YEM Author Interview: JG Bryan shares why his book “Ventura and Zelzah” is set in the 70’s

JG Bryan is the author of Ventura and Zelzah.Ventura and Zelzah is a funny, poignant, and nostalgic coming-of-age tale of teenage friendships in a blissfully unhurried, pre-digital era. The novel takes place during the 1970’s in Los Angeles. YEM was able to speak with JG about his biggest writing inspirations, what his writing process looks like, and advice he has for anyone who might want to be an author as well one day.

Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

JG Bryan: I realized I wanted to be an author when I wrote my first short story at the age of five years old. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: How do you feel having your book Ventura and Zelzah out?

JG: It’s tremendously exciting to have published Ventura and Zelzah I wish everyone could experience the joy of having their first novel published. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What can you tell us about Ventura and Zelzah?

JG: Ventura and Zelzah is my love letter to growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What made you decide to have your book set in the 70’s?

JG: The 1970s was an amazing decade. Despite all of the turmoil in the world — Vietnam, Watergate, the oil crisis — there was still an innocence that would completely go out the window by the time the “me-first” 1980s were over. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to writing?

JG: I know this might sound cliché, but my biggest writing inspirations are Shakespeare and William Faulkner. They are my two writing Gods! #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What does the writing process look like for you?

JG: My writing process looks like this: I get my butt in the chair for about two hours each day, six or seven days a week, and I aim to write between 1,000 and 3,000 words during each session. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What is a book that made you fall in love with literature?

JG: What made me fall in love with literature? As a child, anything by Dr. Seuss. As an adolescent, sports biographies, As a college student, King Lear and As I Lay Dying, As an adult, One Hundred Years of Solitude. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What advice do you have for someone who would like to be an author one day?

JG: My advice for authors: Write every day. Turn off the self-critic when you write. Writing is re-writing. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: What is something that you would like your readers to take away from Ventura and Zelzah?

JG: Ventura and Zelzah explores how the nature of childhood friendships, though intense, is often very ephemeral. And how life can change dramatically in an instant, yet we still must go on living. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: How long was the writing process for you?

JG: Writing Ventura and Zelzah, from start to finish, I’d say took about six months. #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: Do you have a favorite quote or scene that you wrote in Ventura and Zelzah?

JG: Personal fave line from Ventura and Zelzah: “I hear the Cantor has a sweet jump shot.” It’s an inside joke! #YAauthorTakeover

YEM: Is there a particular person that you have read your work before anyone else when it is done?

JG: I don’t have one person in particular I turn to for feedback, but rather utilize a group of people whose opinions I trust. #YAauthorTakeover

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