Monday, February 10, 2014

Author Interview: Brandy Rivers

Introducing author, Brandy Rivers!
Where are you from?

- I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest all my life. Always in Western Washington.

What inspired you to write your first book? What genre is it?
- I have had stories in my head for as long as I can remember. I started hundreds of stories that never were finished until about five years ago. I have 12 or so finished manuscripts on my laptop that I need to actually spruce up and do something with. Some of which I may never fix.
The first book I published was just a story I couldn’t get out of my head long enough to do anything else. I typed it pretty fast.
Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
- Full time. I’m a stay at home mom so I have time to write. I’m a multitasker so it fits into everything sort of.
How did you come up with the title?
- There seemed to be a theme in the book so I went with that. It fits for several reasons, but you should read it to find out why.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
- I don’t know. There was a theme for me, it wasn’t intentional, and I didn’t realize it until I was editing and it jumped at me. So, I don’t know that I wanted a message to be obvious, but I guess there is one in a roundabout way.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
- No. They are pure fantasy. I try to avoid making anyone too much like someone I know. I mean I might see shades of someone or something in what I write, but not to the point I would say it was based off them.
What books have most influenced your life most?
- Oh, that is so hard. I suppose for writing was reading HP Mallory and finding out about her success. I had been trying to go traditional and someone told me to change everything about my main character. That didn’t go over well, and I decided to do it myself. It’s working out well so far.
What book are you reading now?
- Echoes of Silence by Magen McMinimy. It’s the fifth book in her Half-Blood Vampire series. I’ve read all but these last three of all of her books and love her.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
- I just recently found Michelle Graves. I love her stories. Then there is Felicia Tatum who writes a couple genres but so far I love her books as well.
What are your current projects?
- Nights Embrace. It’s my first book outside the Others of Edenton Series, but it does correlate. In fact Roxy and Trevor wind up in Edenton at one point.
Roxy has been moving through life during the day, and losing herself in her writing at night. Then she meets Trevor and he turns everything upside down. He seems too good to be real, but no one’s perfect and she can’t help wondering what his flaws are. She’s about to be thrown into a world she only dreams about but never believed in.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
- Nope. I tried doing things differently 62 times. I have the files to back up that statement. Until Tremaine showed up, it fell apart every single time. I got to one particular scene that took a turn I didn’t expect and everything fell into place, which is why I called the book Falling Into Place.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. I’m assuming you meant the one that just came out in December. That would be Falling Into place.
Liz didn’t figure she would solve the problem any easier than Preston and Robert, who were both gifted mages with a lot more training than she had.
Her focus was mostly on averting her attention from Robert who made her tingly all over. She didn’t want to think about the way she wanted him to wrap his arms around her and hold her, among other things she refused to even consider.
Her legs were curled up under her, her hand was tangled in her hair to keep it off her face as she pretended to read.
“Come on, Ace, tell me you figured it out,” Preston practically pleaded.
Then it clicked. She knew exactly what it meant. One night, when she couldn’t sleep she was playing with different types of energy. Tremaine had told her how to combine two totally different spells to form a new. She’d been doing it ever since, and never figured out the significance. It came naturally, but apparently it was an advanced technique.
She tapped her finger on the page and looked into Preston’s cool blue eyes. His hair stood in every direction from the many times he’d dragged his fingers through it.
“It’s not that hard,” she told him. “They want you to combine two different elements to form your own spell.”
“How in the world do you do that?” Preston slumped back in his seat. “That’s impossible.
Liz took a look around the empty diner. Preston’s mother ran the place, and most of the customers were Other, so hopefully she wouldn’t scare a nosy human.
She caught her lip between her teeth and dragged Preston’s empty plate over. Drawing two circles on the plate, she created one ring of fire and one ring of arcing electricity.
Robert’s jaw fell open, and then he whispered, “How?”
Her eyes flashed up, but all she saw was amazement on his face.
