Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Behind the Book with Kimberly Brouillette #WW



          We are excited today to bring the you the first Behind the Book Writer's Wednesday (#WW)  This is new platform for Tears of Crimson and we hope you enjoy this unique perspective of what the Author's are actually thinking as they write a book. Please give a warm welcome to Kimberly Brouillette!





Secrets in the Shallows

     
      When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I began writing poetry at a young age. In all honesty, I didn't really discover my talents with editing and writing until I was well past college age. After earning my M.A. in Biblical Studies, I was contributing editor for the book “Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars”  (Goodreads Link_) authored by Pamilla S. Tolen. I truly enjoyed performing the in depth research with Pamilla, and then bringing that era to life. Developing an original perspective on Abraham’s life was very rewarding. 



            Tell us about your life when you're not writing?

Writing affects probably 40-50% of my life in one way or another, since I do work at a regional magazine. Some things I have always loved to do include graphic design, drawing (mostly pencil, graphite or pen and ink), listening to music, playing piano, traveling (especially historic locations), and spending time with family, loved ones and our dog, Max. I do enjoy doing several new hobbies that I hadn't focused on prior before meeting my fiancĂ©, Chris Matheny. In the spring or summer, we may take a bike ride up to the Carolina mountains or historic locations. We also enjoy doing paranormal investigations, and have a web show called, “What Lies Beyond? A Quest for the Truth.” 

           What's the one thing people don't know about you?

I have actually lived in two other countries besides America. During summer break prior to my seventh grade year, my family became missionaries. About a year later, we moved to a small town in Mexico near Monterrey. During that time, we lived with a family for several months in order to get a ‘crash course’ in speaking Spanish and try to prevent a great deal of culture shock. Within another year, we moved to San Jose, Costa Rica, where my parents taught free Bible courses to pastors in cities and villages throughout the country.  

          If you weren't an author, what would your other career choice be?

If I weren't an author, I would either be an editor or graphic designer. Actually, I already do all three almost daily. My current primary job is in sales and marketing for Cabarrus Business Magazine. Out of all of the things I do, the one I wouldn't mind giving up is sales. Even though it is not my favorite, I am grateful for developing several skill sets that are very useful for any author. At this time, I feel that I am doing what I should be doing.



           Was there any one person that helped you decide to pursue this path? If so who?

I would say that my parents, especially my mom, were very influential in my path. They made sure I could earn a university degree, and even got me the job at the ad agency after graduation. Even though I didn't start out as a book author or editor, it was through the career path I traveled that provided the skill sets  and environment to discover what I enjoy doing.  

           How do you come up with the stories you write? 

It depends on the project, but the best stories always are developed by having great brainstorming sessions with my fiancĂ©, Chris Matheny. For ‘Secrets in the Shallows,’ the first book from the Monastery Murder Series (with co-author, Karen Vance Hammond), I was brought into the project after the initial story plot had been written. 



       What's the most frustrating part of being an author in your opinion?

The most frustrating thing at this time is not being able to devote my time solely on projects I would choose to do.  

           What's the most positive part of being an author in your opinion?

The satisfaction of knowing you created something out of nothing, which others can enjoy for themselves.

          What category do your books fall under?

‘Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars’ is historic Biblical fiction, while ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ and the other books to come in the series are paranormal, murder mysteries and suspense. There should be additional non-fiction books related to Biblical archaeology in the future, if I can ever allocate enough time to research and write them properly.

            Have you ever considered writing outside that category? If so which one and why?

Previously, I was contributing editor for a historic Biblical fiction book. For the past eight years, I have focused many years on approximately twenty-five editing projects for various authors and publishers, as well as periodical articles. It was only a few years ago that I began focusing on my own aspirations of authoring or co-authoring a book. Currently, I have several projects underway to some degree in the mystery, suspense and paranormal categories. I have stopped trying to limit where my ‘mind’ goes when it comes to genre. I gain inspiration through anything, from current events to fantasy characters.  I think it stifles our imagination if we keep ourselves in a box that confines our creativity.

           What advice have you followed that has made a significant change in your perspective?

