bruce, who had stolen that money from a local bank. Eddie Bruce was captured and sent to prison. Black Jack was killed, and the money disappeared. Most of the locals believe Bridget knows where that money is hidden. Bridget knows that Eddie Bruce will come looking for her now that he's out of jail. She will do anything to keep herself and her brothers from harm’s way. That includes marrying a man who is a complete stranger if he offers her protection.

Add to this already volatile mixture a dangerous outlaw and a marauding band of Ku Klux Clansmen, stir in three inept matchmakers and one dishonest deputy sheriff and you have the ingredients for an exciting tale and a romantic love story.

STEPH: - Is a historical or contemporary Western?

BARRI Bridget's Secret is a modern historical romance. It is set in 1922.

STEPH: - How long have you been writing?

BARRI: I've been writing short stories and poetry since I was a child. I began to think of seriously pursuing a writing career in 1990 when I took an early retirement from teaching to care for my elderly parents.

STEPH - What attracts you to writing westerns?

BARRI: I love the drama and the excitement of the myth of the American West. I like the bawdy atmosphere and limitless possibilities of an open frontier. I am captivated by the colorful characters that lived during that time. I like the innovativeness and the bravery its heroes. I even like the scoundrels and desperadoes who peopled that legendary world.

STEPH: - Have you written any other genres?

BARRI: Yes, I have. I have some contemporary romances and some 'modernized' fairy tales. I also have four books of poetry. I have written one how-to book about creative writing. I have written stories that are published in anthologies and a book of three short stories.

STEPH - Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share?

BARRI: I love to do handwork. I like to knit. Each year I spend much of my spare time during the year making a watch cap for each of my grandchildren for Christmas. At first that wasn't a big task. Now it's quite an undertaking since I also have great grandchildren and grandchildren I acquired when my children married spouses who had children.

I also like to crochet, embroidery, and piece and make quilts. I am an avid reader and enjoy reading romances and mysteries. I love listening to music. I'm a big country music fan.

STEPH: - What's the last movie you saw?

BARRI: I find that today's movies are either too gory or too explicit for my tastes. I do like old movies. The last movie I saw was on TV. The title was San Francisco. It starred Clarke Gable, Jeanette McDonald, and Spencer Tracy.

STEPH - What was the last book you read?

BARRI: The last book I read was Big Girl by Danielle Steele.

Thanks Barri for being here today. We'll see you tomorrow about genre writing!


  1. Barri, this sounds like a great read. Very exciting setup! I also like stories about orphans. My granddad was one, and my grandmother's family worked for the orphanage, and that's how they met.

  2. Shawna,

    How romantic. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Barri-
    This sounds like lots of good elements to make this story interesting. 1922 is an interesting and tumultous time period I would think. Best wishes for success.

  4. Excellent setup, Barri! And how lucky you are to have a background so rich in lore. I enjoyed reading about you. :)