Becki Brannen is a thirty-something writer born and raised in the heart of Georgia. Her debut novel, Breathless, is the result of NaNoWriMo 2011, having been written in just twenty-nine days. Becki primarily writes “chick lit with a Christian twist,” marrying one of her favorite genres with her Christian faith. Her life verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. Becki and her husband have twin daughters and a poodle, Sophie.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?I think I’ve always been a writer. I went to a language arts/literature magnet school, and every year during Semana de Fiesta, we wrote a book that we’d share with local celebrities. As an adult, I had a dream that wouldn’t leave my head until it was on paper, and that’s how Breathless was born.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?
Unfortunately there is no structure! I write during breaks at work, at home when my daughters are engrossed in a Disney movie, or after they’ve gone to bed. Working full time, it’s hard to carve away time to write, and I don’t try to force it. I let the characters tell their stories in their own time.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Definitely! I’ve had the worst writer’s block this year. I finally put myself on deadline for edits on re-releasing Strapless under the Vox Dei imprint of Booktrope, and the words are coming, slowly but surely.
4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story?
I’m a plotter, but what they say about “People plan and God laughs” is definitely true in writing! I plot and the characters laugh and do their own thing. It’s usually for the best, and even I’m surprised sometimes at the turns my books can take!
5.Are you traditionally or self-published?I began in the indie world, and now am re-releasing my books (and will publish any new books) under the Vox Dei imprint of Booktrope.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?
For me, it was hard work, begging, and making connections. Starting off indie, I had to learn quick how to market myself. That’s translated so well to the Booktrope model, and I’m also a book manager because of my indie experience. As for advice, the only thing I can say is to not get discouraged. There is a path for you, but you have to be willing to follow where it leads. Don’t overspend what you haven’t yet made. Look into all of your options. Go with your heart.
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?
In Summer 2012, I actually made more with Breathless than I made at my day job. No promotions on my part, no book tours or signings, not even begging bloggers to put my name out there. And yet, somehow, my sales increased more than tenfold. I’ll never know how it happened, and I didn’t know enough about book/author rankings at the time (assuming Amazon did those back then), but it will always be the feather in my writing cap.
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? Primarily I write chick lit with a Christian twist. Since the Breathless re-release is most recent, I can tell you a bit about it. It’s targeted primarily at women who are Christian or at least open to reading about Christian faith, ages 25-45 (according to my Facebook insights, ha!), who enjoy a light beach read. The premise is “What happens when an ordinary girl meets the man of everyone’s dreams? Keeping secrets is never easy, especially since Ryan Spalding is on the cover of every magazine and this year’s “Hottest Hunk under 30.” Good thing busy lawyer Carly Sparks is so out of the loop when it comes to celebrity affairs, or she’d realize she’s in one!” It’s a whirlwind romance with deceit, broken promises, and a really hot celebrity book boyfriend. Think Chris Pine (Star Trek)!
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.)Just be yourself, but don’t oversell. Let readers get to know you, not just get hounded with “buy my book!” Post shareable photos with quotes from your book, something that will get passed around social media as people realize “I HAVE TO READ THIS.”
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book?Breathless took 29 days as part of NaNoWriMo 2011, but ever since then, it’s ranged from anywhere from 4 ½ months to 18 months. It depends on the story and the characters, and the aforementioned writer’s block!
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. I actually designed all of my covers, but the latest and greatest cover for Breathless came from my brain and was expertly created by Chelsea Barnes of Booktrope. Little touches, gorgeous fonts, etc. are all her! As for the style, I wanted a silhouette of the characters, so that readers could envision their own Hollywood hunk as Ryan. Sometimes I see a cover with a model that isn’t very appealing to me and it changes my feelings about the character. It’s hard to engage when the cover isn’t just right. For the background, I chose a scenescape of Atlanta, Georgia, the setting for Breathless. Since it’s part of the Sparks of Hope series, I wanted to make sure that I could get similar scenescapes of the other cities featured in the series, and once that was settled, I ran with it. The Breathless cover actually took 2nd place in Booktrope’s Cover Clash 2015!
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?I have small kids – what spare time?! Kidding! I actually read a lot, though usually books I’m managing for authors with Vox Dei. I also make rag quilts, knit what are basically yarn-snakes (okay, they’re scarves ha!), and binge Netflix.