Interview with Contemporary Romance Author Brandi Kennedy

November 20, 2013

Hello Fellow Junkies,

Today, I've got a post about my very good friend and fellow author, Brandi Kennedy. She is the author of the contemporary romance books "The Kinsley Series" and also the fantasy series called "The Selkie Trilogy."

Brandi often writes about topics that are not often touched on in such detail in other books, ranging from domestic abuse through to depression and anxiety. I recently managed to sit down with this truly wonderful woman and got to ask her some questions about her writing and what inspires her.

What inspires you to write every day? 

Honestly, I really don’t write every day – but when I do write, it’s just the love of writing that gets my fingers flying over the keys. Inspiration comes from just about anywhere; I can’t believe how often one little thought seems to work itself into a full-on novel idea. I actually have a notebook where I keep those. But really, this is like any other career that any other person does ... I’m hoping someday to be successful enough to live full-time on what I make from my writing. 

Deep down in the heart of why I’m doing this though, it’s just the love of the craft. Writing is like art for me, it’s like painting but with words, with poetic prose and with vivid imagery. It’s more personal for me than oils, than clay, than any other medium (except maybe music) because words are so incredibly powerful. I’m thankful every day to have this type of expressive gift.

If you could choose a male lead from your books to jump from the pages, who would it be and why?

Aiden, from Fighting For Freedom. He’s strong, he’s patient, he’s sexy. He’s got that long-lost-love appeal. And he’s there for Christine, feeling protective of her, wanting to save her but willing to let her save herself. He’s drawn from some of the best men I’ve ever known. 

Then again, so is Drew Kingsley from Fat Chance, and we already know he likes a girl with curves. They all have their good points though; Mac from Prescription For Love is so incredibly understanding and so sweet, Malik from Selkie is such a charmer and he has that hero thing going for him, from when he saved Annie from drowning. And then there’s Xander, and he’s sexy as hell in Wrestling Harmony.

You have the Kingsley Series. How many books in total will there be?

I can’t say for sure, but there are plans for at least six, possibly seven. Fat Chance was Cass and Drew’s story, Prescription For Love was Cameron and Mac’s story. Wrestling Harmony gives us Harmony’s romance with Xander Harrison, who was named by the fans on my Facebook page. Michael and Evan are still waiting for their stories to be told, still waiting to find love of their own. And then of course, there’s the obvious, the love story between Adam and Eva Kingsley, the two who started it all. There may be a few other stories or spin-off novellas though; I’m not really sure yet.

The original version of Selkie wasn’t well-received. Why do you think that was?

Oh, the ending, for sure. Annie was a real character, with real pain and real experiences that we can all relate to. But the end of To Love A Selkie was very hard for today’s readers to accept because it was terribly tragic. Most reviews on it were very angry and very bitter about the original ending, even if the reader liked the story.

You’ve since re-written Selkie and made it into two parts. Did you feel that previous critics will be silenced by this new, two-part book?

So far, the extended version of the story has been much more well-received, and I’m looking forward to writing Selkie II sometime in the early part of next year.

How long is the process of writing for you? Do you review and edit as you go? How many beta readers do you have? How long from finishing the book before hitting the ‘publish’ button?

I think the length of time depends on the characters and where they take the story. I don’t really read as I go, but I do take notes along the way (since all of my books have follow-up books coming) that I can use later. I send each chapter out (to several readers) as I’m in the writing process; they send feedback, help catch plot holes, things like that. I work their notes and suggestions in as I’m writing, if I can. 

Then there are beta readers that read through the book once it is complete.  Those notes are added as I’m doing a final read-through, and then it’s off to Amazon. The time from the end of the book to the actual live publication varies, depending on how much time my betas are able to devote to reading, how many beta readers there are, and how many errors need to be fixed. I try to keep them coming pretty quickly though.

Are you still blown away when you get messages from fans about your books?

Yes, I am. Every review touches me, and every personal message touches me. Those people? The ones that reach out to tell me that I’ve touched them? They are why I keep writing.

How much of your real-life experiences go into your book’s plots and characters? Can you give us an example?

Sure, they’re all examples. And to tell the truth, sometimes I don’t even realize how real life my characters are until after I’ve written them. Case in point: when I wrote Rick (Fat Chance’s “villain”) he was just a jerky guy who liked to shoot off at the mouth. Throughout the story, we get to know him a bit better and realize he’s lashing out at Cass out of wounded pride. 

It didn’t even click for me how real he was when I was writing him, but he is a direct character from my personal past. He’s real, though I didn’t notice as first. There are lots of characters that I write on purpose though: Cass’s struggle with her weight and her self confidence are drawn directly from my personal experiences, and a lot of the things she was saying to herself came either from my personal thoughts in the past or from conversations that I’ve had with other plus-sized women in my life. 

Cameron’s experience with rape was a tribute to several people that I know who have personal experiences with rape. Sometimes it’s more personal but less intense; for instance, the girl running the bookstore in Selkie looks a lot like my oldest daughter. 

Lester, the serial groom from Prescription For Love is modeled after someone I know who will date anyone but can’t commit. Drew from Fat Chance, his middle name is Ryan, the same as my children’s dad. Eva, the matriarch of the Kingsley family? That’s my grandmother’s first name. And Harmony’s middle name is Jane, a little surprise I’ve worked in for my mother, who shares the same middle name. 

In Fighting For Freedom, Christine is taken almost directly from things that I have seen or experienced during my lifetime. There are countless examples in each book.

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If you'd like to know more about Brandi Kennedy and her books, you can find her here...

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    Goodreads     Authorgraph

Or click on each book to find out more...

"The Kingley Series"

"Fighting for Freedom"
"Still Fighting for Freedom" due out 2014

"Selkie - Book One"
"Selkie - Book Two" due out 2014

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