Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Author Interview: Bryce Anderson

Bryce Anderson is the author of Finding Reason. The book originally was self published under the title of Body of Knowledge, but has recently been picked up by Ridan Publishing and revamped for his debut. Bryce was gracious enough to answer some questions about himself and the book.

How did you come up with the idea for the story?

When I was in about 8th grade, I learned of a little known fact about a historical figure that absolutely blew me away. At the time, it was just mentioned to me casually, but the more I thought about it, the more it opened up endless possibilities to what it meant. I started toying with the concept of ‘What if…?’, and this story is basically a collection of my thoughts over the past 30 years on that concept. (Note, I completely understand if you are lost by what I’ve said here, but the fact of the matter is that this book is ‘A Different Kind of Mystery’, and it’s very hard to discuss without giving the ‘mystery’ away.)

What path did you take to become a writer?

I’ve always written short stories simply for the enjoyment of writing. I tell everyone it’s a hobby, and it really is. It would be very difficult for me to write for a living. As long as I had something to say that is worthwhile, entertaining, and uplifting, I’ll probably keep it as just a hobby. So, to answer the question, I took the slow path.

Why did you write the book using yourself as a main character? Do you think it makes the story more believable?

I write from the heart, and it is just much easier for me to write as if I am telling the story. Yes, I think it definitely makes the story more believable. In this case, the most common question I get asked about Finding Reason is: “Is it true?” – that means a lot to me, because I think it validates the fact that writing in the first person makes the story believable. I also might add here that about 90% of the information in the story did in fact happen to me at one time or another during my life, so from that standpoint, Finding Reason could almost be considered an autobiography.

Are there plans for a sequel?

Yes. I am working on one (in my head) now. I have actually inked 2 chapters, but this one is substantially more ‘sensitive’ material than the first, and I just want to make sure it comes out right, so I’m not rushing it. I can say that it will be equally as thought-provoking, if not more so, than Finding Reason.

Have you ever met someone that you based JP's character on?

Not one particular individual, but several people that together would make up one JP. I actually name about five names in the acknowledgements in the back of Finding Reason. I think this might be a good place for me to interject here that the original title of Finding Reason was Body of Knowledge. I tried to write JP as a genius, and I think I did a pretty good job, but, quite literally, pretty much everyone in my life that has had some sort of affect on me contributed to the character of JP. I tried to write him as the accumulation of all the intelligence / good things that have occurred to me over the past 30 years.

Fave author? Fave book? How many books do you read a year?

Michael Crichton, Shel Silversteen, Dan Brown, C.S. Lewis, and John Grisham are my mainstays. My favorite book is probably The Da Vinci Code, simply because I loved the concept of short chapters that were introduced in it, and it inspired me to write Finding Reason. As long as a book provides entertainment, enjoyment, and enlightenment, I will devour it. I read for pleasure, and generally very slowly. I probably average about 20 books a year or so.

Hobbies? Do you have any hidden talents?

I used to be pretty heavy into sports, but that came to a screeching halt in 2000 when I blew out my left knee while playing basketball. My life right now pretty much centers around my wife and kids. As I said previously, I love writing, but I have to want to write, so I would consider it my greatest hobby. I also have a knack for public speaking -- go figure…

How long did it take from starting the book to publishing? Was it a positive experience?

I finished writing Finding Reason in the Summer of 2002. I had no idea what to do with it at the time, so I had 30 copies printed up on 8.5 x 11 spiral bound paper, and gave out copies as presents for Christmas. The feedback was very positive, but I still didn’t have a clue what to do with it. I basically sat on it for about five years, and then heard about self publishing on the internet. It took very little work to get it into a professional looking paperback, and I bought about 40 copies or so to see if I could sell any. I heard about Goodreads, and, as they say, the rest in history.

Was it a positive experience? – man, good question. I would definitely say it was a growing / educational experience, but not necessarily a good one. I like the fact that many people have written to me and told me that something in Finding Reason changed their lives for the better. In that sense, yes, it was / is definitely a positive experience. I had no idea it would affect people in the manner it has.

Any tips for aspiring writers?

Stick with it. Believe in yourself and don’t sell yourself short. When I first finished Finding Reason, I thought, “I’m done.” -- NOT SO. In a very real way, writing the book was the easy part. If you want it to get read, that’s when the hard part kicks in. I have found that, as is the case with almost everything in life, it’s not what you know, so much as who you know. Writing is no different. It always helps to know someone in the business to get ‘an in’. If you have a good product, it should / will eventually sell itself.

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