Book Club, FAQs, Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Writing Q & A Part 1

black and white business career close up

Since I’ve been writing, there are certain questions I get asked on a regular basis. I decided to feature them in a blog post along with my answers. I titled this Part 1, because there are other questions I’d like to feature, and I know there will be more along the way. Enjoy!

Side note: If you’re reading this and you see a question here that you have asked me, please know I’m not singling anyone out, I’m just featuring commonly asked questions… along with a few silly ones!
How do you come up with your stories?
I wish there was a clear, concise answer to this. I have an overactive imagination, so a lot of the time something will catch my attention. It can be a person, it can be a shiny object, it can be a pretty autumn leaf on the ground. Whatever it is, my mind will focus on it, then my imagination starts running wild and usually a story is formed from that. Other times I see vignettes in my mind, kind of like a movie. A lot of those images just pass through, but the ones that reoccur are the ones I pay attention to, and the ones I start to write.
How do you name your characters?
Sometimes I use a name that I love, like Alexandra. Sometimes, I see a character and I have no idea what to name them. A book of baby names comes in handy for this. Other times, the names come to me like the story lines do. I know this sounds crazy, and please don’t think I need a mental health evaluation, but sometimes a character will introduce themselves to me, and tell me their name. This happened to me with my current work in progress. You’ll meet her later this year!
Is Slater Heart named after A.C. Slater from that old TV show Saved by The Bell?
Um… that’s a hard no. Never even crossed my mind. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’m asked that. I don’t like that question, it actually kind of irritates me.
Then, how did you come up with the name Slater Heart?
I knew that Slater’s character would have a unique name. If you’ve read Set It Free, Slater tells Alexandra that his family has a tradition of making last names into middle names. So, Slater is his middle name. I think I was watching an interview on The Today Show with actor Christian Slater and I thought his last name would be a very cool name for a rock star. He didn’t inspire anything beyond the name.
You dedicated Set It Free to Axl Rose. So, you’ve met him? That’s why you dedicated it to him?
Yup, we’re besties… we go way back… Did you detect a hint of sarcasm? Ha ha! No, I have not met him. I dedicated the book to him because he was a huge inspiration to me while I was writing the series. I’ve started writing projects in the past and I’ve never finished them. I finished this one, and I wanted to thank him for that. That’s all.
Do you want to meet him?
At first, I thought, yes. My goal was to get my book into his hands and say thank you for the inspiration. Now, I’d love to know that he received a copy of my book and my thanks, but honestly, if I never meet him, I’m ok with that. That one is hard to explain but I get asked that frequently, so that’s my answer.
Do you put people you know in your stories?
Sometimes, and sometimes they’re good characters and sometimes they’re not. If you’ve read Let It Go, you might remember a part where Alexandra and Mona talk about 2 makeup artists they’re not very fond of. Those gossipy characters are 2 people I used to work with. No, their names have not been changed. Yes, they were that awful. Sorry, not sorry.
What if they read it and see that?
I’d like to introduce them to a friend of mine named, Karma.
Do you use real life situations in your stories?
To a certain extent. There have been many real life situations that have inspired parts of my books, but a lot of them come from my imagination.
You have some steamy content in your books. What’s it like to write a sex scene?
I get asked this a lot. A LOT! It’s challenging, that’s for sure. Sometimes it feels voyeuristic, like I’m spying on them. It can be a little uncomfortable, but I think it’s part of a romance novel that’s important, so I have to get past any reservations I have and write their story… steamy content, and all.
Are any of those steamy moments from personal experience?
I get asked this one quite often, too. My answer… you’ll never know.
Why is it taking so long to get your next book published?
The writing/editing process is a long one. The manuscript goes back and forth between me and my editors several times. Editing is very tedious, and I’m so thankful for my editors, even though I’m usually cussing them out during revisions! After editing comes formatting, then it’s off to the publisher. The cost of self-publishing is not inexpensive, so that’s a factor, as well. The more books I sell, the more money I make, so spread the word and tell your friends to buy my books, so they can get published faster!
You talk about reviews all the time. Are they really that important?
Yes, they are. Not only do they mean the world to me that someone takes the time to leave a positive review, but the more reviews I have, the more exposure I’ll get, which results in more book sales. If you’ve left me a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Google, social media, etc. I am forever grateful. If you have not left a review yet, please do. It truly means so much to me!

