Les Rêveur Q&A with Author, Kris Bryant
Kris published her first book ‘Jolt’ in September 2014 and it’s been a rollercoaster ride since. She’s now released 3 more novels such as ‘Whirlwind Romance’ and ‘Taste’ as well as a Short Story ‘Just Say Yes’ that featured in the Wedding Novellas Collection by Bold Strokes Books.
Kris realised her newest novel ‘Forget Me Not’ this month and it has been a fanatic hit with many reader and reviews all over the world.
Quoting my own review about ‘Forget Me Not’:
this was probably one of the most moving and exciting books I have read recently. It moved me in so many ways but the biggest was because of the relatable context I felt when reading it
Kitty Kat’s Book Review Blog also said
This is a book I certainly won’t be able to forget for some time. Five Stars!
Kris has had a exciting 3 years in the world of Lesbian Romance and she’s rocking it. I asked Kris to take part in this Author Q&A because i think as readers and reviewers of Lesbian Romance like to get to know their authors more and we begin to feel connect to their novels more.
Hi Kris, thanks for doing our April Author Q&A with Les Reveur!
We all want to find out more about you and your wonderful writing! So here we go…
What inspired you to write Lesbian Romance Novels?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. Growing up, I had no limits except my knowledge. I was always telling stories and thinking of different scenarios for life. I was, and still am, a daydreamer. When I realized I could put sentences together and make a story, my love for writing was born. We grew up without television so my sister and I escaped in books. We read everything. I read everything she checked out of the library after I read the books I checked out on dogs and dinosaurs. I needed fiction. I needed the escapism. When I started disagreeing with the endings of books, I re-wrote them.
In college, I read historical bodice-ripper romances. I probably read them more for the sex than the plot, because the plots were always the same. I didn’t know lesfic existed until about 2011 or 2012. We don’t have too many bookstores that promote LGBTQIA books here in Kansas City; and we certainly did not have them twenty years ago. It was a struggle to find any books. This was before Amazon and easy, discreet on-line shopping was invented. When I discovered Kindle lesfic books, I devoured them. Some were fantastic and inspiring, but some were really bad and I thought okay, I’m going to do this and hopefully I’ll end up somewhere in-between.
Was becoming an author always an aspiration and if so, what originally drew you in?
I’ve always loved writing. I found a Creative Writing award that I received when I was 11 just the other day, so the need and want to write has been in my blood since childhood. When I became a teenager, I started getting into romance books. I love the feelings a good solid romance elicits in me – pure excitement of watching two people find their way to one another and the love they end up with – if it’s written well.
I started writing lesfic because it’s important to give readers options. Twenty years ago, I’m sure a lot of lesbians read Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Judith McNaught and so many others because they were the books readily available at all bookstores. They were safe to read. Great books, but missing something very important to us – love and sex between women. When I found lesfic, it opened up a whole new world to me. I wanted to create love stories between two women that was real to us as women who love women.
What’s your writing ‘kryptonite’ and how long can it take you away from your writing?
I really don’t have a kryptonite other than maybe focus. It’s important to keep writing and stay in the loop. I love to do it so for me the challenge is staying focused on one work in progress. Right now, I am splitting my time between two books and I’m telling myself to ignore a third book – the next sensory book – even though it keeps pushing and nudging my brain to take a look. I actually need to have several things going on at once while I write, except a conversation. I can watch television or a movie, text on the phone, and write 2,000 words in a night. I need all of those distractions to feed different parts of my brain so that I can stay focused on writing. I’ve tried the ‘quiet zone’ method and trust me, it does not work for me.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to write but keep putting it off?
I’m sure once I get a few more romances under my book, I’ll tackle a full length erotica novel. That doesn’t sound like a big jump for me, but it really is. I love writing emotions. I love the journey my character goes on to find love. I love it when she can’t handle new emotions because it’s been a long time since she was last in love so it’s new again for her. Different people process feelings differently. Every single character has had a different reaction to falling in love. Truthfully, every single person in the world has a different reaction to falling in love. It’s so much fun to discover it with her. Erotica romance is sex first, then some basic emotions that may or may not include love. So it’s a different take. Truthfully, I love writing sex and love. There is so much power in both. I dipped my toe in the erotica pool with my novella Shameless. If people like it, I’ll definitely pursue a full length novella, but if everybody hates it, I will stick to romance. On Earth. Present day.
