Thursday, July 21, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Nancy Brandt

The Write Way Café welcomes Nancy Brandt, author of fantasy romances who answers the question 'what if' in quirky and interesting ways.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?  
When I was in about sixth grade, our English teacher told us to write a descriptive essay. I wrote about a cave full of gems. It was so much fun that I went into every English class after that hoping to have to write something. It wasn't until my father told me that I should be a writer that I thought about becoming one. Romance wasn't even something I thought about until I graduated from college, hadn't gotten a job, and my sister gave me How to Write a Romance and Get it Published by Kathryn Falk.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? 
I had published Sword & Illusion with Astraea Press, and I found them through a pitch session on a blog. It made sense to send Pigsty Princess to them, too.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 

The hero in Sword & Illusion was a Prince who had a sister who was only interested in clothes, dances and jewelry. I started wondering what would happen if a king had a daughter who was spending all the treasury on dresses and decides to teach her a lesson by marrying her to someone poor.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I write fantasy novels, so I invented a fantasy kingdom for my setting.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
I can't say that I never use parts of real people, but I think they are pretty much imaginary. As far as reflection of myself, I imagine so. I think every writer uses parts of themselves in the characters, but I can't pick out any specific characteristic she has that comes from me.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
Oh, yes. Blocks and I are good friends. Normally, what I do is just keep writing, and tell myself that I'm allow, no required, to write junk. I don't worry how bad the story is because it can always be fixed.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
Pigsty has sold so much better than I expected. In the last quarter, for example, I sold 240 copies in the UK alone! During the writing, sometimes new ideas or solutions to problems come as a surprise out of the blue. A major part of the plot came to me while I was chopping vegetables.

Tell us about Pigsty Princess (Misfit Monarchs Book 1).  What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about pig farmers and princesses? 
I learned that I have to write the whole book all the way through before I can be sure of the story and how it all worked out. Then the other drafts are to add needed scenes and polish. I took an online class on nobility and titles to try to figure class structure. I learned stuff but mostly discovered that it is certainly too complicated for me to try to put in my book. Several beta readers told me they were confused by the titles, so I had to fix that.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 

My writing space varies from day to day. I sit on a sofa or a chair in my bedroom or in the rec room. It all just depends on the day and how I'm feeling. As long as I'm comfortable and have a place to set a big glass of iced tea, I'm good.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 

My favorite books are Princess Daisy, The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, the Weather Warden stories by Rachel Caine, and many more.

What are you working on now?
I am working on the third book in the Misfit Monarchs series. Book 2, Questionable Queen was just accepted by CleanReads.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I have an idea for an "urban" fantasy series about a werewolf pack living in a small town in Northern Pennsylvania.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I would love to be a fashion designer or costume mistress at a theater.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
I hate writing descriptions of people because I don't see them in my head when I read, so it's hard for me to describe a person even looking a picture.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
I love Gideon and Ursula from Questionable Queen, of course, or Mariana and Orlando from Pigsty. My next couple is Haddrick, a pirate, and Oriana, a princess.

In a country where Elemental Sensitivities determine a person's place in society, Mariana, fourth child of King Jonathan and Queen Alexandria, was born an Insensitive. She is given the made up title of Progenna, because she can't be in line for the throne and therefore, can't be a Princess. All her life, she is reminded that she isn't quite good enough. When her father decides she is to marry Pir Leo Valentine, an eighty-four year old man with a scar across his face that took his eye and only one hand, she runs away from the palace.

Orlando of Talla is a pig farmer and former soldier who served the King until he watched his Sovereign burn an entire harbor town rather than lose a battle. Now he tries to live a quiet life while leading a band of rebels who steal from the nobility to bring prisoners home from that war.

Orlando is also the bastard son of a nobleman, and therefore, he has a Sensitivity, one of Blood that allows him to feel the Sensitivities of others.

He finds the injured Progenna in the forest and immediately realizes that the stories about Mariana aren't true. Rather than being an Insensitive, Mariana may be the most powerful Sensitive in Valborough.

CleanReads     Amazon       Barnes & Noble
Kobo      Smashwords     iTunes

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter, 25, who is an appointment's clerk at an orthopedic clinic and an editor and book reviewer; and a son, 12, who studies karate, and wants to be either an historian or an artist. Nancy's husband, Steven, is also an author and an adjunct professor of computer science at Louisiana State University.

In about sixth grade, an English teacher gave an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Nancy's was all about a wonderful cave filled with diamonds, emeralds and other precious gems. From that experience, she walked into every English class hoping to get to write something, and she learned three things:

1. The difference between stalactite and stalagmite,
2. That fantasy was probably the genre she should concentrate on, and
3. Never end a story with "It was all a dream."

Nancy is a kidney transplant recipient (her husband was her living donor), a thyroid cancer survivor, and an Army veteran. She is currently working on the sequel to Pigsty Princess, called Questionable Queen.

Website       Facebook      Goodreads
Twitter:  @NancySBrandt
Instagram: nancysbrandt
Pinterest:  nancy_s_brandt


HiDee said...

Great interview, Nancy. It's good to get to reacquainted! Thanks for being with us!