Saturday, 9 February 2013


Welcome to day 3 of the Blogger Book Fair, I would like to introduce my next author feature, the wonderful Brooklyn James.

1/ Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi readers. Brooklyn James here, author/singer/songwriter, inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. My first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. This book has ranked in Kindle's Top 100 Coming of Age and Women's Fiction. My supernatural thriller trilogy, Vigilare, is an adaptation from a short narrative film, inspired by vigilante movies such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints. Currently available in the series are Vigilare and Vigilare: Hell Hound (this one is a play on Greek Mythology). My latest release, Get This Body In A Barn: The Milkmaid's Guide To Fitness, was inspired by my childhood growing up on a dairy farm, where I offer practical fitness regimens to get in shape. As you can tell, I am still finding myself as a writer. I feel most comfortable in women's fiction and supernatural genres. I attribute my vast interests to my educational endeavors, which include a Master's in Communication and two Bachelors, one in Animal Science and one in Nursing, as well as a minor in Athletic Training. I enjoy the occasional film class and activity in the local live music scene as part of an acoustic Americana/Country duo. A passion near and dear to my heart is serving as a guest speaker from time to time with a focus on awareness and prevention of Domestic Violence and Suicide.

2/ When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

My mother helped me to decide I wanted to be a writer. I grew up in a very rural area in the States. There were more dairy cows and white-tailed deer than people in my hometown. As a child, when I would complain to my mom that I was bored, Well then, find something to do, she would say. Thus was the impetus of my imaginary and writing wiles, both in stories and songwriting.

3/ Can you tell us something about your books, genre?

Refer to Question #1

4/ Where do you get your ideas from?

Life. I love taking life experiences and characters you meet along the way and 'beefing' them up to a point of intrigue, conflict and resolution. There is so much inspiration in life. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, Truth is stranger than fiction. And it's always fun to rewrite the script of life, giving it a fictitious spin. My first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me is surely autobiographical in parts. I found it truly liberating to purge those experiences, as well as dramatize other not so entertaining aspects. Life is like a roller coaster. As a writer, I believe it's our job to pick out the high-points, featuring those moments in our novels, attempting to fully entertain our readers. And I always ask my readers, if you could rewrite the script of your life, what would it say?

I also enjoy finding inspiration in things that make me uncomfortable or things that make me ask, 'what if.' My supernatural thriller trilogy Vigilare is a perfect example of this. It's a dark, menacing read. I found myself quite uncomfortable in writing many of the scenes, but I thoroughly enjoy that. It's a matter of getting in touch with your alter ego, so to speak, and contemplating good and evil, and things that generally cause one to be at odds. I like a book that makes me think about my position on such things, giving a voice to both sides. And, even though the series is adventurous and has supernatural aspects, it is grounded in a scientific discourse around blood that was actually quite fascinating and educational to research and write.

5/ Are you working on a new book at the moment?

I have two books in the works at the moment. One, a contemporary romance called Let It Go, featuring two divorcees who are forced to start over, learning to trust in their instincts and love. It's an homage to letting go of the excess baggage, from previous experiences and relationships, that weighs you down. I'm thinking of a steamy cover for this one. I've yet to give into that ploy, but I think it could be great fun in casting the cover model! Let It Go will be released March 2013.

The other manuscript is Jolie Blonde, the Vigilare prequel and Stand-Alone slightly Gothic coming of age adventure. This highlights the life of the Vigilare before she was called to her position. I love character back-stories. I think it helps to better define and understand their motivation. It often lends itself to reader empathy as well, seeing from whence the character was rooted and how they came to be in their present position. This book will have an original music soundtrack as well. The soundtrack to The Boots My Mother Gave Me is in the Texas/Alternative Country genre, which fit the setting of the story and its heroine growing up in a small town and graduating into the world. The soundtrack to Jolie Blonde will explore Roots/Blues/Americana music as inspired by its setting in New Orleans. We're actually featuring a remake of the Cajun National Anthem, Jolie Blonde, as the title track. We had a great time with the remake, giving it both the traditional waltz time of Jo-El Sonnier mixed up with a more standard four-four time in the popular style of Bruce Springsteen with full sha-la-la-la-lahs! Both the book and the album for Jolie Blonde will be released June 2013. 

6/ What are your ambitions concerning your writing career?

I love the Indie zone I have fallen into. I live in Austin, Texas and there is a thriving Indie artist community here. The city fully supports their local artists. Our Mom and Pop stores, such as Book People, Bookwoman, Waterloo Records and Wild About Music on the 6th Street, carry all of my stock. Amazon has been a great asset for me, too, even as an Indie. With the release of my first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me wining a quarter finalist position in their Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards helped to solidify my aspirations. I aim to keep on writing both books and music, enthusiastically mixing the two mediums where I can as long as I have a reading and listening audience. I'm quite content and grateful to my fans to be able to write at the Indie level. Sure, I'd love to be a New York Times Bestselling Author. Maybe that will come eventually. But in the Indie music world, we're used to 'paying our dues.' So pay my dues I shall!

