Jen: Today we welcome Brooke London to Book Talk. Brooke, will you please share a short bio with us?
Brooke: Sure, Jen. I originally hail from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and grew up in the hamlet of Sherwood Park, a suburb of the city. After high school, I received a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Ten days after my last exam at university, I took off for a three-month tour of Australia and New Zealand, which turned into a year-and-a-half trip, after adding Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Britain to the itinerary. I went back to snowy Edmonton and decided in favor of a change of location, so I flipped a coin to decide whether to live in Vancouver, British Columbia or in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto won.
I worked in stockbrokerages for three years before going back to school to study computer science. I worked for over a decade in Information Technology and am now writing full-time. I have completed one romantic suspense novel, Pitch Dark, which was published by Cerridwen Press in March 2009. I am working on my second and third novels now.
Jen: Tell us about Pitch Dark and where it’s available.
Brooke: Pitch Dark is a full-length romantic suspense novel available in e-book format now from Cerridwen Press at http://www.jasminejade.com/p-6985-pitch-dark.aspx and at All Romance eBooks at http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-pitchdark-16670-152.html. It will be available in paperback format from Cerridwen Press and Amazon.com sometime by the end of July this year.
The blurb for Pitch Dark is:
Alyssa must protect her grandfather’s cutting-edge, environmentally friendly oil sands extraction technology—and his life. Forced into dealing with her grandfather’s chosen partner, Connor, a wildcard business mogul and ex-CIA spy, she knows she can’t trust him.
Connor resents that Alyssa has the final say on his multimillion-dollar partnership. When someone tries to kill them both, they are thrust together and their mutual attraction sparks hot enough to heat the sheets to searing intensity, despite their mutual distrust.
Together they race between his headquarters in Colorado and the oil sands of Alberta to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who are determined to stop them at any cost. It will take their combined cunning and courage to survive the explosive and treacherous covert world of espionage, betrayal, terrorists and spies. But even if they do, can they survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Brooke: LOL! I discovered writing in 2003 at a somewhat advanced age by most writerly standards I’ve seen. The book, Pitch Dark, was originally contracted in late 2007 and published in March 2009. Pitch Dark was published this past March, it was my first shot at writing fiction and my first publication.
The “call” was actually an email message that I read one afternoon at around 2pm. I had been religiously checking my emails for responses and had become a little discouraged by the rejections, so this particular day I checked my emails late. The email from Cerridwen came and I thought “okay, another rejection, let’s just get this over”. And opened the email. It took me a good two minutes to comprehend that it wasn’t a rejection. The “Congratulations” starting the email should have been a big clue but it just didn’t sink in. When it did sink in, I started shaking like a leaf—I think I may have screamed J And then I phoned all my friends and family, nearly hyperventilating—some of them thought I had an emergency situation until I managed to stutter out that I was going to be published.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Brooke: Not that I know of. It sort of came out of left field. Growing up, my parents always emphasized sciences and maths and other subjects didn’t seem to be stressed as much. I was expected to do well in all subjects but English didn’t appear to be a priority.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Brooke: I’m half-pantser/half-plotter. I have a very specific approach to the plotting part. I set up very detailed characters and determine which events will cause the characters as much angst and trouble as possible. I plot out the basic story line and then I get out of the way and let the characters run with the story.
Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Brooke: I barricade myself in my office and force myself to sit there. Sometimes it helps to move locations to write. There’s a specific Starbucks in Toronto that seems to say ‘write more, write fast, write now’ every time I’m there, so I go there once a week.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Brooke: The most challenging aspect is forcing myself to sit down and write. I think many authors have this issue. There’s always something else I can be doing from cleaning, to running errands and plain wasting time. The easiest? The thirty second commute from my bed to my computer – LOL!
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Brooke: The most rewarding aspect for me is that I gave birth to a piece of fiction. I brought something to life with words. I can remember finishing the first draft of Pitch Dark and typing the words “The End” – that was the most rewarding moment. I actually finished a full-length novel, with no writing experience and no writing courses. Then, of course, I edited and polished a lot.
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Brooke: For the one book I’ve released to date, I went out with a friend for a celebratory dinner. And bought a bottle of lovely champagne, which I signed and dated.
Jen: Where do you draw your inspiration?
Brooke: I have pages and pages of “what if” questions, listing both realistic and non-realistic questions. It’s just a matter of following the “what if” to its logical conclusion. I get inspiration from real-world events, personal events, dreams, nightmares, mythology, other books (fiction and non-fiction) and a number of other sources. Anything can be fodder for my imagination.
Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
Brooke: I’ve hung onto my characters to date. They become almost real to me and they always seem to rattle around in my head. That may be a consequence of being a new writer but I really love my characters. I put so much into them, I understand them inside and out, and in a way they are me, or at least some aspect of me.
Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Brooke: If I could pick who I was, I’d be interested in Regency period England. I love Regency period romances but I’ve never tried writing Regency. I would like to be well off, in the aristocracy and I would take medicine, my laptop and a year’s supply of laptop batteries.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Brooke: It’s funny. I never really thought I would be published. Yes, I wrote a novel but I assumed wrongly that a first effort wouldn’t be published. I would like to be more established as a writer and to develop the skills I need to establish myself. I would love to travel more. I would love to live in another country again. Back to Australia or a warmer place in Europe by the sea. Seattle sounds good too. I would like to establish myself in my life again. I recently divorced and I’ve found some of the parts of me that went MIA during my marriage but I want to find those others things that are still lost.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Brooke: Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Pitch Dark, which should be done in the next month, and then turning to a paranormal romantic suspense that I put on hold when I got the ‘call’.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Brooke: Numerous places. My website is http://www.brookelondon.com
My blog is http://www.brookelondonromance.blogspot.com
My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/brookelondon?ref=profile
The book trailer for Pitch Dark is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIivWvOxuaY
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Brooke: Probably, what kinds of books do you like to read the most and why? Do you like to purchase ebooks or do you prefer traditional paper books and why? What makes a novel interesting for you?
Thank you so much for having me here on your blog today, Jen! I really enjoyed our talk.
Jen: Thank you, Brooke, for joining us. Readers, Brooke is giving away an ecopy of Pitch Dark at the end of the day. I’ll pick a winner around 5:00 pm PST today, Friday, June 19. To enter the drawing, you first must leave a comment here on the blog. Second step is to either leave your email address in your post or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org informing us of your interesting in the contest. If we do not get your email address, you will not be added to the contest drawing.