You live in a world where everyone has a Clock telling them exactly how long they have to live. Your Clock has a single year left…and you’re only seventeen. That’s Parvin Blackwater’s story. And she’s determined to find purpose in her last year alive…but will she defy the authorities to find it?
Sounds good, doesn't it? These first two books of the trilogy are out, and if you leave a comment after the interview, you will be entered in the drawing to win whichever one of these books you choose. Please leave your email so we can notify you if you win!
Now for the interview!
Hi Nadine! Glad to have you here.What do you feel is the most difficult part of writing a speculative fiction story?
That really depends on what type of writer you are. For me, it’s often the world building. That takes me the longest to flesh out, and then also figuring out the voice of my characters. The Out of Time Series was easier because it’s a futuristic USA. But my current work-in-progress is fantasy and I find my characters speaking very modern-day lingo. That’s one of my most difficult hurdles.
What do you enjoy most about writing speculative fiction?
The fact I can create the world. (Ironic since I just shared that I struggle with world building.) I love that there are no limits, that I can add quirks or gorgeous visuals that you wouldn’t find in our world.
So you can really let your imagination loose, and satisfy the urge to create! How did the idea for your trilogy come to you? All at once, in degrees of inspiration, or did it develop as you wrote it?
The books all came to me pretty separately. I’d intended A Time to Die (book 1) to be a standalone, but by the time I was halfway through it I realized the story was much larger than I’d expected. That’s when I decided to make it a duology. Partway through book two, I encountered the same problem and it became a trilogy. My ideas always start small and short and then grow as I write them.
Just like a living thing! That's cool.
Do you structure your writing ahead of time, or craft as you go, or both?
I mostly craft as I go. I brainstorm the idea for a few months before starting the actual writing process, but I always figure, “If I’m going to write something down, it might as well be the story itself.” I’ve tried outlining or planning on paper multiple times and multiple ways. It’s just not for me.
I know what you mean. Are any of your characters based on you or another real-life person?
My main character, Parvin, is based loosely off of the questions I asked as a teenager. She’s not me, but she asks the same questions and struggles with a lot of similar doubts. Other than her, all other characters are their own person. ;)
Is there an underlying theme in your writing that you want your readers to come away with?
Hope. That no matter how dark the world looks or the situation or the people around you, there is hope always to be found in Christ. I try to weave this in in a way that feels natural and non-preachy. Usually my stories start a little darker, but journey toward the light as the character grows closer to Christ.
I like your approach. Do you write in more than one genre?
I stay in the speculative fiction genre, but I like to juggle subgenres. My next book is fantasy. I don’t think I’ll ever want to write another dystopian. I’d mix it up too much with the Out of Time Series. [grin] But sometimes my mind entertains contemporary YA or middle grade. Who knows if I’ll ever walk that road. ;)
Depends on how it strikes you, right? You never know!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Right now there’s no such thing as a typical day because I just moved across the country! Ha! I’m working out my new schedule and habits, but I expect the core things will stay the same. Before I moved, I woke up not too early (I’m no early bird) and had breakfast with some Jesus-time. Then I’ll update social media for about 30 minutes. Half the week I’ll edit (since that’s my main job) and the other half I’ll write all afternoon. Evenings are hubby time.
I don’t write every day because my brain doesn’t have enough creative juice for that, but I do brainstorm every night as I go to bed. It took a lot of training to make sure my brain remembered its brainstorming once I woke the next morning, but now it’s habit and I plan out what I’ll write next as I fall asleep.
I find myself doing that, too. It's rather nice to lay there relaxing, and see where your mind goes with a story line or idea.
What are you working on now?
A YA fantasy standalone (possible duology.) I’m really excited about it, but if it doesn’t turn out to be something a publisher wants to print, then I’ll turn my eyes to a new story. Probably still fantasy, though.
I know it will be good, just like your trilogy! Thanks for the interview, Nadine!
Here's a teaser about the first two books of the trilogy:
Blurb for A Time to Die:
How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?
Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.
Blurb for A Time to Speak:
What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?
Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she's being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.
The Council uses Jude's Clock-matching invention to force "new-and-improved" Clocks on the public. Those who can't afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council's purposes.
Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?
Now here's a short bio, along with Nadine's social and buy links:
Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. Her dystopian trilogy, the Out of Time Series, challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by 'bumbershoot'.) When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai, editing fantasy novels, or being a Harry Potter super-nerd, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: "hubby") are out chasing adventures.
Social media and buy links:
Website & Newsletter: http://nadinebrandes.com/my-newsletter
Buy link for A Time to Die: http://nadinebrandes.com/books/a-time-to-die
Buy link for A Time to Speak: http://nadinebrandes.com/books/a-time-to-speak