I love when I get to feature books and authors here twice. Back in May, I helped to reveal the cover of Brandy Woods Snow’s Meant To Be Broken. Today, I’m happy to be welcoming Brandy and her novel back to the blog–this time for a Q&A post.
Q&As are a wonderful way of getting to know an author and their book, and I just know you’re going to enjoy Brandy’s answers. She talks a bit today about a lot of different things, including her favourite under-appreciated novel, what draws her to write young adult novels, and what she would tell her younger writing self.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
Whisper to Me by Nick Lake as it navigates romance and mental health and how the two come together in such heart-wrenching emotional ways. In NA reads, I’d say AL Jackson’s Regret series. She knows how to bring the tension and make you root for the characters, no matter how flawed they might be!
Is there a fictional character that you would say you relate to most?
So I automatically go to Southern characters in my head with this question. LOL If movies count, I’d say the entire cast of Steel Magnolias. If it’s literature we’re talking about here, I’d say Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility because as the “sensibility” portion of the title, she’s filled with romantic idealism, relies heavily on her emotions, and pretty much is in love with love itself. She follows her heart, and I love that.
Do you always read within the category and/or genre that you write?
Not always, but mostly. YA contemporary romance is hands-down my age category/genre to read and write so I must confess that it comprises about 90% of my time! For leisure, I’ll also read new adult/adult contemporary romance and sometimes a thriller or mystery. I also have critique partners that write in a variety of genres so I also read my share of dark fantasy, light sci-fi, and even an MG or two!
What draws you to the genre that you write?
I’m a bleeding heart, lover of love. I believe when the world feels dark and dreary, love is the cure-all pill. What can I say? Sappy, sappy, sappy! LOL To that end, my romance tends to be a bit more heavy and emotional. I love portraying love not as a “magical fix” but as a strengthening element, giving my characters the fortitude to overcome their obstacles.
Why do you choose to write YA?
I think the YA years are magical in and of themselves. It’s such a learning and “feeling” time of life when everything is new and fresh and seen through the “coming of age” eyes. It’s a time in life to make mistakes and learn from them, to fall in love without constraint, to be optimistic before life throws its cynicism all over you.
What was your favourite scene to write in Meant To Be Broken?
The football field scene where Rayne and Gage are laying there talking was my favorite scene to write. That was the point (in my mind) that the reader finally realizes there is something going on between them, some feelings that they can’t (and won’t) act on. To me, the tension is palpable at that point, and you really begin to see how they are their true selves when around each other. They bring out the best in each other.
Do you have any favourite lines you’d like to share?
I have a couple but here are a few of my faves:
“Apparently it’d happened in front of the Luzianne teabags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon…and a piece of news.”
This is such a portrayal of small-town Southern life. Gossip is a way of life and better than any platinum credit card. LOL!
“My heart flutters against my ribs and icy pellets coat my spine as we lay there motionless, her looking at the stars and me looking at her, with one thought circulating in my brain.
She could’ve left, but she didn’t.
She stayed here.
She chose me.”
I love sentimental, swoony guy characters, and I loved writing Gage as a teen boy who not only thought Rayne was beautiful but was so connected to her on a deeper, emotional level.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
The process is a marathon, not a sprint. Read everything. Research everything. Write, write, write. Find your tribe ASAP. Start today and quit putting it off!
What books or magazines about writing would you most recommend other writers read?
I think the classic (and well-deserved) answer to this question would first be Stephen King’s On Writing. Other than that, I’m a huge fan of Michael Hauge’s techniques, and you can find information about him at www.storymastery.com.
And finally, what does literary or writing success look like to you?
I think every author dreams of NYT best-seller lists and top Amazon sales, and don’t get me wrong, that’d be awesome! But so far on this journey, it’s been most thrilling to hear people say they loved the book and couldn’t put it down and that it made some sort of impact on them. But, if I were to give you a physical “tipping point” of success, I’ve always said I’d love to be someone’s comp title on their query. I think that might be the ultimate compliment!
About Meant To Be Broken
Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.
Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.
But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.
They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.
Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.
Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?
About Brandy Woods Snow
Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She earned a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University and worked in corporate communications and the media for more than 17 years before pursuing her true passion for novel writing. Brandy is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Young Adult RWA.
When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.