Stephanie: You mentioned that Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a documentary on World War II inspired Becoming Darkness. What was it about these two radically different inspirations that led to the creation of this story?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: That’s a great question, though I’m not sure it’s one that’s easily answered. As someone who writes, I’m sure you’re familiar with how ideas can just strike you from out of the blue. Sort of “eureka!” moments, if you will. I was actually sitting on the couch reading Dracula at the moment that the documentary you mentioned happened to air. And when I saw this bit in it where the British had made an information film to prepare people for the possible successful invasion of the island by the Nazis, something just clicked.
Once that seed was planted, there was no turning back. I can safely say, however, that it was never my inclination todo an ordinary alternate history. Because while I’ve always had an interest in World War II (partly because both my parents served), and the idea of a different outcome is something I imagine has crossed the minds of many people, I was very conscious of the fact that others had preceded me in this territory. People like Philip Roth, Len Deighton, and, of course, perhaps the best exemplar of them all, Philip K.Dick (whose The Man in the High Castlewas definitely one of the novels from which I drew inspiration).
So I realized that for me to write an alternate history, I would have to approach the whole thing from a decidedly different angle. And since I was reading Dracula at the time, and because vampires were still a popular subject, I suppose it isn’t surprising that as I looked for that “different angle” for my story, the notion of a world divided between vampires and humans grew in my mind. Once I had that, there really was no stopping the ideas that kept pouring into my head. The essentials of Sophie’s world just seemed to spring forth fully formed, and within moments Ifelt I had a framework sufficiently unique to make it worth pursuing.
As you point out, however, vampires and World War II are not something one tends to associate with one another, and it could easily have devolved into a schlocky mess if the story had emphasized the whole “Nazi vampire” thing. However, I saw the use of the vampire trope as a means of examining a plethora of human themes and issues germane to today’s world. An example of this is the threat of the “other,” which currently in our world might be applied to the perception of Muslims within Western society and the discrimination they face as a result of that. In Sophie’s world most of the people in Haven regard vampires as monsters that need to be wiped from the face of the Earth, but as we see through Sophie’s journey, the matter is not nearly so black and white.
The vampire element in my novel also allowed for Hitler to loom large over the narrative landscape. Even though you never see him (except for in a newscast on the TV), his presence is a constant undercurrent. The inclusion of Hitler is important, because he is immediately synonymous with a certain kind of evil, and that was necessary shorthand in the book. At the same time, I wanted the novel set in the twenty-first century for reasons of comparison with our own world, so it seemed to make sense to have Nazis like Hitler figure as vampires (given that vampires are basically immortal). Frankly, I can’t think of anything that would be more abhorrent than an immortal Hitler ruling the Earth (or what’s left of it).
Stephanie: For those who may not be aware, you are a very gifted artist. Have you ever considered creating a graphic novel or series of graphic novels for Becoming Darkness?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: I’ve never really considered myself a particularly good artist, and whatever talent I have I come by naturally. I had a grandfather who was an architect and perhaps I inherited a little something from him, but I’ve not really had any formal training. So as far as turning something like Becoming Darkness into a graphic novel, I think that would have to rest with an artist a bit more adept at the comic form than I am. I did a Pokemon comic for my nephews some years back (you can find it on my website) and that was a real learning experience when it comes to crafting comics from start to finish. It takes a lot of time to do it to the degree of quality I would consider satisfactory, and I think if I were to invest that much energy into a project I would want it to be wholly original rather than just a visual realization of my novel.
But the idea of doing some form of a graphic novel has been on my mind for some time – mainly because I love the comic art form. The first allowance I ever got, when I was about five or so, was spent on a comic and I’ve loved them ever since. When we moved overseas to Pakistan, comics, oddly enough, were one of the more obtainable reading materials. We lived in Sukkur (and later nearby Khairpur) and there was no TV, no real bookstores to speak of, and no libraries. Most of our entertainment was swimming, the occasional movie, and reading. But every once in a while we’d get down to Karachi and my mother would take us to the bazaar and we’d load up on as many books and comics as we could afford.