There you have it! If you have a question about my writing process, or a personal question for me, reply to this post, or leave me a message/comment on social media. I’m on Instagram as brookegillespietroutauthor or on my Facebook page, Brooke’s Books.

Book Club, Newsletter, Novel, Published Author, Writing, Writing about sex

Don’t Let Pinterest Get You Down

Pinterest

“How to develop strong characters.” “The 5 most important things your novel needs.” “Sex in romance, why it’s necessary.” “Sex in romance, why it shouldn’t be gratuitous.” “Dialogue; why it’s so important to keep it real.” “Dialogue; why it’s important to keep it to a minimum.”

If you’re a writer and you’re anything like me, you probably stumble upon numerous articles like this on Pinterest. While I love Pinterest for a variety of things… awesome shots of a young Axl Rose… (He inspired the main man in my romance series. You can buy that here.) Piercing images of Ian Somerhalder’s eyes… (He inspired the main man in my new romance novel I’m working on. It’s not available yet, but in the meantime, check out my first book!) Mouth watering Mediterranean recipes I’m probably never going to try… and articles on the rules of writing that keep you obsessed for hours/days/weeks. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great tips out there and some of the articles have really useful information. But some of them leave my head spinning and I realize it’s time to climb out of the rabbit hole and just get to work.

Newspaper

One of the articles that stands out is a piece on sex in writing and why it shouldn’t be gratuitous, even in a romance. Scroll down half and inch and all of your Pinterest suggestions refresh, and one will catch your eye claiming that sex is a MUST in romance. Today I stumbled across one telling me how important dialogue is in a novel… you guessed it… halfway down that newsfeed there was another article chastising dialogue and insisted that it should be kept brief. What the heck? What if dialogue is one of your strongest points? A lot of my readers have told me that they love the conversations with my characters and suddenly I’m reading from an “expert” that those conversations are fluff. Well, who is this “expert” anyway? Who are these faceless people that have put rules on everything I find fun about writing? I love documenting a conversation with my characters, even if it includes mundane small talk. Why? Because that’s what makes it real!! That’s what makes the reader relate to what they’re doing, what they’re saying, and how they’re feeling in a situation that someone can identify with. And how can an “expert” claim that dialogue should be kept brief when movies are nothing but dialogue and I can see my stories come to life as a movie?!?!

SteamyAnd let’s talk about the gratuitous sex! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sex is important in a romance novel. No way in hell did I ever pick up a bodice ripper when I was a teenager because I wanted a history lesson! I wanted steam. I wanted situations that made me look over my shoulder to insure that no one could see what I was reading. I wanted Sidney Sheldon content, I wanted Johanna Lyndsey love, I wanted Jackie Collins scandal!! Why? Because I wanted to escape, and I want my readers to escape! Into a world of characters that while exciting and different from their own lives, is still normal with conversations, every day activities, and of course, with personal bedroom moments.

So, thank you Pinterest for all of your suggestions… ALL OF THEM… goodness, there are so many. There are so many opinions out there on what makes a good book and they’re all conflicting. My advice to fellow writers is this… WRITE! Ignore what those articles say you can and can’t do and do whatever the hell you want. Do it for yourself. Your audience will find you. In the meantime, enjoy Pinterest for stalking your celebrity crush and might I suggest getting lost in Ian Somerhalder’s eyes?? (Isn’t he dreamy? You’re welcome!)

Thank you for reading my rant on writing articles. I’d love it if you’d subscribe to this blog. I’d also love it if you read my book! Thanks for stopping by! I have to go write!

Book Club, Newsletter, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

October Newsletter

The

Babbling Brooke

close up of tree against sky

 

Hello everyone and welcome to my first newsletter!! I’m still trying to iron out some details on my website, so for now I’m going to be posting my newsletter on my blog. I’ll keep updating as I can. Until I get things up and running, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Sorry for the delay!! 

