Interview with Nadine Brandes + GIVEAWAY

radical ATtD giveawayTonight I have the honor of welcoming Nadine Brandes to The Fox Hole to share her insights about authentic characters.

After that, I have a spectacular giveaway of Radical by David Platt AND A Time to Die, the first book in the Out of Time Series by Nadine.

AND THEN, after that there’s more info about Nadine and the Out of Time Series. :)

Nadine-1024x713Rosalie: Good twilight, Nadine!  Welcome to The Fox Hole!  To start things off, can you tell us just a little bit about yourself before we jump into how you create characters?

Nadine: Good twilight! Yes, my day job is adventuring, but I do writing and editing on the side. ;-) I’m a Harry Potter super-nerd who loves tea, Oreos, and weird vegetables. I have enough books to build the frame to a Tiny House and actually hope to live in a Tiny House someday.

I write books about pursuing life and worlds soaked in imagination. I’m also married to a real knight-in-shining-armor and he’s promised not to disappear back into the fairytale from whence he came (at least…not without me.) We currently live in Idaho, but that won’t keep us from traveling the world by dragon. :D

R: Wow! It sounds like you are a very busy lady!  Can I borrow your dragon sometime???

Anyway, let’s get down to business. :)  Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?  Real people, past experience, pure imagination?

still love GodN: You can totally borrow my dragon. His name is Ninja. :D

My characters get inspired by a feeling. I know that’s probably weird, but I never visualize a face or a place…I think of someone who feels like her life is purposeless. Boom, there’s Parvin. I think of someone wild, inventive, and a passionate. There’s Jude.

After I get that initial idea, I’ll build pieces of them from real people (if I can), but mostly it’s pure imagination (Imagine Gene Wilder singing that Willy Wonka song…) My imagination is a bit wilder and stronger than reality at times, which makes for good characters. :P

Parvin, though, was built off of questions I’d asked myself when I was a teen. So she was very strongly fashioned after a much younger version of myself.

for my LordR: Wow! That is so cool! I’ve never heard someone say that they create their characters quite that way!  All your characters seem so tangible and real.  How do you add such incredible depth?

N: I guess I just keep rewriting them until I feel I get them right. Ha! How’s that for a vague answer? For a speculative fiction author, I’m actually really picky about realism. Things and people have to be believable to me in order for me to enjoy or invest in a story. I think that just comes out in my writing. If a character doesn’t feel believable I’ll either ditch ’em or keep picking at them. On that note, Jude was incredibly tough to write, so I like when people say he’s believable. I totally trashed and re-hashed his character at least three times.

R: Whoa. That seems pretty intense! On the note of realism, what do you think gives a character believability/relatability? Backstory? Actions? Speech? All of the above plus some?

N: Stuff we can relate to!

A character will always feel real if it’s something we’ve tackled in our own lives. Doubt, self-hatred, insecurity, dreams, misplaced hope, etc. I think that’s what makes them believable.

I’ve spent years training myself to “take the mask off” in front of other people — to get rid of that false-front, or trying to convince everyone I have everything together. And in doing so, that’s made me more authentic, more transparent (which can be terrifying!) Because of that, I try to strip my characters of their masks. Make them flawed, make them ask real questions, etc. I think the believability comes from the character’s voice, thoughts, and emotions more than anything else.

i've finally learned to liveR: *furiously scribbles notesWho was the most fun for you to write?

N: Parvin, though maybe that’s the obvious answer. I never really knew when she’d be sarcastic and funny, or make a decision that would totally blindside her and crush her. She was so interesting and complex.

But aside from her…I’d say Skelley Chase. His snarky bored pompousness was incredibly fun to write, even though everyone hates him. He’s still fun to write. Hm…

R: She’s definitely fun to read, and so I thought she’d be fun to write. 

Wow, really?  Honestly, that really surprises me, but maybe that’s just because he’s not a favorite of mine… 

Okay, next question.  You said Jude was difficult.  Was he the most difficult character to write?

N: Well, you did say the most fun to write. Not my favorite character to write. :P

Yes, Jude was the most difficult to write. At first, I didn’t even like him. He was kind of a jerk. And then I realized, I needed him to be likable, so I revamped his character. Then he was too likable, which would have made…certain scenes…too tough for the reader, so I finally toned it down to a middle ground. But now every time I read the book, I like him more and more. :)

R: Well, even though he wasn’t the nicest chap, I may or may not have fangirled over him for longer than I care to say. xD ANYWAY, moving on. I’m so glad to have your insights! :) :) What character(s) do you think inspired/impacted you the most in both your own writing and in books you’ve read? 

