Today at Romance, She Wrote, I have author, singer, and songwriter, Brooklyn James, in the interview chair. She has an upcoming release, Let It Go, that we’ll be talking about.
1. In the past, you’ve written across genres (coming of age, women’s fiction, supernatural thriller, nonfiction). How would you classify your upcoming release, Let It Go?
Let It Go is a feel-good contemporary romance about two divorcées starting over. One divorcé and one divorcée, if you want to get gender-technical…lol. It’s a laid-back, easy, breezy, fun spring/summer read. Perfect for the season.
2. Two divorcées? That’s probably something many readers can relate to?
I think so. It’s strange, really. How perspectives can change when an individual goes through a divorce rather than simply having a friend or family member who has experienced the process. As most writers, I find inspiration in my own life’s experience. Before I went through my own separation, ultimately ending in divorce, I used to hear about divorce and think, ‘Oh, that’s sad. I’m sorry for those folks. That has to be really hard.’ Once I experienced my own, I realized it’s not so sad after all. I mean, I guess it is, to an extent. But usually it simply becomes a necessity, if and when it gets to that point of no return.
I went through all of the steps…the grieving process I guess you’d call it. Shame, guilt, resentment, hurt feelings. It’s not easy, accepting defeat. Accepting the fact that you hurt someone else, became hurt by their sentiments or actions. And depending on the number of years spent with that individual, it’s tough to know when to let it go.
But at the end of the day, once the smoke clears…it’s liberating, to be able to accept that change and move on, embracing, hopefully a pleasant and tender future by letting go of the past. You know, honor it for what it was, a moment or a chapter in your life, lock it in the memories box and start anew. I should point out that in my experience and in the characters’ experiences in the book, there are no children involved. That would certainly provoke a completely different dimension. I didn’t want to go that deep with novel, just the adult experience.
3. In your synopsis, you allude to your lead characters, Brody and Savannah, both divorcées, “falling into the sheets for a one-night stand.” Does that one-night stand turn into more?
Well, now, you’ll have to read the book to find out! I think in most any situation, individuals with like experiences certainly find it comforting to take shelter in one another. Going through something, such as a divorce, can certainly be life changing. If you happen upon someone with a similar experience, it’s as if they already understand where you’re coming from emotionally. They get it. Having that camaraderie already established is a nice foundation for a relationship or a love affair to prosper.
4. I see you have a ‘pesky ex-husband’ and his ‘jealous new girlfriend’ as part of the ensemble. I would surmise there will be some conflict with that?
Of course! Everybody processes things differently, right. We have Savannah, who is letting go and attempting to move on, although her head and heart are at a tug-of-war with trusting her instincts in the relationship department, after one failed marriage. Then, we have the pesky ex-husband, who would rather hold on with a choke-hold, all the while helping himself to the dating pool. I believe they call that ‘having your cake and eating it, too!’
This allows us to experiment with the double-standards for divorcées, in a comical way. How divorced men are often encouraged to get right back out there and dive off the deep-end. ‘The best way to get over someone is to get under or on top of someone else,’ train of thought. Whereas, oftentimes, women are encouraged to take it slow, dipping their toe in the dating pool, before taking the big plunge, be it a steady relationship or simply sex. Talk about nerve-wracking, bittersweet and empowering all at the same time…sex post split. Anyone who has experienced a break up after a long-term relationship can relate to that feeling!
And the ‘jealous new girlfriend,’ I guess that’s all about perception. Readers can decide for themselves just how jealous or not she is. But her inclusion allows for a great climactic meeting of the two women, at the persuasion of the ‘pesky ex-husband.’ Talk about uncomfortable! This was one of my favorite scenes to write. I mean, imagine if you had to meet your ex’s new partner over drinks. Not exactly the ideal Friday night date. The scene allows the reader to follow their conversation as their inner monologues play out over the course of the meeting. It’s fun, in a ‘devil on my shoulder’ kind of way to explore their internal thoughts filled with catty commentary.
5. You also have Savannah’s ‘advice-giving’ older sisters, ‘one seemingly happily married’ and the other ‘fiercely single.’ How do they play into the storyline?
They provide comic relief. We have Jacqueline “Jac,” the fiercely single sister, who moonlights as a blocker for The Pulverizing Peaches roller derby team. She’s something else! The ‘don’t take no shit off no one’ kind of girl. Her perspective is comical, and mostly brutally honest. She’s the one friend you go to when you want the truth, even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear.
And Evangeline “Vangie,” the happily married sibling. She’s Supermom and Superwife. The one who always puts family and marriage first. She’s the one friend you go to when you want a hot cup of tea and encouraging conversation.
The sisters’ opinions, much like their personalities, are very different, which allows readers to explore the counter opinions. I love contrasts. Every story, every theory has two sides. Being the youngest of three girls, I know this scenario all too well. I’ve looked up to and admired my sisters all of my natural life, and they are quick to let me know where they stand.
