This week I am delighted to welcome Brandi Kennedy into the hot seat, author of The Kingsley Series, The Selkie Trilogy, and Fighting For Freedom.
ACT ONE – all about you…
Well, my official bio says, “Brandi Kennedy is an American writer who is finally living her childhood career dream. As a child, books were her world, and through adulthood that love of words has never changed. A woman of varied interests, Brandi loves photography, music of all kinds, knitting, crochet and of course, mothering her two young daughters. Currently, she finds her home in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, among the mountains and the members of her extended family, where she spends her days at the computer, bringing fresh and incredibly real characters to life.”
But really, I’m just a girl, making her way through life. I love my friends, I love my daughters and my family. But through all of that, there’s this need to create something, and I love that too, even though it set me apart from the people I knew for most of my life. Writing has opened the world up to me though, and introduced me to people who “get it,” in the way that my loved ones never could. And I think it’s that feeling of creative community that really allows me to do what I do.
1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?
I think I’ve always been a writer. When I was little, I would write little stories all the time, and I’d write poetry. There’s always been a part of me that’s completely in love with words, the descriptive painting of regular prose, or the lyrical rhythm of poetry. I love all of it, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t.
2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?
Not really. Honestly, I have found that getting myself locked into a certain type of writing or a certain writing place ... well, I guess it stifles me. I do tend to write more easily if I have some sort of running outline though – it doesn’t always cover the entire story, but I do better if I’ve got at least a vague idea of where the next chapters are going. Then again, I wrote Fighting For Freedom and Wrestling Harmony with basically no plan at all, just pretty much following the characters around in my head. That’s seems to have worked fairly well, too.
3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?
If I’m giving you the first answer that flows out of me? I’d say it was Johanna Lindsey’s Love Only Once. That was the book that introduced me to romantic fiction for the first time, and I literally couldn’t put it down. Everything about it fascinated me. If I give something that’s maybe more inclusive, I’d list Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, Marie Force. Diana Gabaldon. But if I’m giving the question real thought and a deeper answer, I’d say it all influences me. Everything I read influences the flow of my writing, the style of my descriptive text, my dialogue, right on down to my punctuation style. Because of this, I’m careful of what I read.
4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?
Strive to be professional. Read and re-read. Edit, and then edit again. And NEVER let your skin be so thin that you can’t accept the criticism or opinions of others as something that could be helpful to you. Even the most hurtful things can be the things that fuel your determination to better yourself and your craft, if you let them.
Before my horribly unpopular To Love A Selkie grew and became the much-loved Selkie, I got a review that totally shattered me for a few minutes. It was mean and hateful, simply because the reader didn’t like the ending, and was written without regard for their love of the characters or any other aspect of the story. Among other things, the review said that To Love A Selkie was “very badly wrote.” And it took me a while to recover from that, but once I got over the irony of a review that contained the phrase “badly wrote,” I started looking on it as a thing that could fuel me. It’s been over a year since that review, I think, and to this day, every good review on my books makes me sit back with a satisfied smile, and say to myself, “Well. That one must have been ‘goodly wrote.’”
5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?
Well, I guess that depends on whether or not you’ve read my blog. Over the course of the last year, I’ve done series posts that included 50 Random Things About Me and a 20 Questions set that I found online one day and wanted to answer. But if I had to give three things off the top of my head, I can give these: One, I design my own covers and swag. Two, I have entire random scenes written out for books that aren’t planned or plotted, that include characters with no names or definite information. They just pop into my head and I write them down for later. And three, when I first wrote To Love A Selkie, I did it on a little 10-inch Netbook with about five keyboard keys that didn’t work half the time.
6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?
First, my phone. I’m pretty that if I had to live in a world that didn’t include my cell phone, I’d shrivel up and die from the abject misery. For me, it’s a pocket TV, it’s my connection to the music I can’t live without, and it keeps me in touch with the people that keep me sane. Second, my laptop, because I use it exclusively to write, and without writing, I’m not sure I could survive. It’s too much a part of me. Third, air conditioning. I simply don’t want to exist in a world without a/c. I’m too hot-blooded for that. Fourth, my Kindle. I still love old fashioned regular books, but since I like to read really weighty novels, I prefer my kindle. It’s better on my carpal tunnel/tendonitis thing that haunts my right wrist and hand. And honestly, I’m not sure there is a fifth one, unless I can use the internet as a luxury item, lol. I really can’t live without it, but I’m not sure it’s really a luxury item.
ACT TWO – all about your new release…
Harmony Kingsley is still carrying lingering anxieties from the past. She doesn’t trust easily, and she struggles to accept change, but right now, it seems like everything is changing. And she’s not sure she can keep up.
One of those changes is tall, strong, confident, and impossibly sexy. In the end, will Xander’s love be a change that Harmony can trust and accept?
7) Congratulations on your recent release of Wrestling Harmony, Book Three in the Kingsley Series, what was your inspiration for writing Harmony and Xander’s story?
Well, first off, it was just Harmony’s turn, and I loved her energy and her struggle. But Xander Harrison is pulled directly from a love of professional entertainment wrestling that borders on obsession.
8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?
A little of both, I suppose. Some of it just came easily, but there were bits I struggled with and scenes that I wrote over and over before I felt that they were aligned right with the characters in the story.
9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?
Haha! Well, since I’m my own publisher, I can say about a millisecond. The entire story was written on the publisher’s desk. In all seriousness, I think the story took three months, maybe four, from writing the first word to clicking publish on Amazon.
10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
“I don’t have words for her,” Xander answered. “She’s sunlight in the morning. She’s moonbeams; she’s the star I follow when I’m on the road and I’m heading home.”
Adam nodded, a slow smile spreading over his lips. “She’s good morning,” he said, nodding slightly as Eva looked over and met his eyes.
“And she’s goodnight,” Xander finished.11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Wrestling Harmony, to make us rush out and buy it?
Well, first off, I should clarify that even though Wrestling Harmony is the third book in the Kingsley Series, the series doesn’t have to be read in order, or even together.
With that said, Harmony Kingsley is a girl struggling not only with the loss of her career dream, but from the fallout of a really traumatic event she witnessed the effects of at a young age. In this story, she’s going through the hardship of figuring out who she is as an individual, and that means discovering a new dream, letting go of the past, and stepping out of the shadow of her family to finally become her own woman in an entirely new way. And this new sense of self of course leads Harmony into discovering love for the first time.
I should also let readers know that even though it’s marketed with the rest of the Kingsley Series as a contemporary romance, in so many ways, it’s really a New Adult romance, with all of the integral discovery of your classic coming-of age.
12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?
Currently, I’m working on the fourth book in the Kingsley Series, which is Michael’s story. I’ve also got plans to write the second book in the Selkie Trilogy this year, and the sequel to Fighting For Freedom.
In the meantime, I’m finalizing plans and preparations to appear at the Tennessee Valley Author Event in Knoxville, Tennessee. That’s July 12th of this year, and it’ll be my first public event – I’ll be with 100 other authors, meeting fans and signing books, and I am unbelievably excited.
QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…
13) Plotter or pantser?
I’m a little of both.
14) Digital books or print books?
15) Tea or coffee?
16) Extrovert or introvert?
Introvert, for sure.
17) Facebook or Twitter?
18) Christmas or birthday?
19) Morning person or night owl?
20) Sweet or savoury?
Depends on the mood I’m in.
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you so much for taking part, Brandi, I wish you every success with your new release.
To discover even more about Brandi Kennedy, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:
Buy it now…
Released: November 2013
Amazon UK / US
Barnes & Noble