So as a kid I read a lot of comics. They were kind of like a lifeline for me on those occasions when I’d get homesick. Eventually I started drawing a few of my own, but that was more for something to do and because I was fascinated by the whole process of creating them. Even to this day, I love seeing artists actually producing the work rather than the finished product. The penciling for a comic page, prior to inking, is for me the art in its purest form.
When we moved to Iran I got my first Tintin book, and that really changed the way I looked at comics. For those who aren’t familiar with the Adventures of Tintin, it’s a great series of what are arguably among the first graphic novels. They’re incredibly well-written and superbly rendered stories (particularly the later ones), and if you’ve never read them, you really owe it to yourself to seek them out and give them a shot. If nothing else, they’ll teach you how to pack an enormous amount of story and character into a very small space. There’s a reason why they remain popular and have carried across generations.
I think that’s the sort of graphic novel I’d like to do at some point. But that’s all in the future. At the moment I’m concentrating my efforts on trying to make a career out of writing novels. At the early stages you have to be focused, because unless you’re incredibly lucky and get a sweetheart deal from one of the big powerhouse publishers, it takes a lot of work to succeed in today’s publishing environment. Technology and a revolution in self-publishing have meant that there’s so much competition out there that it’s difficult for a writer to gain public awareness – even with the marketing help of the publisher (as I’ve had). According to some of the statistics I’ve seen, close to a million self- and traditionally published books are launched in the US each year. For most writers that’s going to mean disappointment, because only a handful are going to attract sufficient audiences to rise above the clamor and reap the financial rewards that will allow for the next book to be published.
Believe me, it can be discouraging and demoralizing, but when you have a passion for writing and are seeking to fulfill a dream, you just have to remain positive and see past the obstacles to success. The hope is that when you release a book it will at some point find its audience and break out of the pack (and hopefully lead to bigger and better things). But again, that only happens to a lucky few, and for most writers it’s likely to be disappointment.
Stephanie: Do you have any writing quirks or rituals? Are you superstitious when it comes to your writing and your writing process?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: Well, I can’t say I’ve any particular rituals I follow. I know that a lot of writers set daily word quotas and commit themselves to writing every day between set times. I don’t. I try to begin each writing day around the same time, but when it concludes is up in the air. Likewise when it comes to how many words I write. I would rather turn out one really good sentence than four pages of dreck I’ll end up chucking the next day. The thing is, years ago, when I tried setting quotas for myself, I found it counterproductive. I actually got less donebecause all I was doing was putting words on the page in an effort to reach some arbitrary target I’d set for myself. It meant ending up with a lot of padding that didn’t need to be there. When you write a novel, you want it to be as lean as possible, so better to do that from the start.
Now, while I don’t set quotas and I don’t force myself to write seven days a week, that doesn’t mean I write only when the mood strikes. I’m disciplined – in the sense that at least five days a week I sit down in the morning and begin to write. I write until the ideas stop flowing freely. The moment the effort to get the words onto the page turns into a grind, I usually stop and take a break because I know I’m not going to produce anything worth keeping if I force it. I set rough weekly goals (rather than daily) for myself, and generally I’m satisfied if I get in the ballpark. I don’t fret it if I end up short, because I know it all balancesout, that there will be other weeks when I get more done.
I usually take the weekends off to refresh myself and to do other tasks. I spend a lot of time writing during the week, so chores tend to accumulate. Also, I think if you hammer yourself getting a novel done you risk burning out. I don’t want writing to become onerous. I don’t want to dread doing it. I love it at the moment and I want it to stay that way. I love creating worlds with words. I love bringing characters to life and living vicariously through them. So I’ve no wish for it to become one of those jobs (like house cleaning) that I find myself avoiding. The moment it becomes that is probably the moment to quit and do something else.