7. Let It Go, seems very different from your very first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, which was a coming of age story about a young girl overcoming an abusive childhood. Very heavy on subject matter and substance with that book. You’ve had nice success with that one as an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter Finalist. Your Vigilare supernatural thriller trilogy was pretty dark, focusing on heavy subject matter as well. Any reservation in writing a strictly ‘feel-good’ contemporary romance?
Sure. ‘Boots’ being my first book, I tend to gauge everything else I write from that manuscript. However, as a writer, I like to stretch and see if I can execute other vibes and genres. I think there is certain subject matter that deserves a certain finesse and attention, such as abuse. You have to be very objective and delicate with the delivery of that information. However, it’s nice to be able to sit down with a blank page and write a light-hearted discourse about a subject, such as divorce, that can be quite heavy as well.
I think every book is different. You have to set your tone on the first page so that readers know what to expect. ‘Boots’ was definitely more philosophical, deep and introverted. There was a lot to take away from that book. Let It Go is upbeat and whimsical, as was intended. I didn’t want to delve off into the ramifications of divorce so much as I wanted to focus on accepting the change that it entails, ultimately accepting a new season of life. And everything I write has a love story, even Vigilare. I cannot fathom creating characters without a chemistry, a tension of some sort that results in rewarding readers with that human connection. As a writer, you can do that with angst and furry or you can do that with ordinary attraction of the most normal type, something sweet and building. Does it burn or does it smolder? ‘Boots’ definitely burns, whereas, Let It Go smolders. Both giving out to the same ending, just a different journey.
And frankly, it’s nice sometimes, to simply tell a very ordinary story. To provide an easy, breezy, fun read that folks can take to the beach or the couch, find themselves entertained and satisfied. Let It Go doesn’t have a dramatic love triangle, it doesn’t have a lot of havoc and drama, there’s no shocking twist at the end. It’s a very real and simple love story about letting go of our past baggage and embracing new possibilities. I’m hoping I’ve done a nice job in my character building and weaving of the cast and the storyline so that readers will come away from the book with a contented feeling.
I quite like the contemporary romance genre. I’m working on another currently, entitled Just Not Ready Yet, about a young widow starting over. Guess you could say, letting go is a theme for me this year! Although Just Not Ready Yet will be a bit deeper read than Let It Go, simply by virtue of subject matter. It will, however, be a contemporary romance, just a different overall tone.
Thank you so much Romance, She Wrote for the opportunity! If your readers are interested in adding Let It Go to their tbr list, they can do so on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17599555-let-it-go
We’ll be up and running on Amazon March 25th!
Blurb: Savannah Bondurant, a marriage and relationship columnist for the Savannah Sun Times, just signed her divorce papers. Brody McAlister, the elusive and smoking hot gym boy, has finally recovered from his divorce three years ago. Be it spurred by loneliness or sheer attraction, the two slip into the sheets for a memorable one-night stand.
Savannah’s pesky ex-husband continues to try and worm his way back into her life, insisting they remain friends, even though he is living with his jealous new girlfriend. An up-and-coming woodworker artist, Brody has every socialite cougar in town promising him success and riches, for a price, of course.
With two advice-giving older sisters, one fiercely single and one seemingly happily married, Savannah learns her parents’ long and successful relationship does not come without its own secrets. Why should she believe in happily ever after? Her constant overanalyzing and skepticism bodes well in her profession as a journalist, but proves counterproductive in her personal life. Divorce, guilt, suspicion, holding on to the past—can Savannah trust in Brody to help her Let It Go…
BIO: Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. This book has ranked in Kindle’s Top 100 Coming of Age and Women’s Fiction.
Her supernatural thriller trilogy, Vigilare, is an adaptation from a short narrative film, inspired by vigilante movies, such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints. Currently available are Vigilare and Vigilare: Hell Hound. She is avidly working on the last novel in the series, Vigilare: The Torch. Brooklyn’s latest release, Get This Body In A Barn: The Milkmaid’s Guide To Fitness, is available exclusively as an ebook. Inspired by her childhood growing up on a dairy farm, she offers basic and practical fitness and nutrition regimens in getting in shape.
Coming in March 2013 and June 2013, a contemporary romance, Let It Go as well as the Prequel to the Vigilare trilogy and Stand-Alone contemporary romance, Jolie Blonde, which will have an accompanying original music soundtrack as well. She has been busy in studio at Wonderland Studios, Austin with production of the album. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author. Listen free at www.brooklyn-james.com or www.facebook.com/BrooklynJamesAuthor.
Brooklyn’s music can be found on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Pandora and JANGO online Radio. Her song Can’t Get It Right was chosen for MEOW’s (Musicians for Equal Opportunity for Women) 2012 Discoveries Jukebox, naming Brooklyn among the top 15 female singer/songwriters on the rise. Can’t Get It Right was also featured on a Video News Release for VO5’s Red Hot Rising Stars Campaign in Miami and New York. Jango Radio named her song Moving On to their Top 10 Songs of Summer.
Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Labor & Delivery. She performs as part of an acoustic duo in the local live music scene in Austin. Brooklyn also serves as Guest Speaker from time to time with a focus on awareness and prevention of Domestic Violence and Suicide
Finding Brooklyn James: