Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
I’m happy to get the chance to talk with Ann Marie Bryan today. We’re chatting virtually over tea (and coffee) about her latest release, Dream Again. Have you added it to your TBR pile yet?
Toni: Good morning, Ann Marie. Thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s start off by talking about what your writing process is like.
Ann Marie: With regards to my writing process, I pray about a central theme for my story before I begin. Next, I build the storyline in my mind until I have a good grasp on where it’s heading. During that time, I get to know the characters – their backgrounds, personalities, likes and dislikes, pain points, etc.
There are three elements that are always present in my writing – a central theme, a major event that has changed the protagonist’s life, and conflict. I like to write about characters who are total opposites, because I have to take them out of their comfort zones and also find the common thread that will create harmony between them. In all of this, the characters have to remain true to their personalities yet be open enough to understand each other. The lessons learned are priceless.
Using Microsoft Word, I do an outline of what I’m hoping to achieve in each chapter. After that, I am all about getting the story out of my head. There’s always a rush to complete this because I need the characters to stop talking. I do research while I am writing.
There is no better feeling than completing the first draft. Then, the rewrite begins. During the rewrite, I add to the outline to keep tabs on pacing, character development, conflicts, resolutions, etc. I will do another rewrite to make sure the story is authentic. When I’m positive that this is the story I would like to present to the world, I prepare the blurb and come up with a suitable title and cover.
Next, the editing process begins. I send my manuscript to beta readers/first round editors. When I get back their responses and make the appropriate corrections, I then send my manuscript to a professional editor. When my editor returns my manuscript, I make the recommended changes. After that, my editor does a final read and my manuscript is off to a proofreader.
Toni: That’s awesome! When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Ann Marie: I’m an author but truthfully, writing a book was nowhere on my list of things to do. I have always been an avid reader but becoming an author never crossed my mind. However, after I got married, several of my friends and relatives (some living miles away) wanted to know how I met my husband. They knew that I had been single for some time. So, I had to share my love story, repeatedly. Of course, no one wanted to hear the short version of the story.
Six months later, I was stretched out on the sofa at home on a Sunday afternoon, still recounting my love story. After hanging up from my call, it hit me – write a book!
A long deafening pause ensued!
A book! A book!
Every reason not to write this book came to mind. But I knew that I had a story to tell. I also knew that if God called me to write this book, He would equip me and surround me with wonderful Godly helpers. So, like any well-thinking Christian woman, I took the matter to the Lord and felt the peace to proceed with this mission.
Toni: I love that! What’s a normal writing day like for you?
Ann Marie: I do not write every day. I write whenever I have the time. My preferred time to write is in the morning… early morning, when it is quiet, and I can hear myself think.
Toni: Mornings are nice. 🙂 Now tell us a little about your story?
Ann Marie: Last year, my mom passed, so it was a year of grieving and adjusting for me and my siblings. For me, writing tends to be therapeutic, so I wanted to write a story about someone who suffered the loss of a parent. I wrapped that experience into a beautiful love story, Dream Again, which gives hope while showing the awesome power of God in the lives of two hurting people.
This story brings together love, forgiveness, restoration, and new beginnings, while illustrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events that haunt them. In this novel, readers will witness the incredible transformative power of love in the lives of Carter McIntosh and Gianna Barrett as they lift their faith and develop the courage and tenacity to leave the past behind. Will love bloom? Let the adventure begin.
Toni: I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad writing was therapeutic for you….What life verse would your main character choose and why?
Ann Marie: Carter McIntosh’s life verse would be, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” St. John 14:27 (NKJV)
Carter has been through murky waters but by the grace of God, he came out on top and continues to flourish. According to Carter, “We are as sick as the dark things and dark thoughts that we allow to circulate, percolate, and then take over our lives.”
Toni: One of my favorite verses! What would be the verse that fits your story and why?
Ann Marie: The perfect Scripture that would fit Dream Again is Romans 8:28 (KJV), “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
There are many situations in our lives that we cannot fix or change. Nevertheless, we must press forward. We can think about our challenges in many ways, but we must remember that all things are working for our good. The truth is, we are still standing and that’s something to celebrate. We’re here because God wants us to be here and because we still have a lot to contribute to the world.
Toni: Another great verse! What message do you hope readers will get out of reading your story?
Ann Marie: Dream Again is laced with faith, friendship, and a sense of community, while demonstrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events. So, I hope readers will be inspired to trust God’s heart.
Importantly, I hope readers will be reminded that love is a beautiful emotion and it is okay to love passionately, very passionately. However, loving someone is never as easy as we would like it to be. Keep in mind that, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NKJV)
Above all, I pray that readers will recognize that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes a great difference.I’m hoping that this story will encourage readers, not to put God in a box. God will come through in due season. Sometimes, God takes us out of our comfort zone to stretch us and show us that we can accomplish far more than we think.
Toni: Let’s talk a little bit about yourself. Do you like coffee or tea?
Ann Marie: Tea.
Toni: Same here. Chocolate or candy?
Ann Marie: Candy (Jolly Ranchers).
Toni: I haven’t had a Jolly Rancher in forever! Beaches or mountains?
Ann Marie: Beaches.
Toni: I so agree! Oh, I forgot to ask, who would you cast to play the characters in your book?
Ann Marie: Dream Again is book 1 in the McIntosh Brothers series so I would love for the following actors and actress to play the characters:
Actor Daniel Sunjata – Carter McIntosh
Actor Lance Gross – Rylan McIntosh
Actor Lamman Rucker – Paxton McIntosh
Actress Thandie Newton – Gianna Barrett (Carter’s Fiancée)
Toni: Great list of actors! Before we end this interview, please tell us how can we pray for you.
Ann Marie: Thanks so much for asking. Please pray for me concerning my writing journey, that I will always move as the Holy Spirit leads.
Toni: We can do that! And last, what’s next in your writing?
Ann Marie: As always, I am excited about my writing journey, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share with others. I believe in working together, the exchanging of ideas, and sharing of resources, so I hope that my writing adventures take me all over the world to share at conferences, seminars and workshops.
I just wrapped up Dream Again, book 1 – McIntosh Brothers series. Usually, I take a few weeks off and then I’ll begin to write book 2 – Love Again. In addition, I’m hoping to collaborate with a few authors on projects and events.
Toni: Readers, do you have any questions for Ann Marie?
About the Author
Ann Marie Bryan is a multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO and Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.
A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blend faith and romance that test the resilience of love.
Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.
About the Book
One random day. One burst of laughter. One perfect moment. That’s all it takes for Gianna Barrett to capture Carter McIntosh’s attention—and his heart. His whole life has been a series of miracles, so this falls right in line. If only it were that simple. The object of his desire refuses to give him the time of day. Not deterred, Carter is sure he’s ready to put his heart on the line for love. Big mistake. He isn’t quite prepared and finds himself wrestling a soul-deep hurt into submission.
“There has been an accident….”
That devastating revelation shattered Gianna’s life, and in that one chaotic moment, everything she had was taken away. She has spent years carefully crafting her new normal, so there is no way Carter can just insert himself into her life. The fight is on but not for long. Their attraction is instant, and before she knows it, all her cynicism goes out the door.
When Gianna learns more about Carter’s life, she gets a better understanding of her beginning. As she starts her journey to healing, she uncovers Carter’s startling secret. In the days that follow, she struggles with feelings of regret, fueling her natural tendency to retreat. But the flames of desire burn hot and it’s not easy to break their unexpected connection. As the past reaches for them, they soon realize that to move forward, they must look back. Will they allow God to be the anchor they so desperately need—before it’s too late? For all they ever wanted was to be loved.