2013 Fall Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up, BRYAN MOONEY

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Today we have one of our runners up from our 2013 Flash Fiction Contest, Bryan Mooney. His beautiful and touching story, Charley, brought tears to the eyes of all of our judges and we are very happy to have him here today sharing his thoughts about writing and authoring, as well as some very helpful advice for our Muffin readers. If you haven't had a chance to read Charley yet, click here to check it out, then come back for our chat. This is one you won't want to miss!

Bryan’s Bio: Bryan is originally from the Midwest, but over the years he has travelled the globe extensively, before moving to the sunny beaches of South Florida. Critics and reviewers have compared his most recent romance novels, Love Letters and A Second Chance, to those written by Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts. He writes of love lost and love found, with strong female role models. Bryan’s books have consistently ranked in the top five in his category, on Amazon.com bestsellers list. His long awaited book A box of Chocolates was just recently published and now available in paperback and eBook format.
Where is Bryan’s most inspirational location to hatch a new novel? “Oh that has to be Key West,” he was quoted in a recent interview. “Hemingway hung out there and wrote some of his best works in the low key place in the sun. But my all time favorite place to get lost in, has to be on one of the thousands of Greek Islands.”

His love of the Greek isles shows in his work. His most recent romance novel, A Second Chance is set on a remote Greek island. It is the story of a man traveling to a family reunion, who mistakenly disembarks from a ferry boat, onto the wrong island. He is stranded on the idyllic paradise for a week, waiting for the next ferry and checks into the only hotel on the island. The romantic hilltop retreat, he soon discovers, happens to be run by - his first love.

When not penning romance novels on the beach, he and his wife Bonnie travel the world. Bryan enjoys sailing, gourmet cooking, ballroom dancing, photography, tennis and he loves to incorporate these activities into his novels. Look for Bryan’s latest novel, a Christmas Love story coming soon. For more information and a preview of his novels click on the following link: http://tinyurl.com/Books-by-Bryan-Mooney

WOW: Welcome to The Muffin. Please share a little about yourself with our readers.

BRYAN: I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and come from a large family of nine, six sisters and two other brothers. Family reunions are a really big affair, as one can imagine, with the family growing larger and larger every year. My family is my biggest support group and also are my toughest critics.

WOW: Holy cow! Nine children? I’ll bet those reunions are quite an event. I see you have written several romance novels as well. Is that your writing ‘love’ or are their other kinds of genres and areas you enjoy dabbling in? If so, which ones and why?

BRYAN: At heart, I am a hopeless romantic. It seems, no matter what I try to write, love is always at the core of any of my stories. Readers have compared my books to the likes of Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts. I also write mystery thrillers such as The Potus Papers and Indie- A Female Vigilante that have been compared to James Patterson.

I like writing romance and mystery thrillers so as to keep my writing fresh and vibrant and to bore either myself or my wonderful readers.

My latest book, Christmas in Vermont - a Very White Christmas, which was recently released has been cited by readers as one of my best. It is the touching and heartwarming story of a Marine veteran and a schoolteacher who travel to Vermont to experience Christmas and find the true joys of Christmas. (Muffin readers can find my all books at tinyurl.com/Books-by-Bryan-Mooney )

WOW: Thanks for sharing the link to your books. Let’s talk about your beautiful short story ‘Charley’, which placed in our 2013 Fall Flash Fiction contest. I don’t think any of us made it to the end with dry eyes. Can you share your inspiration for this story and how it came to be?

BRYAN: A few years ago, one of our closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy and radiation therapy. We suffered through it with them, all of their ups and downs.

One night while waiting for our wives to finish shopping, I asked her husband how he was doing. He told me that now their life, their dreams, their hopes, and fears were now divided into life before cancer (BC) and life after cancer (AC). I was so shaken and touched by his comments that I had to figure out some way to express how I felt while still maintaining their privacy. It was then I wrote the story - Charley.

The response from readers, like yourself, to that two-page short story was so overwhelming I made it the first story in my recently published book of short stories, entitled, A Box of Chocolates. Last year's WOW contest winner, The Mountain, is also included in the same book as well as many of my other award winners and many of my personal favorites such as The Painter from Syros and The Lemon Trees.

WOW: What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I hope she continues to fight and is able to beat her ‘Charley’. Do you have a writing schedule or routine? Any tips you can give our writers-in-progress?

BRYAN: I have found that my most creative time to write is early morning. Some writer friends of mine say that they won’t stop writing until they have written so many thousands of words or so many pages. The key is to just do it, write a paragraph, a page or two. If I can do that then I am very happy.

To your readers who want to write, I suggest that they do what works best for them and try to stick with it. Maybe write just on the weekends, early morning or even at midnight, just do what works best for you but don’t wait and don’t stop, even if it is just a page or a paragraph. Tell your story. Hemingway said once "today was a success, I wrote a word."

Finally, get the story down on paper first, -John went to the store and saw her, standing there… Then after you finish writing the book go back and polish and rewrite it - so the above sentence is transformed into:

The tall stranger in his tattered jeans and white t-shirt and worn sneakers came into the small general store behind her, close enough to smell her jasmine scented perfume. He imagined himself back in Paris and briefly closed his eyes as he touched the long scar on his arm. When he reopened them, she stood there in front of him, watching him. A small smile came over her face.

WOW: Fantastic advice. I hope our readers are making notes. ;) You have so much experience and knowledge with writing and authoring. As we come to a close, do you have any pearls of wisdom you’d like to give us?

BRYAN: My best advice to writers in progress is to keep writing, don’t stop; don’t over edit and don’t forget to read. Read books, lots of books, newspapers - to keep current, books for ideas and stories and techniques. You will slowly develop your own style and writer's voice. Maybe try writing short stories.

I also keep a journal where I write a two-page synopsis of a potential book so I don’t forget it. I am always referring back to it and adding to it.

Lastly, I can’t tell you how many people have approached me at book signings to tell me they want to write that one big book. My advice is that the best thing to do is practice, practice, practice.

I wrote nine full-length books before I had one that was publishable. That book, Love Letters, has been ranked in the top ten in its category on Amazon.com since its release three years ago. As Nike says - Just do it. Start and keep going. What do you have to lose?

The best of luck to all of your readers and I want to thank you for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you and with them.


WOW: Very valuable pearls, Bryan, thank you so much. And thank you for being here today. We can’t wait to see what else you bring out for readers. Congratulations again!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Priscilla--It IS a tough balancing act. When do we take a "break" from our writing and read about writing, when do we choose to do something completely different to keep our writing moving forward...

Thanks for this post, and I'm glad the weather is warmer now, so you can walk and work out your writing in your head.

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