It’s been seventeen years since I first published my debut novel. (It’s out of print, and yah… It was pretty bad!)
But I’ve never forgotten what it feels like to see one’s work published for the very first time. It’s right up there with having your first beer, or losing your virginity. It’s a wedding day, a child’s birth, and golden anniversary all rolled into one.
I work for Black Velvet Seductions Publishing now, but I came up on the ‘indie’ scene. And I have never forgotten – and never will – just how much amazing literature can be found just around the corner from the ‘mainstream’ publishers. I came out the gate dark, raw, and firmly entrenched in the world of off-kilter lit.
So, my friends, today it is my honor to host someone who is about to kick off her literary career in much the same manner as I did. She’s dark, she’s intense, and she’ll TOTALLY make ya blush! She is destined to rock the literary world, of this I am absolutely certain.
In addition to being possessed of a certain shining dark talent, this gal has also been a great friend. Birds of a feather tend to flock together, regardless of publisher affiliation. Dark Romance is a niche all its own…
And it was in that niche that I first bumped into Brandi.
So without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen… I give you BRANDI HANSON!!
(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)
Q: When did you first start writing?
A: It had to be around 6 or 7. I checked a book out at the library about a girl with a bad attitude, and it inspired me to write my own story about a girl who had a sour attitude. I never finished it as I shifted to my own fantasy world but I’ll never forget how I started!
Q: What is your first published work and what do you think of it now?
A: Technically, my debut novel A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN will be my first published work. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. As for what I think of it….it’s a beautiful story about a witch and her twin brother navigating through life problems and relationships while trying to survive. There are some sexy scenes in there, but romance is simply a side plot. The main focus is the fantasy plot and how the characters cope with faced with the fact that they have to save the world. It’s not perfect yet, but by the release date, it will be! My characters guide me pretty easily.
Q: Do people you know make appearances in your writing?
A: YES! My main female character in my debut novel – A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN – has a best friend by her side throughout her ordeal with trying to survive. That character is based off of my real life best friend. If someone begs me to put them in my novel, I kill them off in brutal ways. And lastly, two of my villains are based off of people I know. They’re the Shadowbound (evil) witches after our MC.
Q: Do family and friends help with writing and marketing?
A: Definitely. My friends were the ones to coax me into publishing A Rose for the Fallen. They told me if I don’t publish it, I’m wasting a good story. I’m so thankful for that push. My friends also help me run my author support group, Aislin’s coven members – Sins and Stories for Readers and Authors.
Q: Do you have stories you haven’t written yet?
A: HELL. YES. After the A ROSE series is complete, I will be making a stand alone novel from the series, a spin off series, and then two completely unrelated stories. They’re both paranormal romances.
Q: Do you target a certain demographic?
A: Yup. Anyone who likes paranormal romance and werewolf sex should check out A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN and the rest of the A ROSE series.
Q: Have you ever written non-fiction?
A: Only high school reports on various topics. I’m much more interested in paranormal romance and fantasy than real life. Reality sucks.
Q: Do you drink?
A: Nope. I don’t have the acquired taste of alcohol!
Q: Are you married? How does it affect your writing?
A: I have an extremely compassionate husband who only wishes to see me succeed. If I need to go write, he has no problems allowing me to do that.
Q: Have your life experiences affected your writing?
A: Without shelling out a sob story – yes. I created my universe for A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN as an escape from trauma I was experiencing. Writing and visiting my world is an escape from reality. It changed the way I wrote my villains – as I based the villains off of real people who have harmed me greatly in my life.
Q: Do you consider yourself a “normal” writer or more of the tormented artist?
A: Nothing about how I write is normal. Most people can sit down and write 5k words in a few hours each night. Not me. I have to be kissed by the Gods and blessed by the angels to sit and write. The inspiration has to be there or else my writing comes across disingenuous and forced. I will never put out half ass work, so you can guarantee everything from me is top quality and polished to the best of my ability. It’s not about money to me, it’s about the love of my series and the love of writing.
Q: Do you listen to music when you write?
A: ABSOLUTELY. Symphonic power metal really gets me going during fight scenes. Anything powerful and fast makes writing a paranormal/urban fantasy romance world even better. All of the books in the A ROSE series will have a page dedicated to songs for scenes so you, as the reader, can sit back and listen to these songs to be able to visualize the chaos around you.
Q: Have you ever written a story based off of your life experiences?
A: Actually, there is an overarching theme in A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN of fear of abandonment. My main female character, Mona Kinkade, has trust issues with her werewolf boyfriend. They have to work through this while trying not to get murdered by an evil witch called a Shadowbound. Mona is me. This is something I experienced as a young adult, and how I managed to work through it.
Q: Is your writing time planned out?
A: Never. I write when the inspiration hits me and I don’t when the light isn’t on.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?
A: When people tell me they love so and so character. That makes my heart swell. I love them, too! I love them like they’re real people.
Q: Who is your favorite author, and why?
A: I have two, because I’m a rebel like that. Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark Hunter series is the first. She truly inspired me to put all the raunchy sex in my books because I learned there’s a market for it and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. She taught me that enjoying werewolf sex isn’t a problem and there are a lot of us who like it, too. Second is Raven Kennedy. Some of my favorite series came from her and she was my first true introduction to kinky paranormal romance.
Q: Which character of yours is your favorite?
A: Easy. Mona’s twin brother in the A ROSE SERIES, Kura Kinkade. He’s the overprotective big brother. He would do anything to protect his family and protect the coven, Aislin, from the Shadowbound threat that looms over them. He is also an imperfect person. He has flaws. He’s a powerful witch, yes, but he cannot deal with stress and uses outside means to cope such as eating too much fast food or chain smoking. His temper can explode sometimes as well but Kura means well. He’s a true sweetheart and I’ve watched him grow and mature over the course of my life and the course of writing. He makes me so proud.
Q: Do you prefer to read fiction similar to what you write?
A: That’s all I ever truly read. It helps inspire me, and I like sexy men being badasses and kicking villain butt with their mate.
Q: What’s a quirky thing that readers may not know?
A: As dumb as this sounds, I can’t write a story unless I’ve “met” the characters. That means they show up to me in my head and introduce themselves. Then they’ll put down what they look like and who they are as a person. Then, they’ll instruct me how they’d like me to write them. My characters for the A ROSE series have been around since I was six years old, so I’ve essentially grown up with them and I’m very well acquainted with them. For my other stories, I’ve only had a few new characters pop up and tell me about themselves, so this will be interesting. I’m not in any rush to get any of the other stories done so if no one makes their debut to me, it’s not a problem. I’ll wait for them to show.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Sweeney Todd. The music, the dreariness, the overall feeling of hopelessness and despair you get from the movie is beautiful. I’ve seen that movie so many times I know every line.
Virginia – Thank you SO much for being here today, Brandi! I can’t wait to see your novel released, and I expect great things from you in the future!
Brandi – Thank you so much for having me! If you’re interested in keeping up to date with everything in the A ROSE series, please visit my Facebook page at Brandi Hanson- Paranormal romance author.
BRANDI HANSON’S DEBUT NOVEL ‘A ROSE FOR THE FALLEN’ WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON! In the meantime, please take a moment to join her FaceBook page!!!