About the author: Brea Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and three sons, but her international support network stretches as far as Australia. She’s an administrative assistant at an environmental consulting firm for forty hours a week and a writer all the other waking hours of the week not taken up by motherhood, wifedom, reading, and watching Netflix. (That leaves a surprisingly large number of hours, believe it or not.) Her published novels are Daydreamer, The Secret Keeper Series, Plain Jayne, Quiet, Please! Let’s Be Frank, and Let’s Be Real (Books 1 and 2 in the Nurse Nate Trilogy). Her twelfth book, Out of My League, releases October 13, 2015 (tomorrow)!
Describe your books in five sentences: The one thing all of my books—whether standalone or series—have in common is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Even when I’m addressing serious themes, like adoption, divorce, or even death, my characters are navigating those issues in amusing ways, reminding us that fiction is fun, and fictional people—mine, anyway—always figure it out. Real life is hard. It’s important to me that readers recognize their own lives in my stories and characters, but I also want to provide an escape. It’s no spoiler to tell you my books end happily; it’s how the characters get to that happily-ever-after that keeps readers turning the pages (hopefully).
When did you know you were a writer? I’ve known I was a writer since I was a little girl and tried to mimic my favorites: Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and E.L. Konigsberg. Most days I still don’t feel like an author, but I have a dozen books out there that say otherwise. I’d say the first time it felt real to me was when a cashier at a store recognized my name on my debit card and asked me if I was the same Brea Brown who wrote The Secret Keeper. I still can’t believe that happened!
Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process: I try to publish two books a year. That means I’m constantly juggling projects. One will be in the resting phase, between drafts, while I’m putting the finishing touches on another for publication, and another is in the brainstorming/honeymoon phase. I typically have three projects going at any one time. It keeps me busy and is definitely never boring!
Salty or sweet? My stories are the Crunch-n-Munch of the literary world. They’re a good mix of salty and sweet, and they stick with you for a while after you set them down. Continuing the comparison, I also recognize that means there’s no great nutritional value in my stories, but they’re a delicious treat. I just hope I don’t give people cavities (or a stomachache).
Is the social media a help or a hinder? Big help! I’ve connected with so many readers on Facebook, and sometimes social media is about the only marketing I have the time or energy (or inclination) to do. Without it, I’d be sunk. Plus, nothing brightens my day more than a chat with a reader about books, food, and just life in general. Follow me! (My links are provided somewhere in here.)
What is a typical day like in your home? Uh… crazy? I have a kindergartner, a sixth grader, and a freshman in college living under my roof, and both my husband and I have full-time jobs outside of the house. ’Nuff said?
Do you have any writing rituals? Because life is so hectic, I have a strict weekday writing schedule. I get up at 4:30 a.m., make a cup of coffee, and write until it’s time to wake up the two youngest kids for school at 6:30. Those two hours are my sacred writing time. Most of the time, especially when I’m in the zone, I resist checking social media and keep my head down, writing or editing (or whatever else I’m doing at that stage of the process). Usually, I’m too tired to multi-task, anyway, and nobody else in the house needs my attention at such an early hour, so it’s the perfect time to focus.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Still cranking out books and getting more ideas than I know what to do with, I hope. Maybe with a few more readers, but if not… that’s okay, too. I love the readers I have and don’t take a single one of them for granted. They are the sweetest, most supportive, most loyal people on the planet!
Since becoming an author, what have you learned most about yourself? I’m more perseverant than I thought. I always kind of saw myself as a strong starter and a tough talker but wasn’t big on follow-through. Well, you can’t be the author/publisher of twelve published novels if you don’t stick with projects until the end. I’m genuinely surprised every time I finish writing a book and see it out there for people to buy and read.
Every author must have (a): Fortitude. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have the drive to finish a job and do it well, you’ll eventually find some other, easier way channel your energy and amuse yourself. You have to be resilient. On any given day, that means starting over when a project isn’t working, dusting yourself off after a bad review, isolating and improving the weaknesses in your writing, or getting up at 4:30 a.m. when you’d rather stay under the warm covers. But you have to be self-motivated.
What do you want people to take away from your books? Good people can prevail. And you don’t have to be perfect to be a good person who’s worthy of your happily-ever-after. Also, finding humor in everyday life is essential. One of my favorite compliments from readers is when they tell me I’ve made them laugh out loud, especially in a public place or next to a sleeping spouse. Laughing is my favorite.
Can you tell us what you’re working on now? Let’s Be Friends, the third and final book in my Nurse Nate Trilogy is due out in the spring, so I’ll be hitting rewrites and edits on that one pretty hard after the holidays.
I’m also in the middle of writing the first draft of another book (a standalone… I think), but I don’t even have a title for that one yet, and I still have no idea how it’s going to end, because… that’s how I roll. I will say it takes place in a sleepy northeastern U.S. town, is chock-full of cringe-worthy moments, and includes a lot of death jokes. But… that’s all I’m going to say for now.
And releasing tomorrow (GULP!) is my twelfth novel, Out of My League, the first book in my Underdog Trilogy:
Maura Richards has a plan for her life—it involves not having a plan. From biding her time at a long-term temp job to ending relationships before they get too serious, Maura’s only commitment is to being noncommittal.
When she meets Jet Knox, the starting quarterback of her beloved hometown football team, she dismisses their encounter as a thrilling brush with celebrity she can drag out at parties for a few years, and nothing more. Jet has other ideas. He’s someone who’s made a living setting—and scoring—goals. Wooing Maura is his latest objective.
Everyone in Maura’s life seems to have a take on her relationship with the All-Pro QB, but with so many swirling opinions, rumors, and doubts, Maura must rely on the judgment of the very last person she feels she can trust: herself.
**Click HERE to pre-order “Out of My League” now!
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**Click HERE to check out all of Brea’s books!