#6 in my author interview series. If you’d like to participate, please send me an email at the Contact link at the top of this page.
PepperWords: Easy stuff first: Who are you and what should we know about you? Where are you from, etc.?
Stace Bryan: I was born in San Francisco but raised from age 6 in the San Fernando Valley. I was extremely embarrassed when Valley Girl came out in the ‘80s because I recognized myself in there—at least a little bit. I’m mixed race and was adopted as a one-year-old, and I write about those issues a lot. I was a tomboy and have never grown out of it. I wiped out on my bike in Griffith Park a few years ago and have a nice scar on my left forearm that makes a good conversation starter. I met my husband in Brooklyn when I lived in NYC for several years. He’s also a writer but more of a film guy, and we both love movies.
PW: Already I’m fascinated, and since I also have a film/screenwriting degree, I totally dig that you guys love movies. But I’ll try to stay on topic here. Tell us a bit about your writing history. Have you been doing it long? What inspired you to write?
SB: I don’t remember being inspired, per se. I just remember being alone a lot—my choice—and reading all the time. I loved stories so much, I started to write them myself. I sort of just moved into it as the natural course of being a hermit. I also love the sound of words and love it when words and/or images that don’t ordinarily go together are forced together in a sentence.
PW: And what about this book? What sparked it? What genre is it, and what draws you to that particular genre?
SB: Day for Night is an urban paranormal comedy that I was inspired to write because of all the “serious” vampire/paranormal literature. Not that serious is bad, but I like to laugh. I had to work up the nerve to read “The Lovely Bones” because it’s about a serial killer, a monster which is all too real. In the paranormal, nothing is real. And anything can happen. I also thought all the non-ethnic 25-year-old protagonists in general needed some variety, so my protagonist is an “older” mulatto wannabe actress.
PW: You’re hitting a lot of my sweet spots here. I love stories about actresses and Hollywood. Plus an urban paranormal comedy?! That sounds too awesome to miss.
Speaking of Hollywood, do you have a log line for your book? (A log line is one sentence that sums up the story.)
SB: A 39-to-40-something wannabe actress walks in on an alien abduction taking place in a laundry room and turns to supernatural means and a little Jack Daniel’s in order to fight back.
PW: And if you were casting your book as a movie, are there any particular actors you’d envision as your main characters?
SB: Thandie Newton or Sherri Saum as Rae, the lead character. Raul Bova as Rex, her long-time-and-lots-of-sexual-tension-friend. Luca Calvani as Giancarlo, her date.
PW: What are some of your favorite books? Favorite authors?
SB: I’ve read The Descent by Jeff Long three or four times, A Certain Age by Tama Janowitcz three or four times, and all of T.C. Boyle’s short stories three or four times. I love Cormac McCarthy (The Road) and Diana Gabaldon (Outlander).
PW: I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to stomach The Road, though I’ve heard it’s wonderful. How about current reads? Your TBR list?
SB: A hilarious novel called Blood Sucking Fiends by Christopher Moore to counteract the gloom and doom of the novelization of Alien. I’d love to get more of Richard Kadrey’s stuff and I’m always looking for really good time travel romances.
PW: Tell us about your writing process. Is it very structured? Do you have a favorite place to sit and write, or a favorite food or drink while writing?
SB: I need to be completely isolated with maybe only instrumental music playing when I’m in the early stages of planning and writing. So that’s the bedroom with the door closed and the soundtrack from The Hours playing in my headphones. Once everything’s laid out or I know where I’m going, I can go to a library or coffee shop with the laptop and not worry about distractions; I’m beyond them at that point. I usually don’t eat or drink while I’m working. Except for potato chips.
PW: How long does it take you to write a book? How do you know a manuscript is ready to send out to agents and publishers?
SB: I haven’t written that many, but the ones I have completed have taken six months or under. Once I’ve shown it to writing friends and rewritten it to the point where I can’t stand the thought of it anymore, I basically regard it as ready.
PW: How did you get the agent/publisher for this book? How long did it take, and how many queries or submissions did you send out?
SB: Day for Night is the first novel I’ve attempted to publish, and the road has been long and frustrating for me. I spent over a year querying agents and got two responses back. At some point I found a handful of publishers that accept un-agented manuscripts and began querying them, which is how I found my publisher. I wrote to the self-published author of the Breakers series a few times, and he told me he got so frustrated querying agents, he just gave up and did it himself, and he’s achieved a nice amount of success all on his own!
PW: What are you working on now?
SB: I’m planning the sequels to Day for Night. I was working on the novelization of a sci-fi screenplay (which is why I’m reading the Alien novelization; to see how Alan Dean Foster did his) but I think I have to put that on the back burner for now.
PW: I’ve found it’s good to have something simmering so that if you get stuck on one thing, you’ve got something else to jump to. What advice would you give to young writers, or writers just starting out?
SB: I hate to be a cliché, but try to write every day. And if you can’t write every day, try to do it every other day. And if you can’t do that, do it several times a week. Or at least once a week. Until you can get back to several times a week and then back to every day. I’m saying this because I stopped writing for a long time and then wrote intermittently, and I regret having lost that time. You can never get that time back, so keep writing. I have nothing to say about too many adjectives or get life experiences or write what you know. I say just do it. The rest will fall into place.
PW: Where do you see yourself in five years?
SB: In the best of all possible worlds, living on Maui with my husband, freelance captioning for chump change, and writing for a living.
PW: Sounds divine! Now a little about you in general. Favorite quote or inspirational saying?
SB: When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did–in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car. —Bob Monkhouse.
PW: Favorite color?
PW: Oooh! I love that color, too! It figures as the wall color in a number of my novels. Okay, back to business. Favorite TV show?
SB: Man Seeking Woman
PW: Favorite movie?
SB: Your Highness
PW: Someone (living, dead, or fictional) you’d like to meet?
SB: Octavia Butler
PW: And last but certainly not least, where can we find you and your book?
SB: Please visit me at: https://staceyebryan.wordpress.com/
PW: Thanks so much to Stacey Bryan for taking part in this interview! Go check out her book!
When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.
About the Author:
Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She has worked on a dude ranch, coached gymnastics, and captions for the hearing impaired. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer. Visit her at https://staceyebryan.wordpress.com