Not too long ago, I asked for opinions on the title of my newsletter. As you can see by the header, I decided on The Babbling Brooke. I talk a lot…I always have. Because of that, this was a nickname many people called me through childhood and I’ve lived up to it!!

So, welcome to my newsletter! Stay tuned for monthly updates about Heart & Soul and sneak peeks into my world as a writer. I’ll keep you up to date on events and happenings, and of course, the status of the second book in the series. So, stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

autumn autumn colours autumn leaves beautiful

Happy Fall, Y’all!!
Sorry…couldn’t resist. Fall is my favorite time of year! Unfortunately, living in Nevada, I don’t get to experience fall the way I did in my childhood. I grew up in Denver, and nothing is more beautiful than to see those trees in the mountains change during this season. I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but the foliage in Colorado during this time of the year is truly beautiful!
It does get nippy here in the desert, so at least I get to experience a temperature change.
I love to bake and cook and this is the season for soups, stews, and pumpkin spice everything! I love to make banana muffins, pumpkins scones, and loaded baked potato soup. Mmm…our home always smells so good when I make my favorites, and I love the joy it brings to my family. What are some of your favorite recipes?

Cover Final

Book Update:

Let It Go is the second book in the Heart & Soul series. It’s in the process of being edited and I hope to have it ready to go before the end of the year. Editing is such a lengthy process and it always seems to take longer than you hope it will. Progress is being made every day. The cover has been chosen and it’s amazing!

Check back for updates and a sneak peek at the cover art. It’s so good!!

I the meantime, I’m sharing my favorite quotes and moments from Let It Go, on Instagram. Check it out!

Excited for Let It Go, but haven’t read Set It Free? You can purchase your copy here.

close up of text

NEWS:

Romantically Inclined Reviews is a website that features everything romance! Heart & Soul, Set It Free, was recently reviewed. Please take a moment to read the kind review and while you’re there, take a look at the reviews for some steamy recommendations!

The holidays are right around the corner and it’s not too early to start shopping! Heart & Soul, Set It Free would make a lovely Christmas gift! I have a limited amount in my possession, but if you purchase from me, I will sign and personalize it to the recipient. Simply respond to this blog post, or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook to place your order. You can also order from Amazon or Book Baby. (Side note…you’ll probably get it faster directly from Book Baby. Amazon says they have some in stock, but sometimes that’s not accurate and can take forever if you want the printed version!)

Coming Soon

 

Coming Soon:

I’ll be doing a giveaway in the near future, so make sure to subscribe or follow me to stay in the know! 

That’s all for now! If you’ve read Heart & Soul, Set It Free, I would love to hear from you! If you haven’t, I would love to hear from you! I like to meet new people and hear about what books you love to read! 

Happy Reading!
Brooke

Book Club, Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

Book Club Questions

Book Club

If you belong to a book club, or you’re thinking of starting a book club, and just happen to be reading Heart & Soul, Set It Free, here are some book club questions I want to offer. If you have any suggestions for me to add to this list, please let me know!

If you’re reading Heart & Soul, Set It Free, I hope you’re enjoying it! Please tell your friends. And if this book is featured in your book club, please send me pictures!!

Here are the questions:

  1. What did you like best about this book?
  2. What did you like least about this book?
  3. What other books did this remind you of?
  4. What are your first impressions of Alexandra/Slater? Do you like her/him? Why/why not?
  5. Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone?
  6. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
  7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
  8. Would you read the second book in the series? Why or why not?
  9. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
  10. What songs does this book make you think of? Create a book group playlist together!
  11. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be? 
  12. Which character in the book would you most like to meet?
  13. What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?
  14. What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about?
  15. How original and unique was this book?
  16. Did this book seem realistic?
  17. Did the book’s pace seem too fast/too slow/just right?
  18. Have your first impressions of the book changed? If so, how?

 

Please visit my website, brookegillespietrout.com for updates and sign up for my monthly newsletter!!!