I want an interview
Sorry Little Blue Lady from Mars. I don’t have time to interview you today.
Unacceptable! I will be interviewed!
Wow! Did you just get bigger? Ummmm… Will you answer questions? Give helpful comments?
Ha Ha! No! I am here to take over the world!
Ummmmm. Maybe next week.
Today we are talking to the lovely and talented Brinda Berry
(Imagine Brinda waving madly)
Your first novel, The Waiting Booth was published in 2011. It was your very first published piece, right?
Yes, The Waiting Booth was my debut novel.
Do you have an agent?
I don’t have an agent. I have experience in querying agents but not in obtaining one. That was supposed to be funny. If you are an author, you should be smiling.
A brave lady. Publisher direct, Huh? So, How many publishers did you query before finding Etopia?
I have a spreadsheet with the exact number and details, but I’d say I queried a dozen before receiving the offer from Etopia Press.
What was your funniest/most memorable rejection letter?
Most of what I received were form letters. I don’t remember any specific letter that stands out. It’s all a blur. You begin to feel that you can recite the first paragraph of a rejection letter before you read it.
How did you settle down with Etopia press?
I participated in an online conference with authors and publishers. This conference, Digicon, accomplished two things for me. It gave me tons of information about digital publishing as opposed to traditional publishing. It exposed me to the changes taking place in publishing. It also gave authors the opportunity to participate in online pitch sessions with requested publishers. I received two offers as a result of the pitches. I chose Etopia because of the quality of their published works and their input on my manuscript.
I have a fifty pound poodle that could eat your cairn terriers. Either that, or she’d roll around with them making a mess of the lawn.
I hope she’d roll around with them.
Chloe is licking her chops looking over the screen. Don’t let her bows fool you.
Brinda: One of my cairns believes he is a bull mastiff. If challenged, he acts like a lunatic.
Sounds like a two-on-one puppy derby!
Okay, back on topic. Your first novel, The Waiting Booth, was told in “mostly first person” you switched to another POV in a few chapters. New writers are told to shy away from this. How’d you get away with it? Did the publisher have any concerns?
Although I felt this was the right thing for me to do in my story, I did have reservations. I quizzed my editor about the risk in another POV, and she whole-heartedly supported it. She had no reservations and I trusted her instincts. You will see this again in the second book of the series, Whisper of Memory.
So, interdimensional portals hidden in the woods, huh? Where did that concept come from?
I have a wild imagination. What can I say? Actually, I’ve always loved stories about portals. Also, I spend two hours daily in a car for my commute. I enjoy listening to NPR podcasts about string theory, black holes, and alternate dimensions.
Sexy government agents are always a hoot too.
One of mine is a hoot. The other is just sexy.
Just sexy works for me 🙂 Let’s see… If you had a choice between a pound of Godiva chocolate, or a week’s free Starbuck’s coffee, which would you take?
Could I take 1/2 lb of Godiva with the 3.5 days of Starbucks?
You are drill sergeant tough. I guess the chocolate. One Christmas, my husband gave me a 5 lb. box of Godivas. The man loves me.
Yeah for thoughtful hubbies!
I hear you’re an internet junkie. What’s your favorite internet site?
I spend most of my time reading blogs. I like Amazon a lot because you can find anything there. I spend a limited amount of time on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Yeah, I’m not much for Twitter or Facebook either, although I have met some interesting people on Twitter.
Your new novel, Whisper of Memory, is out on March 16. How long have you been working on it?
I worked on it for approximately three months. That does not include time editing after it was submitted to my editor. After submission and contract signing, you can add several additional months.
Because I work a day job, I’m a slow writer. I hope to get faster at some point (or not require a day job).
Quick Brenda Run!
Okay, I just blocked her with my cyber-super-blog-o-blocometer. We’re safe. Quick, before she breaks back in, tell us about your new novel.
Are you sure it’s safe?
Yeah, I’ve got my finger on the blocometer button. go ahead.
