Barri Bryan’s Heart Lays Deep Within Texas
Barri Bryan is the pen name for Billie Houston. She acquired a pseudonym at the behest of adult children when they discovered a steamy excerpt from one of her romances at the web site of a publisher.
Barri grew up during the thirties. Her formative years were spent in a small town in West Texas. Life was simple then. She could accept what was without questioning what would be, or wishing for what would never come to pass. She sensed there was a world beyond my limited horizon. but it seemed remote and far away. That horizon began to expand and move nearer when she discovered reading and books.
Barri’s dad taught her to read before she started to school; thus began her journey. In the seventh grade, she found the Bronte sisters and fell in love with romantic novels. Since then, she’s been an avid fan of happy-ever-tales.
Today Barri is a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother to seven wonderful grandchildren. She’s also a former teacher and educator and a published author with over twenty novels, four books of poetry, numerous essays and short stories, and one how-to-write book to my credit.
Barri has a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas, and holds six valid teacher certifications.
Barri’s writing career began late in life, writing her first book in 1990. Her first romance was published in 1998 and writes the kind of books she enjoys reading --- romantic tales about relationships; stories that explore feelings and probe emotions. The plots revolve around ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances and faced with difficult decisions.
Barri likes poetry, George Strait’s music, old movies and Earl Grey tea. Her many hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, taking long walks, and growing house plants.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself.
I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer. I am an octogenarian. I am not an extraordinary person, but my life’s journey has been extraordinary in many ways. I have stood on the sidelines of history and watched a rapidly changing world’s passing, panoramic parade. My personal life has embraced change, struggle, difficulty, and an enduring love. I’ve had my share of happiness. There has been tragedy too. I have known misfortune and heartbreak. I have gambled and often lost, but sometimes won. There are so many things I would go back and change, if I could. I have pretty well come to terms with both my capabilities and my limitations.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
I do a tremendous amount of research, especially when I write historicals. I am always finding tidbits that interest me. When I researched for my novel Renegade, I discovered that Texas men in the 1830’s didn’t wear cowboy boots. Most of them wore moccasins. A few wore brogans. When I researched for my novel Changeless as the Heavens, set in 1944, I was surprised to learn that during WWII gasoline was rationed, not to save gasoline, but to save tires that were made of rubber, which was a scarce commodity. My research for my novel Wish on the Moon revealed that in 1906 it was considered disgraceful for a woman to go out in public without wearing a corset under her other clothing. My WIP is set in 1966. There were no seat belts in cars in 1966.
What main genre do you write in?
I write romances. Many of my romances are historicals set during a specific decade in the twentieth century. I write some contemporaries, and some historicals set in the nineteenth century.
I also write verse. My poetry is eclectic. I write about what speaks to my heart and quickens my insight.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading. I like both fiction and nonfiction. I’m an avid Texas History buff. I read anything I can find about the history of The Lone Star State. I enjoy Regency Romances if they are historically correct and well written. I’m a fan of C. S. Lewis. I read Victorian poetry. I especially like Christina Rosette and Emily Dickinson. I love taking long walks. That’s when I do much of my planning and problem solving for my writing. I raise house plants and herbs. I love crafts and handwork. I knit, crochet, and quilt.
If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?
If I had to choose one person to have dinner with it would be Christina Rossetti. Of all the poetical voices that echo down through the ages, none rings more sweetly in my ear or resounds with more clearly through my senses than this Victorian spinster’s lyrical compositions. Oh, the questions I would like to ask that lady, not only about her work, but about her personal life also.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
The first thing I do is make character sketches of my main characters. I need to know them well before I begin writing about them. Then I outline, by chapter, the story I have in mind. After that, I do much of my research for the story. This gives me a feeling of where I am and where I want to go. I don’t always go in that direction. I have been known to do a 180 degree turn and take another path. Would it be safe to say I combine the two?
Current Release Details:
My current release is entitled For Jenny’s Sake.” It is a contemporary romance set in a small town in South Texas. It’s published by Desert Breeze Publishing.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I have a book titled Renegade that is scheduled to be published by Desert Breeze Publishing in January of 2014.The story is set in the little village of San Antonio de Bexar the year after the fall of the Alamo.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The best writing advice I ever received was from the teacher whose name I can’t recall. She was the instructor in an adult education class I took several years ago. She began her class by saying, “Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your readers.” I thought that was a strange opening statement for the teacher of a course titled: How to Write Short Fiction. She wasn’t speaking of literal truths, but personal truths. Throughout much of my writing career, I have tried to stay true to that premise. Memorable, moving books are not written from a sense of anything but the writer’s deepest and most honest convictions.
The worst advice I ever had was, “Sit down and write what you feel. As you move along, the story will unfold in your mind. All you have to do is write it down.” Maybe that works for some. It doesn’t for me. I need structure and purpose.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first published book was titled A love Like Mine. It was published in 1998 by new Concepts Publishing.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Ø Website: http://barribryan.com/
Ø Blog: http://barribryan.com/blog/
Ø Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarrriBryan?ref=hl
Ø Twitter: https://twitter.com/texpoet
Ø Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/louhou85/
Eight years ago Erin Harrow left her hometown in the wake of shame and scandal. She’s back now, as Erin Bennett the rich widow of recently deceased billionaire Sheldon Bennett. She’s returned to claim what is hers and to set the record straight on some very important issues.
Gabe Harrow has never recovered from his ex-wife’s flight to oblivion, and he’s never forgiven her for disappearing without leaving a trace. She’s back now and determined to take from him the one thing that gives his life meaning, his daughter Jenny. But then, she’s Erin’s daughter too.