Brandy Bruce, author of Looks Like Love and book editor for Focus on the Family, as she dishes on God, love, and her top advice for aspiring authors.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR PASSION FOR WRITING?
I can remember writing stories from the time I was in the sixth grade. I fell in love with books at a really early age. I think it was my love of reading that inspired me to want to write my own stories.
WHAT WAS WORKING AS A NONFICTION BOOK EDITOR FOR FOCUS ON THE FAMILY LIKE?
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR NEW BOOK?
I went on a European tour the summer before I graduated college, and I fell in love with London. I knew I wanted to write a story that involved London in some way. I also really love the contemporary romance genre. So I was inspired by writers such as Robin Gunn, Susan May Warren, Tracey Bateman, Kristin Billerbeck, and Jenny B. Jones.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK.
WHAT MESSAGE DID YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO GET FROM YOUR BOOK?
That love doesn't always come wrapped in neat little packages. It can be messy; it can be painful; it can be hard. But it's worth it. And that no matter what we go through in life, God's love is always available to us.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED WHILE WRITING AND PUBLISHING, AND HOW HAS GOD HELPED YOU OVERCOME THEM?
If you talk to most writers, they'll say that they just have to write. It's who they are. They'll find the time to do it somehow. For me, I had this story that wouldn't stop bugging me. I had to write it. Once I did, I showed it to an agent (Chip MacGregor) who loved it and signed me as one of his authors. That was a great day. Then came the hard part--selling it. We came really close with a couple of publishers and got some great feedback, but just weren't able to sell it. I told Chip I wanted to self-publish it at that point, and he was totally supportive. Working in the industry myself, I know how difficult it can be for new people to break into the business. So I self-published with WestBow Press and it's been a wonderful experience. I had a few authors come alongside me and give me some great endorsements. I had editorial help from fellow editors as I polished my story. So I felt really blessed with all the support and encouragement I received. Now the book is out there and I am thrilled with the final product.
ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY OTHER UPCOMING PROJECTS?
Well, as an editor, I'm currently juggling two book projects. That takes a lot of my time. But I'm also working in a little time to write. My sister and I have been working together, co-authoring a fantasy YA (young adult) novel. I'm super excited about it!
WHAT'S ONE RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW?
I'm more than a little bit obsessed with Diet Dr Pepper.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Go to writers' conferences and make contacts. Create the best book proposal you can and shop it to agents. And if an agent tells you that something is missing, listen to him or her. Join a critique group and get feedback on your writing. And most of all, know your genre and audience. So read, read, read!