Interview with BJ Brandon

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are those who write about great characters and depth like Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper, Lora Leigh, JR Ward, Sandrine Gasq-dion, TA Web, and RJ Scott. It matters only about the characters, their resolve and need to complete the tasks, and to protect those they love. Every genre, every story needs to have the complexity of personality and realism to draw the reader into the story or else there is no story. It doesn't matter who the lovers are as long as they eventually win in some way.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have many favorite authors, and read many different genre. I love to read what others have posted to see if they enjoyed a book I've already enjoyed. Some may and may not have enjoyed it, but it helps me see where the market it going but also why it may be changing. Not everyone like what others may love, but there is something out there for everyone.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was of a young girl who was desperately trying to escape the clutches of her family in order to protect her unborn son. It was set in a fictional, alter-universe where there was magic and sorcery, evil and death stalking her everywhere. It has never been published and is in a older format that may or may not be retrievable in order to some day rewrite. However, it was based off of my own early experiences as a young woman, trying to feel my way in this world as an unwed mother. The despair and heartache that so many feel, and have no way to express - writing was my only outlet to express those for so long.
What is your writing process?
Usually - I dream. I have a very active imagination, and dream in color. It isn't unusual for me to wake and have fully developed characters formed in my mind that I have to write down in one of my many notebooks. It may be for a current book I'm working on, or, it may be for one that has been dogging me for months and that I finally manage to get a basic outline drawn up for. I have a character program that I use to finally get my "friends" outlined into some kind of real outline, but mostly they are there - talking to me and dreaming with me in my mind. Once a character is there I will usually locate a picture of someone or something that reminds me of them and it goes up on my story board wall so I can look at him/her when I'm working. It's fun, stressful, and painful at times. Full of laughs, tears, and passion.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is always based on my main characters. They "draw" themselves. I merely outline in the synopsis what they look like, what I see, any special markings, and characteristics. I talk it over with my beta readers to make sure we've caught all of the right aspects and that I haven't missed anything, because I trust all of them. Then I send that to my designer and let him have fun. He sends me two or three choices to choose from. If I can't choose a favorite and they are all good, I send them to the beta group and let them vote on it, but my vote is always final. In the end - it has to look, feel and breathe the characters.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1 - JR Wards Black Dagger series - I have EVERYONE of those books, both hard copy and e-books. She is one of my favorite authors - she makes me laugh, cry, and beg to be more like her every time I read one of her books. She is a magnificent writer.
2. Lora Leigh - I love every book this woman has put out. She captures the heart of love, the desperate NEED that two souls find when they first meet, the care of a heart when its broken. I cry with her characters, and ache when they finally find what they need. I strive to ensure my characters are as strong and powerful as her's.
3 - Iris Johansan - From the first book I ever picked up this author grabbed me with her depth of characters, and how twisted they could be, how deep the plots could go. To loose myself in one of her books is to truly enjoy a trip into one of the best author's minds on our generation.
4 - TA Webb - He writes from the heart, from the soul, about loves that are forbidden and needful. He and those he support touch on subjects no one wants to write for or about, but there happens to be a forgotten group of readers who ache to read GOOD fiction. Webb delivers that with every story out there.
5 - RJ Scott - His books move me to be better, to volunteer more, to touch more, and to love more. I cannot explain it better. His books have soul.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Fire and my laptop. I've been known to just get lost in either, depending on my mood.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up as the oldest of four in Northern Texas in a very strict religious home where mom never worked until my brother finally graduated high school and my father owned his own small business. It was frowned upon at that time to wear anything but dresses or skirts to church, I wasn't allowed to wear makeup or date until I was 17 years old, and it was strictly forbidden to date anyone who wasn't of my own religious or ethnic background. Needless to say, I was a tad rebellious. This influenced both my writing and my adult years, choices of professions, and how I raised my family.
When did you first start writing?
My first story was writing in high school. My English teacher pushed me to keep writing, and in fact in my high school year book she wrote a note that she hoped that someday I would find the courage to follow my dreams.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Blood Brothers came from my dreams and fears, knowledge that in real life we cannot stop those in governmental power from carrying out illegal testing in the hopes of perfecting the ultimate soldier in a war that no one can win. I have always been associated with military personnel, both romantically, professionally, and indirectly. So there are ways of discovering information that filter down as rumors, or the troops cover up because they cannot talk about it - or won't. This was my way of writing about it in a fictional manner that allowed me to voice my fears and create a hero of my own that could fight the bad guys.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
They allowed a first time author to publish when everyone else said no. They worked with me and helped me put together a fabulous team for the cover and editing that was without equal and I couldn't have done it without them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is to finish a story and then see the joy on someones face or hear it in the voice when they finish it - and like it. When my sister called me and told me she loved the book, and wanted to know when another was coming out, it gave me such a thrill to know that someone love my writing. That they enjoyed it. That's what I want to do - help people read what they like.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean a lot to me - however, right now I don't know if I have that many. But I want to write to entertain and please, but also to write for myself. The characters are inside of me screaming to get out, I just need readers who want to read about them.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Rafe's story, which is the follow-up of Blood Brothers. It will take Rafe to places he's never been in testing his patience and his temper because Jollie Sanchez is one stubborn woman who is determined to bring the Master down on her own. If he can keep her alive then Rafe will be lucky.
Published 2014-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.