Friday, 30 October 2009

Eleni-fest: chatting with Loretta Brabant

Today we have debut author the courteous Loretta Brabant as my special guest on Eleni-fest. Loretta’s debut book Kiss and Tell was just released this month by Avalon. Congratulations Loretta!

Welcome Loretta to Eleni’s Taverna and Eleni-fest!
Thank you!

Congratulations on your debut release of Kiss & Tell! Does it still feel surreal that you are a published author? 
At times, yes! It was an amazing feeling seeing and holding my book for the first time. It’s been a dream for so long that sometimes I can’t believe it’s finally come true.

How did your book launch go? 
Fabulous. The traffic was non-stop. I had a lot of support from family and friends but I was really delighted that people I didn’t know also turned up.  It was so great they were willing to support a new author. 
Were you nervous? 
At first yes, but luckily I was giving away free chocolate. This was a great ice breaker. The book store managers were also very nice. A lot of the time, they introduced me to people rather than leaving me to introduce myself.

What gave you the idea for the story “Kiss and Tell”? 
I wrote this story almost two years ago now. It was around the time that Britney Spears was having her melt down, Tom and Katie were getting married and baby bumps were the height of celebrity fashion. The tabloids were everywhere, repeating the same story over and over again. I often wondered what it would be like to be at the centre of all that madness. You’d have to be very careful about what you did in public and with who.  Falling in love in the spotlight would be particularly tricky, given every man and his dog was going to have their say about it. This is how my famous hero and not so famous heroine were born.

Can you tell us your Call story? 
I actually got an email. But the effect was just as good if not better because I could scream as loudly as I wanted without embarrassing myself in front of an editor. And then later when I was calmer write back as though it were the most natural thing in the word. “Yes, you may buy my book. Where do we go from here.”

The cover art of Kiss and Tell is lovely. 
Thank you.  
Did you have any input into how it would look? 
Yes and No. They asked me for ideas and I gave them a couple but they didn’t use them. The cover was the artist’s own idea and to be honest I love it. It works very well. The appearance of the ring is a real turning point in the story so I think it’s fitting that it’s on the cover.

What genres do you write? 
I write sweet contemporary romance for Avalon. But I also write, mainstream commercial women’s fiction for which I am yet to find a publisher.

What are you working on now? 
I’ve just finished my second Avalon novel which I have sent off to my editor for assessment.  Currently, I am working on revisions suggested by a publisher for my first commercial women’s fiction manuscript. I am hoping they will be satisfactory so that I will be able to sell the story.

You’re a wife, mum, and are a writer.  How do you fit it all in? 
I honestly have no idea. It’s very hard to make writing a priority at my place. Both my kids are under two, so generally they come first, then household chores, than writing or watching TV or reading... or worse... sleeping if I’ve had a bad day or night. It’s very hard to choose between writing and sleeping. Sleeping always wins. 
Do you have a set routine? 
The kids have a set routine and I kind of work around that. My husband is very supportive and he tries to give me time when he can but his work is very demanding too. I’m lucky in that I can work in fifteen minute blocks. Usually I leave my computer on all day and just jot things down when I have a spare moment.  

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
A pantser. It makes it exciting for me because even I don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s probably why I also hate revisions. There’s no surprises.

You had your short stories published in the Little Gems Anthologies for three years in a row – 2006, 2007, & 2008. Congratulations. What attracted you to writing short stories? 
I don’t know. Sometimes you want a piece of chocolate, other times you can eat the whole block.  I think of short stories as a quick fix. They are really fun to write and you can get the satisfaction of being finished quickly. The Little Gems Competition is also a great way to get your work out there. I really applaud RWA for offering it’s members such a great opportunity.
(EK: Totally agree!)

You had your first short story published when you were only 11. Very impressive. How did this come about and how did you feel about that? 
I loved it. It was a competition in “The West Australian.”They used to have a lift out called, “West Kids” which had all sorts of fun stuff for kids to do, including competitions of different kinds. I wrote a story about a circus horse and it was published over three weeks in this section. It started my love for writing.

What was your ‘apprenticeship’(ie pre-pubbed years) like?
Hard - until I joined WINK. (my writers group) It was the best thing I ever did for my writing. Just to get that constant encouragement and feedback was invaluable.  I don’t think I could have gotten published without them. I’d still be plugging away by myself wondering what was wrong with me J.
(EK: LOL - go writer groups and friends!)

What do you do in your ‘down time’? 
Oh gosh. What ‘down time?’ J I wish I could read more. I need to go on a really long holiday to a place where there is nothing to see or do. It would be paradise. I’d just take a suitcase of books and escape to my own world. 

Thanks Loretta for joining us at the fest!

In honour of Loretta being on the fest, there's a mini-pack price as a give away. Just make a comment to enter the draw!

Comments will be open until 3rd November.

Comment for the prize are now closed. Congratulations Kym!

Don't forget to check out Loretta's website here.

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