Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Brandy Heineman {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Brandy...

Brandy Heineman is a novelist writing stories seasoned with secrets from the past and mysteries of the faith. Her debut novel, Whispers in the Branches, finaled in the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest and was published by Elk Lake Publishing earlier this year. Brandy is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and Communication. She and her husband, Michael, make their home in metro Atlanta, along with two needy, greedy cats.

How to connect with Brandy...

Blog: http://brandyheineman.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/brandyhei 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbrandyheineman 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brandyhei
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/4X6pn
Purchase: Whispers in the Branches

Author Interview | Brandy Heineman
E.A. Creative Photography

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I was in second or third grade when I got my first encouraging comment—“Keep it up and maybe you’ll be a writer someday!” From there, I could mention any number of writerly moments . . . the time my dot matrix perforated pages caught the wind as I was getting off the school bus and furled out like a sail was I was crossing the street comes to mind. So does my first taste of publishing via the high school literary magazine when I was in ninth grade.

...However, there have always been fits and starts. I got serious about writing when I realized that (1) my thirtieth birthday was going to happen on schedule, regardless, and (2) I didn’t want to ever have to look Jesus in the eye and explain that I buried my talents for safekeeping.


Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I have a quirky little short piece called His Pepper Heart. People who get my newsletter will be hearing a little more about that pretty soon…

...It’s my favorite because gave me something fresh and exciting to work on when another project was going poorly. Also, it’s largely a villain POV story, and I love my villains. And the research for it forced me to stop being scared of spicy food!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...Sure! My debut novel is Whispers in the Branches. In it, Abby Wells has a crisis of faith when her mother passes away. She tries to connect with her southern roots, but she has questions no one can answer. When Aunt Ruby claims the old family home is haunted, Abby can’t resist the chance to investigate—but it’s her own past that nips at her heels, and the secrets she discovers aren’t the ones she wanted to find.

...The story changed many, many times before it became what it is today, but the undercurrent remained the same: I wanted to write a story about longing for something that could never be. In this story, some characters base their faith on what they wish to be true. I thought it was important to explore that, because a person can be deceived by a tiny lie. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I love Aunt Ruby. It was so fun to create her character as a slightly spoiled southern belle in 1942 and her tough-as-grit present-day counterpart. Even though her life changes dramatically in the span of seventy years, her voice remains constant. Since this story deals with some heavy themes, I needed a few characters who could deliver some comic relief. Ruby definitely has her moments.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I hope readers come away affirmed that God is working all the time, that even through our hardest times, He’s there.

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...You don’t have to hang out with me for long to discover that I’m a big genealogy buff, and much of my inspiration comes from discoveries and questions about my ancestors. I write stories with two interconnected timelines, and my fiction seeks to make sense of the relationship between then and now.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I hope that my stories entertain, but with a subtext of significance. I’ve recently started praying for my readers each day when I set to work—that the Lord will bless them through the work He’s given me to do. Whether that means a pleasant mental vacation or a nugget of truth is up to Him. There have been so many times when I picked up a book and marveled at how the content connected to my life. The author can’t plan that—that’s under God’s purview!

You

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?
...A big family day with food and fireworks! We have a couple of July birthdays in my family too, so Independence Day usually turns into a birthday extravaganza.

How are you making the most of your time this summer for writing and relaxing? Do you do anything different in the summer months?
...We are really having quite a summer here in metro Atlanta this year, so there’s a fair amount of parking in front of the box fans to cool off, but in general, it’s business as usual.

...I always take Sundays off from writing, although it’s hard to look away from social media, email, etc. After church, I love to work on my family tree, read, or watch movies with my husband.

Do you enjoy hot weather or cold better?
...I’m thankful that Georgia winters are pretty mild. I can’t really say I’m loving these 90+ degree days we’re having, but I do like hot weather better than cold. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons, when it’s warm and beautiful out!

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I got the chance to meet Brandy in person when I did headshots for her at the ACFW conference last year! I'm so happy to have her here on the blog. I am so encouraged by your second point from why you're a writer. I love the fact that our writing abilities are given to us by the Lord! Love your reader-takeaway as well. And I love how you talk about praying for your readers! I'm currently about to start a new book project and I've found myself praying for the story and for those who will read it in the future. Thanks again Brandy - and make sure you check out her book, my dear readers!
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::WINNERS::

Well plant me in the ground and call me green...um, not sure where that came from? Maybe it's all the western freelance work I'm writing hehe! But, either way, I've been a little lax on choosing my winners! I'm on time for Blood for Blood by Ben Wolf, but I forgot about my Loree Lough winners a few weeks back. My apologies! So, today I'm announcing ALL the winners :D

Once A Marine by Loree Lough
Winner: Deanna Stevens
Currency of the Heart by Loree Lough
Winner: Wuzzie2516
Blood for Blood by Ben Wolf
Winner: Kara Peck

And don't forget - if you didn't win here don't worry there are plenty more giveaways! Check out Monday's post and leave a comment to enter to win {two chances on this one}.