Preston whispered in awe, “I’ve only ever seen advanced mages use two elements at once, and never separate at the same time.”
“You need to concentrate fire to one hand and lightning to the other.” Her eyes lifted to Preston’s then Robert’s. “Now watch.” She dragged her fingers toward the middle and the spells merged, expanding as they zapped and sizzled the salt still on the plate.
Preston reached out and touched before she could pull her hands away.
He yelped in pain as he blew on his fingers. “Wow, that’s insane.”
Robert chuckled, but when she met his gaze, he smiled back at her. “Can you teach us?”
She nodded slightly. “Sure. Hold out your hands.”
Preston frowned, but put his hands out. Robert did the same but held his palms upright. “Like Robert,” she told Preston and then held her own out. “Imagine a flickering flame in one palm.”
Robert’s right palm flared to life, while Preston’s left did. “Now concentrate and envision the electricity dancing in your other hand.”
There was a spark in Robert’s. He gasped and she felt the charge as he moved to put his hands closer.
“Wait.” She closed her hands over his palms before he could meld the spells. His magic washed over her and she barely held back a whimper as their gazes locked. Her voice came out breathless. “You want to be outside the first time you do that. It can cause a big blast.”
There was another crackle and Preston jumped. His spells fizzled out as he bounced in his seat. “I did it, I really did it.”
Liz yanked her hands back and shoved them under her thighs as her gaze swung to Preston who was beyond excited.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
- Making sure what I see in my head is what the reader sees. I love my beta’s for this reason. When they don’t get something they point it out and I can fix it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
- Altering what I wrote to actually make sense in a few places. I mean, I write lots of magic and action, and sometimes I think whatever I put down works, but it doesn’t always. I don’t mind when a beta tells me, “Brandy, that makes no sense. Fix it.” In fact I prefer it when they tell me that stuff. The beta’s who just gush don’t get to beta again. I will give them the book early for a review, but when I’m trying to fix problems, I need them to be pointed out.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
- That people you don’t personally know can sometimes be better at critiquing than people you know. They are less afraid of hurting your feelings. I don’t know about everyone, but I want the honest feedback as long as it isn’t bashing. I want someone who points out a hole, or whatever that doesn’t make sense. I might do as the reader suggests, but I can at least figure out how to get them on the same page as me. Sometimes it was just a matter of not portraying a reaction very well. Then I can go in and make the whole thing make more sense.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Find good, honest beta’s who won’t bash you, but will tell you like it is. Find someone who doesn’t mind saying, something like, “You had me until here, and then this happens and I don’t get it because it’s missing some detail, or you wrote something that led me to believe this would happen and this happens.” Also, make sure those same people aren’t going to be offended when you do everything they suggest. They are there to help you polish your story, but they are the writer, so sometimes you have to take what they point out and take your own direction. If they get pissy about that, they aren’t a good beta. They are there to help, not dictate.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
- Thank you reader, you all are amazing. I’m always blown away by the overwhelmingly great response people have had to my books. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, but to have people who respond on my facebook page, or send me a tweet, you guys are awesome. And the people who have taken the time to review the books are amazing too. Thank you, all of you.

Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one?
Nope. I did try for a long time, but at the time I wasn’t what they were looking for. Now I’m where I want to be without one. I’m no longer looking, and unless they came to me with one spectacular offer, I wouldn’t take them up on one.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Besides Western Washington that I love, Ireland. I would go in a heartbeat and stay.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
- Oh, I would love to have magic. My kind of mage magic or druid magic. I love the idea of wielding elements, creating protection, and just the different things you could do. 
For more on Brandy Rivers:

I’m Brandy L Rivers and I write Adult Paranormal Romance. I have three awesome kids and a wonderful husband. We live up in Washington State. I started reading young, but I skipped YA altogether. I went from Choose Your Own Adventures, into JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Dean R Koontz at like ten. Then I moved on to Anne Rice, and every vampire book I could get my hands on. So my obsession with monsters and magic started early.