Bryna Kranzler is a graduate of Barnard College where she studied playwriting, and received the Helen Price Memorial Prize for Dramatic Composition. Her first play was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Competition, and was scheduled for production twice: the first time, the theater owner died, and the season was shut down; the second time, the director committed suicide. For the benefit of the arts community, she got out of playwriting and earned an MBA from Yale University to make up for her misspent youth. She spent 15 years in marketing for health-care, high tech and consumer products companies before returning to writing.
Her first book, The Accidental Anarchist, is the winner of multiple awards, including the 2012 Readers Favorite Award for Historical/Cultural Non-Fiction, the 2012 International Book Award, and National Indie Excellence Award for a Historical Biography, and the 2011 “USA Best Books” Award for a Historical Biography.
What inspires you to write?
I write in order to think. I can’t think without a pen in my hand or a keyboard at my fingertips.
Tell us about your writing process
I keep a To Do list that always seems to get longer no matter how many things I check off. On top of the To Do list, I have digital post it notes all over my Desktop, plus I have a desk blotter that I write notes to myself on, and stick real post-it notes on top of that. I think it would be reasonable to say I’m not very organized.
This also has to do with using writing as a way of figuring out what I’m thinking, so I often have to start writing in order to know where I’m going, what my theme is, how I want to structure something, etc.
What advice would you give other writers?
Sometimes you need to trick yourself into writing. While a lot of people say, “Write at the same time and same place every day” so that the time and location will be cues to write, what works best for me is telling myself that I’m not writing “it” (“it” being whatever project has me too scared to start at it at that moment), and just start writing. I write colloquially, conversationally, and highlight words that I know are not the ones I want so I remember to come back to them, and inevitably discover they are actually more appropriate and accurate than what I had been seeking. But by letting myself off the hook from working on what will be the real “it,” I find my way into it without pressure.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had already had the experience of having a novel represented by a “hot” agent would couldn’t sell it, so I knew what the standard writer-agent-publisher (or at least 2/3 of it) was like and how long it took. I also knew that I couldn’t afford to let the process take that long with my current book, THE ACCIDENTAL ANARCHIST. This book was based on the diaries that my grandfather began keeping in 1905; he wrote until 1950, but passed away the day he finished the first draft, and before he could publish his story. My mother had been carrying a torch for her father’s dream for 60 years, never letting us forget that we still had the treasure of his writings, and when I finished my work, she was already in her 80s. I didn’t want to take the risk of going the traditional route and not having her be around to see how people are reacting to her father’s stories and experiences, so I self-published.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
During the recession, half the editors in NY were laid off, so self- or ‘independent’ publishing became an avenue for people who may never have considered self-publishing before. The term still has a stigma attached to it (and we can each think of specific examples that are worthy of that stigma), but it has also become more mainstream.
If the traditional publishing business ever returns in force, I believe its focus will be on distribution since that’s where it has an economic and competitive advantage.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Biography: Historical. I also write fiction and essays, and am working on a picture book/greeting card and a few other things.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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