Friday, February 12, 2010

Author Cathy Bryant Interview & Book Giveaway

Joining us today is Cathy Bryant. Cathy’s debut novel, Texas Roads, was a 2009 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis competition. A Texas gal by birth, Cathy lives with her husband in a century-old Texas farmhouse, complete with picket fence, flowers, butterflies, and late summer mosquitoes the size of your fist.

Those are some mighty big mosquitoes! Thank you for joining us today, Cathy. Make yourself comfortable, grab a brownie and let’s get started. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

For me it wasn’t so much a realization that I wanted to be a writer as much as just knowing I was a writer. As an early reader, I’ve always written. I wrote a lot of essays and newspaper articles during my public school years, followed by a lot of late-night term papers in my college years. I started trying my hand at novels and children’s books when my children were small, then after a series of events (including an empty nest), I felt God nudging me to pursue my writing dream in 2007. I joined ACFW, studied every book on the craft of fiction writing I could get my hands on, and haven’t looked back.

Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books would you say influenced you most as a child?
Books were a HUGE part of my life growing up. My grandmother took me and my siblings to the public library every week during the summer where I would check out as many books as they’d let me take home. I’d devour every one of them before the next visit.

For the sake of space and time, I’ll limit myself on the childhood books that influenced me the most and only mention the Little House on the Prairie books, Nancy Drew books, Dr. Seuss (he taught me to read), Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables. Honestly, I could go on for hours…

Share with us a little about your publication journey.
It’s been an interesting ride! I wrote my first book, TEXAS ROADS, during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2008. In March of 2009 I entered the book in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest in order to garner professional feedback. I was literally dumbfounded when they called to tell me the book had placed.

Though I didn’t win, making it to the finals brought attention to the book it wouldn’t normally have received. TEXAS ROADS was being considered by two different publishers when I felt a very strong leading from the Lord to publish it independently. I pulled it from further consideration (with much fear and trembling), and launched into unknown territory.

In January 2010, I formed my own publishing imprint, WordVessel Press, and TEXAS ROADS was made available in eBook format (for the Kindle, Nook, I-phone, palm readers, computers, and more). It’s currently in the process of being brought into print. (My proof copy should be here any day!) =)

Congratulations, Cathy. That’s quite an honor just to be a finalist. Will you tell us more about the book?
TEXAS ROADS, a contemporary Christian love story, is about a disillusioned widow’s quest for home. On a whim, city gal Dani Davis decides to visit an aunt she barely knows in Miller’s Creek, Texas. The town’s charm, quirky residents, and business potential convince her it’s the perfect place to start over, except for the dusty cowboy who gives her a ride into town…

She secretly finances renovations to downtown, until malicious rumors force her to choose between keeping her involvement a secret and the home for which she’s always longed. Then a devastating discovery propels her down a road she never expects to travel.

Cowboy mayor Steve Miller is determined to rescue his dying hometown. When vandals jeopardize the renovation, he can’t help but suspect Dani, whose strange behavior has become fodder for local gossips. Can Steve and Dani call a truce for a higher cause, and in the process help Dani discover the true meaning of home?

It sounds like a wonderful read. Where did you get the idea for it?
This book was literally born from my own desire to find a home. For years, my family and I seemed destined to move from one small Texas town to another. Just about the time we’d start to feel at home, God would move us somewhere else. I yearned to put down roots, but God had other plans. He used this time in my life to grow me spiritually, and I realized that for believers, home will never be a place. That home-sized hole in our hearts can only be filled by Jesus. The verse from John 14:23 that says: “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will make Our home with him” became my theme verse for the story.

What most inspires your imagination?
For me, inspiration for stories comes from all sorts of places. It might happen while I’m out in my garden digging in the dirt, and a car drives by slowly. The idea for the book that will become book three in the Miller’s Creek series came when I was on a walk. Out of nowhere, I heard this prim and proper voice in my head, saying: “Tyler, Dent & Snodgrass. Hold please.” (Weird, huh?) =)

Do you do a lot of research for your books? If so, how do you go about doing it (internet, books, one on one)?
Since I write contemporary novels, most of my research has to do with locations and careers. I’ve used the internet, books, and one-on-one conversations.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
Nothing. Every aspect of life is a necessary journey. Yes, parts of it have been extremely difficult, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there?
Lots! First of all, read, read, read. Then read some more. Read the kind of books you want to write, but also read other genres. You’ll learn so much.

Next, study, study, study. Find quality books on the craft of writing. Treat those books like college textbooks. Underline the parts that are beneficial to you. Tag them with sticky tags. Do the exercises. Your writing ability will increase exponentially.

Write, write, write. Everyday…even if only for a few minutes.

I’ll also mention prayer. Become the best writer you can be, but don’t allow anyone but God to dictate the direction you should take with your writing.

Great advice, Cathy! Now for a little fun; where is your favorite place to write?
One of our spare bedrooms is also my writing space. I have a desk that overlooks my flower garden.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what are some of your favorite bands/artists?
Interestingly enough, I’m a musician who can’t listen to music during the writing process. I find it too distracting. My musician brain takes over, and I either start analyzing what I’m listening to or singing along!

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy home improvement projects, gardening, hiking, canoeing, reading, and watching movies.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m a published composer of six children’s songs. I recently visited Southeast Asia on a mission trip.

