Interview with Ginny Bryce

Why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Southern California and spent my idle time between the beach and the mountains. One summer I worked in Yosemite. I hiked all the trails, including to the top of Half Dome. For many years, I water-skied and boated on the Colorado River. Later I sailed for five years with a sailing club in Marina Del Rey. We sailed numerous times to Catalina Island, Ventura’s Channel Islands, and up and down the PacificCoast.

I have three children, two daughters and a son, all grown and married. I am an Enrolled Agent. Last year I retired from preparing taxes.

Several years ago I moved from Huntington Beach to Camarillo to be closer to my eldest daughter.Camarillo is between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara—and not too far from the beach.

What’s your idea of a relaxing day?

A relaxing day now is writing, wii-bowling, and socializing with my friends. I am taking acting lessons from a New Yorkactress-director who just moved into our Village. Perhaps I will act in one of the plays that are put on in the Village.

What was your families’ reaction when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

My family is not surprised by my writing. I wrote short stories when my children were small, and told them bedtime stories I made up. They kept after me to publish, but for years I wrote for my own amusement. I spent several years with the South Coast Writers Workshop in Orange County, California.

What’s your favorite authors?

My two favorite authors are Jane Austin and Patrick O’Brian. I love O’Brian’s stories of the sea with Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. I have his complete set. Thus, my book Terra Feliz is about England and North America and the sea in the 1820s. Historical fiction.

Have you ever read a book, then later saw the film, and thought “Oh man, they screwed it all up?”

In my opinion movies are usually not as good as the book. However, even though they combined several of O’Brian’s stories into one in Master Commander, I think the movie was presented very well.

Tell us about your book?

My book Terra Feliz was started as a short story and grew and grew. It is based in Englandand North America in the 1820s. It was published October 2011.

Tell us a bit about the main Character. Is she based off of any one in particular?


Madeleine Pelletier, orphaned and lonely, lives with her Aunt. Aunt Isabel convinces her to marry a wealthy forty-year-old widower, Richard Leighton. His trading post and shipbuilding business is on theisland of Terra Feliz, off the coast of North America. Madeleine promises to be loyal as she cannot yet say she loves him. In hopes of belonging to a family, she marries Richard, but is resented by his daughters, and the housekeeper of Briarhill is fearful of her checking the household accounts. Her hopes are dashed.

Her husband takes her to the island where she meets a young English gentleman and they fall in love. She has promised loyalty to her husband, so they cannot declare their love. Later she finds she loves them both. What to do? Also on the island is a self-centered woman who is the catalyst of the terror Madeleine finds on the island; a captain who is stealing cargo, thinks she is in love with him, and is terrible when thwarted; a hell-fire minister who believes in trial by ordeal, and who resents all the sailors on the island and puts Madeline in their category.

As things progress, she is kidnapped, and thrown onto a raft to prove her innocence and thrust into the surging currents.

Where did you get the idea for your book? What inspired you or caused you to say, “Ah ha?

A short story took on a life of itself and became Terra Feliz.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

The most difficult part of writing was cutting out my lovely scenes that were not necessary in the story.

Let’s chat for a minute about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you one that just sits and starts writing by the seat of your pants?

The outlines of most of my stories jell in my mind before I started to write. In my first draft, I write everything about the story that I know at that point. Then I rewrite several chapters and go back and rewrite and rewrite. I put the information in sketch-form on a chart chapter by chapter, so I can go back immediately and see if my timeline is accurate.

Do you write in the morning, evening, or are you a graveyard writer?

I write in the morning, and the evening on my computer or, out by the pool on a yellow pad. I can write anywhere when the words are flowing. When my children were small, I wrote in the early morning.

When you write, what are the biggest challenges you encounter?

My biggest challenge is to find the time to write. I find it difficult to avoid the fun things I could do instead.

Do you know much about your characters when you start, or do you get to know them as you go along?

I have a general idea about my characters and their story, but they take on a life of their own and I follow as best as I can. Occasionally, they turn into a dead end, but with a little help I can get them back on the road. When I rewrite, I look for better ways of expressing the story, better words, phrases, etc..

If you could write in a genre different than the one you are writing in now, what would it be and why?

I am writing a memoir now, demanded by my daughters. Also, I am updating my 400 page genealogy book that was published in 1992. I would also like to write children’s books.

Who stands out as being your favorite writer?

Jane Austin and Patrick O’Brian are my favorites, but. I enjoy many other authors.

What can we expect next from you?

A memoir—eventually. I have several book signings in October and November.

twitter @ginnybryce Website and Blog


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