My final author spotlight for the month is the fabulous Becki Brannen…
I was born and raised
in the South. I married my high school sweetheart and we have two daughters and
a poodle, Sophie. I enjoy writing ‘chick lit’ with a Christian twist. I hope
you enjoy reading my books, “Breathless” and “Strapless.”
There will be more to come soon!

I’m sensitive, extroverted, nice, feisty, happy,
optimistic, a wife, mother, writer, office-minion, caring, CHRISTIAN. I believe
in happy endings, lessons becoming blessings, and finding the strength to
forgive (myself included). I’m unapologetic in my beliefs, strong-willed,
compassionate and loving. I stand by my motto in 9th grade, when I
broke out of my shell of feeling too fat, too nerdy, too shy, too scared –
“You’ll either love me or hate me, but I think I’m pretty awesome.” Well, maybe
it was a bit more crass back then!

I love it when I let author’s add anything they like because I get wonderful statements like this….Love it! So let’s have a looksy at the interview…

Do
you write as yourself or under a pseudonym?
Why?

I’m me. I think it
was for two reasons initially – being able to see my name on a book cover, and
allowing my friends and family to search for me. I see the benefits of a
pseudonym, such as privacy, but in today’s digital world, real names aren’t
that hard to figure out!

What
made you want to be a published author?
Being unpublished just wasn’t
any fun! I participated in NaNoWriMo 2011 and wrote Breathless, my first novel,
in 29 days. If you finish a book, why not get it published? And if you publish
it, why not try to make a little money while you’re at it? So I did. It’s not
the first book I’ve ever written, but I don’t think the books I “wrote” in
elementary school quite count. After all, some of them didn’t even have words!
I went to a literature/language arts magnet school, and we wrote a book each
year. Nothing to write home about, pun intended, but it definitely gave me a
love for writing!

What
genre do you write in and why?

So far, I’ve written
Christian Chick Lit. Funny, girly books, romantic, not smutty. I wanted to
write something I could tell my dad I wrote, and not blush. He still said, “You
didn’t tell me it was a romance novel!” But it’s not! There is not ONE instance
of a throbbing ANYTHING, unless I gave a character a throbbing headache! My characters
are Christian because I am. It’s such a part of my life that I don’t really
know how to separate the two fully. My upcoming projects are quite different. Peregrine is wistful and descriptive. I
have no idea where it’s going to go, so it’s going to be interesting to write. Running is a suspense with a bit of
romance thrown in. Outcast is YA
paranormal. I feel like such a sell-out jumping on that bandwagon, but since I
love to read it, why not try my hand at it. We’ll see if it ever comes to
fruition. Providence is sort of
country chic romance. Instead of a cowboy romance (and who doesn’t love
those?), it’s a country girl, Southern city boy thing. I wanted a strong female
character, someone who is tough as nails, and that girl definitely will be! I’m
still finding my voice as a writer, so while I’ve loved writing the Breathless series, I’m ready to leave
Carly & Ryan behind for a bit and try new things.

If
you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?

Be assertive. Be YOU.
Quit trying to fit in! I’m so like one of my twin daughters, so outside of any
mold, that I never fit in, and by trying to shove myself into some
society-accepted form, I forgot who I was for a very long time. I’ve felt very
damaged for a very long time, and I did a lot of that to myself. So rather than
try to go back and tell myself those things, I will tell it to my daughters. BE
YOU.

Have
any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?

Everyone I’ve ever
read! I think we take a bit of everything we read, watch on TV, hear in the
news, every part of our lives, and incorporate it into ourselves and therefore
what we write. Past experiences beget future works of amazing art. Heather
Huffman has inspired me to want my characters to DO something amazing with
their lives, to be a voice for the voiceless. Amazing YA authors have shown me
that teenagers and young adults can truly conquer the world, and what amazing
concept is that? Sure, vampires might not really exist, but young adults CAN
enact real change in the world in which we live, making it a better place. If
my writing inspires anyone to want to write, or do something amazing with their
lives (for themselves or for others), then I’ve done something great. I hope
that Sleepless gets people to think
about human trafficking. I hope that Running
will encourage discussion about sexual abuse. For that matter, the entire Breathless series touches on dating
violence. (Sorry, I didn’t quite answer the question in the way it was asked!)

If
you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your
experience (good or bad)?

I wanted to get my
work out there! I submitted my information to a publisher that I love, but was
eventually turned down once they got the entire manuscript of Breathless. It’s okay, it’s not for
everyone. Or maybe they felt like they had too many books similar to it. Either
way, I’ve had great success on my own! At least in the self-publishing world, I
control what I write, and I collect my profits. I’d love to have the access to
marketing, professional cover design and editing, etc. that a traditionally
published author would have, but I think I make a pretty great marketer of my
books & I’ve seen terrible editing mistakes in some of the books of the
best-selling authors of our time. That’s not to say I’d turn down a huge
advance, though!

How
would you rate your writing?

