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Monday, April 30, 2012

BOOK CLUB TALK WITH BRANDILYN COLLINS




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Brandilyn Collins is known for her Seatbelt Suspense®--fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. www.brandilyncollins.com

What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?

 I love talking to readers about my books and hearing how they related to the characters and story. Each reader reacts to a story depending on his or her past experiences. So you’ll get a wide range of reactions. Also I enjoy being able to tell readers some of the background that went into writing the story, e.g., how the story came to be in the first place, and why I wrote it the way I did.

Where would you like to see your relationship with reading groups grow? How do you think your goals can be met?

 I’d love to see more reading groups take a chance on reading one of my suspense novels. The problem is, there are folks out there who just won’t read a suspense, saying they’ll be too scared, have nightmares, whatever. It seems there’s one in every reading group, so that keeps the group from venturing into suspense. Of course I’m biased, but I tend to think they don’t know what they’re missing!

Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you'll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?


 Me and the real Cherrie Mae.
Not really. Phoning is easy. I can’t do a personal appearance unless the group is very local to me. That is fun, and I enjoy it.

Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?

No set format for me. In general I enjoy a meeting in which people are honest and open about their reactions to the book, and are also willing to hear and absorb my reasons for writing the story the way I did. Also—for any book clubs reading my latest release, Gone to Ground: I’d love to tell the full story of my researching the book, and how I met a wonderful woman named Cherrie Mae, whose name was perfect for my character. The real Cherrie Mae gave me permission to use her name, and later played the part of my character Cherrie Mae in the book trailer. (Have you seen that trailer? It’s great! See it here http://brandilyncollins.com/books/gtg.html )

What have you learned about your book and yourself from book club meetings? If so, what?

Just how vastly different readers’ reactions are! Again, the reason for that lies in personal experience, so there’s nothing I can do about that. No matter my story, even if almost everyone loves it, someone won’t. That’s life.

Did you learn more about your characters than what you had originally intended? If so what?
Terri Blackstock & Bradilyn passing time @book signing - Fun
Sometimes I do—not necessarily just from book club meetings, but from all the emails I receive. Sometimes—again due to personal experience—a reader might read something into a character that I didn’t consciously consider when writing the book. That’s always very enlightening.

Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books? Characters? If so, which ones?

I can’t say reactions to any one book have greatly surprised me. In my latest release, Gone to Ground, which features three protagonists each telling her story in first person, overwhelmingly readers choose Cherrie Mae as their favorite character. I’m no longer surprised by that. And really, I can see why. She’s a great gal.

Has your book club experience - getting feed back from reading groups - helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?

Only in the sense that feedback from readers in general keep me keepin’ on—writing my Seatbelt Suspense®. That trademark carries a four-point brand promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Every novel I write must live up to that four-point promise, because readers are expecting that from me.

Why write Christian Fiction? What is the draw for you?

There’s the whole ministry side of it, but I’ll focus on just the writing side here. I find my suspense is far deeper, the characters more three-dimensional, when I can interweave a Christian-themed thread into the story. In suspense characters are pushed to the utmost in conflict—typically a protagonist’s very life is at stake. You’ve heard that saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” We understand that. When people are pushed into high trauma, even those who haven’t thought much about God in the past end up praying. End up realizing there may be more to life than just what’s in front of their face. In Christian fiction, I can show that. The human condition is three-fold: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Secular suspense deals with only the first two. But that’s only two layers of our humanity. When all three levels are portrayed, the characterization deepens.

What do you hope readers take away from your new book? Gone to Ground is a Southern mystery-suspense.

If someone has been afraid to read one of my suspense novels, this would be the one to try. It’s very character-driven and not scary. The story in a nutshell: In small-town Mississippi, six murders have occurred. Now to their horror, three women of three different generations realize they know who the killer is—someone dear to them. Independently, not talking to anyone, each woman must make the terrifying decision to bring the man down. But each woman suspects a different man. That’s the story on the surface. The (subtle) interwoven thread of faith has to do with hypocrisy, and how it can creep into anyone’s life. I’d love for some book clubs to read Gone to Ground and discuss how this element of the story affects each character. Other things to discuss in Gone to Ground: (1) The use of dialect for characterization. Did it work for the reader? Most readers say yes. To those who say no—how would the characterization have been affected if it hadn’t been used? (2) Cherrie Mae tends to quote classical literature, using a quote that speaks to the issue at hand. What is each reader’s favorite classical quote? In the back of Gone to Ground is a list of many other discussion questions that probe the story, characters, writing technique, and faith element.

Can you give us a peek at what you are working on now? When will it be out?


Double Blind, another stand-alone suspense, releases October 15. Story in a nutshell: When severely depressed Lisa Newberry hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that can heal her, she knows it’s her last hope. But what if she receives only the placebo? What if something far worse goes wrong …?



 FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK!! 

What are three things you wouldn’t want to live without? – (Besides family and your Bible that’s a given)

My morning latte, made my moi on my handy-dandy espresso machine,Jogging,My Select Comfort bed

Your friend has a time machine and their going to let you use it for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

To the future in the year 3000 to see what the world and technology looks like. (If it’s still here.)

What are two places you’d like to visit if you had a chance? Why?

I’ve been to quite a few countries, but not to Australia. That’s the first. Second, I’d like to go back to Fiji. Both beautiful, tropical places.

What three movies could you watch over and over again?

The Blues Brothers. (Makes me laugh.) Scent of a Woman. (Wonderful movie, wonderful acting.) Witness. (Superb screenwriting. Almost every major turning point in the movie has no dialogue. Just brilliant.)

Name three favorite books you read as a child?


I read the Hardy Boys series. And the Bobbsy Twins books. Can’t remember any titles today, but there were plenty of books in both series to keep me busy for awhile.

~ Brandilyn


 Nora: Loved all your pictures Brandilyn. Looks like you and Terri Blackstock had way too much fun (or time on your hands) in Jackson, MS book signing!! Wish I could have been there. Grin! This book and your next one really look good.


I'm Thrilled to announce 
B & H is sponsoring a GIVEAWAY contest for FIVE copies of Gone to Ground.


 Contest starts MAY 19th - 21st @ The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org


MARK YOUR CALENDARS 
See you there! 

Nora :o)
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org

4 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

I adore Brandilyn and wish I could read her books more, but she scares the fire outta me!! You see, I'm a member-in-good-standing of The Big Honkin' Chickens Club!

Nicole said...

Brandilyn is a great lady, a superb suspense writer with her very own staccato style. Looking forward to this one and the next one.

Nora said...

I know what you mean Ane, I've tried to read some of Brandilyn's earlier books and felt I couldn't be alone in the house when I read them Grin! I don't want to be so scared by a book to where I have to sleep with the light on. Grin!

I was fascinated by Brandilyn's last book, OVER THE EDGE!! She said that she was born to write that book. I agree!! It was informative, suspenseful, creative and full of drama. Loved it!

I look forward to reading this new one. It sounds just as fascinating as her last book!

Thanks Brandilyn for sharing your book club experience with us! Fun!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

Frances said...

OH My GOSH!!! Okay, this one I have to read.