Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Brandi: I’m Brandi Gillilan and I’m 31
Fiona: Where are you from?
Brandi: I live in Georgia, I was born in Alabama
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Brandi: I’m the third of four girls. My twin sister is younger by 1 minute. I’m a Military Brat and proud of it, we moved around the States. Other than a year in California as a baby, I’ve only lived in the Southern States. I have an Associates Degree in Applied Science in Drafting and Design Technology. I have two amazing boys that keep me on my toes and I love every minute of it. I’m a crafter, I crochet, sew, make jewelry and a couple of other things.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Brandi: My most recent news is the release of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe Anthology on December 1st. I had the wonderful opportunity to publish in it with 17 other authors. All proceeds go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
I do have a few books in the works, but there aren’t hard release dates just yet.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Brandi: I was in 7th grade when I really started to write. I did it to pass the time between classes and during P.E. I had really bad asthma so I couldn’t participate much. I made my closest friends during that time, writing brought us together. I started writing professionally in 2014, I had joined a writing group with some amazing authors and they asked in I wanted to publish in an anthology with them.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Brandi: I considered myself a writer when I was in 7th grade and my book passed 50k words.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Brandi: I was inspired to write a book I wanted to read but couldn’t find. I liked that I was the one that said what the characters did and I could go back and change it if I needed to later.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Brandi: My first book was never titled. In fact, it was never finished. My book Let It Snow, I used the song for inspiration and snow is a major factor in the story so it worked. For Stalker Under the Mistletoe, the author in charge of the anthology asked us to try using mistletoe in the title and the book has a stalker so I just mixed up the anthology title with ‘stalker’.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Brandi: I write a variety of genres so I find my writing style is a bit mixed up. It can be a challenge when I writing one genre and my style is leaning a bit heavy to another. I also have to watch the use of ‘y’all’ and Southern phrases if my characters aren’t Southern.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Brandi: In Let It Snow, the being snowed in is realistic. We lived on a mountain and some winters our town got snowed in for days at a time. In Stalker Under a Mistletoe, a friend of mine helped me by sharing her stalking experience. She allowed me to use inspiration from it as long as I kept her name out.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Brandi: I don’t travel. My twin sister and I babysit our 4 nieces and nephews during the week on top of homeschooling our boys, so travelling isn’t realistic for me. I research though, a LOT. If I know someone that lives or has lived in a place I need information on, I ask them and get their first-hand experience as well.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Brandi: Seraphina Donavan designed Let It Snow’s cover. I created Stalker Under the Mistletoe’s cover and Sophia Peony did the cover for Meet Me Under the Mistletoe Anthology.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Brandi: In Let It Snow it shows you should get the full story and not jump to conclusions before reacting. In Stalker Under the Mistletoe if you need someone, say so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Brandi: New to me authors? There are several that have caught my attention, as part of a FaceBook group called Paranormal Hunger I get to see new to me authors twice a week with takeovers. Nikki Belaire, J Morgan Woodall, Sara Beth James are just a few. As for a favorite author, again I have several but to pick one I choose Kiersten Fay. I found here book Demon Possession several years ago and I have been in love with her work ever since. I was drawn to her work because she is willing to think outside of the box with her characters, genres, and world. She captivated me with her demons in space and I’ve been following her ever since.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Brandi: The first time around it wasn’t really one person but one group. The writing group I was (and still am) part of, Wicked Women were really a big part of getting me confident enough to publish. This time around, Laurell Emily Grey has been a huge factor in getting my back into writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Brandi: Yes I do. It takes long hours, researches, sometimes travelling, deadlines, edits, and paying or getting paid. It’s hard and it’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it and see myself doing it for the long haul.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Brandi: Maybe making it longer, there are some details and scenes I wish I could have had but overall, I love it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Brandi: Nothing I didn’t already know. There are some really messed up people out there that will go to any links to get what they want or what they think of as theirs.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Brandi: That’s a hard one. I’ll go with Stalker Under the Mistletoe, I would pick Karl Urban for Callum and Megan Trainer for Kara.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Brandi: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, writing groups are everywhere with plenty of people with advice to give. Do your research! If you are writing a medical romance, you need to be able to use the terms correctly. Don’t be afraid to try a new spin on something, for example sparkling vampires. You need critique partners, someone that can really go over your work and give you honest trust. Also, be willing to take advice. Not all advice will work for you, but people are going out of their way to help, at least listen. A bit of help for me as a writer is a youtube channel, Writing with Jenna Moreci.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Brandi: I’m back. I needed time after my sister passed, she was my editor, critique partner and one of my biggest supporters. She was part of everything I had published and then she was gone. I couldn’t get myself to finish anything because I didn’t have her help. But slowly I’m getting back into writing. I have a new book out and hope to have books coming out this coming year.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Brandi: Eve the Awakening by Jenna Moreci
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Brandi: It was probably a Cat in the Hat book but Velveteen Rabbit was my favorite kid book and I remember it is SO clearly. I have a copy for my boys.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Brandi: My boys for both, usually both at the same time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Brandi: I’m going to go with a non-family person. Alan Rickman. He was an amazing actor and everything I’ve read about him goes on to say he was an amazing family man as well.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Brandi: Crafting, such as crochet, felt ornaments, sewing, jewellery making, and a few others.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Brandi: I really like 911, Swamp People, cooking shows, anime, and paranormal shows. I like all sorts of movies. Action like Hobbs and Shaw. Comedy like Sky Who Dumped Me. Animation like Abominable
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Brandi: Food-Pizza, lemon cake, and Cheetos. Color- Black, Blue, Green, and Silver. Music I like most genres and listen to a variety on my youtube, but no rap.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Brandi: I’d sell my crafts or design houses.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Brandi: With my family.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Brandi: She dared to chase her dreams
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
MeWe (still getting it going)