Meet Brandy Vallance
Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Brandy is the 2013 Operation First Novel winner and the 2012 winner of the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance.
What genre do you focus on and why?
I focus on historical romance because I’m the most passionate about story in a historical context. All my life I’ve been captivated by history and historical places. I often feel most at home in a historical setting or a museum. To me it’s like taking a deep, contented breath. My imagination goes wild. I also love writing historical romance because I love researching. I love stumbling across details that make everything come together. I suppose at the heart of it I just love to learn. Also, there’s just a lot to love about horse-drawn carriages and the beautiful clothing of the time.
Why do you write? What drives you?
I. M. Forster said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Writing is like that for me. I start with a premise of some sort but then I put my characters into situations that are sometimes a mirror for my own life—past, present, or future. Sometimes this is only an echo or a theme but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that often I’m testing the waters. Like everyone, I have a lot of deep, unanswered questions. Sometimes this has to do with world events or something I’ve read about another person. There are so many deep hurts out there. Many believe those things were caused by God or that He doesn’t care. Maybe I’m in the business of reconciliation. I like to pull back the curtain and try to imagine what God’s purposes are or how He makes everything work together for good.
Also, writing gives me strength. My two published books were both written during difficult times in my life. Somehow, going through the transformation of my characters gave me courage for my own life. I’ve been changed by both of my books for the better. So, I guess I write for personal transformation and then I hope that it can do the same for others.
What does a day in your writing world look like?
It depends upon what season I’m in. During a book release I’m busy with all the marketing things and focusing on social media, interviews, and finding and making promotional graphics or videos. When I’m writing, the first thing I do is make a cup of tea. Then, I sit down and I either turn on Spotify, Pandora Radio, or Rainymood.com. I have different Spotify playlists and they help me get into the character’s head or the scene. I put on headphones and try to let the real world disappear. In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he talks about this as self-trancing. Some writers might refer to this as the zone. After a few minutes I’m typically not even paying attention to the music and I’m able to write. It’s a way that I’ve trained my brain that it’s time to work.
I typically write during school hours. Sometimes my favorite place to work is a coffee shop. When I’m working from home it’s too tempting to focus on all the work that needs to be done.
What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?
Probably the hardest part of being an author is self-doubt. Also, if you’re traditionally published, all the waiting you have to do is hard. Being traditionally published can take years. Sometimes it drives authors crazy.
Validation is also a hard one. We work so hard and so long on our books, pouring our souls into them, so naturally we want to see good reviews and good sales. But there is a truth that we all have to come to—maybe we just wrote a particular book for a select few. That certainly doesn’t make it less important. We have to go through the hard process of letting go of the results, casting our bread upon the waters per se.
I also believe that books are seasonal. I know that in my own life some books resonated with me deeply at a certain time but now it wouldn’t be the same. That’s because I’m a different person now. We should always be changing and growing. But sometimes you’ll get a review from a person who isn’t in the season that you wrote the book for. I think recognizing that helps and makes it easier for the author not to take bad reviews so hard.
What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?
I love connecting with readers and it’s very surreal when they tell you they love your book. I’ve received some messages that are pretty astounding. Really, I am amazed at God in those moments. I’ve met a couple readers who’ve had tears in their eyes while talking about my books. It’s those kinds of things that help me to keep writing when I’m discouraged.
Also, I get to make my own hours and work in yoga pants. That’s pretty cool.
What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?
Some of my one star reviews are pretty entertaining. You have to either take those as constructive criticism and better yourself, or just laugh. Otherwise, it’ll destroy you as an author.
What are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my second book, Within the Veil. It stretched me to write it and a lot of people wanted me to tone it down but I didn’t.
What is your favorite pastime?
I can’t say that I have a favorite but I love to travel overseas and I love museums. I also love the theater, gardening, watching period dramas, horseback riding and playing with our two Great Danes.
Social media links: Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrandyVallance/
Follow me on social media!