Hello everyone! I’d like to welcome you to my first author interview/giveaway. I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s with Brandy Purdy who has quickly become one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. I hope you find this informative and entertaining!
About the author: Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of several historical fiction novels including: THE BOLEYN WIFE, THE BOLEYN BRIDE, THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE RIPPER’S WIFE, AND THE SECRETS OF LIZZIE BORDEN. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, watching classic movies, or spending time with her cat, Tabby. Visit her website at http://www.brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she’s been reading.
Thank you Brandy for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!
1. Has your writing process changed at all since your first book?
Not really. I always work at night; there are just too many distractions during the day. I do either the outline or research and notes first, depending on how much prior knowledge I have on the subject and then I start writing. I try to write at least six nights a week.
2. All your books are historical in nature. On average, how long does it take you from the time you begin your research to the actual completion of your novel?
It takes about eight months to a year, depending on what is going on in my life, if anything happens to cause a delay, and my familiarity with the subject and its complexity. Between one and three months of that time is devoted to research and notes.
3. Do you work on more than one book at a time?
I wish I could but I am the world’s worst multi-tasked. I’m a classic movie buff and there’s a line in my favorite Buster Keaton silent comedy SHERLOCK JR about someone trying to do two things at once and doing justice to neither, and that’s me exactly.
4. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Violent?
Happy love stories are the hardest of all for me, I tend to obsess and worry over them the most and whether I can pull it off; I’ve been spectacularly unlucky in love in my own life and at this point I’ve pretty much given up so it’s very hard for me to get into the head of someone who has actually succeeded in that area. If I was ever hired to write a Harlequin romance it would probably be the worst book ever. Recreating Jack the Ripper’s diary (The Ripper’s Wife) was probably the hardest so far. It’s very dark and ugly, violent and cruel, and to have to get into the head of a person like that, it’s not a nice place to go, but it was the most challenging and fascinating writing experience I have ever had and I would love to have an experience like that again. As a writer I prefer flawed and damaged characters to the seemingly perfect or saint-like.
5. Just as your books inspire other writers, what authors have inspired you to write?
Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS was one of the first historical novels I read and it really awakened a love of historical fiction in me and I read FOREVER AMBER by Kathleen Winsor shortly after. I also read GONE WITH THE WIND at a very early age, I think I was about eight, and I saw the movie even earlier. It’s my favorite. I’ve seen it more than 100 times! My family is originally from Georgia and knew Margaret Mitchell as a nodding acquaintance (no interesting stories to tell unfortunately) but I grew up with GONE WITH THE WIND.
6. What is your least favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I have a love hate relationship with deadlines. They help keep me on track and help to manage my time, but they also place me under a lot of stres, because sometimes things happen that interfere. Take my last book for instance. I had not one but two construction projects going on right by my house which destroyed my sleep schedule, and once it gets off track it is extremely hard for me to get back to what is normal for me; a neighbor with a constantly barking dog that then had five barking puppies; and I developed an eye infection that cost me about a month’s work since I could only see out of one eye, so I was working right up until the last minute, sleeping and working and nothing else, then still had to beg for more time. I was completely exhausted to the point where my eyes wouldn’t stay in focus, and I’m still trying to bounce back. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by causing a delay in the publishing schedule, hopefully I haven’t done that. I’m still waiting for my editor’s verdict and to find out if any revisions are necessary.
I also hate the unrealistic expectations people who are not writers often have about writers. It can be very frustrating, especially if such people are family or people you see on a regular basis and are difficult to avoid. It becomes very frustrating when instead of finding support and understanding from the people closest to you, you are instead bombarded with constant criticisms because from their viewpoint you aren’t doing well enough (like Danielle Steel or Stephen King) and they think that your being a writer is too hard and not worth it, when really it’s none of their business. It’s not their life or their choice or their passion. I finally got to the point where I refuse to talk about my work anymore with anyone in my life and when they start talking about it I walk away if I possibly can.
7. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Be realistic. Don’t look at the writing profession through rose colored glasses. Be patient, don’t expect to succeed overnight. Rejection is a big part of this business, and if you really feel this is something for you, gamble on yourself if no one else will when the time is right. If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be doing this interview now. After I finished my first novel I was signed by one of the top literary a genies in New York, but I got nowhere, because I was a nobody from nowhere to put it bluntly and established clients came first. I stayed with them through my second novel, still getting nowhere. I finally decided to gamble on myself since no one else would and I self-published (if you do that make sure you do a lot of research about the different publishers and understand you have to work to get your book noticed, you can’t just sit back and wait for the royalties to come rolling in). That led to me being discovered and my second novel, which began life as VENGEANCE IS MINE, now known as the THE BOLEYN WIFE, was bought by Kensington Books. I was very lucky.
8. You’ve written about some pretty interesting historical figures including Lizzie Borden. If you could go back in time and meet one of them, who would you choose and what would you ask them?
Jack the Ripper; I’d like to know what happened to turn a man into a monster.
9. If you weren’t an author, what would you do for a living?
That’s the scariest question I’ve ever been asked, and one that is very much on my mind lately. I haven’t the foggiest idea.
10. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
These questions are really starting to scare me! Let’s skip ahead to the lighter ones please.
LOL! Okay Brandy. Here’s some fun ones.
Coffee or tea?
Neither. Hot chocolate.
If you were a superhero what would your power be?
Healing. So no one would be trapped in darkness, silence, paralysis, or live their life in pain.
What literary character is most like you?
I’m embarrassed to say my mind is drawing a complete blank.
What secret talent do you have?
Baking red velvet cupcakes from scratch.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
The Lizzie Borden bed and breakfast. I’d love to spend a night in the supposedly haunted bedroom.
Brandy’s next book TWO EMPRESSES will be coming out on January 31, 2017 and it looks to be every bit as exciting as her others! Here’s the synopsis:
On the island paradise of Martinique, two beautiful, well-bred cousins have reached marriageable age. Sixteen-year-old Rose must set sail to France to marry Alexander, the dashing Vicomte de Beauhamais. Golden-haired Aimee will finish her education at a French convent in hopes of making a worthy match.
Once in Paris, Rose’s illusions are shattered by her new husband, who casts her off when his mistress bears him a son. Yet revolution is tearing through the land, changing fortunes–and fates–in an instant, leaving Rose free to reinvent herself. Soon she is pursued by a young general, Napoleon Bonaparte, who prefers to call her by another name: Josephine.
Presumed dead after her ship is attacked by pirates, Aimee survives and is taken to the Sultan of Turkey’s harem. Among hundreds at his beck and call, Aimee’s loveliness and intelligence make her a favorite not only of the Sultan, but of his gentle, reserved nephew. Like Josephine, the newly crowned Empress of France, Aimee will ascend to a position of unimagined power. But for both cousins, passion and ambition carry their own burden.
From the war-torn streets of Paris to the bejeweled golden bars of a Turkish palace, Brandy Purdy weaves some of history’s most compelling figures into a vivid, captivating account of two remarkable women and their extraordinarily destinies.
For a chance to win an autographed copy of her phenomenal book THE SECRETS OF LIZZIE BORDEN, just leave a comment below. If you missed my review of it back in January here it is https://cadburypom.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/the-secrets-of-lizzie-Borden-by-brandy-purdy-5-0-stars/
I’m sorry this giveaway is limited to U.S. readers only. I’ll be choosing a winner on Monday, May 16th. Good Luck!