Nadine Brandes takes your questions

Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak, is here now to answer your questions. Please check out her website and get to know her work. Newbie questions are welcome! The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

One lucky commenter will win an eBook of A Time to Die! 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

A Time to Die links:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads 

Edited to pull the comments up into the body of the post for easier reading. Lightly edited to remove comments that didn't fit in the conversation. They're still below if you absolutely want to read them... ;o)

Janet Ursel:
Hi Nadine! Thank you so much for joining us tonight!

Nadine Brandes:
It's my pleasure! :) Thank you for having me! :D

Guy L. Pace:
We'll try this again. How is everyone?

Nadine Brandes:
I'm doing great, how are you Guy? :)

Guy L. Pace:
Doing well, thanks! Just got Janet's book from Amazon (ebook). Looking forward to reading it. Glad she got you to participate in this party.

Nadine Brandes:
Ooh yay! Tell me what you think when you finish it! :D

Janet Ursel:
I know I'm going to be interviewing you later, but I want to ask a really dumb question: How old are you? And am I allowed to be jealous that you are starting your writing career so much younger than me?

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, that's not a dumb question! :D I'm 28 and honored that I get to start my writing career so young! And blessed to have a hubby who supports that. :D

Guy L. Pace:
Yeah, she's young, but very talented and wise. She also lives where she can see the Grand Tetons in all their glory all the time. Lucky lady. That's why she has that big smile all the time. ;-)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, this is very true Guy. [grin] I often ask myself why God decided to give me such a unique and blessed life. That's God for you... :-)

Lydia Thomas:
Nadine, I know you get this question all of the time, but what was your inspiration for A Time to Die?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Lydia!
The inspiration for A Time to Die actually came from the death of an acquaintance of mine. He was the same age as me and yet lived a very full and God-serving life before passing. It got me thinking about my own life at the time, and I asked myself "Would I live any differently if I knew when I'd die?" The answer was...YES. I'd live differently! So I started re-evaluating my life and that turned into the story behind A Time to Die to get other people thinking along the same lines. :D
Now, I'm happy to say I wouldn't change a thing on how I'm living. :)

Athelas Hale:
Hello, Nadine! Your book looks fantastic, though I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Thank you for taking the time to do this, and thank you, Janet! I do have a question. Where did the idea for your book first come from?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Athelas! :D
I can't WAIT for you to read my book and tell me what you think of it! :D In answer to your question, I shared a little bit of that story above, but you can read the full story behind my inspiration for A Time to Die at this link: http://nadinebrandes.com/2014/07/15/my-author-story-part-3-a-time-to-die/
Overall, it was inspired by the death of an acquaintance who got me thinking about my own life. How would I live if I knew the day I'd die? How would YOU live? It was too intriguing of a question to leave alone. [grin]

Kiah:
Hi Nadine! I really want to ask you when "A Time to Speak" will be released, but I know that you will only be able to evade that question, so I'll have to settle for a less exciting one: What was your favorite part of your recent trip to Europe?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Kiah!
I know, I know, the torment! Actually....I'll be sharing the release date in my August newsletter! If you're not signed up for the newsletter, you can sign up here: nadinebrandes.com/my-newsletter
My favorite part of my recent trip to Europe was seeing the different cultures. Even though all the countries I visited were in the same continent, each one had its own feel, its own architecture, and its own history. It was a delightful amount of inspiration for future novels!
As for the countries themselves, driving through the entire country of France is pretty hard to beat. I really enjoyed that part of the trip. :)

Kiah:
I am signed up for your newsletter already, so I'll be looking forward to seeing that in my inbox! EEK! Can't wait to read "A Time to Die."
Thanks for answering my question! I've never had a chance to leave the United States, but I'm sure all the different cultures are really amazing to be able to experience.

Kiah:
Woops... Meant to say that I can't wait to read "A Time to Speak." Those similar titles can get confusing. :)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, I slip up with them too sometimes! Maybe that was a mistake... O.o
I look forward to you reading it, too! :D SO excited to hear what you think of the continued plot! EEE!

