Hey there everyone.
How close we are to the weekend again, what a relief!
For tonight’s Author Interview series guest, may I present multi-genre author Martha Brockenbrough, as she leads us into a world of the paranormal romantic fiction, along with children’s fiction and some superb writing advice.
On with the show, here we go.
Hi there Martha, thank you for being our guest, we can’t wait to hear more about your writing prowess.
First, let’s start with your fiction work and focus on your debut novel “Devine Intervention”. This is a Young Adult novel that delves into the realms of the paranormal, a romantic fable about a guardian angel. Please tell us more about the story arc for your book, the motivations of the lead characters and what attracted you to write in the paranormal genre for your first literary outing.
I love books where otherworldly things go on. I love realistic books, too. But for me, it’s a lot of fun to use fantasy as a metaphor. Here, the guardian angel of the book—Jerome—is a metaphor for that voice in our head that is sometimes full of bad advice. I thought it was a funny setup. It rapidly became a deeper story meditating the meaning of life itself, and whether heaven or a good life on earth is the goal. That’s ultimately what drove the arc. There are two main characters, Heidi and Jerome. Jerome is in heaven’s soul rehab program for wayward souls, and Heidi is the living girl he accidentally kills. From there, both have to figure out the sort of life they want to live, and whether that’s possible.
You have also published another novel called “The Game of Love and Death”. This is a unique love story pitting our protagonists as pawns manipulated in a game at the mercy of Love & Death, pitting them against each other in a tale wrapped in forbidden love, longing, destiny and hope. Can you give us a synopsis of the characters and what adversities they are going to have to triumph over, if their love is going to be allowed to blossom?
Flora and Henry are my human characters. They’re both jazz musicians living in 1937 Seattle, and they fall in love without knowing they’re pawns being played by Love and Death themselves. The book examines race, class, fate, and choice, using both music and flight as metaphors for life. Some people describe it as THE BOOK THIEF meets THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and that delights me because I loved both of those books.
Finally, regarding your fiction work, you have published a Children’s Book called “The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy” that is beautifully illustrated by Israel Sanchez. What an intriguing concept for a Children’s Book! How did you come up with the idea for it, are you a big fan of dinosaurs? And what is the story itself about?
I do love dinosaurs, but probably because they are extinct. They’d be terrifying. I came up with the idea when I was on an airplane thinking about dinosaur teeth. I’d just bought one for my editor’s son, who loved dinosaurs at the time. As I soared over the planet in a vehicle powered by dinosaur leftovers, I wondered what would have happened if the dinosaurs had their own tooth fairy. Because fairies are immortal, she’d still be living, even though she has no dinosaur teeth left to gather. That struck me as a story that was both funny and sad, which is my favorite kind of story. And I identified—when you’re naturally a bit on the strange side, as I am, it can be hard to feel like you have company in the world. So this is a book about finding friends who love the same things you do.
With regard to your non-fiction work, I would like to take time to mention your book “Things That Make Us [Sic]”, a grammar and language guide that has been praised for its humorous approach to the subject matter, along with being an extremely useful reference guide for writers. Please elaborate on the areas this guide covers that every writer is going to want to discover more about to improve their writing ability significantly.
There are so many great writing guides out there. I’d never position mine as the one essential one. But I can say that it’s funny, it has interesting bits about the history of the English language, and some hilarious material about things that have gone very, very wrong—including misspelled tattoos and deeply unfortunate text conversations from shamed politicians.
If either “Devine Intervention” or “The Game of Love and Death” were to be made into movies (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
I am terrible at this game. But I will say that when I was writing DEVINE INTERVENTION, I had photos of Taylor Kitsch (as Tim Riggins) and Charlie Cox (in his Stardust role—he’s Daredevil now) on my bulletin board as inspiration.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult thing is sustaining the faith in my own abilities that’s required to finish something as massive and complex as a novel, or as perfectly tuned as a picture book. It’s so easy to listen to that voice of doubt. It’s so easy to follow the instructions of our culture, especially the ones that ask you to diminish your own voice and worth. The culture wants you to be obedient, to fall into line, and to work for The Man. For me, this is not the path to fulfilling challenges—and those challenges make me happy. It requires great discipline to believe I can do this work, and to believe that there is real value to it.
