Today 2 Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Velda Brotherton, creator of “Once There Were Sad Songs” a recent Wild Rose Press release out of the Vintage Rose line. Welcome, Velda
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Arkansas
What is “Once There Were Sad Songs” about? Set in 1985, it's about a Vietnam vet on the path to destruction and a schoolteacher searching for the life she always dreamed of having. They find each other at a remote lake in the Ouachita Mountains. Both wonder if they can embrace this second chance at love or is it too late?
What did you think the first time you saw the hero and heroine ? I thought if I had met such a guy [like Steven] when I was younger, I would have fallen for him because he could offer me adventure. He reminded me of a boyfriend I had when I was young. Wild and crazy, adorable and willing to try new things.
As for the heroine, Mary Elizabeth, who has no last name because she had forsaken it, I liked her, but wondered why she had stuck with her fanatical husband as long as she had. I was determined to get her out of her predicament and on to something that better suited her deepest desires.
And your second thought? If these two get together there's going to be an explosion of emotions and some life changing events.
Was it love at first sight? Definitely. The attraction was there immediately but it took a while to reach the boiling point.
What do you like most about Steven and Mary Elizabeth? I like him because once he realized he could lead a better life, he set out to repair all the damage he had done to others. This takes a lot of courage. On the other hand, Mary Elizabeth was brave enough to return to her old life as the changed woman she was, willing to show everyone who she truly was.
How would you describe them? Steven Michael Llewellyn is a scruffy but sexy guy in his thirties. His sandy hair hangs down his back in a single braid and he is just muscular enough to be enticing, with inquisitive blue eyes that flash ice and fire. The lines in his face are sharp as if sketched in quick strokes by an artist with a hunk of charcoal, left unfinished. He's tough and rugged enough to survive the life he's chosen to live, but he seems lonely and in search of something better.
Mary Elizabeth is in her forties, country pretty. Steven sees her as having nice breasts so you couldn't count her rib bones, good hips, not those plank- like things so popular now. She is something of a prude but still willing to stand up to adversity when it comes along. She has wild auburn hair that gleams red in the sunlight, a dusting of color that needs no makeup and an athletic body.
How would they describe you? Mary Elizabeth would probably describe me as a harsh task master, willing to put her through hell just to let her know who is in charge. Steven would say I don't know the first thing about how he feels so stop probing around inside his mind.
What made you choose writing as a profession? All the voices and stories that haunted me. I finally decided that the only way to satisfy them was to put their stories down on paper. The voices continue to prod me into action. Writers are the only people in the world who hear voices and no one tells them to see a psychiatrist.
What is your biggest fear? Dying before I get all my stories told and books written.
How do you relax? Watch movies, I even like bad movies cause they show me what not to do when I write my books.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Spenser in the books written by Robert Parker. He is quirky, funny, hard as nails when necessary and would go to hell and back to protect the helpless. The stories he lives in are thoughtful and much more than just another mystery. Dave Robicheaux by James Lee Burke runs a close second if not tied with Spenser because they are somewhat alike, though Spenser is more sophisticated than Robicheaux who wades into battle without thinking about it. I like complex characters.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Have faith in yourself and don't give up. Perseverance is the most important a trait a writer can have.
What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? This is a tough question because of all the writers I admire and the movies I've liked. And I write in so many genres that each one was influenced by a different writer and/or movie. I'm known as a writer of sexy, gritty and dark books, so think of any movie or book that fits that criteria and it's probably influenced me. My historicals I'd say were influenced by Larry McMurtry and True Grit is one of my favorite westerns, though I write romances of the early west. See how complicated it gets to pick? My women's fiction are tougher than most. A reviewer compared my development of male characters in “Once There Were Sad Songs” to the writings of Steinbeck. My first mystery was influenced a great deal by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and the series is named A Twist of Poe.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them?
What influenced your decision to submit to them. My publisher is The Wild Rose Press. I met their senior editor, Rhonda Penders, at a writer's conference. Once we began to talk about writing and my work, I knew I'd found someone I wanted to deal with. She is down to earth, truthful and very talented. When she asked to see the book I pitched, she immediately asked if I had others. I submitted two books to her, and she contracted one and suggested another press for the other, which didn't quite suit any of their lines. The other press took the book and contracted it. After several years of writing and being published in the nonfiction field, I was back in the fiction world with that one meeting. I have since gone with a third small press with a mystery series.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. WRP takes submissions online. They supply instructions on formatting so they can go right to press with the book. It took almost a year for the first book to go from that pitch I made to ebook and print. During that time an editor was assigned to work with me and together we were able to make a few small changes and also input suggestions for the cover. Once the cover and the galleys were approved by me, the book was put in line for publishing.
How long did it take from query to release? The press sends out ARCs to a huge list of reviewers, but other than that the author does the promotion but we are given suggestions on how to promote our books. I now have three books with WRP and a fourth one is in the works. One more approval from editors and it will be contracted (or not).
Thanks for coming to visit us this week, Velda. We I wish you many sales of this and all your books.
Kat Doran and Veronica Lynch.
To learn more about Velda Brotherton and the stories she creates go to: http://www.veldabrotherton.com
To purchase Once There Were Sad Songs, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/kgerkkf-