Janet Ursel interviews Nadine Brandes

Janet Ursel, whose Christian fantasy Disenchanted just released today, interviews Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak . The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

Nadine will be giving away a paperback copy of A Time to Die to one lucky commenter! Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes

Janet Ursel

Janet Ursel

A Time to Die links:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads 

Janet's first question:

Please don't hate me for this... Although I haven't seen the movie, I did see the trailer for In Time in theaters, and so when I saw the premise for A Time to Die, I just had to know: Were you already working on your book when the movie came out, or did you get inspired to do something different with life clocks because of the movie?

I've moved the comments up into the main post, again for easier reading. The original comments are still below, for the purists.

Nadine Brandes
Ooh, I'm actually really glad you asked this question, Janet! Pulls out soap box
Yes, I was already working on my book when IN TIME came out. The first time I saw the trailer I had a full-out meltdown. Poor hubby had to figure out how to console. This was the first time I tackled the "Someone stole my idea!" syndrome. I think every writer goes through it at some point.
It was very growing and I soon realized that, though "time" was a main concept in the movie and my book, they were completely different stories. I went to watch the movie and actually left grouchy because I felt like they could have done so much more with the concept. Ha!
It didn't change my story at all, but it did grow me a lot as an author. Besides, now the people who liked the movie can turn to my books and find something similar (but not the same) to enjoy! :D

Janet Ursel
I think it illustrates really well how two different authors will do two entirely different things with the same idea. :o)
“They” say a first novel is autobiographical. To what extent is this true of yours?

Nadine Brandes
This is definitely true of mine. Parvin is a bit of a reflection of "teenage Nadine." We obviously have our differences, but I wanted her to ask all the same questions I asked when I was young -- "How do I communicate with God?" "What's the purpose of life?" "IS there a purpose to life?" etc. I figured, if I was asking those as a young 'un, then others probably were too.
This made the book much easier to write because it felt like a giant extension of my teenage journal.

Janet Ursel
So what about the other characters then? Are any of them pulled from your life?

Nadine Brandes
Not really. I can't think of any, actually, that reflect relationships in my life. I never had an older brother, my mom is the kindest most tender and sweetly emotional human on earth (unlike Parvin's mother) and I never dealt with bullies. LOL
I suppose that goes to show that people can have the same deep-rooted life questions even while in completely difference life circumstances.

Faith Song
This has always been a writerly fear for me... Or, worse, that after I finish a book, I'll find out that there's been something similar out for some time!

Janet Ursel
When you were writing A TIME TO DIE, did you intend all along for there to be a sequel? There are so many things I am still wondering...

Nadine Brandes
Another great question. NO! It was intended to be a standalone novel! And it was going to end completely differently. (No, you're not allowed to ask. Hehe.) But when I was about halfway through writing it, the story continued to blossom. It was like God was telling me, "This story is much bigger than you, Nadine." And bigger than Parvin expected, too. I think He kept this revelation from me in order to make Parvin more realistic (i.e. not expecting bigger things to happen.)
So, I grudgingly agreed to make it a two book series. Well...you can see where that's gotten me.... ;-) I'm currently writing the third (and confirmed LAST) book. :)

Janet Ursel
LOL! Well, I'm glad, because there were so many teases in the first one. Will we ever find out what was in Reid's journal?

Nadine Brandes
That is the question I get the most often. While there's not much more in the continuing books, I'll be writing up a short book of clips from his journal as a goodie for readers. :) Keep an eye out for it!

Janet Ursel
Hey, we HAVE to find out why he was so sure... Won't say more, for fear of spoilers.

Nadine Brandes
Oh, well THAT is revealed in book two. :P

Donna Garman
So grateful for your participation here this evening, it is exciting to read about your books, I certainly intend to pick up copies! You have wonderful reviews on Amazon for your In Time - inspiring on so many levels. I assume we can look forward to more in this series?

Nadine Brandes
Thank you Donna!
I hope you do pick up copies. I'd love to hear what you think of the book. :) And it's such a blessing to see God use it to affect the lives of others. There's power in fiction!
Yes, there are two more books to the series. A Time to Speak (book 2) releases this fall. Book three is in the works. :)

Janet Ursel
This is perhaps a trivial question, but is there any particular reason the Big City was named Ivanhoe?

Nadine Brandes
I read the book IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott when I was a child and both my sister and I decided that "Ivanhoe" was the epitome of awesomeness (to my shame, I don't even remember half the story. Must re-read that sometime soon.) So it seemed to fit when giving a new enchanting city a name. I "borrowed" it and never looked back. ;)

Janet Ursel
Do you outline? Improvise? Bit of both?