Again, while this may not necessarily be a ritual, I prefer to edit and polish as I go along. So every day, before I start writing anything new, I go over what I wrote the day before and edit it. Sometimes I’ll go over it several times before I start adding fresh material. And usually at some point, after I’ve got some ways into crafting the book, I’ll stop and go back and edit from the beginning, adjusting earlier material to suit what has come later. I find that by working in this manner I’m able to keep more details of the book inside my head at all times and am less inclined to end up with inconsistencies and logic bombs in my plot. It also means that when it comes time to do later drafts, they’re far easier to work through.
As for quirks, I like to have a lot of my favorite things around me: old toys, cherished books, comics, art, etc. That way, if I have a moment when I’m having difficulty with a scene, I can pick up a book I know well and read randomly from it; or I’ll just sit holding an old toy or leafing through a beloved comic. I find that temporarily distracting myself often leads to solutions. And if that doesn’t do the trick, I wait until my afternoon workout session and run through things while I’m exercising (which is why I love the summer, because long two and three hour bicycle rides are perfect for working out bugs in a story).
I’m not really the superstitious sort, so there’s no putting on one sock before the other or growing a beard until I’ve finished the first draft. I don’t have a lucky horseshoe or lucky four leaf clovers or a lucky rabbit’s foot (which you have to think can’t actually be lucky since the poor rabbit lost it). I suppose the closest thing to a superstition that I lean toward is a tendency not to give out details of my works in progress because I always feel as if I’m tempting fate if I do. Only once I’m sure I’ve got the last page written will I relent and let others in on my latest creation.
Stephanie: Are there any books and/or authors that inspire, not only your writing, but also your everyday life and how you approach each day?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: One book I keep on my desk at all times is West with the Night by Beryl Markham. It’s not a particularly well-known work, but it’s beautifully written. Whenever I feel myself flagging or starting to doubt my own material, I’ll pick up that book and just read passages from it and be blown away by the writing. The prose is sublime – and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that much of it deals with her life in Kenya, which is just across the border from Tanzania (one of the places I grew up in and really loved).
Any author who has made a success of writing is an inspiration to me, because having gone through the process myself, I know how hard it is to break into the industry – at least, on the traditional side of things. But to be honest, the people I most admire and draw inspiration from are the men and women in fields like the sciencesand engineering. They’ve had a great deal to do with creating the extraordinary world we live in today, and it would certainly be a far different place without them. So much of what we take for granted was developed by people toiling away in labs, often in obscurity, seeking answers for the sake of knowledge and the betterment of humankind rather than personal gain and prestige. Those are the sorts of people who impress me, and when I write I keep them in mind, telling myself that even to inspire or move a single person can be an achievement. We won’t all be giants, but we all have the capacity to make positive contributions to the world in some way, and surely that’s aworthy aspiration.
Stephanie: In regards to your art, is this strictly a hobby or is this a passion you plan to pursue like you did with your writing (i.e. gallery showings)? Does your art inspire your writing and vice versa?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: I used to do commissioned works, but it’s not an easy way to make money, so art has become more of a hobby for me these days. It’s definitely had to take a backseat to writing as I try to get that side of things going. But if I bomb as a writer, I may make another stab at art. I think in some ways it’s easier for artists now than in the past, because you can put your work out there on the Internet and get much more notice than in the past. Mind you, there’s also a lot of more competition, with an enormous number of truly incredible artists out there vying for attention.
One thing I love about doing visual arts, like paintings, is that I find the process to be a great stress reliever. When I’m working on a piece, I just tend to get lost in it and tune out everything else. It’s rather meditative for me. And there’s nothing like finishing a work and stepping back and getting that rush of having accomplished something. Generally it’s much faster and the results more immediate than writing. Writing can be terribly lonely, and it literally can be years before you get any genuine feedback. Moreover, when you paint you’re more often doing so to satisfy your inner vision of a piece (unless it’s a specifically commissioned work), which means you’re not having to adjust things to suit the whims of an agent or editor.