When writing, what is your guilty pleasure?
Oh, I have so many! Well, a lot of people know I eat gummy bears when I write. Now I’ve conditioned myself that when I am eating a gummy bear, I should be writing. If I reach a writing goal like – 1,000 quality words by noon on a Saturday – I’ll binge watch episodes of TV shows that I forget to watch during the week and actually pay attention to them. A lot of times I will have the television on for background noise, but not pay attention to what’s on. I guess it boils down to food and television as my guilty rewards/pleasures when I write.
Do you use people from your life to make up characters or do they come directly from your imagination?
I make up most of my characters, but sometimes I use bits and pieces from people I know. Sometimes I make the lead love interest somebody I find attractive – a person I know or a famous person. All the peripheral characters are people I want to be friends with. Most of the time though, I rely on my imagination.
What’s the hardest scene you’ve written and why?
Now that’s a tough question. I hate break up scenes, whether they are instantaneous or something that both characters know have to happen. Ali and Bethany in Jolt had a horrendous break up scene and I hated that they were apart for so long. In Forget Me Not, Kerry and Grace knew that having a long distance relationship was not going to work so their last scene together was rough. I love love and I hate it when my characters have to separate for whatever reason. Here’s a twist. I also had a hard time writing chapter nine in Whirlwind Romance. My characters have sex out in a dusty, gravelly parking lot in the middle of nowhere Kansas. I felt it was too soon, but they had different plans. Sometimes I have to trust that they are doing the right thing.
What is a favorite line you have written?
Every once in awhile, I will write a sentence that just makes my heart flutter. I get so caught up in the scene that words just pour from my heart. When I read it over, I’m like – did I just write that? – yes, yes I did. I like throwing in sentences that are so intense that they take me and my readers by surprise. It’s so hard to pinpoint one favorite line, but I really liked the following line from Taste:
She rests her hand on top of mine as I touch her everywhere. She’s not guiding me, just staying with me, a deeper connection as I continue my seduction.
So much can be said with just a touch, especially when my characters aren’t ready to say the L word. In this scene, my characters are so close to crossing that line, but it’s still too early to be emotionally vulnerable with one another so they convey their feelings by touch.
In your romance novels the sex scenes can sometimes be verging on Erotica. Is there a point in a sex scene where you have to pull it back to keep the novel a romance instead of erotica?
I love writing sex scenes. I try to make them as realistic as possible. Fade to black is fine, but I joked on a panel once that if I faded to black in the bedroom, I would never be in a relationship. I believe that when writing romance, especially lesbian romance, it’s important to include sex. Descriptions, feelings, emotions, and the act itself. I love touching a woman and learning her body. Part of sex is discovery. What does she like? What do I like? It’s different for everybody. Is it necessary to be as graphic? No. But again, I bring realism to my books. There are emotions and a definite relationship established before my characters engage in sex so I am okay with being honest with my words. Sex is descriptive and I bring my reader right there next to my characters so they can see and feel what’s happening. Let’s embrace our sexuality and talk about what we like. Let’s keep the lights on. Let’s celebrate that we love women and sex with them is fantastic and emotional and physical.
Which of your novels is your favorite and why?
I adore Taste. I know zero about cooking, but I have such a fascination about it. I attended a culinary school for a few days as research and I just felt the story blossom right in front of my eyes. It’s the only book that I’ve written that actually wrote itself. It has a solid beginning, middle, and end, in my opinion. I wouldn’t change a thing. My characters are people I would want to know (or date) and the storyline wasn’t out of control. I try really hard to build stories that are realistic and believable to the readers. Not everybody has conflict in a relationship. Sometimes it’s something like distance or in this case, borderline taboo since the student falls for the teacher. It’s at culinary school where the student is 27 and the teacher is 36 so not really that promiscuous. And I think the ending is great.
