Getting to Know Jasmine Bryner
Growing up, Jasmine used the words in books to discover new worlds and escape reality. When she's not working, reading, or spending time with her kids, Jasmine enjoys geeking out over nerdy shows. She writes for the First Street Church series. You can find out more about Jasmine and her book here.
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? Tell us something a lot of people don’t know about your home town.
I grew up in a small town (probably only around 3200 people or so) called Blairsville, PA. It’s about 45 miles outside of Pittsburgh. I moved away when I was 20, and I now live in Scranton, PA (home of The Office!). I suppose one thing people don’t know about my hometown is that they celebrate an invasive plant known as the knotweed. They have the Knotweed Festival every year, and there’s always lots of food, crafts, face painting, and live music. A girl I graduated with, who is now part of a country-pop folk duo (TOWNE), performed at the festival this year.
What is your favorite part about writing Sweet Romance/ Cozy Mysteries?
I think my favorite part about writing sweet romance is how different it is to what I’m used to. I’ve always been more of a morbid person, and I used to write dark, depressing poetry and limericks. I eventually tried my hand at short stories, and they were always more along the horror line. I then branched out into fan fiction, most of which tended to be more adult. Writing a sweet romance was both a challenge and an adventure. I really enjoyed opening myself up to something new, and crafting the characters in a way where they struggled but still had a HEA was fun. I think that’s my favorite thing about it.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I caught the writing bug in 7th grade. I’d always thought English class/Language Arts class was my favorite (I was a huge nerd and loved spelling most of all), but I never really thought about writing until I hit my teenage years. My 7th grade teacher was a bit strict (on my first day, I’d forgotten a pencil, and when she saw I wasn’t writing anything down, she told me to go get one off her desk. I was feeling rebellious and rolled my eyes at her, so she yelled at me in front of the class and told me she was the Queen of Attitude). It was then I decided I could “show off” and prove to her I wasn’t one of those slacker kids. I took my writing assignments seriously, and I always pushed myself to be more creative, even if it was just with a poem or a short story. It wasn’t until I hit high school that I knew I wanted to be a writer. In 9th grade we had a writing assignment where we had to write a fictional short based on a historical event. At the time, I was considering criminal psychology and was fascinated with serial killers (like I said, I was morbid). I wrote a short story about Jack the Ripper, and after I got an A on it (I believe it was a 95% or 96%), it lit a fire in me, and I told myself I could maybe one day become an author. My 12th grade English teacher was very supportive of me, and she was one of the people who really did believe in me. It took me a while to believe in myself, though, but remembering her kind words, and having others believe in me (my fiancé, my followers on Tumblr who treated me like a celebrity every time I posted a new fan fiction, and Melissa Storm) really is what inspired me to make being an author my main goal in life.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t an author, I’d probably still be working with them, most likely editing and proofreading, which is what I currently do. If I couldn’t do that, then I’d probably be…lost. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Proofreading makes me happy. Writing makes me happy (and also stresses me out). Reading makes me happy. If I didn’t have those things to keep me busy and content, I don’t know what I’d do.
Do you have any pets? Please tell us about them!
I have one cat. Her name is Mistress Stormageddon, Dark Lord(ess) of All. Or Stormy for short. She was named after a character in one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who. James Corden’s character has a baby named Alfie, but when they meet the Doctor, it’s revealed that Alfie (who can apparently talk to the Doctor, even though he’s a baby) would prefer to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.
I used to have another cat named Goober, but he passed away in May of 2017. L He was the inspiration for Macaroni in my story, Love’s Courage.
Have you found your own real life happily ever after?
I finally have, yeah. It took me 30 years, but I finally found my happily ever after. I was married once before, but it wasn’t very happy or nice. I spent a lot of my life surrounded by very negative people. I became a bit jaded and thought love was stupid, a joke, something I wasn’t worthy of or meant to have. My now ex-husband did nothing to change my mind about it either. But I found someone who gave me the courage to get myself out of that loveless, unhappy, and abusive marriage. Someone who became a friend, and eventually became something more. He’s my light in the darkness. My rock to lean on and keep me steady. My own Prince Charming.
What is one book that impacted or changed your life that you think everybody should read? Tell us about it.
Oh gosh, this one’s tough. I’ve been reading since I was 3 years old, so I’ve had time to read a LOT of books. I was obsessed with Goosebumps books when I was a kid, and I think that’s why I decided to try my hand at writing little short horror stories. I can think of a few books that have impacted me on an emotional level, but I wouldn’t recommend them because of how dark they are (one is a fictionalized version of a horrific true crime, and it’s really hard to read). I suppose I can’t really think of one specific book that changed my life. There are a lot of books I enjoy and could recommend, but…well, maybe Rose Madder by Stephen King. It’s not 100% horror, and it’s not even really like most of his works. It’s got a bit of Greek mythology in it, and some strange fantasy elements. It’s still horror, and a bit of a thriller, but it’s so much more than that. Simplistic at its core (an abused wife leaves her cop husband, who then goes on the hunt to find her), it really made me look at my own life and…yeah. I think I’ll go with Rose Madder.