You’re at the checkout counter in your favorite department store and you’re purchasing something from the book, music & movie sections. What are you buying?
Probably craft of writing books…but only if they’re on sale! (I’m a big bargain hunter and an even bigger cheapskate!) =)

Are you an animal lover, if so, do you have any pets?
I do love animals. I’m owned by one phobia-ridden cat, Miney. (She came from a litter of four, Eenie, Meanie, Miney, & Mo. Poor girl got stuck with us!)

Do you have a favorite TV show? What’s your favorite movie?
True confession—I’m a huge reality TV show freak. My two favorites are The Amazing Race and Survivor. I also really enjoy Castle.

My favorite movie would probably be a toss up between It’s a Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music and the remake of Sabrina.

Where can we purchase your books, and do you have a website?
TEXAS ROADS (eBook edition) can currently be purchased at, and will soon be available at Amazon and other leading retailers. (The site will also allow you to read the first half of the book free of charge!) You can also sign up for a free chapter every week at

My website is, but I hang out daily at my blog WordVessel (

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Here’s my book trailer for TEXAS ROADS:

Thanks so much for having me over for an interview. I enjoyed it!

I love your trailer, Cathy! Your book is definitely going on my TBR list. Folks, if you haven’t visited Cathy’s blog, I encourage you to do so. It’s a beautiful and inspiring site.  Also, Cathy is giving away a free download of her book to one lucky person who comments on this post.  So be sure to leave your email address.  The drawing will take place Sunday at noon CTS.  Good luck everyone!


Cathy Bryant said...

Anne, thanks so much for hosting me today. I really enjoyed the interview!


Casey said...

Please enter me, looks good!


Anne Patrick said...

You're entered, Casey. Thanks for coming by.

Redameter said...

Interesting. I too am a Texan so the small town interest is always there.

Texas Roads is a great title.

Good luck with sales!!!

Love and blessings

Miss Mae said...

Another Nancy Drew fan! Cathy, your book cover is breath-taking, and I totally agree about leaving God to dictate the direction of our writing.

Congrats on your success. It sounds like you are mighty blessed!

Edna said...

please enter I love Cathy's books, now that I have found your site through Cathy's I will join you also


Anne Patrick said...

Thank you, Edna, that makes me very happy.

Gail Pallotta said...

An interesting interview and an interesting book. I especially like the advice to pray about one's writing.

Cathy Bryant said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Rita, it's great to meet another Texas gal!

I am mighty blessed, Miss Mae, and feeling even more blessed today with all the encouraging comments.

Edna, sweet friend, thanks for zipping over here. I appreciate you.

I'm a big believer in the power of prayer, Gail! I shudder to think where my life would be without it!


Melissa M. said...

This sounds interesting, and I like how the premise is based on a Bible verse! Great interview, too.
Please enter me in the contest!

Donna said...

Want to be entered for the give a way of book. How do we enter?

Linnette R Mullin said...

I've already read it, Ladies. It's a must read!!! If you don't win the freebie, make sure you buy a copy. It's well worth it!


Donna said...

here is my entry:

go WBU grad! I am one too! BM86

Anonymous said...

Inspirational Interview, Thank you!
Rita Garcia

Cathy Bryant said...

Linnette, thanks so much for your sweet word of recommendation! =)

Go Pioneers! Donna, thanks for dropping by. I graduated in '83! Small world . . .

Connie said...

Definitely want to be entered. Looks great!

Barb said...

I'm a writer, too. I love Cathy Bryant's website and blog. Please enter me!

Linda said...

Wonderful insights to who you are and what makes you tick!! Thanks.
I would appreciate being included in the drawing. Please enter me. Thanks.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

I only know you from WordVessel.

SunnySusan said...

Hi Cathy...nice interview by Anne...thanks Anne....would love the book...

Cathy Bryant said...

Thanks so much for the kind words about WordVessel, and the encouraging words about Texas Roads! I'm honored. =)

Anne Patrick said...

Wow! Look at all the wonderful comments. Thank you everyone for dropping by.

To answer your question, Donna, all you have to do is leave your email address or some way of contacting you.

Good luck everyone!

elliesue said...

Please enter me, I would love to read it.
elainehow at gmail dot com

Cindi Burleson said...

Can't wait to read this book, or hear it!!

Anonymous said...

This story sounds wonderful. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

Gretchen Geyer said...

OH, pick me, pick me!

Cathy Bryant said...

Delighted (& humbled) at all the comments. I can't wait to see who wins! Thanks so much! =)

Valita Randolph said...

This is a great book! I'm eagerly awaiting the next one in the series--and the one after that!

Jo said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Please enter me in the giveaway.


Danielle Thorne said...

Cathy, you're book sounds great. What a wonderful journey you are on. Best of luck with it!

Cathy Bryant said...

Valita and Danielle, thanks so much for your sweet and encouraging words!

Cassie Simmons said...

I'd love a chance to win Cathy's book. Please enter me in the contest, Anne.


Anne Patrick said...

The winner of Cathy's book is...(drum roll)...Linda!!!

Congratulations, Linda, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

I want to thank everyone for stopping by and supporting Cathy. She's a wonderful I'm sure most of you already know. I look forward to having her visit again in the future.

Blessings to you all & Happy Valentine's Day!

Cheryl said...

Sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the contest. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Julia said...

Sounds like a fun read. I always enjoy reading how writers began their journey.

desitheblonde said...

congrat on your book and the small town book see to do the best