Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview with J. L. Bryan

Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, do you feel where you live influences how or what you write?

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, and other than a brief exile in California, I’ve always lived in Georgia.  My dad’s side of the family has a big farm in South Carolina, in the same region where I placed the fictional town of Fallen Oak for the Jenny Pox books.  So that clearly had a huge influence on those books.  In my new Songs of Magic series, the main characters are from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, which is where my wife is from.

What sort of expectations did you have when being published was on the horizon?

I didn’t have very solid expectations about anything.  I started focusing on indie publishing about eighteen months ago, at a time when most people were making a few hundred dollars from it on a good month, and just a few people were making thousands a month.  I thought it would help pay a few bills.  I did not realize that I would be writing full-time by 2012!  It’s turned out well because I get to spend a lot of time with my son, who’s eight months old.

What is your biggest pet peeve ?

Onions.  They put those nasty little demon vegetables in everything, spoiling all kinds of otherwise delicious meals.

You have published quite a few books and have been in a few anthologies. Is there a difference in mind frame writing a stand alone novel and in writing a story for an anthology? 

What I like about short stories is that they can be kind of bizarre and experimental.  You can take ideas that are a little too odd for a full-length novel and just play with them.  Also, you don’t need to worry about any kind of happy ending, because the reader hasn’t invested enough in the characters and story to really need that kind of closure.  Some stories don’t have closure at all, you’re just exploring a single event or a single moment.  

With a novel, it’s a longer-term commitment, so you have to think—is this an idea rich enough that I can keep writing it for the next several months?  You’re almost more conservative with novels, because you want something that will satisfy a reader who spends hours with the story.

Is there a genre you prefer to write? What about to read?

I like to write speculative fiction in general.  I like fantasy, horror, science fiction.  I read pretty omnivorously—I like those genres, obviously, but I like just about anything.  I read a lot more nonfiction now than when I was younger.  I go through phases of studying different subjects—genetics, economics.  In recent months I’ve been reading a lot of rock biographies because of the series I’m writing, where the main characters use stolen fairy instruments to become rock stars.  And of course I’ve been reading all the fairy lore I can find.  Fun stuff.  

Care to give us a peek at what your latest writing project is?

I’m working on the third book in my Songs of Magic series.  Having gained a huge fan base and a big record contract with their stolen fairy instruments, the band goes on tour...unfortunately for them, all the promotion makes it very easy for the fairies and Queen Mab’s assorted supernatural bounty hunters to track them down...

It's Happy Heart Day time...any special plans?
(ok well this interview WAS originally planned to go up around V-day, my fault entirely that it didn't)

We might do something really wild, like get a babysitter for a few hours so we can go out.  We’ve yet to have a babysitter—one or both of us has been with the baby every moment since he was born!

You can also fine J. L. Bryan here:

J. L. Bryan Books

***Want a chance to win a copy of Fairy Metal Thunder?  Be sure to check back between the 24th and the 28th to get that chance!***


  1. ONIONS! Oh I SO agree. Nasty little buggers.

    I also like what you said about anthologies. I've always thought it was a great place for an author to experiment rather than just continue a series. I enjoy both but I love the experiments that authors do.

    Great interview AimeeKay and JL!!

    1. Thank you!

      My daughter would whole heartedly agree about the onions!