Member in the Spotlight
ROBBI SOMMERS BRYANTROBBI SOMMERS BRYANTArticle by Tami Casias
Robbi Sommers Bryant tackled both the publishing industry and the psychological thriller genre at the same time with her fourth novel, The Beautiful Evil
. Based on Pandora’s Box from Greek mythology, The Beautiful Evil
follows one woman’s journey into herself.“I don’t write for people to like it. If I did I wouldn’t be writing about the dark side,” Bryant said. “For a lot of people it’s too much.”The new genre of the psychological thriller leans more to the Stephen King side, according to Bryant. Her audience would enjoy Black Swan
or Criminal Minds
. “The suspense is going into your dark side,” Bryant added.Bryant traditionally published three other novels in the erotica genre under Robbi Sommers. “Even my erotica had twists and turns, dark and light, humor,” Bryant said.Traditional and self-publishing both have their positive and negative aspects for the full-time writer. “I started Ruby Paradise Publications so I can represent the book as a publisher,
Bryant said. “I have really enjoyed what I’ve been learning. I can write whatever I want to write.”Marketing has changed in the 12 years since her last novel was published. “I would take myself on a lot of book tours,” Bryant recalled. “I’d travel and stop at bookstores doing readings and making appearances. Now you really have to put yourself out.”Bookstores no longer sell books in the same way with the same potential for success, particularly self-published works. Bryant sells on Kindle, Amazon and selected bookstores.“In person is still my best marketing tool,” Bryant added. “I went after every interview I saw online/radio/blog talk. Anyway I could get out there.”Six months after the release of The Beautiful Evil
, Bryant changed the cover of her book. “I won a contest and was able to work with a marketing professional,” Bryant said. “He said my first cover made the book appear more of a fantasy novel than psychological thriller.” Changing the cover was important, she said, as that is what initially attracts readers. “Selling a book is like you’re a grain of sand jumping up yelling ‘look at me!’ ”Bryant also lowered the price of her eBook to 99 cents. “It’s not about making the money. It’s about getting out there,” she added. “I’ve gotten some very good reviews, but still nobody knows about it.”Bryant belongs to three writers’ groups including Left Coast Writers, Redwood Writers and BAIPA and is a strong believer in Twitter. “Also, have at least one marketing buddy,” Bryant said. “I’m in a marketing collective and we teach each other what we’re learning and trade ideas.”When she asks for feedback on her manuscripts, she requests that the reader hold the positive feedback. “It’s not going to do me any good,” Bryant said. “Tell me what you don’t understand, then I can fix it.”The Beautiful Evil
won Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival. The book sells for $15 or $10 for Redwood Writers. Learn more about Bryant and see the video for The Beautiful Evil
Robbi, welcome! Thank you for joining us!! Are you ready to be grilled? Well, not grilled, literally, but questioned. Yea? Cool! Get comfortable and we’ll begin.Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what initially inspired you to begin writing. I've always enjoyed writing. I believe it was high school English that really inspired me.I thought I was kinda kookie, but Constance, well, she’s her own brand of crazy!! Tell us about The Beautiful Evil and the psychology behind your main characters: Constance and Rose. The Beautiful Evil is based loosely on the myth of Pandora's box. Constance is a woman who was emotionally neglected as a child and her only true friend was her own reflection in the mirror. A friend Constance named Rose.Where do you get your ideas and what gets your juices flowing? My ideas just come to me. My juices flow when I'm writing and the hunger to get the words down is intense.Plotter or pantser? Screenplay writer: Plotter. Novels: PantserWhat is your writing process? Do you listen to anything in particular? Do you edit as you go along? I sit down at 5:30 in the morning and, besides a few short breaks, continue writing until 7 pm. I don't listen to music. My desk faces a beautiful bush—I watch bees and butterflies all day. I also have a bird feeder and hummingbird feeder outside the window. I see birds come and go all day. I edit as I go along.Sadly, tragedy struck in your life and as a result, you lost your desire to write. What helped you overcome it and begin anew with the story that has now been published as The Beautiful Evil??I had already written, The Beautiful Evil when I lost my 21 year-old son. But after he passed I stopped writing for 13 years. I just couldn't do it. Then one day, an urge hit. I brought out my old manuscript and rewrote it.It's very painful to hear about or see someone you care about suffer through a loss like that. But we, Minnie and I in particular, are very happy you are back!! Tell us about your previous works. My previous works include 3 novels, 5 collections of short stories and a collection of my poetry. I've had articles published in Reader's digest, Redbook, and a story in Penthouse. My non-fiction was optioned for a movie of the week.Ooh!! A piece was optioned for a movie of the week! You go girl!!What about works in progress? I have two screenplays going and one novel Yikes.Yeah! Yikes!! She's Wonder Woman people!!Moving right along... This next question is one of my favorites and was asked of Minnie in an interview. I thought it was such a great question! So, I am openly admitting to stealing it! If we were to observe you in the act of writing, what would we see?A happy, attractive woman, clicking on a keyboard.Great! We like happy, attractive people!!As a woman, you must realize that there are young girls with similar backgrounds as yours who might be looking to you as a sort of role model. How do you feel about that and what advice would you give them? I don't think there are young girls looking to me as a role model. But I will say that living authentically is an absolute joy.Yes it is!
This next section is my favorite part of the interview! Lipton-isms!! The answers to these questions should be one word; whatever pops into your mind first.1. What’s your favorite curse word? F-word2. What’s your least favorite curse word? C word3. Who is your hero? All service men, firemen and policemen. (We like men in uniform too! *giggle* *giggle*)4. If you had to choose one superhuman power, what would it be? Immortality.5. Where is your favorite place in the world? Maui6. When is your favorite time of day? 11:00 a.m.7. What would your friends say is your best trait? Authenticity8. If you could time travel, where would you end up? 1920's-1940's9. If you could shape shift, what or who would you shift into? Lioness10. What’s your favorite food? CheesecakeWords of Wisdom
:In conclusion, have you any words of wisdom to offer our readers? This is your opportunity to get on a soap box and it doesn’t have to do with writing.Be true to yourself and do kind acts every day.
So there you have it decent people! Don't forget to come back tomorrow. Ms. Bryant has some very interesting things to say about the criminal mind! (She's not talking about me though. I know you know that!)
Links:The Beautiful Evil in PaperbackThe Beautiful Evil on KindleRobbi on TwitterRobbi's Webpage/BlogLike Robbi on Facebook