Early next month I’ll be headed south to the Gulfport Art Walk to meet up with fellow author and all around awesome person, Bria Burton. As a quick taste of that experience, today we are blessed to have an interview with Bria, an award winning short-story artist and novelist. So pour yourself a cup of your preferred beverage and enjoy.
BRP: What is your “writer’s story”? The why and how of you becoming an author.
BB: I feel very blessed to have known all my life that I wanted to be a writer. It started when I first learned how to construct words into sentences on paper. I have oodles of notebooks that I’ve filled throughout the years. My parents had an electric typewriter when I was in middle school, and I remember feeling so cool when I typed on it (like a real writer!). My very first novel was handwritten in 8th grade. It’s in a notebook that no one will ever see.
BRP: What factors influenced you in becoming an Indie Author?
BB: I never intended to self-publish. When I first started submitting my epic fantasy novel Livinity to agents and publishers, it became very apparent that I still had a lot to learn. Sure, I had an English degree, but mastering storytelling is a much more difficult art than people realize. But I was willing and able to put the time and effort into figuring out how to not only improve my craft, but also to find out the ever-expanding options of publishing. As I edited (and edited and edited some more) on Livinity and another novel, Sprinter, I also discovered my love for writing short stories. Several have been featured in literary magazines and anthologies. When I first realized that I could indie publish a short story basically for free as an ebook, it sparked ideas for a collection of stories about my dog and cat. I hadn’t intended on writing pet stories, or stories aimed toward a younger audience, but putting a Lance & Ringo Tail out about once a month for a year in 2013 led to a Ten Tail collection that I made into a print book through CreateSpace. The learning curve was steep, there’s no doubt about it. Being an indie author is not for the faint of heart. But the process was so rewarding that it led me to publish my second book, a novella called Little Angel Helper (a 2015 RPLA Finalist).
BRP: What has been your favorite project so far and why?
BB: The Alvarium Experiment. To explain, this is a group of extremely talented and award-winning authors. By some miracle, I got invited to join them on their first foray into a unique short fiction experience. The Prometheus Saga was the first collection of stories that we published “independently together.” What we did was individually publish our short stories in the Kindle Store for $0.99 each. Our shared premise involved an alien probe observing mankind throughout the ages, from the dawn of man to the present day. Each story is an entry point into the greater saga and can be read in any order. My short story, “On Both Sides,” is set during the American Revolution. After the initial launch of the individual stories, we put them together into an anthology of the same name (available in both print and ebook). The Hive Mind, as we call it, works together to promote our stories and the anthology, so twelve authors are promoting the work to all their fans, thereby helping the others expand their audience. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. As a newer author, it can be difficult to find your fan base, and I’m finally making headway in that respect. The Saga stories have won awards, three of us (myself included) were interviewed on the radio, and many of us (myself included again) will be faculty at this year’s Florida Writers Association conference for an Alvarium Experiment panel discussion. I’m so excited for these incredible opportunities, and I have this amazing group of authors to thank for it.
BRP: What are you working on right now and what inspired you to write it?
BB: I’m a multi-tasker, so I have about 5 projects I’m working on (including short stories, so it’s not as impressive as it seems). I’m pretty sure it drives my husband crazy because I can get distracted so easily (thank God he loves me anyway). At the moment I’m submitting my women’s fiction novel Sprinter (awarded a 2015 First Place RPLA) to agents. It’s currently under review by one who requested the full manuscript. I’m a runner and a blogger at St. Pete Running Company, and Sprinter was one of those stories that came in a flash of inspiration (if only that happened more…almost never does). The epic fantasy novel I mentioned (also a First Place RPLA winner in 2011) started as a way-too-long manuscript that I’ve broken up into a trilogy. Livinity Book One is nearly through the final edit, and Book Two is thoroughly outlined. Yes, the entire thing was complete back when I won the award, but creating a trilogy meant adding a lot of scenes, and those scenes affect everything afterward, so some stuff is getting a major revamp while other stuff is new material. The Alvarium Experiment has a new project (tentatively titled Return to Earth) and my short story is complete and getting a good edit from a dear writer friend (winkwinknudgenudge). That story can be summed up as How I Met Your Alien Mother, and that’s kind of how the idea started. I’m also working on a short story for a contest over at the Journey Into… podcast where I do voice work and production for host Marshal Latham. The main criteria is that the title must begin “Journey Into.” Mine will likely be called “Journey Into the Moon Marathon.” The idea of a marathon on the moon, or Mars or somewhere, came to me after reading the Martian. This story is a variation on that idea. Also an idea for a sequel to Sprinter recently came to me, and I’ve now got that outlined. Not quite ready to start drafting.
BRP: If you were able to pick any fictional character to have lunch with, who would it be and why?
BB: Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth version). I feel like that one’s pretty self-explanatory. But as it would be inappropriate for a married woman to dine with a married man, my husband will be accompanying me, and I expect Lizzie will accompany Mr. Darcy, which will make it that much more exciting. My poor husband will be terribly bored.
BRP: Thanks for talking with us Bria!
Meet Bria at the Gulfport Art Walk on May 6th, where we’ll be sharing a booth from 6-10 PM. You can RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’ll be stopping by. More info on the FB event page.
To learn more about Bria and her books in the meantime, check out the following links: