Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Living the Dream: Brooke Williams on the Diamond Mine with Giveaway!

Hey everyone, guess who’s on the Diamond Mine? None other than Brooke Williams! We’re talking about her new release, Mamarazzi and writing and…well, read on…

She’s awesome and so is her new book. Brooke’s even decided to give away a copy of EITHER Mamarazzi or Accept this Dandelion to one lucky winner. Enter the drawing at the end of the interview!

R: Hi, Brooke, I’m glad you’re here. I’m so excited about your new book. I hear it’s terrific. Tell us about it…please!

B: Mamarazzi is a light-hearted romance that deals with one of life’s big questions…is the grass really greener on the other side? In the novel, the female lead is a paparazzo and she’s really good at what she does. She stumbles into a small part on a TV show and ends up on the OTHER side of the camera lens. Add to this that no one knows what she used to do for a living and she’s got a boatload of secrets to cover as well.

R: Whoa. That sounds like quite the story. I can’t wait to read it. With a title like Mamarazzi, it makes one think Italian. As a writer, I have to wonder…how do you pick your character names, especially for a book such as this?

B: I have to admit, I loathe choosing character names. I’m just really bad at it! For a while, I chose names I liked. Then I started grabbing random names from people I went to school with and knew growing up. Once I reached Mamarazzi, I was out! I wanted the names to really fit the characters so I had a name game through Facebook and my website. I outlined what the characters would be like and let friends, followers, and fans name them FOR me. I compiled a list of names for each character, narrowed it down to two or three per character, and then had everyone vote. And THAT’S how the names in Mamarazzi were settled! I especially like Vesper, the main character’s seedy cousin, who is really named Veronica Roy, but changed it to Vesper for Hollywood purposes.

R: What a great idea! I may borrow that one if you don’t mind. Sometimes I’m at a complete loss with character names. I have a book of names but it doesn’t always help. In addition to things such as this, do you have any other advice for a new writer?

B: Yes, I do. Write because you love to write and for no other reason. Never force it. You can always tell when something isn’t coming out right. And if writing is what you want to do, never give up. It is extremely hard to find an agent, the right publisher, or an audience. But if you stop looking, you’ll NEVER find him/it/them, right? Believe in what you do. Not everyone will love every word you lay out there, but if you love it, others will too. You just have to find them! It may feel like a needle in a haystack at times, but I guarantee you’ll never run across the needle if you stop looking. Write, write, write and love it, and you’ve already won!

R: You know, Brooke, I think that’s good advice for the “veteran” writer as well. Or even those authors who are on their way and still figuring out the ropes…so to speak. By the way, how long have you been writing and why did you start?

B: Oh, just since birth. Haha. Okay, I’m not THAT talented! But practically! When I was a kid, I used to cut pictures out of the newspaper (much to my dad’s chagrin when he hadn’t read it yet) paste the pictures onto blank paper, and then write a story about the picture. I’d then sell my “magazines” to my parents for a nickel. I should have known then what I was meant to do. I didn’t try my hand at novel writing until about a year after I graduated college. I was working in radio full time, but I was so compelled by a scene that formed and stuck in my mind that I couldn’t NOT write it. Once I had that scene out, I felt I owed it to the characters to see what happened. So I wrote Someone Always Loved You.
Someone Always Loved You
I searched for an agent and publisher for months without any luck and became highly discouraged. I didn’t write anything other than radio scripts for a full decade. And I’m sad by all the time I lost. Eventually, I put that book out on my own for fun, and it’s been a bestseller in its category on a number of occasions. I got back into writing two years after my oldest daughter was born. I was still in radio, though on a VERY part time basis. I wanted to leave radio and do something from home and writing seemed the natural fit. I started gathering writing jobs and clients and creating a freelance writing business at home. This only fueled my love of writing, and I segued back into novel writing again.

R: What an amazing story. You are a true testament to God’s provision if I’ve ever seen one. As well as a woman of grit and determination to put out your first book, Someone Always Loved You, on your own. Speaking of that, you chose that title. If you do that usually, how do your pick your titles?

Accept this Dandelion
B: That part is usually very easy for me. I generally have an idea for the title before I begin writing the book. Once I have a basic book idea, the title seems obvious. The Mamarazzi idea actually goes back to my college days or possibly even beyond. I was supposed to write a snippet of an original screenplay for a class and I called it Paparazzi. It was about a male paparazzo who stumbles onto a TV set, ends up on the show, and then the paparazzi are taking HIS picture. It was a small portion of a script, but it was an idea I’d always had in the back of my head. Once I went into more romantic comedy type writing, I decided to flush that idea out, make the main character a woman, and call it MAmarazzi instead. The title came naturally.
For my last romantic comedy release, Accept this Dandelion, the title was also easy. Have you ever seen the TV show The Bachelor? In that show, they have rose ceremonies and the man will say, “so and so, will you accept this rose?” It means that he wants the woman to continue to date him and if she accepts the rose, it signifies that she agrees to move on. The book was going to be a similar dating show, only on a local level and in a comedic fashion. So Accept this Dandelion seemed like a natural title! My first novel, Someone Always Loved You, was much more of a struggle. I had NO idea what to call it. My mom helped my come up with a fitting title and I love it now. But it took a while to get there! I much prefer having the title in mind when I start.

R: I know you write romantic comedy and I love your books. I couldn’t put Accept this Dandelion down! It makes it hard for me to imagine writing them could be a struggle, but alas, I know as a writer that’s not true. We all have issues which make writing difficult either with the process or at home. What did you struggle with the most to get Mamarazzi on the page?

B: I was super eager to write Mamarazzi. I don’t usually start a book until I have a basic premise and the very first line or scene formed in my mind. The line for Mamarazzi came to me, and I was itching to write it. But the holidays were upon me. It wasn’t good timing to just sit down and flush it out. To stall, I held the character naming contests and let the ideas stew. That was in November. I spend December preparing clients and flushing out blocks of time so I could write it in January. So waiting to write it was the first and biggest struggle. Second, I wrote a scene in the book that definitely looked like it meant one particular thing. I didn’t know what it actually meant, but I didn't want it to be what was assumed. I had to sit on that a while, and I remember when we were taking our Christmas tree down late in January (finally, I know!) the resolution just came to me. It’s a big tree and my husband was at the top of the stairs trying to take it apart and I’m at the bottom going, oh my gosh, I have it! I know what to do! HE’s like what, what?! Then he realized I meant the book, not the big heavy tree…  For the most part, when I’m writing I just write. I don't think too much about it. I let the characters have free reign!

R: I can see it. Especially his face. Did you have a camera? Those are the moments you really need to keep in a book. LOL Or he does!
Sorry, back to the interview…Okay, where was I? If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be?

B: Being a writer is my dream job. I had NO idea doing this was even a slight possibility or I would have given it a shot a LOOOONG time ago. But if I couldn’t write, I’d love to be an audio book reader. You know, the voice that reads the book to you? Actually, once my daughters are in school and I have more time to work, I’d like to go into that as well. Or I’d like to be in Radio Theater. There are a few radio shows (especially those for kids) that still exist. They’re like TV shows, only it’s audio and not visual. I would love to use my radio skills and either voice characters or produce. I loved the creative aspects of producing when I was in the biz.

R: If you have the voice for it, do it! I sound like a bullfrog. Actually I have no clue what I sound like on the radio. I’ve never been on it before except maybe as a child when we lived in West Monroe, LA. I don’t remember those days though. It’d be cool to try it though!
I picture you working with a radio blaring next to you. Is that how it is? What’s your writing spot look like?

B: Oh, it’s all glamour and spice. Okay, so it’s a tiny desk in the middle of the kitchen. There are piles of random scrap paper on one side of the desk, which is weird because I write really small and can use one scrap of paper for like a year, no joke. Behind the computer screen is the Netflix DVD for the week and any outgoing mail there might be. Above the desk are cubbies jammed with important papers we never get out, stamps, and other odds and ends. Banking stuff, bills, and various whatnot. There’s just enough room on the desk for the keyboard and sometimes I stuff a drink nearby.

The Classic Writer's Workspace

R: I think all writers cram as much as they can into the smallest space possible. I have an office and choose to work out of my chair. Most of my junk stays on my little table next to me. Why? I haven’t figured that out yet…

Thanks for the interview, Brooke. You’re the best!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

One e-book of Mamarazzi (upon release) or Accept this Dandelion will be awarded to one winner via random draw (via Rafflecopter widget).

Featured Book (Giveaway), “Mamarazzi”: Release Date: September 11, 2015

Danica Bennett isn't sure what she hates more...her job or the fact that she's good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one in the photographs.  Add that to the fact that she's falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

About the 2nd prize, “Accept this Dandelion”:

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host at the station where she works. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of The Bachelor, Renee goes along with it in order to raise her profile. 
Upon seeing her bumbling audition, Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show. But Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee… he gets a girl who can’t seem to do anything right…and a girl he can’t seem to resist.

About the Author, Brooke Williams:

Brooke Williams is a sleep-deprived mother of two young girls who finds the best way to laugh is to create fictional characters and put them in strange situations. Brooke has a background in radio, but now spends her one free hour a day writing on a freelance basis for clients all over the world. Her previous novels include “Someone Always Loved You,” a family drama as well as the romantic comedies “Wrong Place, Right Time,” and “Accept this Dandelion.” Brooke and her husband Sean married in 2002 and have two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.


Peggy Trotter said...

Welcome, Brooke! So glad to have you on the mine!

Gail Kittleson said...

I love your writing story, Brooke--lots of parallels with mine, but at least you figured out you're a writer earlier in life than I did! Keep it up, girl.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great interview, Brooke. Love your sense of humor! :-)

Renee Blare said...

It was a ton of fun! :) Thanks for stopping by y'all! :)

Renee Blare said...

The winner of the giveaway is DK Stevens!