The easiest thing? Writing a scene that makes me laugh or cry. And sometimes even both. Yes, it’s hard work that takes skills I’ve cultivated over many years. But there is so much joy to it that I am deeply motivated and satisfied, and those feelings are rewarding enough that it feels easy.
Who are some of the authors and historical figures that inspire you?
Since I have just finished a biography of Alexander Hamilton, I’ll give him as my example. This is not only true, it also spares me the worry that I will leave out one of my many wonderful writer friends, who inspire me every day and challenge me to be better at this work. Hamilton was brave. Brilliant. Hard working. Deeply flawed—which only increases his humanity in my mind.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
It depends on the book, of course. For The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, I researched a lot about dinosaur teeth. For The Game of Love and Death, I researched Seattle in the 1930’s, jazz music, the history of black jazz musicians of the era, street cars, counterbalances, homeless encampments, fashion, recipes, early aviation, the bombing of Guernica, the explosion of the Hindenburg, a bit of the history of cars, radio, and advertisements … in short (or in long) everything I could think of that would lend authenticity and metaphorical weight.
For the Hamilton bio, I read lots of other biographies and heavily researched letters and political documents of the time.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I initially wanted to become a writer because I loved to read and wanted to spend my life inside of books. I write now because it’s how I find meaning in life and how I create meaning for other human beings. This is the work I am meant to spend my life doing.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Obstacles are useful. If we didn’t have friction, we couldn’t move forward. So, whenever life dishes me up something unpleasant, I see how I can turn out into useful friction or even leverage. When I have writer’s block, it’s a useful sign for me. Maybe I need a snack or a walk and my body is trying to nudge me in that direction. If that doesn’t work, maybe the path I’ve been pursuing for my character isn’t the write one. Maybe I don’t know what I need to know and need a bit of helpful research. I don’t fear the block or self doubts. I listen to each and see what they have to teach me so that I can move on.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are going to succeed in what you set out to do. This is because you do the work, not because you hope you are going to succeed.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Reading, working out, spending time with my family, cooking delicious things, hanging out with writer friends.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I have three books coming out next year. There’s that bio of Hamilton (ALEXANDER HAMILTON: REVOLUTIONARY), as well as two picture books, BACK TO SCHOOL WITH BIGFOOT and LOVE, SANTA. That last one is an extremely personal effort for me—it tells the beautiful truth about Santa, as inspired by a letter my daughter wrote to me when she was 8.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Do the work, not the worrying. You will succeed as a writer when you really commit yourself to the work of reading, writing, revising, and repeating. Go forth with joy!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you Martha for spending time with us and for introducing us to all of your interesting worlds and books 🙂
Martha Brockenbrough is the author of books for young readers and adults. Her latest novel, THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH, won the Washington State Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association Award, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 YA books of 2015. She founded National Grammar Day, wrote game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, and has worked as a teacher, editor, and journalist. She lives in Seattle with her family.
You can connect with Martha on the following Social Media platforms:-
Goodreads:- Martha Brockenbrough (Goodreads Author)
Pinterest:- Martha Brockenbrough – Author (Pinterest)
Twitter:- Martha Brockenbrough – Author (Twitter)
Website:- The Website and Blog of Martha Brokenbrough
You can buy her books here:-
Buy Martha Brockenbrough’s books in Canada
Buy Martha Brockenbrough’s books in the UK/Europe
Buy Martha Brockenbrough’s books in the US/Rest of the World
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, Martha’s characters in her paranormal romantic fiction novels are full of second thoughts about the way things are and want to change them for the better. For more articles relating to the theme of ‘Second Thoughts’ then check out the links below:-
1. Do Not Annoy The Writer – A Little Prompting
2. Never Underestimate It. – byindiablue
3. The BookWorm’s Den – Second Thoughts
4. Cable Ties and Duct Tape – Dreamer’s Paradise
5. Le Drake Noir – Safety light
6. Author Cynthia Mackey – Support Indie Authors
7. A New Chapter In Life: Friendship With God – Lance Price Blog 2016
8. Simple Joys – We’re Not Ready
9. It’s All in Finding the Right Words – Second Thoughts
10. Theresa Barker – Lab Notes – it’s only words
11. Taking the leap – The Inkwell
12. The Syllabub Sea – We’ve Had Second Thoughts
13. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – SECOND THOUGHTS OR (NEVER)
14. Don’t judge a person based on his/her viewpoints – Roberta Pimentel
15. The Dating Game – Leaking Ink
16. BROKEN HEARTS ON PAPER – Okoto Enigma
17. Longest Tuesday Night – Wonderful Us
18. Fly on the wall Part II – MyBlog
19. SAYONARA: MY DEARLY BELOVED – Okoto Enigma
20. 365 Days of Thank You – In the After…
21. Tomorrow – Thoughts From The Ledge
22. ativ schuberg – Not everything
23. Pity-parties and second thoughts. – trailingthoughtsblog
24. WHEN DARKNESS ILLUMINATES MY SOUL – Okoto Enigma
25. sonja benskin mesher – :: bottles ::