Will you make any of your novels into a sequel novel or novelette and if so what direction would you take the characters?
I try really hard to wrap things up in a tidy little epilogue. I think Jolt is really the only book that has the potential to have a sequel. I actually started one, but sequels aren’t really as popular so I scrapped it.
Which of your characters from your two books would you say is most relatable to you or your life and why?
People tell me that I sound and act like Tristan from Whirlwind Romance. She’s tough when she needs to be, sweet when necessary, and her dog is her favorite sidekick. She takes her work seriously, yet she lets loose when she can. And she loves Maddox. I do, too. He’s the best dog ever. Almost as good as Molly.
In my opinion, I think I’m more like Bethany from Jolt. I’m surprisingly shy and an introvert. I never make the first move, I’m stubborn, and think I’m always right whether I voice that opinion or not. I’m also like Bethany because I like to talk to my characters from various books in my head (not unlike the poets in Bethany’s mind) and figure out how each of them would react to a situation.
Publishing 3 novels in two years is a big goal that you smashed. What’s your next big goal?
Well, I’d like to get the sensory series back in action. I’ve tackled Taste and Touch is now in the editing phase. I’m writing two stand alone novels presently, and hope to get back to the series. It’s the one that keeps poking my brain for attention.
You are releasing an Erotica Short Story called ‘Shameless’ in June 2017 under the pseudonym Brit Ryder. Why use a Pseudonym?
I feel like the readers I have already expect the happy ending and the sweet romance with steamy sex. I wanted to let know that this is a very physical book with little emotion so I still have Kris Bryant on the cover, but Brit Ryder will be bringing something different to the table. I wanted to challenge myself to write an erotica without building up a relationship and make it predominately about sex. That’s actually hard to do. I was surprised with the edits and what things I had to work on. I like how it turned out. Shameless has an actually storyline with several laugh out loud moments in it so it’s a combination of humor and sex and what happens when people assume things.
Can we expect more erotica in the future? And if so, are full length novels a possibility?
I think I’ll have to see how Shameless is received before I embark on a full length novel. If it doesn’t sell, then I will probably walk away from erotica. If it sells well and makes the Amazon top 5 list, then I’ll dive in, head first. I would hate to donate months of my life to something that people won’t like or doesn’t sell. It sure was fun to write!
Ok some questions for fun…
What writers/novels inspire you?
Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and spending time with fantastic writers from all different publishing houses. Obviously I write contemporary romance so I’m going to be drawn to the authors who have been successfully writing the same kinds of books. I got lucky by picking out a Radclyffe book as one of my firsts. Because of that, I sent Jolt to Bold Strokes Books and the rest is history. I love reading a good romance and I know that if I pick up anything by Georgia Beers or Melissa Brayden, I will not be disappointed. At the same time, there are several up and coming writers whose books have been outstanding including KB Draper, M. Ullrich, and Maggie Cummings. Books that normally wouldn’t be at the top of my list because they are more general lesfic or paranormal than romance, but I was blown away by them. I guess I just have too many to list. Basically, all writers are inspirational to me because it takes a lot to start and finish a book and kudos to everybody out there who has done it.
Do you have a favourite book/novel? Why?
I have so many favorites for so many different reasons. For the classics, I love Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, but I also love Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Contemporary mainstream, I like Dean Koontz and John Saul just as ‘get-away-from-life-for-a-bit’ books. In our genre, I think Rubyfruit Jungle is an incredible book (even though it’s not romance). I truly will read anything if I have the time. Before I started writing, I was in a book club where we read a lot of contemporary mainstream romances. I also read several of the Oprah Winfrey book club suggestions. I am not a book snob. If something catches my interest, I will give it attention, regardless of the genre. I will read anything. Cereal box? I’m in. Power bar ingredients? What is lecithin? If it’s in front of me and I have time, I’ll read it.
What is your favourite motivational phrase, positive saying or quote?
