NOTE: original post 16 Apr, 2016.
It is another lovely day. The sun is…nowhere to be found because the author who is with us today is Brittanie Charmintine and her vampires would have fled the scene if sunshine was painting our room golden. For those of you who don’t know her, Brittanie is a paranormal/fantasy author. Her first book is out for the world to see. Don’t miss out on this opportunity, guys!
The main reason we’re here is to grill her fins over the questions pan – bad pun, I know. I swear my career as a stand-up comedian is on the line here. Anywho, shall we begin?
Brittanie: Honestly, after those terrible puns I don’t know if I can do this interview. I am a very cultured and high-brow artiste!
1. What made you put together vampires and mermaids? That’s a rather unlikely combination.
Brittanie: Oh, ok. I’ll keep going despite those ghastly puns!!!
May: They weren’t THAT bad…well maybe kinda, pretty bad…sigh, my possible career as a stand-up comedian hangs on the line here.
Brittanie: I put mermaids and vampires together as a challenge to myself. I wanted to do something different because that’s what people want to read and publish. If your book is just like everyone else’s, then why write it? I asked myself what two supernatural creatures I could put in a relationship that would be the most unlikely pairing? Mermaids and vampires, of course. And it turns out they go rather nicely together. Vampires don’t need to breathe, so an underwater setting is not a big problem for them. And they can communicate telepathically, so an added bonus there.
May: I like how your vampires can use telepathy. Mine are just eager to stab things, or maybe that’s just me.
2. What do you get up to when you’re not creating worlds in your mind or getting to know your characters?
Brittanie: Do you mean when I’m not writing? Right now, I’m critiquing some work for a couple of friends. I also go to the gym, do yoga occasionally, hike, cook, and mom, though my kids are off at college.
May: Blimey, I have no idea how you can keep up such an active lifestyle. I swear as the months go by, my bum is getting too attached to this chair. I might eventually morph with it. At least, I will have a seat wherever I go!
3. As writers, we all have our bad habits. What would you consider yours to be?
Brittanie: Procrastination. Self-loathing. Perfectionism. And within the writing, if that’s what you mean? I sometimes don’t incorporate enough emotion. I’m so paranoid about the pace that I may forget occasionally to let the action linger for a bit every once in a while. It’s important to slow down occasionally and let the reader breathe. Otherwise, it’s exhausting.
May: On each of those points, I can relate. I remember writing a draft for my third book of the HH series and it was like being on a bullet train. It was fun, but I feel for the emotional stability of my readers since I left them weeping at the end of the book. Also, I procrastinate a lot, so I started a calendar where I fill out a task for every day that needs to be done. Sure, I like to swap things around now and again, but it keeps me busy and focused. Didn’t think it would work until I tried it.
4. Let’s jump into your world and have some fun. If you could pick one character to steal an ancient relic from a heavily protected museum, who would be your partner in crime? This can be a character from your story or any other stories you’ve read.
Brittanie: Probably Cupid from my story. First of all, he would know his way around antiquities, being one himself. (Please don’t tell him I said that!) Secondly, he’s a god, so god powers! He can zap us in and out of the place. Transfix the guards with his godly abs. Lift a statue with one hand. And zap us back to Olympus afterward for some ambrosia and a toga party.
May: Godly abs? If this was a video, I’d be keeling over laughing. That’s hilarious. I needed that. All of a sudden, I am extremely keen on reading the book as I’m sure are the readers. Read it for the plot guys, not the abs (like me).
If I had to pick a partner in crime, it would be Lucious Ellwood. He’s done weird jobs. Sure, most of them are to do with getting information out of people (torture), but since he’s a vampire, he can influence the guards and, with the supernatural speed, we can be out of there in no time … That’s if he will let me come along. I’ve been breaking his heart a little too much in my series.
5. What is your writing routine?
Brittanie: I usually wake up in the morning. Do social media while chastising myself for not writing first. Then I write. Hopefully. I like to read back a couple of pages to remind myself where I am in the narrative. I tweak a couple of things as I go. I do a lot of research on the fly. I know I should probably just mark things: “Look this up later.” But I never do. I look it up right then. Sometimes, what I discover sparks a whole new direction. I have been known to spend two days searching for the perfect metaphor or name.
May: Oddly enough, I’ve got a similar routine. Wake up, get my phone then check social media and messages. Afterward, it’s writing or editing for me. I’m still in a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with editing but it can’t be helped. It has to be done for the greater good. I need to say this at least once a day to keep believing it.
Just a side note: eating cake for breakfast is not a good idea, people.