26. His Majesty, The Ogre – Making Sense of Complications
27. Michael J. Fite – How Can You Make Use Of Your Second Thought?
28. I HOPE TO NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN! – Okoto Enigma
29. One Sun, Many Rays – Second Thoughts
30. OK, Now What? – Eagle’s Wing Ministries
31. Suddenly Single… Minded – Thinking about a second career?
32. Smores and Sundresses – Second Thoughts
33. Second Thoughts – I think, I say, I do
34. LET’S GET SOCIAL: WHO’S IN? – Okoto Enigma
35. Pumpkin smash in a pumpkin fest – Settle in El Paso
36. hannah t.k. – Now That’s Awesome Hair
37. Toxicity – Mac’s World
38. Standisms: life through my eyes – regrets & seconds thoughts
39. riturang – That Mysterious Little Door
40. To Visit or Not to Visit – The Chaos Within
41. the grizzle grist mill – Think Again…
42. So. – Oh, border!
43. HERE’S ANOTHER ONE! – Okoto Enigma
44. Second Thoughts Wedding Gifts – Unique Lovely Gifts
45. Second Thoughts Holly – New York Bridal – Sarah Janks
46. Second Thoughts Heels And Handbags That Look Amazing Together – Custom Shoes Blog
47. Care – Whispers in the Wind
48. Second Thought for Second Thoughts! – passiondesignerblog
49. Boat cruise Dubai marina – Inside Guide to Dubai’s Food Haunts – Yacht in Dubai
50. Frost At Midnite – Second Thoughts
51. Authentic IJOY RDTA BOX 200W TC APV Mod Kit – Vape Style Blog
52. Pixelesque – Green With Envy?
53. To Be, or NOT to Be…!! – Shweta M
54. Stutter-Stepping Heart – Second Thoughts Wait in Wings
55. Sasha’s Writings – Second thoughts
56. Annette’s place – dAiLY/prOMpT/SEcoNd ThOUgHts
57. Turning Tables – Leaking Ink
58. My best decision – Debbie Gravett
59. PROJECT ASTRAL – THEY WERE WRONG
60. Tangled Webs – This Again???
61. Second Thoughts! – LIVING AND LEARNING
62. Neogenesis… An interesting find for diabetics!
63. Puttu and Rasam! – Pebbles
64. xxwakeeupxx – Aggression to win.
65. Purposive Writer – Wednesday Ramblings
66. inspiration in progress – No Second Thoughts
67. SOS Q&A: Bullying – Speak Out Society
68. When Everything I Do Is Wrong – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
69. Eden of Knowledge – Concrete Jungle
70. Second Thoughts…(daily prompt) – my unremarkable story
71. The sexy visitor (fiction)… – Serendipitous Web Life
72. Dipping Into the Heart – Pain and Hurt
73. Pleas On Behalf Of Another – MY ENDURING BONES
74. November 8 – OPTIONAL POETRY
75. Rejoice – aYoKa
76. Prescription For Bento – Bento Love
77. Prescription For Bento – Second Thoughts
78. BodynSoil – Daily Prompt On Second Thought
79. Lost Property Repository – Second Thoughts
80. Second Thoughts led me back to my first thought – Writer2011
81. Margret’s Life Journey! – Second thoughts
82. Second Thoughts – Vermont Book Works
83. Joyously Hopeful – Second Thoughts
84. Art challenge – samanthaalexia
85. Copycat Cafe P5 Simon Calls – Rexine Rawhead
86. Response to Second thoughts – The Bag Lady
87. 83 Unsung Heroes – What We Want To Do
88. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Second Thoughts
89. Fluffy Pool – Second Thoughts and Day 8
90. Second Thoughts – Life Reiki Works
91. Thoreau’s Theories – khetarpalblog
92. Following Him Beside Still Waters – Election Day (U.S.)
93. a bliss of birds – hot as a hare, mad as a hatter
94. Second Thoughts – Amongst All Else
95. The Gad About Town – It Can’t Happen Here, Can It?
96. No Second Thoughts Today – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
97. Thoughts – Leigha Robbins
98. Close to You – The Abject Muse, aka SusanWritesPrecise
99. Perfect Strangers – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
100. Second Thoughts – Postcard from a Pigeon
101. Theo Herbots TV Best lovesongs Ever Series 2 // 151 videos – Theo Herbots TV
102. Devil Doll Musings – Second Thoughts
103. Daily Prompt – Those Pointless Thoughts – The Lost City
104. PROJECT ASTRAL – I voted
105. Astray – skyround
106. If – The Wordsmither
107. Second Thoughts? None! – My Second Act, Scene One
108. Second Thoughts – Twenty Two Leaf Clover
109. thoughts – Love it Now
110. The Day Project – Preparations
111. Second Thoughts? – Carolyn Dennis-Willingham, Author
112. Biological Warfare – A lot from Lydia
113. Second Thoughts – Image & Word
114. Seriously Just Saying – Political Second Thoughts
115. Frank Prem – reverse parking at three thirty
116. Second Thoughts – Allison’s Written Words
117. Chris Writes – Things We Need To Hear
118. kindergartenknowledge.com – Appreciating Nature and Friends.
119. MC’s Whispers – The robbers of our thoughts
120. True Blue – KL Beats Boulevard
121. Poems and Petals – Red or Blue?
122. 26 Letters Poetry Blog – The Falcon
123. 26 Letters Poetry Blog – You Met Me In My Thoughts And Saw Yourself
124. Selarom – The Looks
125. Love at Second Sight – Let Me Stay Among The Stars
126. Me – Who am I? – Five Minutes and Two Weeks
127. ORIGINALITY- KEY TO SUCCESS – Vickie’s Corner
128. Kimberlee K. – The Infant & the Idea (And Why They’re the Same)
129. 11 #Gratitude Reasons for a Wacky Election – Random Storyteller
130. Betcha didn’t know! – Second Thoughts
131. Writing Natural – Pennies for Thoughts
132. Us – Should we call it Art?
133. Second Thoughts – peepal
134. Crossing Colorado – Always Being Proud of Your Accomplishments
135. Life Less Ordinary – Breaking Up
136. Flowers and Breezes – Second Thoughts
137. “I am responsible for my own happiness.” – Sincerely, Loewe
138. What it’s like – WP Second Thoughts
139. debooWORKS – Crash
140. Nope. My Vagina’s Votin’ – Not a Gender Vote – Growl for Justice
141. wordsareallihavesite – Second Thoughts
142. Where’s Your Mindset Driving You? – Dee-Vita
143. Second thoughts welcomed at job site – Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 YNN
144. Second Thoughts, Second Chances – THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
145. I DON’T NEED SECOND THOUGHTS TO KNOW. – Okoto Enigma
146. The Art of Doing Nothing… – Creating K.I.N.G.S
147. The Second Thoughts – Brave and Reckless
148. Second Thoughts — Election Reflection – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
149. Musings of a Random Mind – Shall We Write Our Own Obituary?
150. Surgical strike on Black Money – Playing with words
151. Gratitude Day 8 – Onto My Next 40 Years
152. Should I or shouldn’t I ? – Elaine’s Bloggers Paradise
153. On 2nd Thoughts: Leadership & Power – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
154. Second Thoughts – Covert Novelist
155. Second Thoughts of Home – newlifeduringmidlife
156. I voted! – When I thought I was fat
157. Second Thoughts – The Wordsmither
158. shackled and jailed – vertical combustion
159. Writing with Spirit – Election Day — Please VOTE!
160. rock the vote – hypervisualized
161. Full-Time – Instead
162. Not the smallest piece of chaos – stbarbebaker
163. Just Do It – Views From Around the Corner
164. Should I? – tiny candle
165. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Second Thoughts
166. Charron’s Chatter – 1 of 2–½ dozen of the Other
167. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Second Feline thoughts
168. Ellies Little Adventure – Election Day Playlist
169. Second Thoughts, Third Thoughts, and Sometimes a Fourth. – Free Indeed
170. Next After The First – emotionsoflife2016
171. Having seconds thoughts – In my world
172. When Loving Help Becomes Burdensome – Le Happyone
173. GUESS WHO IT IS! – Okoto Enigma
174. Relax – Election 2016
175. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – I still have problems with my first thoughts.
