Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interview with Timothy Bryant, author of Just a Song Before I Go

To begin, I have to ask is one from your bio which says you are a multimedia designer for a newspaper. What exactly does that mean?
First, Christine, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. It is blogs such as yours that help to not only make the writing/reading community closer, but also give a vary of insight from such a wide range of folks.

Now to answer your first question … as a multimedia designer for a newspaper, my duties involve designing and developing print and digital advertising. And though I’ve done some copywriting, I’ve never worked as a journalist.

What made you decide to take the plunge and write ‘Just A Song Before I Go’? 
I tell folks that when I have an idea for a story, it can be a lot like being constipated – that overwhelming sense that something inside needs to come out. So when it came to writing ‘Just A Song Before I Go’, it was more like an exhilarating release than it was a plunge. In no time, the completed storyline played out in my head, followed by the words flowing.

Is this your first novel or have others been started and stopped along the way?
‘Just A Song Before I Go’ is my first, widely available, novel. A few years ago I wrote ‘Are Monasteries Opened on Saturday?’ – the journey of a young man’s search for love. That book was picked up by an e-publishing company out of Australia, and initially seemed to have a good response. Unfortunately the company closed, so I shelved the book… for now.

How did you come up with the idea for this book?
‘Just A Song Before I Go’ started its’ roots as imagining myself a lonely, elderly man, sitting in a nursing home, dwelling on a past love. And though I am happily married, I feel that everyone has a ‘what if’ in his or her lives – and so that was capitalizing on that kind of pondering. Add in my past experience as a performer in the clubs – piano bars and such – I wanted to incorporate that as well. And so, Joseph Scallettio, retired musician and composer from the Big Band era was born.

I felt that for him to share this story – this emptiness he felt – there was a need for another strong character. It was then I thought how unique it would be to make it a young female, Makia, that’s totally out of her element, thrown into his life; a great way to delve into areas far beyond the initial storyline.
As for the location… well, I wanted it to take place in a large city, full of rich history, but I didn’t want it to be New York – since that card had been played too often. So it was Chicago…a city that happened to be the birthplace of Big Band music.
What other writing credentials did you have prior to writing this book?
Before writing ‘Just A Song Before I Go’, I had transcribed an original Civil War diary, transcribed a stack of love letters from the late 1920s, wrote some poetry and short stories, and penned my first book ‘Are Monasteries Opened on Saturday?’ One of my short stories, ‘That Most Precious Gift’, is available for eBook at as well as on

How long did it take you to write this book? Who helped you with the editing?
It took about eight months to do the initial writing of this novel, and went through a couple of small rewrites. As for getting help with the editing…I was blessed to have been working for a national magazine publisher at the time. So, needless to say, I was able to get major editing assistance from a small group of professional writers – who happened to be personal friends as well.

Did you try the normal route and try to find a traditional publisher to handle your book? Did you pitch any agents?
After finishing the book, I hit both the web and bookstores in hopes to find publishing/agent contacts for that type of read. From this research, a long list was made. I then emailed and/or snail-mailed everything from query letters, to synopsis, to a few chapters, to the full manuscript.  This was a process that continued over a few months.
Of course what followed were a multitude of rejection letters, in all shapes and sizes.

Did you pitch any agents?
Finally, a great lady who owned a literary agency contacted me to sign me up. Oh happy day! After a couple of years however, things didn’t work out. It was after the manuscript was released did I then begin to consider self-publishing.

How do you write? Did you do individual character development before doing the full plot?
Before I write, I have already played out the entire book/story in my head – much like viewing a movie. I then write out a rough outline, with an idea of how the characters will develop. However, all of this changes here and there as the story takes place.

What type of publicity do you do to promote your book?
I utilize whatever means possible when promoting the book. Whether it’s going door-to-door in the neighborhood, having book signings, print and digital advertising, online communities, or being a part of interviews such as this one, I have found that all avenues are helpful in getting the word out.

How does social media play into your promotions?
I have found social media to be the best avenue when marketing a book. In fact, it was through where I was blessed enough to hook up with Melissa Giovagnoli Wilson, social media & publishing expert, speaker, and author of ‘Ask Me How to Write a GREAT Book in Four Months or Less’. She has helped me out immeasurably.

In all, I look at promoting a book as a way of farming. First, you get the right type of seed. Then you look for fertile ground. Once found, you then cultivate and sow the seeds - trying not to scatter them about. Water and fertilize constantly. And then finally - though knowing that all seeds won't produce - you wait on the harvest.

What do you know now about writing/publishing that you wished you had known sooner?
That it is truly harder to market a book than it is to write one.

You’re also working on a children’s book series. Can you tell me some details?
The children’s series that I’m working on is a good way to break away from the other books I have up my sleeve. With the storyline having to do with the ‘Why?’ questions from a child, it lends the writings to be more simplistic and direct. And being a child myself – mentally – I just enjoy it.

What is the best advice about writing you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
The best advice that I could give to anyone who like to write, and who also likes to share what they have written, is the following:

Be aware of the entire world around you. Listen carefully, and fully, to everything and everyone you are near. Be open to diversity and honest with humanity. Be willing to take criticism and rejection. And always be true to your self. Oh, and one more thing … don’t expect to become rich. Express to express.

If you would like to buy his current book or learn more about it, here's some links to do so

Amazon              Barnes & Noble  

For more on the author here's some options:   Webpage            Facebook       LinkedIn



  1. Very nice Q&A here. I would love to have the link for that Civil War Diary you transcribed too, Tim. Can you post it here?

  2. Thanks for stopping by Melissa! I'll pass on the word to Tim in case he didn't see it here.

  3. I just finished the book, "Just a song before I go". I felt I had to buy the book since my first cousin Harold Bryant , Tim's father called me and told me about the book and gave me the feeling he was going to vote me out of the Bryant cousin group. So I ordered it from Amazon and read it , just finishing it this morning. I liked the book and especially the tearful ending. However being a thrifty person, (my wife says I'm cheap) I was hoping to find a good used copy. I really felt I had to support the family and especially since my cousin Harold called me long distance to tell me about the book. Then I got to thinking about his threat to vote me out of the cousin group, it dawned on me that Harold is my only cousin and he is ten years older than me. So he's not only my first cousin but my last cousin. Therefore it stands to reason if he votes me out he will be the only one in the cousin group. Well, congratulations Tim on your book. I enjoyed it. Your second cousin Gaylord Bryant