Stephanie: How important was it to you to get the historical aspects of Becoming Darkness correct, while also creating a fictional world/story that Young Adults would fall in love with?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: I think as a writer you fail your readers if you don’t get the history right. Since I already had an interest in World War II, it was an easy launching point for me when I began writing the book. Not that there’s a lot of overt historical information in the novel. The one major scene that is as much a part of our world’s history as that of Sophie’s is Val’s recollections of his past – particularly the raid on Dieppe, France, in 1942. Though I didn’t have a lot of space in which to elaborate, I wanted it to be as true as possible, so I drew on soldiers’ accounts of the raid to give the scene some verisimilitude.
To create the history of Sophie’s world – which makes its major diversion from ours in late 1942/early 1943 – it was necessary to have an awareness of our history up to thatpoint. If you don’t have an accurate foundation, then the world-building you do in an alternate history isn’t going to be convincing. The internal logic of your world will break down and the reader’s suspension of disbelief will be that much more difficult to attain and sustain.
So even when the book refers to technology like televisions, I had to take into account what existed around the time when Sophie’s world branched from ours, and then extrapolate how much things might have advanced given a greatly reduced world population (and hence fewer scientists and inventors). Were you to step into Sophie’s world, you’d find that the technology wouldn’t have advanced a great deal beyond what existed in the late forties on our world. Likewise, fashion and culture – although in the case of these I perceived them to havetaken some markedly different routes from ours (especially with regard to the vamps).
And then there’s things like the Eva Braun, the airship that figures prominently in the second half of the novel. I’ve always been fascinated with airships, so I knew when I was creating my world that they had to be a part of it. For one thing, it was a way to emphasize the deep contrasts between Sophie’s world and ours: Her twenty-first century doesn’t include jetliners, so long-range travel is achieved by boat or by airship. (I also knew when I began writing the book that the climatic action scenes were going to take place in and around an airship, and that meant getting the details right– even if the airships in Becoming Darknessare somewhat more advanced than the Hindenberg of our world.)
Whether it was referring to the cover of an old Life magazine, movies and movies stars, telephones, wire recorders, etc., I felt it was essential to get the details right in the context of Sophie’s world. For me, as a reader, it’s always those little things that are important when the writer wants you to become immersed in a different world from your own. If those things aren’t there, or if they’re poorly sketched out or inconsistent, then you as a reader can’t become a part of the story. You cease to believe in the world being portrayed, and that becomes a major failure on the part of the writer.
Stephanie: After reading your extended biography, it is clear you had a very unique upbringing and a life filled with amazing adventures many could only hope to experience. How did growing up this way and having to create your own entertainment (i.e. your newspaper) influence your overall writing and ultimately, Becoming Darkness?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: It influenced it immensely. For Becoming Darkness I drew extensively on my past – not least of which being my recollections of residing in foreign countries, interacting with other cultures, living isolated in a walled colony, and experiencing for the first time what it was like to be a visible minority amidstcommunities of different racial demographics from my own.
In the opening scene of Becoming Darkness, when Sophie and her best friend Camille are talking about their futures, Camille’s frustrations with being trapped in Haven reflectsome of my own feelings when I lived overseas. Particularly when we lived in Sukkur and Khairpur. There were times, back then, when I’d a sense of claustrophobia being on the colony and wanted desperately to be somewhere else. It’s not that we never went beyond the walls, but there were very few expatriates in that part of Pakistan and when we did go outside, we were always conscious of being the “other.”
In some regards, life in Haven is a lot like what I experienced as a kid during my years overseas. There were a lot of limitations that living in a place like Sukkur imposed on us, not least being the fact that we couldn’t just go down to the store and purchase whatever we fancied. There were things that simply weren’t available to us, and when we did have some access to imported goods through our Hong Kong sea shipments, we always rationed these because products like tinned cheeses or hams would have to last us for several months.
