Debut Author Spotlight is a Saturday feature at Book Chick City. We will be showcasing a debut author each week from the genres of horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. We will give you all the relevant book information as well as an insight into the author.
Brenda’s love of books began as a child. She ran into the living room holding “Old Hat, New Hat”, tripped and smashed into the corner of the coffee table. The book sustained a deep gouge in its cover, and Brenda has never forgotten its sacrifice. As a teenager, she saved babysitting money to buy a typewriter. It had an electric keyboard with manual return, and cost more than $300. She clacked away at that for hours.
Her first finished novel was still decades away, even though many others died on the page in the intervening years. It wasn’t until her husband bought her her very own laptop for Christmas 2010 that she managed to type “The End” on what would eventually be MOUNTAIN FIRE. Brenda lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. By day she is Creative Director at the local television station, and by night she pecks away at her works in progress.
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: Sept 2013 | PUBLISHER: The Wild Rose Press
A mountaintop mystery leads two conservationists to dangerous obsessions and violent passions. Natural resources student June Brandt climbs Longworth Mountain for some alone time. But when Conservation Officer Alex Weaver arrives to look into the death of a grizzly bear, June is caught up in the investigation—and fascinated by Alex.
Alex is attracted by June’s competence and coolness under fire—as well as her lithe body and honey-blonde hair. Although their mutual interest in protecting the natural wonders of the area brings them together, they soon realize they view love from very different angles. He offers passion and pleasure, but June wants more. When one of Alex’s colleagues is murdered, June and Alex must work together to find the poacher before other lives are lost. And Alex must look deep inside to discover if he can give June what she deserves.
What is MOUNTAIN FIRE about?
Mountain Fire is about stretching limits – whether it is emotional limits, when exploring new relationships, or physical limits, when you think you can’t push yourself any further, but know you must. It is also about our connection with nature, and our responsibility to protect it.
Tell us a bit more about the hero/heroine in MOUNTAIN FIRE
June Brandt is a Natural Resources student at the University of Northern British Columbia. She has four brothers (3 older, 1 younger) and grew up tough, self-reliant and independent. We first meet her as she encounters a grizzly bear while hiking, and her reaction to that – calm, cool and professional – is how she reacts to most events in the book, except for her relationship with Alex Weaver, the hero.
How did you research MOUNTAIN FIRE?
I followed the maxim “write what you know” and placed the book in my hometown of Prince George, British Columbia, so I was familiar with the physical setting. When it came to grizzly bear poaching, I spent a lot of time trolling the internet. I wasn’t brave enough to call up any local Conservation Officers to ask how they would investigate a poaching ring such as I describe, so any mistakes are definitely my own!
Is MOUNTAIN FIRE the first in a series or a stand alone novel?
It is a stand alone.
When and where is your favourite time to write?
Whenever I get the chance! I have a full time job and a busy family, so I usually sneak an hour or so in every weekday evening. I always think weekends are going to give me more time to write, but that never seems to be the case!
My daily writing goal is small – only 500 words. I find that, no matter how busy I am, I can usually achieve that quota relatively easily. And if I go over, all the better!
My usually place to write is in our living room (NOT where the TV is). I put my laptop on an upside serving tray on a pillow (because I haven’t broken down and bought a lap desk) and am very comfortable. I find writing in what is a pretty busy traffic area keeps me in touch with my family, so I don’t feel like I’m ignoring them, but still allows me to keep getting closer to “The End.”
When did you decide to become a writer?
As a child I had poor eyesight, but didn’t get glasses until I was 10 or so. I’ve always blamed this for my voracious reading habit, because physical activity was scary as I couldn’t see very well. I think for most people, if you read a lot, at some point you dally with the idea of trying your hand at writing. In elementary school I was always thrilled when we had to write stories, and while I wasn’t brave enough to finish my first novel until I was in my 40’s, I did find a job where I do creative writing most days.
What was the last book you enjoyed and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I still read a ton a books – usually 3 or so a week. Let’s see….
The one that sticks out in my mind without reviewing a list of what I’ve read lately is THE UNFINISHED GARDEN by Alice Claypole White. The hero, James, has OCD and is determined to overcome it through sheer will power. The romance between James and the heroine, Tilly, is unique and emotional and sweet. Which authors do you admire? Any author that has the guts to slog through a manuscript and finish it, whether it gets published or not, has my sincere admiration. It is a lot harder than non-writers think!
It may be cliche, but I greatly admire Nora Roberts. Not only does she write extremely well, she publishes numerous books a year. Her work ethic must be incredible.
I am also a huge fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. The prose is so crisp, the dialogue clean. If good writing is using exactly the right words, and nothing extra, he is the master.
I love mystery and suspense – Ruth Rendell, PD James, Dick Francis, Ian Rankin, Rex Stout, Minette Walters. When it comes to romance, I enjoy Eloisa James, Courtney Milan, Kate Perry, Jill Shalvis.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, but this should do to go on with!
Describe yourself in five words.
Intelligent, sarcastic, efficient, happy, curious
I have finished a contemporary romance, RESERVATIONS OF THE HEART, about a production assistant on a reality TV show who falls in love with the star contestant. While I think it is ‘done’, I have put it away for a few weeks and will take one more look at it before I send it out into the cold, bitter world.
I am also in the midst of another contemporary romance manuscript, set in the Azores, a small group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic. My husband’s family is from there, and we are travelling back there in July 2013. I like to read books set in locations I’ve been, but couldn’t find any English language books set in the Azores, so thought I’d create my own!