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Local author publishes second book with more on deck

Everyone has an imagination, some more vivid or strange or complex than others, but as humans, it’s something everybody shares. It takes more than imagination, however, to take what’s in your head and translate it into a story.

Farmington resident Mary Jane Bryan not only has an active imagination, she’s able to, rather easily it seems, put what’s in her head onto the written page. In November, her first book was published by Black Opal Books. Now, just five months later, her publisher has released another of her books with several more to follow.

Her newest release, entitled “Errant,” was released April 8 and is a murder mystery set in Midland, Arkansas. As described on Bryan’s website, the story is about a detective who, while on “what he thinks is a nostalgic trip to his hometown … saves a daughter he never knew and solves the mystery of why seven children have gone missing from a sleepy, rural Arkansas town.”

Bryan said she was born just a few miles from Midland.

“A lot of the story is based on childhood memories,” she said. “The old swimming hole and the old rundown house on this lane … and the fictional story builds around that. That’s what I’ve heard all my life, is to write about what you know.”

Bryan has already written numerous other manuscripts, all of which have been accepted by the same publisher.

“I guess they like my writing … This is the second book and I’ll have seven more coming. The latest one is a sci-fi fantasy because it’s a post-apocalyptic (story). I don’t know what genre I want to write in — they (the stories) just come … And I’ve got about four more up here,” she said, pointing to her head.

It’s a common question posed to writers — where do your stories come from? Bryan said even her murder mysteries come from her imagination rather than some twist on a true crime story. And as far as how the stories develop, she said she knows how each one will end before she begins writing the first chapter.

“I had someone in Sunday school ask (recently),” she said, “’I’ve always wondered, as a writer, do you start a story and then it comes to you as go along?’ And for me, my answer is, the whole thing is there — the beginning chapter, the ending chapters, the middle and probably the title, too. The nuts and bolts of it is just sitting down and typing it. That’s the time involved, but there it is.”

One of her two next releases will be a sequel to “Errant” called “Spiral” and is set in Denver, where she also lived for several years. The story, as described on her website, is “a bizarre tale of murder and revenge.” The main character is a police officer who “realizes the killer is after him when he figures out the pattern of the murders of homeless people is a spiral closing in on himself.”

Prior to the release of “Spiral,” Bryan said she has another book in the cue for publication in December. Called “The Catch of Misee Sue,” it’s a story of betrayal and love, as Bryan described it.

“It’s not a romance, per se,” she said, and begins with a miracle catch during a championship baseball game that turns a young woman’s life upside down.

“She’s 18 and things happen and she leaves home and starts a new life,” said Bryan. “And it carries until she’s age 89. It’s a story of love but it’s not a romance.”

Bryan will be appearing at the Park Hills Public Library on Saturday for a book signing from 9 a.m. until noon. She’ll have on hand copies of her newly released book as well as her first book, “No Small Deceit,” which is a story about a man who accepts a challenge from his friends and ends up falling in love with a woman who is not what she appears to be.

On April 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., Bryan will be on hand for a workshop and book signing at the Farmington Public Library.

She’s also scheduled to be part of Farmington’s Country Days on June 2 from 5 to 7 p.m., June 3 beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing all day, and on June 4 all day beginning at 9 a.m.

For more information, look for Bryan on Facebook or visit her website at maryjanenovels.wixsite.com/home.

Mary Jane Bryan, a retired office professional, spends her retired life writing adult and young adult fiction. She had her first novel published early last November with several more on deck. Her second book was just released with a third scheduled for publication toward the end of the year and more to follow. Bryan will be appearing at the Park Hills Public Library on April 15 for a book signing from 9 a.m. until noon. 

Mary Jane Bryan, a retired office professional, spends her retired life writing adult and young adult fiction. She had her first novel published early last November with several more on deck. Her second book was just released with a third scheduled for publication toward the end of the year and more to follow. Bryan will be appearing at the Park Hills Public Library on April 15 for a book signing from 9 a.m. until noon. 

Amy Patterson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or apatterson@dailyjournalonline.com.

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