I don’t think Becoming Darkness would be anywhere near the same book if I hadn’t lived overseas and been fortunate enough to experience all the things I did. For that I have to thank my parents, who always felt that as kids we should get the most out of living in foreign lands. They often went out of their way to arrange for us to be a part of activities that wouldn’t normally be on people’s agendas when visiting places like those in which we lived. For them, it was as much a part of our education as attending school.
And without question, living overseas in my formative years gave me a greater appreciation for the world I live in and for other peoples and other cultures. If I’d lived all my life in Canada, I imagine my views might be somewhatmore myopic and parochial. And that would definitely have been reflected in my writing. If you familiarize yourself with my background before reading Becoming Darkness, I think you’ll have a better sense of some of the themes I address in the novel and it might make your experience of the book that much more enriching.
And yes, when you live in places where your entertainment options are limited, you do tend to be much more inventive. You have to be. As kids we had to use ourimaginations to find ways of occupying ourselves that in today’s world seem lost beneath an avalanche of technologies I often fear demand much less of us when it comes to creativity. Indeed, it was that need to fill our days that led me to pursuits like the little newspaper I turned out every week in Iran. And when I look back on it now, I’m often in awe at how my younger self never considered anything to be impossible. Whether it was writing and illustrating that newspaper or building a movie projector from scratch, I just went ahead and did it with whatever tools were available to me. I didn’t let obstacles thwart me, and I wish I could recapture that magic, because I think as an adult I too often let the constraints of realities in our present world deter me from exploring possibilities. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to fail; that as long as you try and give it your best shot, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t succeed.
Stephanie: As you are writing, do you picture yourself as a character in your work? How do you relate and develop your characters? Are they based on people you know/knew (i.e. family, friends, enemies)?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: Yes, I certainly become my characters. That may seem hard to believe when you consider that in Becoming Darkness the main character is a seventeen year old girl. But I’ve always been a very observant and empathetic person – not to mention I grew up with two sisters (and I’ve been a feminist as long as I can remember, so I take an interest in issues that are important to women). Therefore, getting into Sophie’s head wasn’t as difficult as one might imagine. And once inside, it was easy to become her, to see the world as she saw it.
Getting into Val might actually have been a little more difficult, because I wanted to create a character readers would have some doubts about. It was also important to give some sense of him being a broken individual as a result of his experiences in the war and the events that followed his transformation. In the third book, should it ever see publication, there’s a lot more about events that took place during the Fall, and Val figures prominently in that. You learn a lot more about his past and the reasons why he and Sophie are drawn to one another despite both understanding that the relationship is wrong and doomed on so many levels.
Havershaw was formed out of my love for those British detective series like Foyle’s War, Midsomer, and the old BBC radio show featuring Inspector West (which I used to listen to in Pakistan and Iran). There’s an understated quality about these men, a subtle, quiet way they go about their business, which I tried to embody in Havershaw. I wish I could have featured more of him, but he does make an appearance in the sequel.
Of course, when you create characters you draw on people you know, but I can’t say that any of the characters in any of the books I’ve written thus far have been modeled after real people I’ve known. I’d be leery of doing that, because there’s always the risk they’d recognize themselves and be upset with the portrayal I’d fashioned.
One thing that was important to me was that the characters be believable, which is why Sophie, for example, is far from perfect. She’s smart, yet sometimes does truly stupid things. She’s occasionally inconsistent, because the fact is, most people are. We don’t always behave the way past experience would suggest we should. We don’t always do the things people would expect of us based on what we’ve done before.
Flawed characters are so much more interesting to write and to read, so I tried to make mine so without making them unlikeable. I’m sure, however, that not everyone will like what I’ve created. But then, we don’t all like the same people in the real world, so why should it be any different in fiction?
