Friday, June 22, 2012

TBR welcomes Bryan Thomas Schmidt

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Bryan. Tell us about The Returning and where it's available.
Bryan: It’s available via my website at or via Barnes and Noble here The Returning is the second novel in my space opera epic The Saga of Davi Rhii. The first book, The Worker Prince, made Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011.

It told the tale of Prince Davi Rhii who discovers he was secretly adopted and born a slave, a Vertullian, ancient enemies of his people, the Boralians. When he sets out to uncover the truth and his real origins, he finds out life is harsher than he ever imagined for the slaves and that many people he knew and trusted are responsible. Davi determines to set things right. In book 2, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancée, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Bryan: Well, some pretty notable people have blurbed the book, actually.
"Romance, assassins, tension, both modern and classic science fiction notions, and very smooth writing. What more could you want?" -- Mike Resnick, Hugo/Nebula Winning author; "A page-turning story that takes off like a rocket.” - Paul S. Kemp, Bestselling Star Wars and Forgotten Realms author; "The drama and intrigue swell with each page." - Functional Nerds You can read the full blurbs with links to reviews and more here:

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Bryan: I am a pantser with the exception that writing sequels does require a bit more preplanning than I originally did with the first book. Mostly I like to know the main characters, the key turning points and the ending. They can change as I actually write it. But those elements give me enough to start writing with a picture in mind.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Bryan: Well, I like to think of characters as individuals, so I try and approach it that way. They are each unique, no matter what they may have in common with me or other characters and so each one will react differently to various situations. This plays out a lot in Davi and Tela’s relationship and in his relationships with his best friends Yao and Farien. You see a lot of it in The Returning, in fact. I really try to throw people together and play off their different reactions to not only build up the dramatic tension and stakes but also find humor in how we relate to each other. I also look at what their goals are, what the obstacles are and what they want versus what they need. Those are all important aspects of character and story combined, i.e. finding the right characters for your story.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Bryan: "Concert pianists at the height of fame have to practice every day, why shouldn't you?" John A. Pitts to writers

"In this business, you're surrounded by people who tell you how great you are all day. True friends are the ones who'll still tell you when you're being an asshole. Hold onto those." Ted Danson, personal advice to me on show business when I was in film school

Forgive the blunt language, but in truth, we all have those moments and we do need to be held accountable to get our heads back on straight.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Bryan: Well, being as I find myself single again, probably Tela Tabansi, the love interest. She’s the kind of woman I’ve always wanted to meet. I talk about her here: She’s strong, smart, determined, tough, and ambitious yet soft at the right times, passionate, and loving. She cares deeply about things and people and she fights for what she believes in. Sounds a bit like me actually, except for maybe the tough part...hmmm. No wonder I like her.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Bryan: That I could actually do this? Oh wait, that sounds bad. Well, I learned that the word cornucopia is one of the funnest words to employ in the English language if used with skill and verve. Was I supposed to answer sincerely?

TBR: What's next for you?
Bryan: I am finishing the first book in my epic fantasy series The Dawning Age, called Duneman and doing a synopses for book 2, Believer, and book 3 Untitled. I need synopses to sell a trilogy so I kind of have to make them, even if what I write winds up not resembling it much. I don’t outline, remember. But that’s how agents make deals. Beyond that, I’m doing a biography of the first minority owner of an NFL franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a science fiction chapter book series for the same publisher is in the planning stages. I also have half drafts of a sword and sorcery novel about Belsuk the Half-Orc and a noir detective science fiction time travel novel. Plus four more anthologies I’m packaging for sale. I like to stay busy.

TBR: Any other published works?
Bryan: I have several now. The Worker Prince (2011) and a story in the anthology Of Fur And Fire (2011). Then The Returning (2012), 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (2012), and Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales 6, which I edited (2012) along with stories forthcoming in Tales Of The Talisman, summer issue, and the anthology Wandering Weeds.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Bryan: Finding and attracting the interest of your audience. Even with the Barnes and Noble mention, sales for The Worker Prince have not been what I’d hoped. It’s just been slow. With all the good reviews and notices and press, I’d hoped it would do better. With book 2, we’re getting even better notices so maybe now that I’ve shown I might stick around, people will be willing to take a chance and read the books. I have only read one review from someone who didn’t like the books. I’ve really mostly heard from people who really enjoyed it. They tell me I captured the feel of the original Star Wars, which was both my goal and is an honor. And they’re appropriate reading for readers of all ages. Good, old fashioned escapism with larger-than-life good guys fighting bad guys. I know there are people out there who like this stuff. I’ve heard people talk about it; read blogs asking for it; and submissions in magazines and anthologies have started to revert to this style in many cases. There’s a market for this, but getting people to take the risk on a new author is a challenge, so that’s the hardest part.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Bryan: Favorite authors & books could be a long list. Top picks: Robert Silverberg (Lord Valentine’s Castle); Stephen R. Donaldson (Lord Foul’s Bane); JRR Tolkein (The Hobbit); William Goldman (Princess Bride); Timothy Zahn (Deadman Switch); Nicholas Sparks (The Wedding); Stephen King (The Stand); Tom Clancy (Red Storm Rising); David Morrell (Brotherhood of The Rose); Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Diving Into The Wreck); and Kat Richardson (Greywalker). There are many more. Currently I am reading Orion & King Arthur by Ben Bova and Leviathan Wakes by James S.A.Corey, both of whom I’m interviewing coming up soon.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Bryan:  On Twitter I am @BryanThomasS. I have my website at And I have my Facebook author page at Also, every Wednesday, live at 8 pm CST on Twitter, I host Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat (sffwrtcht) which can also be found via my website or Facebook at

TBR: Readers, Bryan will give away a free set of 3 ebooks (Rivalry On A Sky Course, The Worker Prince, The Returning) in any ebook format desired to one lucky commenter. He'll pick a winner on July 1st and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so he can contact you.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Bryan. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR, Bryan!

  2. Okay, well, I need to award the ebook prize, huh? I'm about a month behind. Sorry. So since both Cate and Kris are the only commentors, I'll just let you both win. How's that sound? Contact me via my website with the email where I should send the ebooks and whether you want Nook, PDF or Kindle and I'll take care of it. Thanks so much for taking time to stop in!

    1. Here's the link to make it easy.


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