How’s your Sunday going? I’m off to a vintage fair this afternoon, which should be fun, but before that I’m thrilled to have the fab Brantwijn Serah dropping in. Brantwijn is a wonderfully talented author, who I’m very jealous of because she seems to be able to do multiple genres effortlessly 🙂 She’s going to chat to us about her brand new release, The Pact, which is wild west with a definite twist! Read on to find out more 😉
So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
I’m a SoCal girl who loves rain more than sun, author of supernatural fantasy and fiction (as well as steamy romance), and the proud mother of five crazy furbabies. I take part in National Novel Writing Month every year, which is how The Pact came to be. Every book in the series – there are 8 total – started out as a National Novel Writing Month novel. When I’m not writing, I like to work on art including drawing, painting, digital art, and unique crafts like custom My Little Ponies.
Wow, that should give me a kick for my own Nano this month 🙂 Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
My earliest memory of writing is from when I was six. Our class was taught how to use basic shapes to draw three simple characters: an owl, a frog, and a pig. Then the teacher asked us to write a story about them. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I incorporated literary device into my little tale, things like suspense and dramatic irony. I had no idea what they were; I wrote it that way because that’s how the books I read were written. I wouldn’t have even realized I’d done anything unique except my teacher pulled me aside and pointed it out. It was she told me that I wrote “like a writer”. I think I’ve wanted to be a storyteller, more than anything else, ever since.
Aww, that’s lovely. Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?
Lately I’ll find a YouTube video with and hour or two of instrumental music (nothing with words), pop on my headphones, and just write. I’ve saved hour-long videos of Celtic music, “Epic” music, “Spooky” music. Whatever is appropriate for what I’m currently writing, I’ll pop a similar video on and just go with it. It’s not really the same as using music as inspiration…I don’t really incorporate anything from the music into the work. It’s more like just white noise, blocking out distraction and centering my brain in the tone of the work.
I’m with you, I need very specific things on in the background when I’m writing – I can’t stand quiet but it can’t be anything too distracting either! Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
I write across many genres. Up until now all of my published works have been part of the erotica genre, spanning dark erotica, fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal. The Pact, besides being my first non-romance release, is part of a genre known as “weird west”. It’s your typical style of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Tombstone-style Western story, but with a dash of something—just about anything—weird. In this series, it’s ancient world magic.
I have never heard that term before lol – but, hey who doesn’t love a bit of ‘weird’ thrown in? Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
I have a lot of favorites who have inspired me. I think my all-around favorite is JK Rowling, however. I think her talent for storytelling is amazing on many, many levels, and in fact I’m not sure she gets quite as much credit as she deserves. Other favorites are Stephen King, Jim Butcher, and lately Sarah Waters.
Yay, huge Potterhead here as well 🙂 What five things could you never do without?
Such a complex question! There are so many things, but for sake of time I’ll stick to five I could never do without in my writing career. First off, my laptop, since basically my whole life and every book I’ve ever worked on is on there, along with production notes, murdered darlings, and research. Second would have to be my iPod mini, where most of my writing music currently resides. When I get stuck I set that thing on shuffle and let the random selection of music speak to me. Thirdly is #SchalaMyMuse, the living beanie baby of a cat who flops down on my legs anytime I’m writing, to loan me her advice and expertise on the creative process. Fourth is an ice-cold unsweetened tea to mull over while I work. And fifth is my husband, who provides me a sounding board, a critical ear, and expert advice when I get stuck on some portion of the story. Mind you, those are in no particular order of importance…take any one of them away and I’m going to be throwing a fit!
Tell us a bit about your new release.
The Pact was my first-ever NaNoWriMo novel, written in November of 2006. It’s a supernatural weird west adventure, great for teens and adults who enjoy fantasy, urban fantasy, and sci-fi. It takes place in the fictional world of Geiral and follows a lady bounty hunter and hexslinger. She’s on the trail of her ultimate prey, the man who changed everything for her, with one goal. Whether that goal is justice or vengeance, well…that all depends on how you see things.
Oooh, sounds intriguing! Where did your inspiration for it come from?
When I started The Pact, I had also just started playing a weird west roleplaying game called Deadlands. I loved the setting and the style so much, I had to write a story rooted in it. The Pact isn’t a literal re-telling of any of my actual role-playing games or even a role-playing character…but it definitely takes a lot of inspiration from them.
I do love gaming for a bit of inspiration. What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
Certainly the setting was enjoyable to me, but Serenity—the main character—was a ton of fun to write. To me, she’s like Malcolm Reynolds, Harry Dresden, Roland Deschain, and Catwoman all rolled into one.
Lol, that’s quite a combination 😉 What was the hardest part about writing it?
The story’s setting is roughly based on the American West in the 1860’s. So that means I have to do a lot of research as to the kinds of technology, medical knowledge, and cultures of that time. From time to time I find the research doesn’t play out in my favor, to do the things I want to do in the story. I do get a little leeway, of course, because it is actually a fictional world…but I walk a pretty close line between legit poetic license and cheating.
Hehe, yup, I always like having a purely fictional ‘country’ as I can base it on certain places but have the wee bit of a buffer against people who call me out on my ‘inaccuracies’! Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
My favorite character doesn’t actually show up until the third book in the series. But for sake of answering the question, I’ll say that, in this book, my favorite character is actually Nathara, a developmentally disabled non-verbal character introduced in the second half. That will probably seem very strange to people, once they read the book, but Nathara has always touched a particular part of me. I don’t necessarily identify with her, personally. But she has a charm and an innocence to her that makes her a real joy to have along with me for the adventure.
Why should we run out and buy it right now? J
I’m told one of my strongest talents is building a world and a story readers can really immerse themselves in. You should run out and buy The Pact because you won’t want to miss the adventure inside.
Check out the book details here:
Fleshlings and darklings… Rune-weavers and demons… When you walk in the land of the Reaper, who will survive?
Serenity Walker has cast runes for as long as she can remember. Her teachers call her a prodigy, and her secret studies hold the key to unlimited potential. Once an orphan left on an old woman’s doorstep, Serenity finally belongs. But when her mentor is murdered right in front of her, her hopes of a home die with him.
Her quest for vengeance leads her into a dangerous deal with a demon. Armed with its dark power and her own talent with the runes, she blazes a trail across the lands where ranchers and railroad men are kings, where the prevailing law is the law of the gun. To find the man who reshaped her past, Serenity offers up her future. She’ll face a world where weavers are hunted down to be hanged, whipped, or burned alive…but she won’t face it alone.
As Serenity’s mission takes her farther than most weavers are willing to go, she’ll have to decide who her true enemy is: the wicked men of the world, or the powerful demon inside her.
And you can get your hands on a copy here:
Don’t forget to follow Brantwijn on social media to get all her latest news 🙂
Take care x