Stephanie: Vampires have become a sort of hot topic lately in the literature community. How important was it for you to differentiate, Becoming Darkness, from the recent vampire stereotypes and clichés? Also, you chose to make your protagonist a strong female, rather than a love struck damsel in distress. Was this something you did, specifically, to separate yourself from the other vampire novels?
Lindsay Francis Brambles: Here’s the thing – and it’s probably going to sound odd to some people – but I’ve never really regarded Becoming Darkness as a vampire novel. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have anything against vampire lit. But I think purists of the form might be a bit disappointed if they read the novel and expect it to be full of Nazi vampires, because for me the use of the vampire tropes was (as I said above) a shorthand and a means by which to explore modern issues through the filter of fiction. This isn’t a version of Twilight, Interview with a Vampire, or even Dracula (though those familiar with the latter book will certainly spot some of the ways in which I’ve paid homage to Stoker’s novel through the use of letters, journal entries, recordings, etc.).
No, for me the vampire angle in Becoming Darkness was primarily a vehicle by which to look at the human condition in a different way and to say things about our present society without being obvious and preachy and beating people over the head with a message. The goal was to be as subtle as possible about this while emphasizing the entertainment value of the book. Also, I never wanted the novel to focus on the relationship between the vampire and the girl, or to devolve into a treatise on a vampire’s struggles to accept who and what he is. Those have been done in plenty of other excellent books. I wanted my story to be more absorbed with the humans living in a world ruled by what they see as evil and to contrast that with vampires who aren’t necessarily evil at all but live under the tyranny of an actual evil (Hitler and the Nazis) that is far worse than the one the Havenites imagine vampires to be. And then, of course, there’s the truth about the Havenites themselves, and the lengths to which they’ll go to survive and how that brings into question the degree to which they’re removed from being monsters themselves.
As far as Sophie goes, I wrote her to be the sort of womanfor which I’ve always had an affinity: independent, intelligent, strong-willed, sassy, kick-ass – the sort of woman who (despite the society she lives in) sees herselfevery bit the equal to any man. Even in her relationship with Val, she doesn’t take a backseat. She refuses to let him control everything, which is why she ends up going off on her own – despite realizing how dangerous it is to do so.
Even though Sophie knows it’s wrong and it’ll lead nowhere but to heartache, she has an intense connection to Val that she doesn’t always understand. But that doesn’t stop her from being separate from him, from doing things her way, even if that may lead to disaster. And that’s probably one of the best parts about her: she owns her mistakes. If she does something stupid or wrong, she lays the blame squarely on herself – largely because she’s self-aware and fully realizes that she’s a flawed individual. She doesn’t picture herself as being perfect. Unfortunately, because she’s so self-aware, she isn’t always patient with other people – which goes a ways to explaining some of her interactions with Havershaw.
One thing I definitely didn’t want was for Sophie to be passive or window-dressing. I would hope we’ve got away from a world where the men are seen as the heroes and the women the “damsels in distress” who need saving. Personally, I like women characters who take charge, and I think Sophie is of that nature. She’s always reacting to events – often fearlessly, if sometimes impetuously. You see that in the way she keeps digging for information and pushing things – invariably to the point where it gets her in serious trouble. (I’ll admit that I had a little fun on that score by heaping one catastrophe on top of another, until it’s almost comical how much happens to one poor girl. But in the end she survives, even if the world as she knew it is now a shambles because of the truths she’s uncovered.)
I think one of the things that attracts people to YA (particularly women of all ages) is the fact that the female characters are usually front and center and very powerful in their own ways. And they accomplish this without beingthinly veiled versions of men. They’re still very much women and all the great things that means. And regardless of whether you’re male or female, you should want to see this – because these characters serve to inspire. They serve as role models to which young woman can aspire, and they show men that society functions so much better when women are treated as equals rather than objectified and consigned to second class status.