Okay. Whisper of Memory is Book 2 in the Whispering Woods series. It was actually more fun to write since I knew the characters so much better. I like to have lots of action, and it was interesting to create problems for my characters. Mia Taylor, the main character, is a high school senior who is a synesthete. Her sensory perception is different from the norm. Beyond the typical synesthesia experience, Mia is able to sense portals. In Book 1, The Waiting Booth, she wanted to find her missing older brother. This book still includes that goal but adds the tension of a romantic relationship.
Did you have this plot in mind when you finished book #1, or did that come later.
I already had this book plotted when I finished Book 1. Otherwise, the first book might have ended differently.
If anyone wants to get a taste of Brinda’s first novel, here is the trailer. You can pick up book one now so you are all ready for the release of book two in a few days.
Check out the book trailer here!
Just curious, did your publisher ask you for another novel, or did you wave and say “Hi, I have more!”
When I pitched my story for the first book, I let them know that I had plans for three in this series. I was asked to give the details for the entire series arc.
What is one bit of advice you can give to “soon to be published” authors?
One rejection does not a failure make. Seriously. Also, authors should be open to new ideas and challenges.
Great! Thanks, Brinda. As you know, Q & A is a prerequisite to stopping by here. Are you ready to answer questions?
There you go guys. Brinda is now all yours!
Buy the Waiting Booth
Great interview! And I loved seeing the Blue Lady again too!
I’m interested to see how you did the 2 POV and made it work well enough for publisher to like it. This books sounds great. My question isn’t really about the publishing end. I’m just curious how your story plot came to you. Did you dream it, force it out through freewriting exercises…or some other way? I love hearing how authors get their inspiration.
I don’t care for POV shifts within chapters. Mine second POV occurs in new chapters and are short. The majority of the chapters are in first person (Mia’s) POV. The other POV is third. I was prepared to remove the second POV if my editor felt it detracted from the flow of the story. She didn’t even consider it. My first and beta readers never even mentioned it as an issue. These factors made me comfortable with moving forward as it was written.
It’s a coincidence that I wrote a blog post on my state RWA group blog (http://diamondstateauthors.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/the-random-muse/) for today on the subject of my novel’s inspiration. 🙂 The one-sentence summary is inspiration came from a combination of a long daily commute, visual landmarks, and science podcasts.
100 mile commute? Oi! Lots of time to think and ponder though. Thanks for answering.
LOL, Jennifer–you crack me up . . .which is why I tagged you in my blog today *muhahaha*
Brinda, any tips on how you stayed organized when writing a series? I’m a pantser my nature but the book I just finished has series potential, something I swore I’d never do, lol.
Okay, Jami. I’m going to give you advice I wish I had used when I wrote The Waiting Booth. I had an outline of each chapter, character notes, etc. in a spreadsheet. I didn’t keep every detail noted in an organized fashion. When I wrote Whisper of Memory (Bk2), I went back and made notes. I placed sticky notes on my desk everywhere. This is a BAD idea.
After finishing Book 2, I discovered Evernote at http://evernote.com/. It’s online software and it’s free. You can upgrade to a paid account. You can organize your book bible into notebooks, clip web pages, and insert sound files. I’ve even recorded thoughts while driving into my Evernote app on my iPhone. It all syncs into one account. I used this for my current MS that I’m now editing (unrelated to the Whispering Woods series). I can use it on laptop at home, iPad, and iphone. Everything I research is clipped and available. You can make notes and take pictures. I will be using it from now on.
Jennifer- Thanks for having me as a guest today!
Thanks for stopping by! Sorry about that LIttle Blue Lady Issue. She pops up when I least expect it.
Brinda, the dreaded synopsis question: How did you handle the synopsis for a series? Did you synopsitize each book separately? Did you include a story arc or overview of the series?
Sherry- Etopia wanted a series synopsis and arc, but it was short and one document. Really, it was in my query letter that I sent with the full submission requested from the pitch session. I submitted a full synopsis + MS for The Waiting Booth prior to contract offer. I did the same again for Whisper of Memory.