Nadine Brandes
I outline in my head until I have a good idea of where the story is going. In my mind, once it's written down it's harder to change, so I rarely put plots on paper. Weird, I know. But recently I've been trying my hand at more plotting -- arranging it all in a graph of sorts. I like how it's been working with book three. I plan to try it with my net planned novel and, if it works, it might become the new normal.
So, in short: a bit of both. ;) (The phrase "bit o' both" makes me want to go re-watch Guardians of the Galaxy.)

Janet Ursel
I keep flip-flopping back between the two myself. And now for something completely different:
If you had to reduce your library to just a few books, which ones would you choose?

Nadine Brandes
I'm assuming the Bible is a given. ;-)
I hate these sorts of questions but...I'd want a dictionary because my vocabulary needs a LOT of work. (This is almost always my answer to the question, "If you were on a desert island with ONE book aside from the Bible...")
Next is the Harry Potter series. (Can we call a one-volume version as just one book?) I get seriously geeky over it.
The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers.
Ooh, ooh, and probably some giant theology book (dictionary-length.) I figure that, if I'm only allowed to read a few books, I might as well be educating myself instead of just entertaining. ;)

Janet Ursel
Now you're making me feel guilty. I always have mostly fun things. At least I didn't force you to stick to one!

Nadine Brandes
LOL! Yes, I really appreciated that you let me pick more than one. :)

Janet Ursel
I can never do just one. That is pure torture.
Who are your writing heroes? And why?

Nadine Brandes
J. K. Rowling is one for many reasons. I think her Harry Potter series is one of the most perfectly wrapped up stories I've ever read. Also, her approach to being "famous" was very inspirational to me in my younger days.
Francine Rivers -- because she's not afraid to tackle the tough questions or the tough situations. While her books are gritty, they greatly inspired me to live more seriously for Christ.
Jeff Gerke is my writing hero when it comes to writing craft books. He isn't afraid to break or challenge the "writing rules" and he sees deeper into the art of writing speculative fiction than anyone else I know. Since that's my genre, I eat up any craft book he writes. :)

Janet Ursel
Worthy heroes! I've only read REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers. It is probably the only romance I've ever read that I actually enjoyed. And passed on! That takes some skill!
I can't even begin to imagine how JK plotted that whole story out ahead of time. Oy!
I've got a book or two of Jeff's too...
And a question that is perhaps a bit bigger. Would you like to tell us the story of how A TIME TO DIE came to print? Did you have to knock on a lot of doors?

Nadine Brandes
Actually...I tell people that my "author story" was served on a golden platter. The hardest part of my journey was writing a quality book. But once God gave me the idea for A TIME TO DIE, he just lit up the next steps. The moment I heard about Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press) I knew that was the publisher for me. I felt as though God made me a promise that I'd be published through them. I just had to wait.
So I waited and perfected my writing. I never submitted to agents, I didn't submit to any other publishers. I established a relationship with Jeff Gerke (former owner) at a writing conference and after four years of writing conferences, he requested to see A TIME TO DIE. I hadn't even pitched it! And it wasn't even fully written! He said he'd wait.
So, almost two years later, I sent him the full manuscript. He read about 1/3 of it and then offered me a full series contract. The only rejection letter I received came from a different publisher on the same day I received Jeff's acceptance letter.
There's SO much more to my story, but it all revolves around praying and trusting in God's timing. And that's what I would encourage every author to do! Trust in Him and commit your writing to Him. :-)

Faith Song
This is amazing! I've always seen authors saying they got many, many rejection letters before being accepted. It would be nice to be published like this. :-P

Emerald Barnes
I hope it's okay to post a comment here. I'm not seeing a comment box on the reader questions. Seriously, my internet is AWFUL tonight.
Nadine, I saw that you were 28. Yay. Me too!
Who did your amazing covers! Every time I see them, I fall in love all over again! My friend, J.L. Mbewe posts about your books all the time, so I've been itching to get a hold of them. I love the premise of them, and I just love fantasies. How do you feel about creating a new world as opposed to a well known one. (Throwing the same question at you as I did Patrick.) :)

Nadine Brandes
I think the comment box disappeared once the hour for questions ended.
My covers were done by Kirk DouPonce at http://dogeareddesign.com He's amazing!!!! And I'd love for you to read my books! Then tell me what you think about them! :D
Well, my world is dystopian so it's a stretched futuristic version of the current world. I LOVED writing it!