7/ Which writers inspire you?

Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Gilbert, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Henry David Thoreau, T.S. Elliot, D.H. Lawrence, Robertson Davies, Lee Child's...and the list goes on. I have a deep affinity for the classics and poetry. I am an avid reader of biographies. I love learning about musicians, artists, writers, all creative types. I find their journeys provocative and inspiring. I especially enjoy athletes biographies and memoirs. I find them to be most similar to writers in that most of them did not rise to success overnight. The way an athlete trains is not so far off from the way a writer in and day out...attempting to better themselves, arriving at the summit.

8/ What book are you reading at present?

A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. I recently finished Outlander (book #1) by Diana Gabaldon. I loved it. Found myself attempting a very poorly executed Scottish-brogue, such as her character Jaime Fraser! Talk about a perfectly researched and executed narrative I look forward to the rest of the books in the series.

9/ What are your thoughts on reviews, good and bad?

As a writer, sure, I look forward to the positive reviews. Waking up to a new, good review can make my entire day. However, I feel anyone who takes precious time out of their life to read my novels has the right to their opinion, even if it is not so favorable. I think it's the same with much in life, we have to remember not to take ourselves so seriously. Art is subjective. Everyone has the right to their feelings and opinions. In the same breath, as a writer don't stumble over the bad reviews. Read them and take from them whatever constructive criticism may be offered. But, take comfort in the good reviews. Those are the words you should latch onto and allow to push you forward in your writing endeavors.

I am a notoriously 'good' reviewer, fittingly so. I have spent countless hours at my computer, attempting to come up with an entertaining cast of characters and a satisfying story line. Even if I don't necessarily enjoy a book, I cannot bring myself to rate it much below four stars simply because I know someone spent a lot of time in telling their tale. It's the same as taking film classes. Prior to studying film, I never gave a second thought to saying, 'that movie sucked!' After taking a few film classes and trying my hand at directing and producing, I gained an entirely different perspective. Now, if I watch a movie that I don't quite connect with, I try and find the positives about it, understanding the crew of people and the time it involved to make it. Ultimately, effort is worth something to me.

To anyone who receives one of those disheartening, snarky and downright mean 'bad' reviews, I refer you to Teddy Roosevelt's 'Man In The Arena:' It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.î

10/ What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would say don't try to please everyone. Art is subjective. Write was is organic and innate to you this method will give you an honest voice that will connect with your readers. Write what inspires you, it will inspire others. Grow thick skin. Understand that there will be readers and critics who do not connect with your work. Be able to accept rejection, it is pivotal in any creative medium. Compile a list of inspirational quotes and keep them close by when in need tack them up on your computer, on your refrigerator, your poster board, your bathroom mirror, what-have-you.

Get yourself a good editor. Write and write and write some more. Know when to let your manuscript go. A book is never finished, that is the truth. I look back on books I've written and I think, 'This part could have been better. I could have made that character so much more interesting. I should have deleted that scene. And yada yada yada. Understand that a book captures a moment in life, not only your characters lives, but your life where you're at emotionally, mentally, psychologically. All of these things play into the outcome of the story somehow. Acknowledge that and understand that your book, whether you would go back and spruce it up in parts, is a representation of that moment in time. Take it for it is, what it was and let it go. Set it free into the universe and cross your fingers! Maybe it's not necessarily your best work, but keep writing and you may eventually create your masterpiece.

Become a one-woman or man PR machine. Don't be afraid to promote yourself and your books. The only way people are going to find out about your books is if you're informing them. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, maintain your own blog network with fellow writers and readers. Readers are voracious. Get on Goodreads. My first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me would not be as successful as it has been without the support in the form of ratings and reviews from the Goodreads community. A few readers there with book blogs latched onto the book, catapulting it into Amazon Kindle's Top 100 Coming of Age and Women's Fiction. If a reader likes your book they will stop at no end to share their opinion with fellow readers.

Last, but certainly not least, appreciate your readers and fans. Interact with them and be gracious for their support. There are so many options for entertainment these days. I have 725 fans on my Facebook page. That may not seem like much to some people, but they're my first 725 and I am truly ecstatic and thankful to them each and everyone!

Thank You Tom for hosting me today. And thank you readers for taking the time to become acquainted. I hope to hear from you!

Where can you be reached?
 My thanks to Brooklyn, a very talented lady indeed.

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