Stephanie: Please take a moment to use this space to promote or tell us about any new projects and future endeavors! Feel free to also add your social media accounts so your fans can connect with you and stay up to date on all of your projects! I also have to add that everyone needs to check out your extended biography on your page. It is an amazing read and gives magnificent insight into who you are and how you became so successful!
Lindsay Francis Brambles: Thank you so much! I’ve tried to offer as much as possible on my website (www.lindsaybrambles.com), beyond just plugging my novel. I’ve even got a few freebies (including A Pocket Guide to Haven as well as the aforementioned Pokemoncomic). I keep seeking ways to add to it, because I want people to have an interesting experience when they go there – even if they haven’t read Becoming Darkness and have no intention of doing so.
As far as current projects, I don’t want to be too specific in that regard (the whole tempting fate thing), but I can say that I’ve written a sequel to Becoming Darkness, as well as about two thirds of a concluding novel. I’ve put the latter on hold because I don’t want to invest too much energy in a book that may never see publication – not when I’ve so many ideas for other books. The sad realityis, the sequels are only going to get published if Becoming Darkness sells well enough to warrant it. So for those who want to see the sequels, spread the word about Becoming Darkness. Encourage others to buy it, read it, and comment on it wherever possible. Also, you can write to the publisher (Switch Press, A Capstone Imprint, 1710 Roe Crest Drive, North Mankato, Minnesota 56003) or tweet them @SwitchPressPub . The more the word gets out and spreads to others, the better the chances of the book gaining traction.
Other than Becoming Darkness and all that’s related to it, I’m currently at work on a rewrite of the second book in a proposed YA SF trilogy. This story is set in the near future (about three decades from now – well, the first book is; the second spans a thousand years) and has as its central character an Indo-Canadian girl. I can’t say much more about it, but I will say that she’s another smart, kick-ass character and definitely no damsel in distress. To give you a little hint, the first book includes: guns, combat, plane crashes, motorcycle chases, robots, embedded technology, kidnappings, murders, hi-flying escapes, explosions, riots, climate change, spaceships and conspiracies – all wrapped in a mystery that leads to a startling revelation about the future of humankind.
I’ve also completed a contemporary YA novel, again with a strong female central character. This one centers around a family struggling to cope with an illness and losses that come close to tearing them apart. It’s a little quirky and,despite the serious subject matter, has some good laughs in it.
Whether any of these get published remains to be seen. Publishing is a business, and agents and publishers are in it to earn a living. They’re not charities. So books get picked up based on whether they are perceived to be marketable and able to turn a profit. No matter how well written a book is, if agents and publishers can’t see a place for it in the market, they’re not going to pick it up. That’s probably why self-publishing has boomed, because while there’s certainly a lot of dreadful material that has been self-published, there are also some fine books that simply couldn’t find an agent or publisher willing to take the chance on them.
Self-publishing isn’t for me, however, so if I don’t find a traditional home for my books, it’s unlikely I’ll self-publish. I don’t say never, but I don’t really have all the skills to do what self-published writers have to do in order to sell their books. And I certainly don’t have the money to pay people to do those things.
My Twitter handle is @LBrambles . So if you follow me, I’ll usually follow back. (And I would love for readers to tweet me pictures of Becoming Darkness in their local bookstores – or, better still, of themselves with the book.)
I’m also on facebook: www.facebook.com/lindsay.brambles
My facebook page dealing with my book and writing related matters is: www.facebook.com/LindsayFrancisBrambles
I’m also on Pinterest, Google+, (occasionally) Tumblr, and I do have an Instagram account (but as I don’t have a cellphone – Yeah! I know! Crazy, eh? – it’s difficult for me to post to it).
Anyway, I want to thank you, Steph, for the wonderful questions and the opportunity to talk about Becoming Darkness. It’s through forums like this that writers have a chance to let readers know about their work, and that makes exercises like this invaluable. So as a writer, I'm indebted to you. Thanks again!