6. Do you have any writing advice for aspiring fantasy authors?
Brittanie: In Fantasy, you are asking your reader to suspend disbelief and go on this adventure with you. In order to do this, you have to carefully construct your world, and then you cannot violate the rules. If you do, the reader will awaken from the dream. The best way to bring the reader into the story and make her feel part of what is happening is by incorporating all five senses into the description. Smell is the most overlooked of all the senses. Readers have said to me that they felt like they were in the story, and to me that is the greatest compliment. Your main character is an avatar for the reader. When the main character feels, sees, tastes, smells or hears something, so does the reader.
May: Sometimes, I wish these interviews were in person and I could see you because I think you’d have a passion for writing shining through right at that moment. Beautifully said! I’m sure the readers and other writers will definitely agree with your statement.
7. Would you rather be a vampire or a mermaid?
Brittanie: I do like the immortality aspect of being a vampire. Also, the possibility of flying and supernatural strength seem awesome. Being a mermaid would be cool, but I think I’d have to go with vampire.
May: Since I’m only mediocre at swimming, I’d have to take my chances on biting people, too.
8. Could you tell us how you approach difficult scenes in regard to plotting, finding the perfect location, research?
Brittanie: Assuming you mean I already know that the plot will call for a particular scene, how do I work out the location? I usually have set up a world for my characters to inhabit. And I pretty much know where the action will take place just because of what the plot calls for. But, if I don’t, I go for something interesting and fun. For example, I needed a party-planning scene in the story but I didn’t want it to be at some boring place like a cabin or a classroom. I decided that Cupid would steal his Uncle Apollo’s chariot and take the crew up to his bachelor pad on Mt. Olympus. By doing this, I give the reader an adventure. Plus we have the opportunity to learn a lot about Cupid. For example: he likes bow ties, lava lamps, and Chinese food. Also, his mother Aphrodite has naked baby statues of him dotted all over the front of the palace. This mortifies him so he hardly ever has guests over. (And by the way, I know Cupid is his Roman name, but he despises the name Eros and asked me to call him Cupid. I never anger a god when I don’t have to.) So, once I decided on Olympus, I did some research like: What would it smell like? Look like? What foods would be there? Who would be there? Etc.
May: The more I talk to you, the funnier you become. Naked baby statues? If my mother did that, I would be super embarrassed, too. Poor guy.
The setting research is pretty important when writing Historical Fiction. I think I’ve spent about two weeks researching Russia’s (18th century) and Britain’s (19th century onward) history for a side book of my series. It was very eye opening and can’t wait to get into editing, which is coming…eventually.
9. Imagine you had a secret admirer and, on the day of the official date, he turned out to be your favourite fictional boyfriend. Who would you take out to dinner?
Brittanie: This is such a great question. Maybe Mr. Darcy. I’ve always had a crush on him. Especially the Colin Firth version.
May: This is completely off-topic, but I watched “Pride & Prejudice and Zombies” recently, and it made me want to watch the 2007 movie. Gosh, P&P was a good story – even twice in a row.
My pick for the date would be Jean Claude from Anita Blake series. I’m sure we can plot how to take over the world together over dinner.
10. Please tell us a little bit about your current and ongoing projects.
Brittanie: On April 26th, my first published story comes out in an anthology published by Simon and Schuster called ‘Imagines: Celebrity Encounters Starring You’. I am really excited about this book. My story is called ‘Redirection’. It’s about a girl who writes Zayn Malik fanfiction. Her Wattpad story has gone viral because what she writes about him ends up happening to him in real life! What will happen when Zayn meets the girl who seems to write his life before it happens?
I’m also working on a retelling of Cinderella from the Prince’s point of view for an anthology. And I’m editing a science fiction story called ‘Alien Invasion: A Love Story’ about aliens, Hollywood, tabloids and the IRS.
And I’m still editing ‘Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them’ as well.
May: Wow, that’s a lot of editing! I think we’re in the same boat in regard to the workload. Congrats on getting a deal with S&S. You’ve earned it. Also, thank you for taking part in the interview, Brittanie. I hope you’ve enjoyed the questions.
Brittanie: Thank you, May. Great questions. Very original and fun! Such a pleasure and I’m glad I didn’t stop because of the punning. 😀
May: For those of you poor souls who have reached the end of this interview, I will leave you with Brittanie’s blurb for her book and her social media links. She’s great fun, as you’ve already noticed. So, feel free to stalk her on social media! (not in real life, that’s just creepy).
“Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them”
“Everyone knows mermaid blood is like vampire crack …”
Right before her senior year, mermaid Waverly Marie Fishwater’s parents inform her they’re moving to the Bay Area in Northern California. She’s to attend a cross-cultural experimental high school. The major problem is that it’s a vampire school, and mermaid blood is their favorite snack!
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/debragoelz