N: Parvin definitely impacted me the most. When I think of how far she’s come by the end of book two, it almost brings me to tears. Jude has impacted me the more and more I re-read my story. I see things in him that I didn’t mean to write, but now it’s clear Someone else put them in the story in order for me to see them years later. :) It’s pretty amazing the way God has used these characters to shape me into someone better.

Now, as for characters from other books, I was most impacted by Hadassah from the Mark of the Lion Trilogy (Francine Rivers) and Achan from The Blood of Kings Trilogy (Jill Williamson.) These are the characters that left me thinking, “I want to love God like that.” or “I want to pursue God like that.” And ultimately changed how I went after life. :)

the Lord is arisingR: Wow! Having read your books, I know that God is a HUGE part, and the way you write His relationships with the characters is so powerful.  Was that hard, or did it just flow out of your own relationship with Him?

It was tough, especially during days that I felt far from Him, but mostly it flowed out of my own relationship with Him. Much of Parvin’s inner journey is a reflection of questions and struggles I had as a teen. So it was easy to see her process since I’d lived through some of it myself. I draw a lot from real stories or hopes of how I’ll interact with God someday. :) Really, I pray over every scene I write and then watch as God shapes it into something that impacts readers. That’s pretty cool.

R: Oh, how cool!  Well, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!  Is there anything you would like to add before I go to the giveaway?

N: Thank you for having me, Rosalie! And I guess I’ll just say this to everyone: Life demands pursuit. And God’s given you the perfect amount of time with which to catch it. [grin]

radical ATtD giveawayThe Giveaway!

Now for the giveaway!

Nadine’s a huge fan of David Platt, and I recently read and was changed by one of his books, Radical.

So, follow the Rafflecopter link (Rafflecopter and my blog have issues with each other, so that’s why it’s a link) for a chance to win paperback copies of both Radical and A Time to Die!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the books:

ATimetoDieCovHow would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Now, all the fun links for this one: my review, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. :)

A Time to SpeakWhat happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

And all the fun links for this one: my review, Amazon, and Goodreads. :)

nadine 3The Author:

An awesome video about A Time to Die.

A fun, filmed Q&A with Nadine.

Links to her website (aka: awesome), blog (aka: fantastic), and newsletter (aka: monthly fun in your inbox).

Now, don’t forget to enter that giveaway and share it with your friends!


19 thoughts on “Interview with Nadine Brandes + GIVEAWAY

  1. Nadine, clearly you have a super creative mind. So I am wondering, if for some reason you were no longer able to write stories what would you do to use that creativity that is in you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My day job is freelance editing, but let’s assume that goes away, too. I’m not sure what I’d pour my creativity into. I love to get hands-on and create blankets or gifts for people. I love to organize parties or celebrations for others. I love to discover the world and go adventuring with my husband, so I assume that I’d pour my creativity into one of those avenues — creating…adventure. :) If God took away my ability to write stories, then I’d trust He had a different road for me to walk with the dorky-creative-adventure-seeking brain He gave me. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Verses. I have a list of verses taped on the window above my writing desk reminding me that I’m CALLED to write His stories. And when I don’t feel like it, I have to push through anyway and trust He’ll give me the words. I think of the prophet Jeremiah or Isaiah who probably didn’t want to deliver certain messages to people or withstand the rebuke they’d receive. They did it anyway. So many people in the Bible obeyed God’s calling even when they didn’t want to, so who am I to avoid it just because I don’t feel inspired?

      This was a hard lesson to learn. :) But God’s come through every time. It helps me consistently read His word, too, even when I don’t “feel it” or want to. :)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Snap. WordPress ate my comment. Would there ever be a possibility of seeing a short story or one-shot of Jude and his brother as kids? After reading “A Time to Speak” I thought that’d be really cute/neat/amazing/adorable/keep adding descriptors here … =P

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are quite amazing, Nadine. The impact your stories had on me was tremendous. My relationship with GOD has been strengthened so much through your books… Thank you so much.
    So, curious… If you found a story idea that you knew you were called to write, and your publishers would not consider it, what would you do?


    • Faith — great question! And *hugs* Thank you so much, friend. :) You are so sweet.

      If God called me to write a story and no publisher would take it, I would probably self publish after a lot of prayer. I already have a plan on what I would do if I ever chose to self-publish and I have a lot of good contacts. Self publishing, to me, seems like it could be a lot of fun if done right. :)

      Liked by 1 person


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