Interview With Author Stacey E. Bryan

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Stacey E. Bryan and book 1 of my paranormal comedy series Day for Night is available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Goodreads.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

One night I had a dream that I was in a huge warehouse space with a large crowd of people and we were passively waiting for something. When I realized aliens were going to abduct us, I started a riot and got everyone to rush the door and break out. The protagonist in my book starts seeing abductions and feels so helpless and frustrated, she decides to become a vampire in order to fight back—so I guess the idea must have come from that dream. It takes place in Los Angeles, the city where I was raised and with which I have a love/hate relationship, so I make a lot of fun of LA and LA people, including the main character who’s a 39 to 40-something wannabe actress.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Anything can be inspiring, from books to movies to music to a conversation with someone to graffiti on a wall to an argument with my husband to something I see on the news.

# How do you deal with creative block?

If there’s a way to deal with creative blockage, I think I do the complete opposite of whatever it is, because basically when I’m blocked, I find it almost impossible to get unblocked and nothing I’ve ever tried has worked. All I can do is wait for time to go by. Then usually on the verge of a breakdown or complete panic, I just start writing again.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

I know when I’m reading other people’s books, especially self-published, typos, grammatical and punctuation errors throw me completely out of the story and make steam come out of my ears. So I think not proofing/editing effectively is a huge mistake one can make in a book. As for points of views, topics—I don’t know. It seems like anything these days is fodder for anger and offense. Apparently it’s commonplace to put warnings in the front of books now, anything from: “If you don’t like dogs wearing pajamas, this book is not for you” to “If depictions of sex are triggering, this book is not for you.” Once upon a time, dogs in pajamas AND sex weren’t things that were upsetting to people, but those days are over. So I have no idea what constitutes a “mistake” these days in a book.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

If I got a bad or negative review that just seemed like complaints with no basis, I’d be fairly annoyed. If someone doesn’t like something about the book, try to make it constructive, at least. I’d be grateful for that. I’ve seen people say, “This book is so boring. Waste of time” for other authors, and that’s it. No compliment sandwich. No explanation. Just their subjective opinion, which is useless without some insight. So if I got a bunch of reviews like that, I would be the extreme opposite of happy, and my husband would probably go sleep in a hotel for a few nights.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I’m not sure it has changed, apart from the fact that I used to write by hand and now I only use computers or tablets. I was writing out a birthday card for a friend recently and realized that not only was my writing almost completely illegible, as if I was dead drunk, but my hand was cramping from holding the pen and I had to keep dropping it and shaking out my fingers. As for my process, I think it may have gotten worse. I work full-time and don’t write anywhere near as much as I should and find it difficult coming up with ideas. In fact, I asked my husband if I could turn one of his screenplays into a novel (ready-made idea; I don’t have to think of one) and now we’re embroiled in an ongoing argument regarding my lack of hardcore sci-fi writing skills (because his screenplay is hardcore sci-fi).

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The most surprising thing was how quickly I wrote book I. Because of working all the time, I just made sure to go to the library every Saturday and write another chapter. The best thing was I started querying publishers and got four or five interested responses very quickly. But before I did that, the worst thing was spending a lot of time querying agents and getting tumble weeds and crickets chirping as responses. The silence was deafening. One agent out of about twenty-five or thirty wrote back—one—and said something cryptic like, “I like this. But let’s not get into all this right now.” And that was it. I’m still trying to figure out what that meant, years later.

# What are your plans for future books?

Book II of Day for Night should be coming out sometime in 2022. Book III isn’t written yet, but that will conclude the series. If I can wrench my arm a little patting myself on the back, book III will have one of the most romantic endings in paranormal comedy history.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

When I was 13 and on vacation with my family, I stubbed my toe and broke it but didn’t tell anyone, so it healed with a big lump and I’ve never been comfortable wearing shoes since then. And high heels? Almost impossible.

I’m mixed race and adopted by a Black family and started out my life saying I was Black but got so many double-takes and people saying, “No, you’re not,” that I moved on to half-Black, and now years later I just say mixed race. I do identify with being Black and Black culture, though, regardless, and touch on race a little bit in my books. I found out that my biological mother, ironically, later adopted the Black daughter of a Black Panther who’d been jailed for life.

I’ve had a few unusual jobs, like working at a dude ranch a couple of summers, editing pamphlets for an ex-Buddhist monk, and introducing four and five-year-olds to gymnastics. I actually disliked the gymnastics job immensely because I had to handle the kids VERY carefully like eggs and was terrified of dropping them or something horrific happening. They were so fragile and uncoordinated, it was like being blindfolded in a dark room and informed there were booby traps everywhere, so good luck with moving one millimeter in any direction without paralyzing fear. Ah, memories…



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