176. What If’s… – purpleorangesite
177. Think before you Act! – Burshblog
178. About Darn Time – Sunken Thought
179. Quadrille: Cue The Ball – whippetwisdom.com
180. speaking up for myself – Epiphany
181. Autism in Our Nest – Standing Up to Bullies
182. Choices… – christinademerisvlog
183. Second Thoughts (Of You) – Jerome Danner
184. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – make a choice without coercion
185. Just Having Fun – No Second Thoughts
186. Second Thoughts – Dreams within me.
187. From – Wandering Soul
188. s1ngal – No Second Thoughts
189. The Green Dog Chronicles. My Life in Navia – Golden Light on Green Dog, A Self Portrait.
190. Election Day Prayer – Confirm Our Election – Growl for Justice
191. Second Thoughts – findingenvirons
192. And then there was one – Just Roll the Dice Please…
193. Second Thoughts – Cahla’s Tawkin’
194. Second Thoughts – Leara writes and other creative things…
195. thelonerose – No Second Thoughts
196. Amie Writes – Be careful what you wish for…
197. Turn That Radio Up – The Heart Wants What It Wants
198. The Poetry Channel – Seconds Anyone?
199. no time for second thoughts ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
200. Second Thoughts on Feelings – thethoughtskeeper
201. Finally! – Just Writing!
202. The Milky Way – On Second Thoughts
203. Wild Sugar – Homeschool Curricula challenges. Ever have second thoughts?
204. THE BEAUTY OF NATURE – Okoto Enigma
205. To Gym, Or Not to Gym? – The Life of Jan
206. Travel can help you be your best self – art of being fabulous
207. you’ve got mail (Lily & Tyler) – writemebad
208. Second Thoughts – Christine’s Collection
209. Hot White Snow – Second Thoughts (Voting)
210. simply.cindy – Tomorrow
211. Zombie Flamingos – At a loss for words
212. Go, Sell, and Give* – Unlearning
213. Minds Are Like Parachutes. They Work Better When They Are Open!- – Jacki Kellum
214. The happy Quitter! – To Print or not to Print?
215. nerdhut – My 5 favourite comic strips
216. A Three Line Short Horror Story- Chapter 16 – Khayal
217. kStan(ly) kSays – your civic thing
218. Second Thoughts: The Daily Prompt – SÃ¸rkrates
219. Second thoughts… – Emotions that matter.
220. The Power Race – Its PH
221. I, me, myself – Neal’s Epiphany
222. Zombie Apocalypse – Bits of Poems
223. Devil Doll Musings – Perfect Strangers
224. Today’s Tomorrow – Our Strength, Our Curse.
225. Daily Prompt – Second Thoughts – Bob’s Blog
226. Travel Much? – Roskilde Cathedral – Power struggles and insanity
227. the15thday – oh my days where’d that come from?!!!
228. Please Vote – Inner Whispers
229. Voters Are a Burnt Offering – Zone of Non-being
230. No Going Back – Freed to Exceed
231. Stepmompreneur – Second Thoughts or PMS?
232. Mirage – Grounded in Fantasy
233. The Charge of the Light Brigade – HorseAddict
234. Self-made Multi-millionaire Offers 7 Ways to Teach Kids about Money – Geeks & Fiends
235. Second Thoughts – Back On The Grid
236. I Fixed My Thinking! – Pete Gardner Psalms
237. I wrote a book. Now what? – I swear! Or do I?
238. Lost Property Repository – One Word prompt?
239. PROMOTE YOUR BLOG: SHARE YOUR LINK. – Okoto Enigma
240. Violence: ‘I could never do that!’ Second Thoughts… – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
241. The Wandering Poet – Maybe he should of anchored it
242. Lantern Words – No Second Thoughts