The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!
To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Samantha Bryant.
FOCPL: Why are you a writer? What drew you into a writing life?
I am probably a writer because I was first a reader. Books were my first love, even before chocolate! My mother and I lived in the library when I was a child. Dr. Seuss was probably my gateway drug, with his love of whimsy and rhyme. Of course, there’s also Spiderman, whose comics I got secondhand at a used bookstore when my mom could spare a dime for that.
More directly, my first grade teacher, Mrs. Aldsorf, might be to blame. She was the one who leaned down by my desk one day and whispered, “You know, you could write poems, too, if you want to.” I’ve written ever since: poetry first, now more novels and short stories.
FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?
Over the years, I’ve learned to write anywhere. In fact, I’m writing this sitting on the couch at a beauty salon while my daughter is having her hair colored. I wrote one of my novels mostly on the mom couch at Krav Maga lessons. I’ve written standing in the kitchen, hiding in the bathroom, in a moving car (while someone else drives) and sometimes even at a desk like a normal person! Thank goodness for blank books and laptop computers. Portability is key for me.
Now that my eldest has gone off to college, I’m converting the smallest bedroom into an office, and it’s a joy to have an actual designated place to write!
As for routine, I have two, depending on the time of year.
I’m a full time middle school teacher and mom to two daughters and a rescue dog, so writing has been something I’ve had to fit into the edges of my life. During school recesses, I begin my day with a walk and some caffeine, then settle in for a couple of hours of writing time before anything else.
During the school year, that’s not possible unless I want to take my walk at 4:30 in the morning in the dark. (spoiler: I don’t). So, my writing time is squashed into an hour or two after supper, if the rest of my life allows. I do write every single day, though, even if it’s only fifteen minutes and a couple of hundred words. My daily writing chain is now nearly six years long.
FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Dangerous When Bored, which is also my planned name of my indie imprint. I’m working towards putting out my first independently published project this fall, a collection of short stories, weird tales set in a suburban neighborhood suspiciously similar to the one I live in. I plan to release Stories from Shadow Hill for Halloween. Seems apropos.
FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?
Writing itself brings me joy. I process the world through story, and I find it exhilarating to turn my weird little thoughts and questions into fiction. Beginning to write something new always feels like I’m leaving on an exciting trip.
Finishing things was my struggle for many years. I’d start project after project and never finish anything. I didn’t really start trying to develop the personal discipline I’d need until my 42nd birthday. That year, I decided to take Douglas Adams to heart: since 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, it was the year to make a real commitment to my writing. Two years later, my first book (Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel) was offered a contract.
These days, my struggles aren’t so much with the writing itself, but with career management: balancing writing time with promotional work and handling the business of publishing.
FOCPL: What do you dream about when it comes to your writing life?
I’m a simple girl. I’d like to see my work find a wide enough audience that I could give up all my other money-earning schemes and focus solely on my writing. Since I’m a teacher by trade, in North Carolina (a notoriously low-paying state), it’s not that wild a dream. It’s entirely possible, in fact, which is exciting and a bit frightening at the same time.
If I’m being crazy, I dream of my life of words finding a level of success that funds my travel dreams and takes away my worries about funding college for my girls. The problem with that is that I’m on the introverted side. Can my books be famous without anyone actually knowing who I am? That would be perfect!