Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Interview with Award-Winning Author Nadine Brandes

Today, let's welcome award-winning author Nadine Brandes to The Diamond Mine!! She's the author of the three-book Out of Time speculative fiction series. And her newest book is due out this July: Fawkes.

She's a gifted, imaginative writer whose stories will rivet you with vivid characters and compelling settings. What an exciting and rewarding experience it is to read her books! Welcome, Nadine! I'm so honored to host you today!

So, let's begin by hearing a brief description of your Out of Time series.

These books are about a world where everyone has a clock telling them how long they have to live. The main character starts with one year left to her life.

A premise like that really grabs the reader from the beginning. I know it did for me! What element of this story really brings it alive for you?

It feels very personal because Parvin (the main character) wrestles with a lot of the same questions I did as a teen: What’s the point of being alive? Can I really make an impact on this world? How do I tackle this God thing?

You did a great job of exploring these questions that so many teens as well as adults find themselves struggling with. Very true-to-life. 
Speaking of that, are any of your characters based on real people?

I draw all of my inspiration from real life, but no character is based off one person in general. :) 

I know what you mean! So many of my characters have aspects from real people, but have their own unique personality which develops as the story does. 
Do your books begin with a small idea that grows as you write, or do you have a fairly fleshed-out story in mind before you begin to write?

It really depends on the book! For A Time to Die, it was a small idea that grew as I wrote it. (Grew into a three book series!) But for Fawkes (my upcoming release) I had the story fairly fleshed out before I started. 

So just like your characters, your books have their own personality, too! Do you write nearly every day for a period of time, or do you write in short or long bursts depending on inspiration?

Haha! I definitely don’t write every day. My creative juices have to refuel, so I usually have two “big chunk” writing days a week. The other days are spent plotting, blogging, and interacting with my readers via social media.

Sounds like a good balance that obviously works well for you. I'm curious. Which book of your series was the easiest one to write, and which was the most challenging?

My second book, A Time to Speak was the easiest to write because by that point I knew all the characters and the world had been established. I was ready for things to get real (plot-wise) and get bigger. I loved writing that book and it came out so smoothly! The growth in that book is my favorite  and a lot of readers say it’s their favorite, too.

The hardest book in the Out of Time Series to write was the last one. Man, trying to wrap up all those plot threads and have a decent ending was almost the death of me! I rewrote that ending at least four times and was afraid it would go to press incomplete! Thankfully, God brought it all together in the end. 

But if we’re talking about all my books, Fawkes was the hardest book I’ve ever written. But I’ll have to get into that another day. ;-)

Wow, you've got me mighty curious about Fawkes. Guess I'll have to wait until July, though! So, which do you prefer to write: a series, or a stand-alone story?

This might sound weird, but to me all my stories feel like standalone. Some are just longer than others. I prefer to write the story the way it needs to be written. The Out of Time Series had to be a three book series to finish the story. But currently my next two books, Fawkes and Mysterious Title Mwahaha, are both average-length standalone. :)

I see what you mean. Even in a series, it's good for each part to be its own unique story, and deliver a different experience to the reader. When you imagine someone reading your books, what reaction or reactions would you most like them to have?

I want them to leave inspired. Not just inspired writing-wise, but inspired to totally go after life with 100%. To not back down and to realize that they can impact this world in magnificent ways. :) And to realize that God is worth it. There are so many poor representations out there, but when you really get to know Him…He is the one who will send you off to change the world.

Absolutely! What a great point!
Now for a rather personal question. Do you enjoy feedback about your stories even if it’s critical?

I don’t think anyone likes learning that some people didn’t like their stories, but I really appreciate honest readers and the courage it can sometimes take to post a negative review. I love and learn from all feedback. And no matter the level of criticism, I just hope we can be friends. :-) (Even though that sounds cheesy.)

I don't think that's cheesy. Sounds mature to me.
So, what do you like most about being a writer?

Connecting with readers! You would think that I would like writing the best, and I do like that a lot. But it’s so special to connect with readers and show them that I’m accessible and I’m here for them. When I was growing up and social media wasn’t really a thing (wow, that makes me sound old) all my favorite authors felt untouchable—as though they were in this other world. And I would have loved to talk to them about how their stories changed me. Now that there’s social media and I’m an author, I want to be that author that can be reached and that does talk back. :)

Wow, I never thought much about that. What great advice for every author to think about. Thanks Nadine! I'll have to start doing that!
Okay, tell us a bit about your newest book, and what you’re working on now.

My newest book, Fawkes, is a historical fantasy that tells the story of the Gunpowder Plot—where a group of men decided to blow up the king of England in 17th century London. My story is told through the eyes of a plotter’s son and how he joins the plot for his father’s approval, but then faces the impact of whether or not he’s brave enough to go through with it.
 True story, too! (Except for the fantasy elements. :P ) It’s currently up for pre-order and releases July 10th!

Sounds like an awesome story! That's on my to-read list! Nadine, thank you so much for spending time at The Diamond Mine. I really enjoyed this interview!

Well, readers, here is a short bio about Nadine, followed by her social links:

NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes (July 2018) Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom. 

Here are my main social media links:

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