# Please introduce yourself and your book!
I’m Shae Bryant, author of “The Tin Photo” which is part of the “Appalachian Roots” historical fiction series.
# What are the real-life stories behind your book?
“The Tin Photo” is based on the true story of my Great Grandparents. Both of them Serbian immigrants who arrived in the United States when they were young. My Great Grandmother married my Great Grandfather in a sort of arranged marriage/trade, and my Great Grandfather passed away soon after. My Grandfather did not know about his real Father until he was nearly 18 years old, and our family did not find out more until many years later. The entire story is stranger than fiction, and the book follows four generations of Americans.
# What inspires your creativity?
I’m a history nerd, and history itself inspires a lot of it. So does music. Sometimes, a game I am playing or show I am watching may inspire an idea.
# How do you deal with creative block?
Music! It seems that music always helps get me through any blocks. If I listen to the right type of music, a score for a scene will play out in my head and everything suddenly comes together.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not breaking the rules. That’s right, *not* breaking the rules. There are so many wonderful and talented writers who constantly break rules. They tell and don’t show. They over-describe. They insert more dialogue than description. Their books are loved by millions, and they continue to do what they do best.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I take them in stride. If someone doesn’t like a book, that’s fine. My books aren’t going to be liked by everyone. I appreciate they read it. Negative feedback can be valuable if it is constructive. If it is, I take it into account and find out how and where I can improve. If it isn’t constructive, I just don’t care.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I have gotten less haphazard with the process. I used to call it “organized chaos”, but I was kidding myself. It was a mess of notes, writing, chapters not put together, etc. I have gotten more organized and found ideas flow better.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book?
The most surprising part was the emotion I felt as I wrote much of it. I’m used to creating characters and doing whatever I want to them. Taking the emotions of real people I knew in my lifetime, and people I am connected to was difficult. There were times where I had to step away from my desk and collect myself.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I don’t know how to answer that. Ultimately, I want my readers to enjoy every story I write. At the same time, I also want to make sure things are written in my style. For this series, I have the stories of real people to tell and I won’t compromise what they went through. I suppose it is a bit of both.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
Oh, huge. Think of a painter. You can look at a piece of art and tell what someone was feeling when they created it. You can listen to music and feel the emotion from it. It’s the same with writing. Your emotions come through in your words. What you feel, the characters feel.
# What are your plans for future books?
The Appalachian Roots series will continue into 2022. After that, I have plans for a series that takes place in the Old West. The real Old West. That was not a pretty place for women to live, and I want to tell those stories next.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself? I ride a motorcycle, listen to metal, have the side of my head shaved and I have multiple tattoos. Yet, I write historical fiction. Most people expect me to be a musician or a horror writer.