I like it. I enjoy
writing it, and I’ve enjoyed reading it after the fact. I find it hard to rank
it because 1) I’m biased, and 2) there are so many amazing books out there and
no two are the same.

How
do you react to poor reviews of your book?

Sob like a baby. No,
really. We creative types are sensitive! Okay, maybe I don’t really cry, but I
do have a sog-fest in my soul for a few days. And then I realize – not everyone
is going to like it. That’s okay! I don’t like every book I read, and that’s
okay, too. People can be constructive without being mean, but even mean reviews
don’t have to bring me down. There are many more people who have read my books
that have said they love it, and THEY are my target audience.

What
influences your choice of book covers?

Modes of
transportation, thus far! A plane, a Jeep (thank you to the local dealership
for the borrow, ha!), and then shoes. It was going to be a set of strollers for
Sleepless, but alas, the shot never
came to fruition. I don’t purchase my shots. I either take them or a friend
does. I have no guarantee of my books selling enough copies to warrant a hefty
price tag, and the emphasis are the words, not the pictures. Otherwise, this
would be a kids’ book, and I could probably just draw it my own self! While I
love gorgeous covers, I’ve been tricked by those before.

How
do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?

With Breathless, it was all I did, it seemed.
I came home and wrote while my girls played and ate dinner. I wrote until after
midnight, I got up and wrote before work, and I wrote during my lunch break.
Twenty-nine days later, I had a novel. With Strapless,
I was more lenient on myself and took 4.5 months, though I still busted tail to
get it done. With Sleepless, I let
the real world get the best of my writing. It took a year and a half nearly,
but I finished it. My family comes first, my paycheck comes second, and my
writing had to take a backseat. I finished during Camp NaNoWriMo July 2013,
writing about 27k words in a week. That’s almost 4k words a day. That week, I
let writing take over. I feel like a writing anorexic/bulimic, starving myself
of writing for months on end and then gorging myself on words in one sitting.

Do
your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?

I mostly plan out my
plots. I have an idea of where I want them to go, what I want the characters to
do, but then I let them have their own conversations to get them there. I talk
a lot in my car. If you saw me, you’d think I was insane, and maybe I am,
because I hold two-sided conversations. I answer myself. I even use accents, if
needed.

Do
you ever write what you dream? Give an example.

Breathless
is based entirely off of a recurring dream. The characters were in my head for
so long, living out the plot of the book that I had to put pen to paper (or
fingers to keyboard, rather).

Do
you market yourself or pay a professional?

I market myself. If
anyone wants to throw some help my way, go for it, but there’s no paycheck
attached. (Hey, at least I’m honest!)

What
are your tips for editing?

Edit as you go, fix
what you can, read and re-read, send to your friends, family and/or beta
readers, and then send it off into the wind. At some point, you really do have
to let it go.

What
inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?

My WIP is inspired by
a minor character from the Breathless
series. I wanted something that felt entirely different, almost like you’re
watching someone else’s dream.

Do
you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series? Why?

Hard to say.
Obviously I’ve written a series, but after spending a year and a half on the
third book, I’m going to go with stand-alones. I love Carly & Ryan (my
characters), but after 2 ½ books, I wanted something fresh and new. I had to
really step up their story to make it feel that way, rather than dredging on
for the sake of a trilogy. I think too many people try to aim for a three book
series. I never intended Breathless
to turn into a series, and I doubt I’ll continue past this last book. I’ve read
too many books where the third book felt like an old shoe, and I didn’t want Sleepless to feel worn out.

If
you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?

I would make the
bestseller charts transparent. What gets a book to the top of the chart? I
mean, are millions of people still buying Fifty
Shades
each and every week? REALLY?! There are millions more books with far
greater value than that, and unless a book somehow catches the eye of a
publisher, celebrity, or movie studio, you only ever seem to see it marketed on
indie sites.

What
advice would you give to a new author?

Never give up. Write
like the words are your oxygen.

Share
a favourite quote from your book.

This isn’t going to
make any sense until you read the book, but I absolutely loved writing this
line: “Best
ducking wife. Ever.”

I think sometimes we have to get our writing publishing because it deserves it. My book and characters had been bouncing around in my head for years and I never ever though I would be able to write a full length novel but how wrong I was. You’re absolutely right…never give up! And now to the books….

Sleepless:

Carly
and Ryan are married!

But
will baby make three before Carly has a chance to come clean about their
elopement?

Carly
seems like she’s got it all – a dream job and a dreamy husband – but she’s
starting to feel like her dream job is turning into a nightmare. She’s feeling incomplete
and just needs something… more. With the possibility that she’s pregnant, and
her lack of enthusiasm for her job, Carly embarks on a career path that she’s
hoping will leave her fulfilled and feeling like she’s done something to leave
her mark on the world.

You can find all her books here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Becki-Brannen/e/B006KSJKXY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1377692584&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Becki-Brannen/e/B006KSJKXY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1377692734&sr=8-1

Stalker Links…

My website is http://beckibrannen.weebly.com

Facebook is www.facebook.com/beckibrannen.author

Twitter is www.twitter.com/beckibrannen