This week bloggers have banded together to heighten awareness of a growing disability sweeping the U. S. - Autism. Perhaps one of the reasons Austism is increasing is due to specialists' ability to diagnose and treat this puzzling condition. Several friends and relatives daily seek to reach and aid children and adults who are locked inside autism. I think of them as a person bound by an invisible wall which they battle daily but cannot completely break through. To call attention to autism, Kathy has set up an Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop. You can find a list of participating websites at http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com or click the badge at the top of my sidebar to be taken to her site. My giveaway is one of my ebooks, winner's choice, and the offer is open to international readers. Please leave your email with your comment. As always, a follow counts as a second entry.
Now on to today's fabulous guest. Please welcome Karen Mueller Bryson:
|Karen Mueller Bryson - Author, Professor, Publisher|
CC: Readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up
KMB: I grew up in rural northern New Jersey with one brother, who is 3 ½ years younger. Our family would be considered middle class but our parents spoiled us. They expected us to do well in school and my brother and I both excelled academically. My brother was extremely outgoing and funny and I was a quiet bookworm. I didn’t like to play outside or get dirty when I was a child, so I spent a lot of time reading and writing. Having high academic expectations paid off. My brother is now a scientist and I am a university professor and writer.
I am married and live in Arizona with my husband and our two wonderful bloodhounds.
CC: I also live in the Southwest. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
KMB: My two favorite authors are Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). Both writers created iconic characters that are still beloved over a hundred years later. My first two novels, HEY DOROTHY YOU'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE and WHERE IS WONDERLAND ANYWAY, were inspired by the works of these two literary legends.
CC: Both books have contributed many phrases to the common vocabulary. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
KMB: Writing fiction is what I do to relax when I’m not at my day job as a university professor. Some of my other hobbies include working out, watching movies, reading, traveling and playing instruments like the keyboard and dulcimer.
CC: Writing is balm to me, unless I'm having trouble with a scene. I’m impressed you’re so diverse. Describe yourself in three or four words.
KMB: The first word I always use to describe myself is tenacious. What I lack in talent, I always make up for in pure determination to succeed.
The second word I would use to describe myself is passionate. I am extremely passionate about writing!
The third word I would use to describe myself is willing. I am always willing to take risks to achieve my goals and I am always willing to help other travelers on the journey called life.
CC: Great answers. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?
KMB: I have three “guilty pleasures” that keep me sane. First, I have a subscription to People magazine and I read it every week. As a storyteller, I love reading stories about people’s lives!
Second, I love to watch “sappy” Lifetime movies and RomComs (aka ‘chick-flicks’). As writer, who enjoys entertaining people, these are my sources of entertainment.
Third, I love to cuddle with my bloodhounds. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, I cuddle a bloodhound, and the world seems okay again.
CC: Isn’t it nice to have the unconditional love dogs provide? How long have you been writing?
KMB: I learned to read when I was four years old and, very soon after, my mom helped me write my first book. I have been writing ever since!
CC: I also learned to read before school. Nice head start for becoming a writer, right? Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
KMB: I prefer to write on my laptop in my library in complete silence. I am not able to write with music on; I find it too distracting.
CC: I write to classical. Anything with lyrics distracts me. 0Are you a plotter or a panzer?
KMB: I would have to go with panzer. I’m a Leo (a fire sign). People, who are fire signs, generally get a “spark” of an idea and take off running with it! Once the fire has ignited, there’s no turning back; it’s usually just “full steam ahead.”
CC: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
KMB: It depends upon the project. When I wrote my middle grades time travel adventure, THE INCREDIBLY AWESOME ADVENTURES OF PUGGIE LIDDELL, I had to do a lot of research because the kids travel back in time to the 1890s. Even though it was a work of fiction, I wanted it to be as historically accurate as possible. The book took about a year to complete because I did so much research (and had so much fun immersing myself in the time period).
When I write adult contemporary fiction, I usually do my research along the way, as needed.
CC:Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
KMB: I try to write every day but I work full-time, so there are days I don’t get as much writing done as I would like. I write a lot on the weekends and in the morning before I go to work. I set fairly rigid writing goals and generally stick to them.
CC: What is your day job?
KMB: When I’m not writing, I work as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Services at a private, liberal arts university.
CC: Wonderful background for building realistic characters. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
KMB: I’m not sure what would surprise people! People find it interesting that I am a vegetarian and have been for 27 years. I also think it’s unique that I have been to 47 of the 50 United States and four of the seven continents on Earth!
CC: My daughter has been a vegetarian for most of her life. What is something unusual you learned while researching and writing this book?
KMB: When I was writing TWYLA’S LAST TRIP, I did a lot of research on Rt. 66, which is an historic highway that runs from Illinois to California. There are many unusual and odd attractions along Rt. 66 but one of the most unique, in my opinion, is "Stubby Stonehenge," which is The Missouri S & T’s reproduction of the prehistoric wonder and half the size of its original English counterpart. The replica is made of 160 tons of granite and was dedicated in 1984 during the summer solstice.
CC: One of the things I have one my bucket list is to travel down Route 66. I love the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
KMB: My company, Short on Time Books, provides readers with fast-paced and fun novels they can finish in one sitting. My hope is to provide entertainment to people, who don’t have much time to read, but would still like to enjoy an engaging story.
CC: I’m sure those fast-paced novels are popular. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
KMB: Never give up on your dreams and remember that “write” is a verb. You have to do the writing to be a writer!
CC: Pefect advice. One of your latest releases involves traveling on the famous Route 66. Have you ever driven this highway?
KMB: I have never driven along Rt. 66 but I would love to someday. As I mention in the book’s dedication, I came up with the idea for the story after one of my best friends died of cancer at a young age. Her husband and daughter took my friend’s ashes on a trip along Rt. 66 because it was something my friend had always wanted to do but never got the chance. Although TWYLA’S LAST TRIP is a romantic comedy, there are some serious undertones in the story because I wanted to express some feelings I had about losing my friend and the idea that people need to take time for the things in life that are important.
CC: Exactly what my husband and I decided. No point putting off your dreams until "later." Tell us about your latest releases.
Blurb: TWYLA’S LAST TRIP: Twenty eight-year old, Lucinda Starr is an uptight research psychologist, whose deadline to complete her doctoral dissertation is completely derailed by her estranged mother, Twyla Starr's sudden death. Lucinda must take her mother's ashes on a road trip on Route 66, in order to fulfill the requirements of her will and inherit her fortune. To make matters worse, Lucinda finds herself forced to travel across the country with her mother's easygoing country lawyer, T.J. Yates, who drives her crazy, and his drooling bloodhound, Dakota, who Lucinda finds revolting.
CC: Ooh, I like it already. Where can readers find TWYLA’S LAST TRIP?
Blurb: ONE LAST CLASS: Thirty-two year old, Zak Spencer, is a washed-up teen idol, who decides to rebuild his life by returning to college in Arizona. Trouble ensues when Zak falls in love with the young professor, Amy Campbell, who teaches the one class he needs to complete his degree.
CC: Sounds like fun. Where can readers find ONE LAST CLASS?
How can readers learn more about you?
Short on Time Books: http://www.shortontimebooks.com
Karen, thanks so much for sharing with us today.
Readers, thanks for stopping by!