1. Congratulations on having your novel published. Tell us a little about the novel.
Thank you! MEANT TO BE BROKEN is a YA contemporary romance that explores the thin line between truth and lies in a small town in the Deep South. It is a story about a reluctant rule-follower who breaks Southern etiquette by landing the town’s all-star quarterback and then falling in love with his black-sheep brother. There’s a ton of other family deception and secrets, too!
2. Where did the idea/inspiration come from?
Being from South Carolina, I always knew my books would be based in the South. From there, the underlying themes sort of just “came up” while I was writing. I originally wrote the prologue more than 12 years ago from my tiny blue work cubicle, sent it to my email and promptly let it sit there until 2015 when I finally decided to do something about it. (And no, the prologue didn’t make the final cut!) I started out with a small-town romance and then was surprised by the other themes that continued to arise: the love/hate relationship with a small town; the cultural expectations of being raised in the South; even a few religious undercurrents.
3. Tell us about you…
Reading and writing has always been a part of my life. At age 6, I begin typing out stories on a typewriter and illustrating them. I dabbled in poetry a bit in elementary school and wrote several emotionally-charged pieces about navigating bullies in high school. I majored in English and Writing at Clemson University, though I pursued a journalism focus since everyone warned me that you can’t expect to make a living writing books. I’ve worked in corporate communications, marketing, and magazine writing/editorial for nearly 18 years now but the desire to write a novel never left me, and in 2015, I jumped in with both feet in writing what would become MEANT TO BE BROKEN. Currently, I write full-time, both my novels and for a few select magazines.
I am married with three kids and a sweet boxer puppy named Moonshine. In addition to writing, I play the piano, dabble in photography, love cheering on Clemson Tiger football (the American variety of football) and enjoy driving my Jeep Wrangler on country roads as often as I can!
4. Where and when do you write?
Being a mother of three, I write when I can, where I can. I’ve learned to be uber-flexible. I have a beautiful desk/workstation at home but have to confess that, more often than not, I do my writing in the car line at school. Because I have kids in two different schools, I’m in car line for quite a while each day, so I bring along my notebook and pens and voila! (That’s another fun fact about me: my manuscripts are generally hand-written before they are typed in as a first draft! Old school!)
5. What are you working on now?
Having just completed my mentorship duties with #WriteMentor, I’ll be focusing on promoting MEANT TO BE BROKEN as much as I can while also querying my latest manuscript, another YA contemporary romance. I’m currently writing the 2nd book in the Carolina Clay Series (a follow-up to MTBB) but have also put down extensive notes and a rough first chapter on a new YA that deals with an issue near/dear to my own heart. I’m keeping that one under wraps for now.
6. Desert Island books?
I’m assuming these are my guilty pleasure books? Can I pick a few? ☺ First, I’d have to say the Bible because if I’m on a deserted island, I’m probably going to be doing a lot of praying that the rescue boats are on the way! Secondly, I’d say anything V.C. Andrews. Those books are so fully of spicy Southern drama that they’d keep my mind off of being deserted!
7. Does writing energise or exhaust you?
It energizes me! I love the challenge of figuring out plot twists and heart-wrenching drama that will keep my readers entertained. I love the thrill of creating something that feels real and powerful. It’s a total rush. And my husband says that I’m always happiest when I’m writing, so there’s that! ☺
8. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
This is going to be hard, Brandy. There are so many more factors at play here than a simple “I’m a good writer!” There are days the industry is going to kick you square in the teeth. There are days you are going to want to quit. There are days that you will doubt yourself and everything around you. Even when you find success in any capacity, the self-doubt will creep in, and you’ll wonder why in the H#$% anyone would ever believe in you. The emotions will be everywhere, off the chart, and so damaging if you let them. Remember to breathe and take each step one at a time. Repeat this every day: “It’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it. You’re not everyone. You’re a writer so get up, get out there and do what you do!”
9. What is the first book that made you cry?
WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. I read it for the first time in 2nd grade and was devastated at the end. I tried reading it aloud to my own kids a few years ago and had to freaking quit on the last chapter because I was bawling so hard. It still gets me…maybe more now than before. And don’t even get me started on the waterworks produced by THE VELVETEEN RABBIT!
10. Finally, where can we get your book?
MEANT TO BE BROKEN is available directly from my publisher, on Amazon, or most any book retailer. Also (shameless plug), I’d be honored if anyone would request it at their local library or indie bookstore. And (yes, another shameless request), if you do happen to read MTBB or any author’s work for that matter, please remember to go online and take a moment to leave a review. Your thoughts are critical and we SO appreciate them!
Filles Vertes Publishing: https://www.fillesvertespublishing.com/product/meant-to-be-broken/