Twisting the Tropes

Those of us facing the change may be old enough to have been told we don’t discuss such things, but we’re also old enough to have learned to ignore that advice. In fact, we’re at the age where we start rethinking a lot of the commonly assumed ideas we run into everyday. Here today with a whole new look at not only menopause, but also women and superheros, is Samantha Bryant. Welcome, Samantha!

What inspired this book?

My husband and I had just watched a superhero movie. I’m not actually sure which one it was now, but it featured another adolescent hero getting powers alongside hormones. As we often do after we watch a movie, we were walking our dog and talking about the movie. I was kvetching a bit about how young all the characters were and that it was difficult for me to connect with teenage superheroes. I said something like, “Besides, if hormones bring superpowers, shouldn’t menopausal women have the corner on that market?”

My husband laughed and told me to write that down. And I did. And I still am, three books later. The series now includes three novels and a collection of short stories, and is still going strong.

What’s your background and how did that influence your work?

I’m a lifetime comic book reader, thanks to the ten-for-a-dollar box in the corner of the used bookstore my mom and I frequented when I was a child.  I’m also a feminist. Sometimes these clash.

My Menopausal Superheroes series rose from my love of all things superhero and mad science, coupled with frustrations about portrayals of women, especially women over thirty. I’m melding a women’s fiction focus on the woman’s journey with the fun and action of flying people and super-strength.

How much research do you do and where do you get your information?

If by “research” you mean reading and viewing superhero material…um, probably too much. Though keeping up with what’s being done in the field helps me play with the tropes and twist them inside out. Plus, it’s fun!

I do also end up doing a lot of research on all the weird topics that come up. I’ve learned a lot about homeopathic, herbal, and home remedies for menopausal complaints. I studied flight so I could decide how exactly Jessica flies (she’s got more in common with a balloon than a bird). Fireproofing, traditional Chinese medicine, and high fashion brands of purses have all come up. I usually start with some simple googling, and when I need to go deeper, I go to the library. The danger for me is in falling down a research rabbit hole and staying there for weeks just because the subject matter is fascinating, even when I’ve already learned what I needed to for the story. I’m a student at heart, always seeking to understand and expand my knowledge.

Who was your biggest help in writing this story – publisher, cover artist, editor, spouse, child, parent – and why?

I’m fortunate in that I have an excellent support network. My family encourages me and arranges to free me when necessary to meet deadlines. They are proud of me for seeking my dreams and working hard to make them come true and they show that in hundreds of ways, big and small. From baking cookies for my release parties, to designing flyers and bookmarks, to listening to my theories and reading drafts, to simply knowing when to leave me alone to write. My husband and I work to balance our days so we each get time for what we need individually as well as keeping the family boat afloat. Even the dog does what he can: encouraging me to go for a nice long walk to clear my head, and laying on my feet to keep them warm. I’m a lucky girl.

I also have a critique group whom I rely on for reality checks of all sorts. The small publisher I work with has treated me well and partnered me with editors, proofreaders and artists that understand my work and help me make it the best it can be. Professional organizations like Broad Universe, Women Fiction Writers Association, and the Pen and Cape Society have helped me navigate the publishing seas. Other writers I’ve met through events and conventions have become a second family to me. There are a lot of good folk out there.

I may write the words, but making this tenable as a career? That’s definitely a team effort.

About Face the Change: Book 3 of the Menopausal Superheroes Series – Coming July 11, 2017.

The Menopausal Superheroes are coming out of the closet and the pressure is high, on the job and on the homefront.

Now that he knows what it’s like to be a hero, Leonel “Fuerte” Alvarez can’t imagine going back to his former life as a grandmother and housewife. But putting his life on the line may cost him his husband even while he saves the city.

Jessica “Flygirl” Roark is holding on to her second chance at love with both hands while learning to balance single parenthood with her new career in crime-fighting.

Patricia “Lizard Woman” O’Neill is blindsided by an unexpected romance just as she signs on to join the team.

Meanwhile enemies abound–old and new. When superpowers alone aren’t enough, what a woman really needs are her friends.

About the author:

Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. When she’s not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything). You can find out more about Samantha and her work at:

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