Probably the most significant change I had actually begun when I was earning my Masters degree in Biblical studies. I credit one of my professors for Biblical archaeology for my epiphany moment. I realized that I needed to start asking the why’s a what if’s in order to think for myself. I needed to ask those questions in order to gain understanding of anything I wish to know. I realized that for many years, I had accepted many things completely on other people’s truths, instead of discovering them for myself.  It is not that I changed my beliefs, but I have an understanding that is my own. In essence, by asking those questions, it has enabled me to break out of the daily mold I was in.

            If a new author came to you and asked for advice, what advice would you give?

There are several pieces of advice that I would give to new authors, based on my editing experience. The first thing I would advise is to create an outline in order to write your manuscript in a logical manner. For fictional books, I also recommend developing a history for each character. It is also helpful to drawing simple sketches for primary locations; and even understanding how a building or landscape may be laid out. It is much easier to develop stronger characters and deeper storylines if you understand these facets to your story.

I have many things I could tell others based on my experiences, but there is one thing I have found is a misconception among authors. Do not expect your publishing company to carry the ball for your marketing efforts. If you have a very successful writing career, then you are one of the lucky ones.

In order to sell their books, 99% of authors have to be proactive in their own marketing efforts. Do not expect your book will take off simply because you put it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or managed to get it in the ever-diminishing brick and mortar bookstores. Only with your efforts can you gain exposure to your target audience of readers. A publicist can be very helpful for you if you wish to make appearances on radio or television shows (if it is a topic of interest for those shows), and can afford the additional expense. If not, then learn how to tackle that hurdle by reading books, doing research, or finding someone you know who is good at it. The Thrifty Author Series by New York TimesTM bestselling author, Gail Z Martin, is very helpful if you would like to learn how to properly market and sell your book.

Above all, I strongly recommend that you get an editor. There are different types of editors, and you need to understand the difference as well as which type(s) you need. Editors are not simply proofreaders. They are not simply grammarians. ‘Line editors’ focus on both of those facets, but they also will tell you if the story makes logical sense for the reader. They will probably make some suggestions on content, but their primary goal is to make sure your manuscript is up to par and ready for the publisher to look at.

I am what you would call a ‘content/story editor,’ who finds the ‘holes’ in your manuscript. In other words, content editors let you know what the reader is not getting from your book, as well as give suggestions on how to ‘fill those holes.’

           Would you rather be a self-published author or signed to a major publishing company?


I would rather have a strong publishing company that has the marketing dollars to support my efforts. In working for a publishing company, I have found that there is a relationship that is developed by the publishers, distributors and bookstores. It is very difficult to get books onto the bookstores lists unless a publishing company has developed those ties.

On the other hand, if getting your book into brick and mortar stores is not in your aspirations, then there are several small publishing companies that focus on E-book sales primarily. Some of them offer alternatives for print options. No matter which one you go with, you need to make sure you completely understand your contract and its requirements. Some have lengthy time requirements, and some may charge additional fees for some services.

           What's the difference between your online personality and your personal life? 

I admit that I have strong opinions about certain things personally; however, with regard to my online professional personality I try to just be myself, whether it is through radio, pod casts, blog interviews, or social media. I do share some things about my personal life, especially film, web cast, and writing projects that I do with Chris Matheny.  

           When you think about writing, do you consider this more of a professional career or a hobby? 

Actually, I happen to work at a magazine, and I contribute articles as needed. There are very few days that are not affected by writing in one way or another. At night, I typically am working on either an editing for other authors, or on one of my own writing or graphic design projects. So, to answer the question, my professional career is very much aligned with my writing. In fact, I may be working on several types of writing projects in a given day; including creative writing, periodicals, marketing materials/brochures, or book manuscripts.

             If you could have your book read by any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I would love to have my book read by Nathan Fillion, who plays a mystery writer on the ABC series, CastleTM. Even though he is an actor, I would imagine he has gained a unique perspective by playing a writer on a successful TV series. I have enjoyed watching his characters since first watching his other hit series, FireflyTM




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