Indie Support Sunday: Brandy Pelletier
Given the title of this series, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I try and befriend as many indie authors as possible. Which is how I connected with Brandy. At the time, she was promoting her debut Between The Lines and I was greedy for more about the book. Then I read it and let me just say…it blew me away. Brandy poured so much of her own experiences into the story and the relationship between Tessa and Luke was so beautiful!
In case you missed it and are eagerly awaiting the next one, Brandy not only revealed the title—Keeping The Score—she’s also finished the first draft. And I for one, am beyond excited to read it!
As you read this interview, don’t be surprised to find that Brandy is the warmest person ever. Her debut Between The Lines is available now in Kindle Unlimited.
BEING AN AUTHOR
Who or what inspired you to write?
Since childhood, I feel like it’s something I’ve been decently good at; my teachers always praised my writing in school. Also, I’m an avid reader, and I’ve always found solace and escape in others’ words. So I’ve felt very inspired to try and make others feel the same way I feel after finishing a really good book.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is getting to be my own boss. I am in control of all the decisions when it comes to my work. Conversely, I’d say that’s also the worst part! LOL! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started this journey. Self-promoting has been the hardest part, honestly. My mental health has struggled with this–I waver between not wanting to be too aggressive (because it’s just not my personality to be), and worrying about not being aggressive enough (because I definitely don’t want my hang-ups to be the reason this story doesn’t get out into the world.) It’s been very hard for me to “break into” the indie author world on Instagram because I haven’t had the time, as a full-time educator, to really get “in there” and post about or shout-out other indies as much as I’d like to.
Also, I feel ancient compared to some of them…I feel like such a late-bloomer in this world. (At the ripe-old age of 43! Haha!) But like, teaching myself how to make reels has been painful! I compare it to when my grandparents were learning how to program a VCR. (And I’ve really just aged myself with that reference!) I will say that there have been several indie authors who have been so lovely about answering my questions and sharing my book.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
I’m such a daydreamer. Honestly, that’s where most of my writing ideas come from. It can be hard to find the time to do that, but I find my mind wandering as I drive home from work, as I pick up around the house, as I’m trying to fall asleep at night.
If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?
I adore this question as much as I dread it! Only because I’m like, “How much time do you have?” I love being someone’s go-to for book recs. I first ask them what genres they like to read, and once I have that answer, it’s off to the races! I also love convincing peeps to read outside of their preferred genres. I recently got a contemporary romance friend hooked on ACOTAR. (I call that series the gateway drug of the fantasy genre!) So here are my top recs as of right now:
Fantasy/Romantasy: Fourth Wing (phenomenal); ACOTAR; the Plated Prisoner series; the Beneath Black Sails series by Clare Sager (I don’t see it mentioned a bunch but it’s AMAZING); the Witch Walker series by Charissa Weaks (also phenomenal and I’m obsessed with witchy books, so…perfect!)
Listen. I could go on for hours. I also have recs for dark romance, mafia romance, MC romance, historical romance…basically if it’s a subgenre of romance, I can hook you up!
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
I think the biggest advice I’ve had to constantly remind myself of is to keep my focus on my own book’s journey. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Also to write what you love to read; because if you love it, chances are, others will love it, too.
ROMANCE AS A GENRE
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?
Simply put: I love love. I love reading about characters falling in love. I love the swoony moments and flirty banter and heartfelt speeches and juicy angst and steamy spice…all of it.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
Honestly I never see myself writing anything that doesn’t involve a HEA. But if I had to choose…probably fantasy. It would be really hard to not throw some romance into it, though!
What are your most and least favorite tropes?
I’m a trope whore and eat them all up with a spoon. The only ones I can’t get behind are cheating, miscommunication, and love triangles. Everything else is fair-game. (Yes, even accidental pregnancy, if it’s done well!)
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I didn’t grow up with siblings, but it might be fun to do a brother’s or sister’s best friend trope. Fake dating is a fun one, too.
If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?
I love to read those scenes, so I wanted to write my own! I don’t know if anything specifically inspired it, but I knew I wanted the MMC to be all about consent. He asks her several times if he can do this or do that to her. That’s freaking hot to me! LOL!
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I’m a reading interventionist and for my day job, I work with kids who are struggling readers. I’m constantly researching the best instructional methods, and one night I happened upon a trailer for a documentary about reading instruction in America. It featured interviews with adults who never learned how to read…and the idea hit me like lightning, like “That’s it! That’s what I’ve been waiting for!” I couldn’t recall reading a contemporary romance that deals with that topic. I carried this idea with me for months and every time an idea for a scene or dialogue popped into my head, I added it to a note on my phone. That note is now the length of like three CVS receipts, but it contains so many moments that made it into the book!
Can you briefly tell me about your debut?
My debut novel is titled Between the Lines. It features Luke Shipley, a single father living in a small town who’s carrying a big secret…he never learned how to read. Tessa Burton is the new girl in town, a children’s librarian who just happens to be put in charge of the adult literacy program. Cue the butterflies!
Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?
Hands down, Luke Shipley. He is the heart of this story, and I really wanted to get his journey just right.
If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?
This is a fun question, but I honestly don’t see any mainstream actor or actress in these roles. I’d want to go with absolute unknowns! This would be their big break! Ha!
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
Tessa and I are A LOT alike when it comes to personality traits, but not so similar in our life experiences. I tried really hard not to make her a copy-paste version of me, but a lot of me got in nonetheless!
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
My second book, Keeping the Score, is currently in the editing stages. I can’t wait to share Mel and Cordell’s story with y’all! (Hoping for a March 2024 release!)
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I deeply connect to books that make me feel all the feels. The ones that make me cry, laugh, get angry, swoon, shake my fist, gasp, etc. It’s my sincere hope that people who read something I write will feel a spectrum of emotions while they’re on the journey.
Confession: I’m an Enneagram 4 and it’s very hard for me to pick favorites in any category, but I’ll do my best!
Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks—All of the above (See?!)
Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense—Romantasy, but I’m an equal opportunity reader and love all romance genres!
Single or Dual POV—Either, but dual is my favorite!
Standalones, series or standalones in a series—whatever gets the story told
Open door, ajar door or closed door romances—Open is my preference, but I’ve liked the others in books as well. Except for “So Lorcan did.” I’m still salty about that one.
Music or silence when writing—Mostly silence, sometimes music
Plotter, pantser or plantser—Plantser all the way
Water, tea, coffee or….wine?—When writing…water. When not writing…margs.
Cold or warm weather—I definitely live in the wrong place–I love cold weather.
Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—Afternoon or night. I’m not good at adulting before 10 am.
Illustrated or photo cover?—Both!
Make sure you give Brandy a follow on Instagram to stay updated on all her book news!