Welcome Debra Brown, author of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire!
Quick Bio from the author: I was born in Minnesota and have lived in California, Idaho and Oregon. I read a lot as a child and student. I went to college, raised a family and ran a business, which kept me from reading for entertainment for many years. However, certain writers, settings and characters remained in my mind. Though some stories disappeared with time, the period writings remained and became a part of who I am. My study of art has been useful in many areas of life, and I still love to paint, but writing is a passion that will probably be my work for the rest of my life.
What inspires your stories?
I have always loved period novels and drama. When life finally slowed down to a reasonable pace, what would have been more enjoyable to me than writing one of my own? I can’t think of anything at all. I remembered the wonderful stories of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as other past era authors, and took my cue from them.
What genre do you gravitate toward and why?
Historical fiction. I love the Regency and Victorian settings because of the polite gentility and the wishful thinking about the life of leisure in pleasant surroundings. I would want it for every person, if that were possible, and not just an upper class. It is, of course, impossible that everyone could live like that, but the sad reality of a servant class and the working poor of the time helps to improve the stories I write. It adds another dimension of characters.
What are your work habits like?
I am still in what I call a surge of work for my first novel. I wrote by day and late into the night with breaks here and there; the story wouldn’t leave me alone. And since it was published, I’ve been working all day at making it known as far and wide as possible. That launch is now taking on a life of its own, and I have begun on my second novel. I plan to work at a balanced pace, though I will have to restrain myself. I will be networking mornings and writing in the afternoons. If I have other things to do during the day, I can fall back on evenings for writing.
What do you consider your best work?
I love the plot and characters from my first novel, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire; it has great twists and turns, but it is a light read. I am grateful to be getting good reviews for an interesting story. My next book, however, For the Skylark, will be a novel of greater depth of emotion. I am very caught up in the emotion myself; it compels me to write. I think I will like Skylark even better.
Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?
I plot my novels out. I must know what the ending is to get the twists and turns to have purpose and lead to the ending. I also find it easier to create surprising twists this way. I think, here is the beginning, and here is the end, but what happens in the middle to make it intriguing, confusing and interesting?
What experience do you want for your readers?
In my first book, I wanted to take the reader away into a different world, into a time free of the workday rush and into a setting of leisure, etiquette and duty. It was meant for relaxation, sighs and laughter. I hoped to leave women longing for a gentleman in their lives. It is a mix of mystery, sweet romance and humor. My second book is more touching and emotional. It may hit home for people with problems similar to those of the characters. However, I do not dwell on the negative feelings long and I bring it around to restore happiness. I want the end to surprise and delight the reader with something he did not expect.
Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?
My settings are realistic for the Regency and Victorian times. I do not make a fairy tale out of the balls and banquets; the truth is that there was great stiffness and snobbery as well as great suffering in other corners of London. The story is not based on my life, however. My characters in my second book deal with some obsessive-compulsive behavior, which is real to my family. That is why I have to work at balance in my writing hours.
What are your most significant challenges when you write?
Any writer needs quiet time, and that can be a challenge. I think that the other great challenge for me is that I cannot shut the story off when I go to bed. A lot of my best ideas come when I am trying to sleep. I know that is a problem for others, too. I have a notebook, now, next to my bed so that I can get the ideas down and not have to worry about forgetting them. They really do disappear if they are not written down!
What are you currently working on?
My second novel is For the Skylark. It is a Regency era story about some young adult twins, Dante and Evangeline, and their strange mother. She is modeled loosely on Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham. I’m sorry to say that Mr. Dickens based her character on a real life woman without exaggerating the situation. People today deal with extreme mental and emotional problems, too, but there can be happy endings. I’ve given it away already; it has a happy ending.
Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?
I’m sure there are many aspiring authors who could advise me! However, I would like to advise people who are thinking that they couldn’t write or couldn’t publish their work, but would like to, to give it a try. I have been amazed when I tried various things that I had talent I never knew I had. Writing is just one of them. Painting is another. Do not hold yourself back!
The Companion of Lady Holmeshire is available in digital format for ereaders through Barnes and Noble, Coffee Time, Smashwords and Amazon.
Available in Trade Paperback at Amazon, World Castle Publications and Barnes & Noble.