Monday, 7 January 2013
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Barri Bryan
BARRI: Forbidden is set in 1980. It is the story of a young woman who takes a summer job with an over-the-hill billionaire playboy to help him write the biography of his recently deceased wife. She goes to live in his gothic castle on his ranch in far West Texas. She is caught in a web of mystery and intrigue, sharing secrets that could destroy all she holds near and dear, and falling in love with the one man she has no right to claim.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
BARRI: It took me a little over a year to write "Forbidden." That includes the time I spent researching.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
BARRI: I did a tremendous amount of research. I do for every book I write. The first thing I do, as I start my research, is print a calendar for the year in which the book is set. The next thing is to check the weather for the specific months in which my book is set. For Forbidden, I found the summer months of 1980 were some of the hottest ever recorded in Texas. Next I look at trends in fashion, transportation, music, books, and politics. If it's applicable, I look at movies and television. I immerse myself in that decade. I try to feel the mindset and hear the heartbeat of that generation.
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
BARRI: I love this cover. It's beautiful. It also captures the mood of the story. The silhouetted couple in the foreground speaks of the intrigue of the story. The castle in the background set against the rough West Texas landscape, adds a perfect touch of ambiguity.
STEPH: Zoë is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?
BARRI: Zoë's strengths are her loyalty, her naiveté and her belief in the innate goodness of people. As she finds herself caught in a snare from which there seems to be no escape, those strengths become her weaknesses.
STEPH: What does Clint find appealing about her?
BARRI: Clint is attracted first by her beauty, and then by the mystery that surrounds her. Is she naïve and inexperienced, or is she a scheming opportunist?
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
BARRI Money can't buy happiness. Often the opposite is true. It brings misery and unhappiness.
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
BARRI For me, inspiration is like happiness. If I go chasing after inspiration, it eludes me. If I fill my days with study, work, promoting, writing, and open my senses to the world around me, inspiration comes looking for me. It appears in the most unlikely places -- the last leaf hanging on a barren tree, the strange way the ears are set on the sides of the head of the man sitting across from me in my doctor's waiting room; a tattooed snake that winds up the leg of a slim young girl, as she pushes a basket down a grocery aisle. The way my granddaughter looks at her children with love shining in her eyes…
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
BARRI: I have a Kindle and I love it.
STEPH: Fun question: Do you have any New Year's Traditions you'd like to share? How did you celebrate New Years?
STEPH: Definitely, I have to eat black-eyed peas and cornbread. It's supposed to assure prosperity. I have my doubts about this being true. All the same, I always eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, just in case.