1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Hi everyone, my name is Brenda Barrett and I am a bookaholic. My addiction to books started quite early in life. One day when I was about six or seven our television broke down and I was stuck at home with only my mother’s vast bookcase for entertainment. I have’nt been the same since. I’ve gone from being an avid reader to writing my own and I love it.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing- I read. I also love to experiment in the kitchen, especially with baking. I’m on a quest to bake the perfect bread, and trying to get a uniformed result for my energy bars. I also love to make my own personal care products by experimenting with unprocessed organic ingredients.
3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I wrote my first ‘book’ for a Library Studies assignmment when I was twelve — the teacher had told us that we could write on any topic. At the time, I was crazy about the song, ‘Another Day in Paradise’ by Phil Collins, so I wrote a story about a girl who was despised by her family. I wrote my heart out and got a good grade for my ‘book’, which was just a glorified short story but then I realized that I loved writing. That’s when I was seriously bitten by the writing bug.
I was so obsessed with writing that I’d scribble down my ideas on every available paper. Most of those earlier pieces would have been lost if my Mom hadn’t made it a habit of picking them up from around the house, where I’d left them, and put them in a folder.
My first serious book, ‘Di Taxi Ride and Other Stories’, was as much for my entertainment as for others. I wrote it after graduating university in 2003. I had been the perfect opportunity to occupy myself doing something that I always wanted to do while I tried to find a job.
4. How did you choose the genre you write in?
To date I’ve written in the comedy fiction, urban fiction, historical fiction and Christian fiction genres — I write in these genres because I love reading books from them. I love history and can’t do without my comedy and I am a Christian so I am very comfortable writing books based on a Christian worldview.
5. Is there any particular book or author that influenced you as a child?
I was a big fan of James Herriot, Lynne Graham and Jean D’Costa when growing up. I guess I’ve been hugely influenced by all three authors.
6. What was your favourite chapter (part) to write and why?
My favourite chapter to write in The Preacher and The Prostitute was the last one. I could see it all coming together but had no idea how the characters would dictate the ending of the story.
The first part of the book took me about four weeks to write, it flowed pretty well until I reached the last three or four chapters. Those took me almost five months to write. Nothing I thought of would fit; I put down the book and went on to other projects but one day I took it up and my characters were ready to go again.
7. What are the challenges you faced in getting your first novel published?
In 2004 I sent my first manuscript to a publishing house and it was kindly rejected. I got very detailed feedback from that publisher that I am still grateful for. So armed with the advice, I decided not to waste time getting publishers to validate my work. Intead, I decided to learn the publishing process for myself. My greatest challenge was finding a professional editor who could work well with me.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write your story. Don’t think about profit or how others will view your work, or get tangled in the million and one ways that will prevent you from getting your words on paper. Just write, there is no better way to hone and improve your writing.
9. What project are you working on now?
I have just finished another book which is part of a series, it will be out shortly. The title is ‘Private Sins’. The book is about a pastor’s wife (Kelly) who was his loyal first lady. Well, she was until she had an affair with Chris; the first elder of their church. And now she was pregnant with his child. Could she keep the secret from her husband and pretend that all was well? Or should she confess her private sin and let the chips fall where they may?
10. Is there anything you would like to tell your reader or fans?
To my readers, I am humbled every time you send me a note saying how much you enjoy my work. That encouragement keeps me going. Thank you.
Where you can connect with Brenda and find her books:
* Preacher and the Prostitute: http://amzn.to/MFY3jK
* Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorBrendaBarrett
* Twitter: @authorwriterbb
* Amazon: bit.ly/BrendaBAmz
* Barnes & Noble:www.barnesandnoble.com/c/brenda-a-barrett
* Blog: FiwiBooks.com
* Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/10366453-brenda-barrett