Author on the Couch:
An Intimate Look Inside the Minds of our Favorite Authors
Today I’m conducting a session with
Brynna is giving away an ebook copy of
At the end of the post, I’ll tell you how to be eligible for Brynna’s giveaway.
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Brynna: My childhood was less than typical. I grew up poor, even though both my parents had college degrees. My parents fought violently. They made no effort to hide the discord from my sister and I. Because of problems at home and my father’s affairs, we moved around a lot. About every two years, my father lost his job as a band director and we’d have to move. New school, new town and very few new friends. Wasn’t much point in making friends when I’d only have to say goodbye again. I became used to the solitude.
On my thirteenth birthday, I walked in on my father trying to commit suicide. He had sent us outside to play while my mother was at work, something we weren’t allowed to do. I knew something wasn’t right and I went back in the house. I don’t want to go into details, but I do remember calmly asking him to climb down from the chair, then going to the phone and calling first the police and then my mother. I was in some ways very much an adult by that age.
Me: Oh, Brynna. That sounds horrible. Way beyond what anyone–especially a thirteen year old–should have to go through. How did you cope with all this?
Brynna: I hid in books. They were the only way I could escape my day to day. Before sixth grade, my favorite was Anne of Green Gables and The Chronicles of Narnia. I was addicted to series even then. When I was a teen, I discovered Shakespeare’s plays. The library here in town had the complete works of Shakespeare in a single volume. I kept it checked out most of the time and carried it with me to all my classes. (We were allowed to read when our classwork was finished.) So when we started studying Romeo and Juliet (hated that one btw.) in 9th grade English, I had already read it and moved on to MacBeth (my favorite) and Othello. They were like time capsules to me, beautifully written language. So while my classmates complained about studying Shakespeare, I was reading it for fun. I also loved fantasy and absorbed anything with sword and sorcery and dragons. The Shannara books are some of my favorites.
I started writing short stories. They were a better escape and I was always in control of how things ended. I am not sure I would have taken this creative turn if I’d grown up differently, not seen the things I have. Then again, I might have, you can never tell.
Me: Writing can be such a therapeutic tool. I use it quite often in my practice.
What personality trait of yours helps you most an author?
Brynna: I’m a very visual person. I remember thing as images, dream vividly and almost always remember my dreams. I think these traits make it easier to visualize scenes when I’m writing.
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most an author?
Brynna: I edit as I write, rather that finishing a rough draft, then editing. Unfortunately, that can be a double-edged sword. It helps once the serious edits start, but it means I tend to take forever to finish a piece before I’m satisfied with it.
Me: What was your high point as a writer?
Brynna: There were little moments of course, but the best one was receiving my contract from Kensington Publishing. I’ve wanted to work with that particular company since I started seeking publication. My first publisher, Lyrical Press, merged with Kensington last year, which gave me the opportunity to re-release six titles with Kensington all at once. Took me a little while to come back down to earth.
Me: What was your low point as a writer?
Brynna: The week after my husband’s death, I was trying my best to distract myself with work, the internet, anything to take my mind somewhere else. I had Goodreads pulled up on my laptop because Jackie and I had been Christmas shopping on Amazon the day before he died and both sites automatically open in my browser. I noticed my rating had dropped a bit, so glutton for punishment, I found and read two one star reviews for a new book. They were brutal.
I shouldn’t have read them. I was already reeling from grief, but for awhile I allowed those two reviews to break me. To take something away that I love to do. They stuck in my mind and tormented me, made me feel like a terrible writer. And then I realized something about those reviews. Their main complaint was a particular element of the story was unfinished and left hanging. They wanted the instant gratification of a contained story.
It was then that I laughed at myself. I don’t wrap up stories in nice tidy bows with a set formula for happy-ever-after and I’m not going to start that either. I put my characters through the ringer. Sometimes my stories are hot, hot from the start, others are a slow, building heat. It depends on where the characters lead me. I write series with overlapping arcs and characters. That particular series has four planned books. Readers are receiving two ways. Either they love it or they hate it. And I’ve made a game of finding the best worst review.