Athelas Hale:
Jumping in on your conversation here... I hope you don't mind!
I was actually thinking that I love the way your titles fit together so perfectly. I've seen some books in a series that seem disjointed because of their drastic difference in titles. This makes it flow nicely, and I would immediately know which series you meant.

Kiah:
Don't mind at all! :) I actually agree with you, Athelas. I think the similar titles are pretty clever and will make the series feel more cohesive. It's just that they can be a little hard to keep straight, as I've already demonstrated. :) But it's worth it, I think.

Nadine Brandes:
Thanks you two! I'm usually awful at coming up with titles, so these have been fun to see how they fit with the story. I'm glad you like them...even if we do mix them up here and there. ;)

Faith Song:
Hey, Nadine! Your book looks awesome. I know some authors who are opposed to using present tense in novels. What's your opinion on this?

Nadine Brandes:
When I started writing A Time to Die, present tense wasn't "the big thing" yet. I chose to write it because the book simply demanded to be written in present tense (rather, Parvin demanded it. :P ) I had actually started the first draft in first person past tense and it just didn't work. It was like I was fighting against Parvin's shouts to be heard. (Dorky author-ness coming out now.) It was tough for me to learn and I certainly had slip ups, but in the end past tense just felt too draggy. It made it feel like I wasn't in the story in that moment.
In my mind, past tense makes it feel like the character is telling a story that has already happened. Present tense makes the reader feel like they're living the story WITH the character. It's hard to do right, but I think it's worth trying.

Faith Song:
Thanks. :-) I know the feeling. A few of my characters have demanded to be written in first person, but not yet present tense. Present tense has always had a dream-like feeling in my head.

Nadine Brandes:
Dream-like is a good way to put it. First person always feels very immersive to me. And that's my favorite way to read. :)

Kiah:
How long ago did you first have the idea for the Out of Time Series?
Also, what is your favorite season/time of year?

Nadine Brandes:
I started writing A Time to Die in October 2010. I was in the middle of grad school and had NO time to write, but it built up in my brain like a demanding flood until I finally just HAD to let it out. Then it gushed out on paper and voila! The series began. [grin]

Athelas Hale:
Okay, important questions...
What is your necessary writing environment? Any music that you listen to when you write? Drinks that you have whenever you're working on a project (TEA, right? xD)? What's your least favorite part of the writing process? (Bonus: Do you enjoy having questions thrown at you so quickly?)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, I'm totally up for all these questions. I'm quite good in a batting cage, actually. [wink]
My necessary writing environment changes daily depending on if my writing room is clean or not. :P When it IS clean (a must) then I spend time there. I HAVE to be by a window, whether I'm writing in my work room or at a coffee shop or in an airplane. The outside is a gush of inspiration for me. I need to be able to see it...and stare off into space for hours without accidentally staring at someONE. :P
Now, as for the atmosphere, tea (Yorkshire, if you please) is a requirement. I put together a playlist for every book I write, so I'll usually put that on. I even have a special lotion and perfume I use ONLY when writing, so that the smell will inspire me. (Dorky? Cool? Not sure yet. Hehe)
My least favorite part of the writing process is deadlines, because that means I have to write even if I'm not in the mood. My writing comes out very shabby when I do that, making editing all the more difficult.
Any other question? ;-)

Amanda Gawthorpe:
What are your writing habits/routines? Do you write daily?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Amanda!
sigh This is an ongoing struggle for me. When I'm not traveling, I'm able to maintain a routine. I try to write 1,000 words a day Mon-Fri. This is a new habit for me and I've managed to maintain it for a few weeks. I'm optimistic. I have a few friends with whom I will word war with a couple times a week. That helps a lot, too.
Time management is my current dragon to slay. I also work as a freelance editor, so I tend to try and get writing in before I do any editing, otherwise my brain doesn't separate the two very well.

Amanda Gawthorpe:
I have the same struggle. I also edit and find NO time to do my own writing. I like the idea of getting my own writing done before doing any editing! I have been doing things the other way around and my writing never gets done. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Nadine Brandes:
You're welcome! May it serve you well! :) Randy Ingermanson inspired me to try writing one day and only editing on another day. That worked for a time, too, but I didn't test it out long enough. Just another thing you could try. ;) If you find the magic answer to time-juggling, tell me! LOL