July 7, 2010

Q & A with Author Josie Brown

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I guess I always knew it, even when I was a child. But I took the first step the very first day I brought my first child home from the hospital. That day, I saw myself defined as a wife and a mother, but I felt there was something missing in that picture: the thing that only I could give myself.

I started writing that day.

I never completed that book. When I do, it will be a big one! Unfortunately, real life got in the way, with its real bills, and responsibilities to my family -- including earning enough money to give them a decent life. My previous professions --- advertising, marketing and journalism -- allowed me to write, but I wasn't the kind of writing I wanted to do: fiction.

It took me another sixteen years before I realized that, if I truly wanted to write fiction, I'd have to make it as much a priority in my life as anything else I did for a living. I honed my craft, networked, queried agents and editors. I was lucky in that I found a good agent the first go-round, who sold my first two books and a non-fiction book as well. But a writer's life is always filled with peaks and valleys. It's the joy of creating stories that keeps us at it.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I am inspired by author writers, who live my maxim, "Last author standing." Some that come to mind: Stephanie Bond, MJ Rose,Sophie Littlefield and John Lescroart. By that, I mean if you keep at the craft and business of writing, you will get better at it, and soon you'll be published, because you're one of the few who hung in there. Great writers drop out of the game all the time: illness, personal reasons, or they never connected to an agent or editor to champion them, all of which are part of the journey. The last authors standing have the skills to write compelling books, and at the same time have learned to earn a living at it, and enjoying the process while do so.

How do you create the characters in your books? Are they based on people you know?

Usually my books start with a "What if?" premise. In the case of SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, "What if a high-powered guy, a workaholic, had to change the priorities in his life -- from work, to home -- in order to hold onto the thing he thought was most dear to him, his children and his house?" Then I took the perspective of that journey, and gave it to my heroine -- his neighbor --in order to tell the story of how she comes to the realization that her life isn't what she thought it was, either. Or, for that matter, the lives of all their neighbors.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

The dictionary! Oh the places you'll go (in your head), oh the people you'll meet (love those micro-bios) and the words you'll learn...

If you weren’t a writer, what be your profession?

I'd have loved to have been a film editor.

If you could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, who would it be and why?

Oh, Scarlett O'Hara, for sure! To be beloved by millions -- and break all the men's hearts with your seventeen-inch waist. Not to mentional you're able to say "Fiddle dee-dee-" whenever you're mad, without people laughing at you....

Okay, Bridget, you've inspired me to make that my new goal.I'll start tomorrow. Because, as you know, "Tomorrow is another day."

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

An iPad -- loaded with every book ever written, La Mer moisturizer (gotta keep the face lookin' pretty!) and my husband, Martin. He can make a meal out of anything! Watch out, crocs!

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Haha! Really, I have three! My husband and I quote lines from them all the time, which proves that they are memorable. The first is DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS. We love the way the characters all go from being callous and dysfunctional to endearing -- because of the bum who walks into their lives (Most quotable line: "It's hangers that clothe you, and hangers that feed you, and hangers that bought you that facacte camera..."

Then there is BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. Every scene is a gem. (Best lines: "I never play frumps or virgins..." and "Don't speak! Don't speak!")

And finally, TOOTSIE (best line: "I was a better man with you, as a woman... than I ever was with a woman, as a man."

What is the one thing that you want all your fans to know?

I would want them to realize that, for the most part, writers work very hard to craft a story that they hope you'll love. Should they do so, and leave you with something memorable or enjoyable, don't ever feel that you can't let them know. Feel free to send them a note, or mention it to a friend, or post a positive review in one of the many online book stores. Believe me, it's always appreciated.

If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be and

I'd invite Mark Twain, Mahatma Gandhi, Harry Houdini, Abraham Lincoln, and Mae West. I imagine each would have great insights into live -- as much the way we live now as to how we lived then -- and there would be a lot of humor, too. It would be a rip-roaring gathering, to say the least!

Disclosure: I did not receive any form of compensation for this post.

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1 comment:

  1. Golly, Bridget that was the best interview. I enjoyed all of it. I especially enjoyed "fiddle dee." Thanks to both of you.