Me: I love this “I’ve made a game of finding the best worst review.” Right on! Takes all the power to hurt you out of it that way, doesn’t it?
Since we’re talking negative reviews, I naturally feel the need to post one of your positive reviews.
“I loved the writing and loved the way the plot flowed at a nice steady pace. The book never stalled for me, and my eyes actually hurt a bit from never looking up from my ereader! *That’s a compliment!*”
~Melissa C, a five star review of Earth Enchanted on Amazon
Me: That’s seriously high praise! Wow!
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Brynna: Laird Devin McLoch, the hero from Fire’s Ice. We’re both ferociously protective of those we love, no matter the cost, emotionally strong, and live by a code that we dare not cross. We’re old souls, phoenixes rising from the ashes of our past to become something stronger than we were. He is the character I find hardest to let go.
Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Brynna: Six to date, with thirteen wips in various stages of completion. How long it takes depends on what kind of things are going on in my personal life. I’m an emotional writer and there have been times I just couldn’t write. I have gone weeks or months without writing anything at all. It took a year to finish Earth, a weekend to finish Sword and a month to write Wind. It also depends on how fast the story is moving for me.
Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be? Why?
Brynna: Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love her tortured, flawed characters. They just breathe. I am a menyon, no doubt about it.
Me: I love the cover for EARTH ENCHANTED! Can you tell me about the book?Brynna:
Writer Liv Corrigan has the worst luck with men — her telepathy tends to make them run for the hills. When she meets widower and ex-cop Jack Roarke, she decides to keep her talent hidden. Things are looking up until their third date crashes and burns as the man who murdered Jack’s wife turns out to be after him too.
Injured, Jack retreats with Liv to his house under armed guard. But with Liv’s mysteries rapidly coming unraveled, a diamond-thief killer to stop and passion in the air, the safe house is anything but safe for their hearts!
Me: Can you share with me one of your favorite parts of EARTH ENCHANTED?
Brynna: In this particular scene, Jack, Devin and Ryan are breaking into the Smithsonian to steal the Hope Diamond in order to bargain with a psychotic kingpin for Liv’s freedom. I love it because of the banter between the guys. These three end up close as brothers over the course of the series and this scene shows the beginnings of their bond. I can just see Jack’s inner cop freaking out because of what’s happening, while Ryan and Devin are doing their best to corrupt him. Fun. lol.
A bit of history here, Jack is our hero and in love with our heroine Liv, who is Ryan’s younger sister. Ryan is a criminal informant, exchanging information with the FBI in order to gain immunity. Devin is many things. His role in EE is that of a jewel thief, a very good one since he can magically conjure almost anything. Born a thousand years ago in Scotland, he’s also Ryan’s ancestor. Because of a spell, he continues to live at the same age he was when the spell was cast, until the spell is broken. He’s a master swordsman, laird of his long-dead clan, and a phoenix, a very rare fire-witch who control all elements.
Jack groaned and raked a hand down his face while Devin and Ryan grinned at him in the darkness. “I cannot believe you two actually talked me into this. I was a cop for God’s sake! How in the world did I get mixed up in all this mess?”
They stood in a darkened corridor of the Smithsonian where the Hope diamond was housed. It had been Devin’s idea to take the legendary jewel, only this time there would be no replacement. They were going to use it as a bargaining chip and when Gueraldi had his stone and they Liv, a call to Agent Spiller would be all it would take to have the man in federal prison. The trick was to not get caught stealing it, of course.
Devin shushed him and flicked his eyes to the security cameras in the next passage. He sent out the heat of the fire that lived inside him. The circuits sizzled and they went inactive.
Ryan watched him in awe. “You’ve got to teach me how to do that. I’ll never use it of course, but that is very cool.”
Devin considered him as if he were serious. “You could be taught, I suppose. It’s true you have magic in the blood.” He grinned. “Cousin, I am evidence of that.” He felt someone in the shadows, someone extra. He threw out a hand to stop his companions from following. He never touched them, but Jack felt like he was trying to push through an invisible wall.
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