You can connect with Brandy via her website: www.brandyvallance.com
Welcome back to the blog, Brandy. I’m so happy to have you visit us!
Thank you so much, Savanna! It’s a pleasure to be back.
Out of all the characters you’ve written so far, which one do you relate to the most and why?
That’s a really difficult question because to write effectively I have to be able to sympathize with all of my characters—even the villains! I have to get into their skin per se and know what they feel and what makes them tick. My daughter laughs at me because when I’m writing I talk like the characters as I type. It’s been said that everyone believes they are the hero of their own story and I think that’s probably true. A really great villain is going to believe that they’re doing what’s right.
As far as my heroines go, Bianca has a lot of sixteen-year-old me in her. Like Bianca, I was an incurable romantic and I was also somehow convinced that I was going to be a spinster. It’s pretty funny when I think about it now. I suppose watching tons of costume dramas will do that to a girl. I had a list of requirements for a husband like Bianca did, although when I wrote The Covered Deep I made parts of her list a lot more ridiculous. I had a metal daybed and I used to keep my list folded up and stored in one of the end posts that came off. Bianca kept her list in a secret compartment in her desk.
Here’s Bianca’s list:
Soul mate must be
(1) a true believer in Jesus Christ
(2) devastatingly handsome, with a slightly wild look in his eyes
(3) brilliant and humorous like Mark Twain
(4) a foreigner, possibly a disgruntled duke
(5) able to quote Bible verses and Shakespeare
(6) a more than capable kisser
(7) adore me completely
I think I can relate to Feya the most because she’s a reflection of the desires of every woman. She’s also been through a lot of hard things and I know that many of us can relate to that. Feya is very imperfect—beautifully so—and I love that about her. She’s a fighter, she lives from her heart, and she is extremely brave. I often look at her and am reminded of what I aspire to be.
What’s one of the strangest things you’ve had to research for a novel?
Hmmm . . . It’s hard to pick just one area of strange. My research takes me down some really weird rabbit holes, but I certainly don’t mind. I’ve always been attracted to the unusual facts from history. For Within the Veil I did a lot of research on the superstitions of Scotland. That turned up quite a lot of interesting things such as the Blue Men of the Minch and a cow being buried alive in Torphichen. I also researched what happens during Beladonna poisoning, and many different aspects of synesthesia.
What is your favorite genre to read? What are you reading right now?
I love reading anything that has really powerful emotions. In other words, if it makes me feel I’m all about it. I try to read in all genres because I believe that makes me a better writer. However, historicals will always be my favorite. I’m in research mode for my third book right now so my reading list is a little different. I’m currenlty reading The Last Abbott of Glastonbury: A Tale of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Do you remember the first time meeting one of your favorite authors? Who was it and can you tell us a bit about it?
Meeting Francine Rivers was a highlight. Like many others, when I read Redeeming Love I was pretty blown away. I sat beside Francine at a conference and she was very kind and easy to talk to. I also greatly admire James Scott Bell and had the pleasure of meeting him once. What strikes me the most about a lot of famous writers is that they are very approachable and very humble. I think that’s a wonderful thing.
Wow! I would love to meet both of them. And you’re right… authors are some of the nicest people I’ve met! 🙂
You’ve entered and won several writing awards. What advice would you give for aspiring authors before they enter in writing contests?
Make sure you have a good critique group. Writers need writers. Besides that, just go for it. Enter as many contests as you can. My cousin used to say, “If you throw enough stuff against the wall, something’s bound to stick.” It’s the law of perseverance. Don’t give up. And don’t take it too hard when certain judges don’t like this or that. I once had someone shred my writing so bad that I didn’t write for six months. Writing is a process and it’s a journey for sure. We grow as writers just as we are hopefully growing as people. Trust your intuition. Believe in yourself and believe in your story. Often we are our worst enemy. Don’t forget to celebrate everything. Entering a contest is really brave. Keep doing things that scare you.
If you happen to final in a contest it’s really hard not to hang everything on winning. We all typically go crazy waiting for that moment. We’re obsessed with the award or the contract because we think things will change. We somehow have this illusion that we’ve made it. But that never happens, I can assure you. And if you think you’ve made it you’ve already lost because there is plenty more we have to learn. In this business some of the most important moments happen along the way to our destination. It’s the friends you meet and the conversations you have in the “in between” that prove to be the most important. Don’t let an award (or the lack thereof) define you as a writer or as a person.
Thank you for this. Wise words for all of us.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I’m very excited that Within the Veil is going to be an audiobook. Having an audiobook has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. We’re anticipating that the audiobook will be available in April or May on Audible.com. I’m over the moon that the voice actor is from the UK. I love her accent and I think she does a fantastic Feya and a really swoon worthy Alasdair. Below is a sample. What do you think?
That is so neat! Yes, love her accent. I so need to read this book. 🙂 Thanks so much for joining us today, Brandy. Blessings to you and yours in 2017!
Thanks for having me, Savanna!
Brandy has graciously offered to give away an e-copy of Within the Veil to one lucky reader. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends March 7, 2017. The winners will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