I was reading these questions to a friend of mine and she stopped me on this particular question and asked me if I was going to say for fuck’s sake because apparently I say that all of the time. It’s not very positive or motivational, but it sure is fun to say! Ultimately, what life boils down to is this – be happy. Do things that make you happy. I am doing something that makes me happy every day of my life. I get to share my stories with the world all because I followed my dreams to be happy in this life
What advice would you give to aspiring writers in the LGBT Community?
I’m a late bloomer to this endeavor so I encourage any and all people who want to be writers to start now. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, just start writing. If you have an idea for a story, write it down and keep writing. Have an editor or friends who are English majors look it over and send it in to a publishing company. You might not get a contract right away, but never give up.
What has been the best part of being a published author so far?
I really enjoy sharing my stories and hearing from people who appreciate them. As writers, we put so much time and effort into writing a book that can be read in a day so when we get an email or a message from a reader who says how much she, or he enjoyed the story, it makes it all worth it. Trying to squeeze in words here and there, the grueling editing process, and the time it takes from when you hand it in to the publisher to when the publisher hands it back to you in book format – completely worth it when readers love the story you’ve told. I also really enjoy meeting people who love books. I have a lot of friends who don’t read, so to submerge myself in people like myself is a real treat. Most of my friends just nod their heads and say ‘great’ when I tell them I have another book coming out. Being in this literary world is my dream come true.
Where can you see yourself and your writing in 5 years time?
I just hope I am fortunate enough to be published every year for as long as the stories continue to come out of me. I hope that by then, I’ll have several more books under my belt and maybe even an award or two. I think continued success is all an author can ask for and I have to thank all the readers who have continued to buy my books over the years.
Can you tell us a little bit about what’s coming next?
Touch will be out at the end of the year. It’s a story about a physical therapist who is asked by her boss to take on a hockey patient. Here’s the professional blurb:
As the go-to therapist at Elite Therapy, Dr. Hayley Sims is the best in her field. It’s exactly why she’s just been assigned her most challenging patient yet, hockey player Elizabeth Stone. Not because Stone’s injury is complicated, but because she is intense to work with and needs someone to keep her in check. When Hayley’s personal life starts unraveling and she realizes she might be developing feelings for her patient, she’s torn between finishing her assignment and walking away to protect herself. Can Hayley get Stone back on the ice in one piece while keeping her heart from breaking?
Here’s a breakdown of what it’s really about:
Hayley, who is a few months away from getting married, takes on a new patient because her boss asks her to. She’s Elite Therapy’s pediatric therapist and doesn’t like working with adults, least of all athletes. She reluctantly takes on Stone and they eventually form a friendship that Hayley backs out before it becomes complicated. It’s not about hockey – I know less about hockey than I did going in – it’s about feelings and when to let go of comfort for the hope of something bigger and better. My character goes through an emotional time trying to figure out what makes her happy and how much of herself she should sacrifice.
Touch is the 2nd in the sensory series.
I am also working on a novel about a journalist who is forced to cover a story up in Alaska. She’s completely high maintenance and ill prepared for the rough environment so there’s a lot of humor and some intrigue. It’s a fun story and I’m just at the beginning stages of it, but I like the direction it’s headed.
And of course, there is the secret project that I can’t discuss because it has yet to be presented to Bold Strokes Books. If they accept it, I think a lot of people will be intrigued. It’s something I haven’t done before, so wish me luck!
Are there any events this year where readers can come along to meet you and get their books signed?
I will be attending Boston Pride June 10th and GCLS in Chicago in July. Of course, I never miss Women’s Week in Provincetown in October. I encourage all readers, shy or not, to reach out to me or any writer. We really enjoy hearing from readers and discussing our books.
Thank you Kris for being our Author of the month.
Check out Kris’s bio below and if you would like to buy one of Kris Bryants novels please follow the link below…
Kris Bryant’s Bio
Kris Bryant grew up a military brat living in several different countries before her family settled down in the Midwest when she was twelve. Books were her only form of entertainment overseas, and she read anything and everything within her reach. Reading eventually turned into writing when she decided she didn’t like the way some of the novels ended and wanted to give the characters she fell in love with the ending she thought they so deserved.
Earning a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri, Kris focused more on poetry, and after some encouragement from her girlfriend, decided to tackle her own book.