Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet Heather Fraser Brainerd

With three busy boys, a self-employed husband, and a crazy dog to keep up with, Heather Fraser Brainerd rarely sits still. But that’s the way she likes it.

What motivated you to become an author?

I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since I was a child. During the difficult years of my early adulthood, writing provided an emotional outlet, helping me stay sane during an unhealthy relationship. My writing was put on hold for several years when I became a mother. After my boys all started school, I began writing again. With my brother’s encouragement, I found the courage to seek publication.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

I enjoy losing myself in the process, just letting the words flow. And I absolutely love it when I write something that surprises me. I revel in those “where’d that come from?” moments.

What do your fans mean to you?

I love my fans, especially since I’m related to most of them. J Truly, though, receiving feedback from my readers is an amazing feeling. Knowing I’ve touched someone’s life – brought them joy or given them something to connect to – is amazing.

Who are your favorite authors?

Peter Straub, author of the Blue Rose trilogy, is my absolute favorite author. So much so that I have a blue rose tattoo. A very close second is JK Rowling. I don’t have any sort of Hogwarts tattoo, though. Hmmm…

What three words describe you as a person?

Focused, organized, workaholic. Also, I’m called “sweet” a lot. I like that.

What three words describe you as a writer?

Relaxed, improvisational, quirky. I’m much more laid-back in my approach to writing than I am in my approach to life. I wonder why…

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

Well, as many of my fellow MuseItUp authors know, I’m a total Disney World addict. I’m always either planning a Disney vacation, on a Disney vacation, or recovering from post-Disney depression. I also read a lot, work out, and try to hang out with my kids even though they’re getting too old to think I’m cool.

How do you discover the ebooks you read?

I love to browse for ebooks. The first thing that draws me in is the cover art. I like a cover that is streamlined and eye-catching. Next, the blurb (or “back cover”) gives me a feel for whether it’s something I might enjoy. If an ebook passes those two tests, I download a sample. Do I buy all of the books I sample? Nope. It has to be darn good.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I wrote a story about my brother – “That Brother of Mine” – that was published by our local library. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’ll be on JQ Rose’s blog in the near future, discussing that exact topic. Later, I moved on to co-writing with Dave, the aforementioned “brother of mine.” I don’t remember all the details of our first joint venture, but the main characters were Dr. Richie St. James (a brain surgeon, if memory serves) and his nurse, Chiquita Jones. The plot had something to do with a wealthy family and mistaken identity, but the details are, sadly, lost.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

Nope. But I remember being read to, a lot, as a child. Parents, grandparents, babysitters, gay quasi-uncles, all had a hand in my early literary education.

What do you read for pleasure?

Pretty much anything. I love mysteries, paranormal YA, fantasy, and sweet romance. But I’ll give almost anything a try.

Describe your desk:

I don’t have one. Instead, I write on my laptop, usually at my kitchen island. It’s not the most comfortable set-up, but it’s very convenient, centrally located and close to snacks. Hang on while I grab a cookie…

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

Oh, I love this question! I started life in Western New York. During my childhood, I moved to Florida, back to Western New York, back to Florida, back to WNY, back to Florida, up to Central New York, then to another town in CNY. As an adult, I’ve lived in a few different cities in New York State, and finally settled back in Western New York about fourteen years ago. This sort of upbringing taught me to embrace change. That probably helps quite a bit with the editing process. Also, it taught me to appreciate the quirkiness of life. You’ll find a bit of that in my books. 

Where do you get the inspirations for your book(s)?

The first book I ever wrote to completion, Dream Shade, was inspired by growing up in a haunted house. My first co-authored work, José Picada, PI: Deception Al Dente, was inspired by misreading a realty sign in my neighborhood. So my inspirations are kind of all over the board.

Dream Shade, my YA paranormal romance, is different in that it weaves two timelines together; that of a modern-day teen, and that of the Victorian-era ghosts who need her help. My paranormal mystery series for adults – José Picada, PI – is different from your typical mystery in that it involves a lot of humor. This is due to the fact that it’s co-authored by my brother, David Fraser, and we try to make each other laugh as much as possible while passing the manuscript back and forth.

Any advice for new writers just beginning this trek down the wonderful world of publishing?

Just two very important clichés: write what you know, and don’t let rejection get you down.

Excerpt from Heather's YA Paranormal Romance Mystery -  Dream Shade:

The feel of the dream still lingered over me. Looking around my room, I half expected to see trees. Instead, what I saw made my breath catch in my throat. There, by the window, stood the dark-haired young man.
Okay, I’m totally losing it, I thought while gazing at him. And then, my God, he’s beautiful.
He was tall, broad-shouldered, and narrow-waisted. His features were striking; finely chiseled yet somehow…manly. He wore simple clothing: a plain button-down shirt, dark trousers, suspenders. This was certainly the man I’d dreamt of before. Studying him, I felt drawn to this strange, beautiful young man, yet terrified to move a muscle.
Shivering, I suddenly realized it was more than fright that made me tremble. My room was freezing cold, feeling more like the dead of winter than mid-October. My breath hung in front of me in a frosty cloud.
Without thought, I lifted my shaking hand from the blankets, reaching out to the young man. At that, he began to disappear, fading slowly. Soon he was gone.
As I lay back down, my thoughts spun wildly. What the heck just happened? Who—or what—was he?

 Thank you, Heather, for being our guest today.

To discover all of Heather's book at MuseItUp Publishing, please visit her author page.


Heath Greenis said...

Great post. I'm chuckling as I sit at my kitchen counter.
I loved Dream Shade and Jose Picada. PI.
Heather G - Natasha Saga

Susan Bernhardt said...

I so enjoyed your interview, Heather! Your new book sounds exciting! You are one busy woman. It sounds like you love everything you do. And I believe that people call you "sweet" often. :)

Susan Bernhardt

Marsha said...

Great interview, ladies. Love the paranormal twist, Heather. I'll be sharing this. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by, Heather, Susan, and Marsha. Glad you enjoyed the interview. Lea asked great questions!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Heather. I've never read the Blue Rose trilogy, but now I'm definitely putting it on my must read list. My niece has a tattoo of her favourite book, The Little Prince. My favourite book is Slaughterhouse 5, but I don't think that would lend itself so well :) Good luck with all your writing projects

Victoria Roder said...

Enjoyed your interview. Love that you write with your brother. I've been trying to get my creative son to work on a project with me.

Unknown said...

Helena: that could be quite the tattoo!

Victoria: Keep trying to get your son to write with you. It's awesome to share creativity with a loved one!

Thanks for your comments, ladies!

Stephen Tremp said...

It's great to meet Heather and best wishes for Dream Shade!

margaret mendel said...

Great interview. I get a real feel of you as a person and as a writer. Tons of luck with DREAM SHADE!!

Unknown said...

Thank you both, Stephen and Margaret!

Anonymous said...

Great and informative interview. I enjoyed it.