Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written seven books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More.
Today, Bryan's blog tour for his latest book, Ted Saves the World: A Novella, stops right here at Lori Calabrese Writes! and I was fortunate enough to ask Bryan about the book and his path to publication. Not to mention, he's also offering an amazing giveaway, so read on...
About Ted Saves the World (Available for just $0.99):
A possessed cheerleader. A cursed gang of criminals. Mysterious telekinetic powers. An angry ex-girlfriend in gym class? One second, sophomore in high school Ted endures his first breakup in his favorite place in town. The next, a mysterious blue light turns him into a worldwide superhero sensation for taking down a posse of grisly murderers. As his views on YouTube increase and his friend Dhiraj tries to capitalize on the marketing potential, his dangers increase as well when a presumed-dead cheerleader begins taking a personal interest. Can Ted survive his first week as a superhero in the public eye? This novella is the first taste in a series of full-length novels about the adventures of Ted Finley and Erica LaPlante. The book is also available on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for $0.99.
Tell us about your path to publication.
A long time ago, I thought that I wasn't good enough (an all too common occurrence among people in the world) and so I kept most of my ideas to myself. Through years of confidence building and making a fool out of myself on stage, I figured I'd write anyway even if it wasn't on par with some of the greats. About a year ago, I found out about self-publishing, Amazon Kindle, all of that stuff and I figured I'd put out a book of writing prompts. Sales boomed (well, increased from 0 at least) and my confidence went through the roof. When I had an idea for a young-adult television pilot, I decided to turn it into a fiction book and here we are!
Tell us a little about TED SAVES THE WORLD.
Ted Saves the World is a little bit of an homage to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in that it's a bunch of teenagers fighting bad guys while keeping their sense of humor. I wanted the book to be a laugh riot and to really connect the readers to the characters. Just like a girl named Buffy saving the town from vampires, I wanted a guy with a low-key name like Ted to save the universe. There's mythology, there's romance, there's wordplay. It's full of the kind of stuff I love to read and I hope that my readers feel the same way I do about it.
What inspired you to write TED SAVES THE WORLD?
Joss Whedon was a big influence as far as creating "Buffy" was concerned, but as far as writing fiction in general, I've been inspired by the many self-published authors that have created a major following despite not being under one of the major publishing umbrellas. These authors wrote what they wanted to write and are making a living for themselves. It's wonderful for authors to have such power in the process. I'd love to be able to claim I make a living solely off of my books someday.
Your work has consisted of plays and screenplays. What led you to writing a YA novel?
It's funny but long before I wrote a single play or screenplay, I was in college trying to be a fiction writer. I wrote a ton of fiction before I penned my first stage direction. I went in the direction of drama for years before I came back to my original passion of fiction. The YA totally makes sense if you know me. Many of my friends would refer to me as a big kid and the goofiness quotient runs high in my life. That's the cool thing about YA books. People of all ages who haven't quite shed their adolescence read YA books, which is why the Harry Potter and Twilight books have been so successful. The authors are able to tap into their readers' inner children. When your inner child is bigger than your inner adult like me, tapping into this mindset is not very difficult.
You have a very successful website, Build Creative Writing Ideas. What made you start this site and how did it lead to your book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts?
The first few years after college I had a major problem with keeping myself motivated. In school, I was amazing when it came to getting assignments completed on time. Without someone there to assign me things to do, I felt lost. After reading books in the self-help and personal development field, I figured the best way for me to put these wise words into practice was to help people who were going through the same things I had. Thus the website. Some of my most popular pages were my writing prompts pages and so I concentrated on them for over a year and a half. Before I knew it, I had over 800 prompts and said to myself, "800 is close to 1,000. 1,000 would make a good book." I pushed myself into the goal and made it a reality.
I LOVE the fact that you wrote another writing prompt book specifically for kids titled, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids. How did you come up with all of these writing prompts and why do you think it's important to get children writing?
Aw, thanks. I love it too. With television and gadgets galore, I worry that kids are dispensing of their very vital imagination at all too young an age. These prompts are my little effort to help kids to work that imagination again and to love writing. In a world where kids are learning to condense their thoughts into 140 characters or less, it has become increasingly important to express themselves in full sentences. I hope that the book can help with this need for a writing revolution.
Now onto the Giveaway:
Bryan Cohen is giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards, one for each week of his month long blog tour. To enter, simply comment with your e-mail address (feel free to substitute @ with (at) or other tricks to stop spammers from getting it). Bryan will draw the four names at the end of the tour, picking one entrant at random from each week’s set of blog posts. Entries will be counted through Monday, August 15th, 2011. Enter on as many sites as you want, and follow the tour at Build Creative Writing Ideas. If Ted reaches the Top 100 on Amazon at any point during the tour, a fifth $25 card will be added to the giveaway.
Contact Bryan through his Ted Saves the World blog, his Build Creative Writing Ideas site or Twitter.