Hi everyone! Today we are excited to have Nadine Brandes with us! Yeah! She’s an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When she’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
1) What is your favorite part of speculative fiction?
The fact that there are no limits! Almost all other genres start in an existing world whether that’s a historical time period or a current-day, current-world setting. I love that speculative fiction allows us to *ahem* “Boldly go where no one has gone before.” And I love that speculative fiction readers will get that reference.
2) Everyone seems to have a “how I got published” story. What is yours?
A lot of my “how I got published” story takes place at conferences. A conference is where I tamed my first dragon and trained it to hold publishers captive…wait. I probably shouldn’t have confessed that.
Okay okay, I’d been writing for several years but it wasn’t until I went to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference that I met and formed friendship with the publisher who signed the Out of Time Series. I was a very awkward young author, but I knew that A Time to Die was the best thing I’d ever written (we won’t speak of the shelved manuscripts before that. I fed them to my dragon.) After three years of conferencing and honing the first draft I finally got up the courage to pitch it, un-agented, to what is now Enclave Publishing. And, by God’s grace, I ended up with a three-book contract. (Sounds so simple, right?)
It wasn’t an easy process because—as most of us authors—I spent years and years of not pitching or trying to take in all the negative feedback from professionals before my Out of Time Series landed in the right hands. But to all writers out there: Don’t give up! And let yourself grow from the process (no matter how much we bleed red ink everywhere.)
3) What were some of the challenges for you writing your book?
My newest release, FAWKES, was the hardest book I’ve ever written. It is my fourth book, but it was the first time I stepped out of the world of the Out of Time Series. Not only that but it’s a standalone (something I’d never written before), historical (something I’d never done before), fantasy (a genre I hadn’t tried before) from a male POV (a POV I’d never attempted ever). *faints* Learning how to research was a battle, y’all. I learned how much I didn’t know and how much went into researching a world that already existed. And wrapping up a whole story in one book was also its own challenge. (You all know how I love my cliffhangers.)
But overall I learned so much from this process that, as I work on my second historical fantasy, I’m having a lot more fun!
4) Do you listen to music while you write? If so what are some examples?
Yes! I create a playlist for each book and that’s all that I will listen to when I write that book. It helps get me in the zone and reminds me of the mood I’m trying to convey. Sometimes it’s soundtracks, sometimes it’s songs with words.
For example, the Out of Time Series was written mostly to Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift’s RED album. Fawkes was written mainly to The Gray Havens (they are gold: Everyone go listen to them. Forever.) And my current work in progress is written to Kesha’s single “Praying” and the soundtrack from The Light Between Oceans (I haven’t actually seen this movie, but the music is lovely.)
5) How would you like to be remembered?
As being intentional with the people I meet and interact with. As being real and authentic and providing a “safe space” for readers, friends, authors, anyone to come rest in. Basically, I would love to be remembered as doing my best to reflect the peace, comfort, and personability of Christ, while also being a crazy Oreo-loving adventure-nerd.
6) What do you drink/eat while you write?
I live off of tea. I actually don’t have any blood in my veins anymore. It’s all Yorkshire tea with cream and cane sugar.
If I snack on food items at all, it will probably be shortbread with my tea. I don’t let myself snack on Oreos while I write because I’ll forget to write and just turn into an Oreo-eating Orc.
7) What is the last book you read?
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I listened to the audiobook (which was stellar) so does that count? The last physical book I read was Story Peddler, by Lindsay Franklin and you guys…IT IS SO GOOD.
Thank you for joining us, Nadine! Here is where you can find her online (because you know you want to follow her newsletter!):
Historical fantasy sounds like so much fun, and yet so daunting at the same time. So much research!
I’m definitely going to have to try the genre sometime though, because Fawkes is so amazing.