Welcome to our Boudoir! This week our guest author has included a video to show our readers where the interview will take place just to give you a better feel of where we are. We think it's gorgeous! Come have a seat while we chat with Brenda and at the end, be sure to get in on her contest! She's picking TWO winners!
Naughty Reader’s: Brenda, welcome and thank you for setting such a beautiful place for us! Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.
Brenda: First I want to say thanks for having me. It’s very difficult for a first time author to be accepted in the literary circle and I really appreciate your response to my request.
I am from Ontario Canada, raised in a small town and at the age of 19, my first time employer offered my department an opportunity to transfer to Ohio for a new head office in the US. It didn’t take me long to decide to move, with all expenses paid and a raise. It was a great opportunity and I felt I couldn’t pass it by. Since then, they have relocated to California and I decided to stay in Ohio. I married and raised a son here.
When I was in my early twenties I backpacked through Europe with a girlfriend and had the best time I could ever imagine no problems and no regrets it was a wonderful trip. It didn’t hurt that my parents were living in Oslo Norway at the time, my step-father was teaching at the University of Oslo, and that was really my premise for wanting to go and see Europe. We met a lot of interesting people and the big excitement was our train derailed on our way to visit my parents.
I also love to garden and paint although I don’t find much time to pick up a brush or piece of charcoal these days.
Naughty Reader’s: What made you want to become a writer?
Brenda: That’s a great question, and I’m not sure I have a good answer for it. Spelling and reading came easily to me, and maybe that’s where the writing just naturally developed. My very favorite children’s storyteller is British author Enid Blyton. I had one of her books on faeries, gnomes and hedgehogs and young British children when I was young. It was a gift from an British friend of my mother’s, and I was absolutely fascinated with the stories and pictures. I always wanted that book read to me and later loved reading it myself. Just recently I did an internet research on her and discovered young children’s fairy tales was such a small part of her varied writing career. My problem is I only want to write about what I personally feel connected to. I probably wouldn’t be good as a copy writer unless my stories could strictly be about what appealed to me.
Naughty Reader’s: Please share a bit about your new release without giving away any spoilers.
Brenda: My novel is called ARRANGED and it involves a beautiful (aren’t they always) Nymphomaniac who meets an older ‘Billionaire’ at a very critical time in her life and he becomes her lover and her protector as he finds suitable men to satisfy her. She’s complicated and yet open with her heart as she tries to overcome her sexual desires and find lasting happiness. In her journey she meets a Wall Street lawyer and becomes involved with him in pleasurable and painful ways that actually carry over into the sequel. She also becomes involved with an ex-pat police detective from New Jersey who has problems of his own and they both take up a relationship much deeper than either of them anticipated it would go. There is a shooting while they’re out in the Caribbean and a murder they all get involved in. I will say the murder and intrigue is only a small part of the story, but their all connected to it in a small way, and there is plenty of sex to go around.
Naughty Reader’s: Do you write under a pen name?
Brenda: Yes I do. Arlene Valle.
Naughty Reader’s: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?
Brenda: I like a strong heroine, but not the Dominatrix type, just confident and intelligent. She doesn’t always have to know everything just smart enough to keep up with the men and situations in her life. I also want her to be vulnerable and with a heart.
I also like the hero to be the same way. As Samantha puts it in the sequel, “I like my man to take charge, he make me feel protected, he’s what I need.”
Naughty Reader’s: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Brenda: The first thing I do is check my email accounts and of course world news events then check out twitter for awhile. I like to stay up late. I watch the late show and type intermittently and then turn off the TV and crank up the stereo and type until 4 in the morning. Certain songs inspired scenes in the novel and even gave me titles for chapters. Since I’ve been ‘downsized’, I hate that word, from my last employer; I can get up later in the morning. I’m divorced and there is only me and my cat, (no I’m not becoming a cat-lady) I just happen to like cats; besides we used to have Dobermans so I like dogs too. As I was saying, my day can start later in the morning if I don’t have any appointments or commitments, I try to write or do research for the story. I end up with notebooks full of phrases, ideas for story lines that come to me and sometimes after I go to bed an inspiration would hit me so I always have a notebook and pen beside the bed , plus stuffed in the back, of my notebooks are articles I have printed off the web that I know I will need to read in detail to use in the novel.
Naughty Reader’s: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Brenda: My first novel is a Contemporary Romance Erotica because of detailed situations and strong language and of course the sequel will be also, but I have an outline for another story that can be classified as YA Young Adult as I have decided not to put in any detailed sex scenes, also including a bit of mystery, paranormal to it.
My first story I seriously planned on publishing was a Children’s Story because I successfully raised four baby raccoons and I thought my process and desire to keep them tame, but wild would make a great story for children ages 5-10 I had pictures I also wanted to include along with artist drawings. I put that on hold when ARRANGED really grabbed me and the story started to flow.
Naughty Reader’s: We think children might like to read about baby raccoons so do keep that book in mind. Of course, you'd write that in your own name. How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
Brenda: It took me over a year, writing on and off. I don’t mind the editing and when the juices would stop flowing, I would edit, go back and start at the beginning, or pick a chapter and read it out loud to myself. Editing is so important to get the story just right, and it doesn’t matter how many times you read it, you will always miss errors, typos, even with Word trying to correct you. Errors happen; I think it’s a writing rule!
Naughty Reader’s: Do you have to be alone to write?
Brenda: Yes, other than the TV and the stereo or Amazon Cloud Player blaring in my ears. I have to be alone.
Naughty Reader’s: How do you go about naming characters?
Brenda: This is a funny story, at least I think it’s unusual. The main characters just came to me, although I originally named one of them Dirk and shortly into the plot I decided I wanted a stronger name for him so he became Maximillian Wollfe, yes there can be two l’s in each name I did lots of research on it. But the funny part is that some of the other characters come from my SPAM I receive daily from a site in China mostly to get me to buy Viagra etc. Before I delete them I run through the email names, looking for something that clicks and write them down in a notebook or pare them up with other first or last names and now I have a wonderful list of possible combinations.
Naughty Reader’s: That's a different way of finding names! Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?
Brenda: I just write and as the character develops in my head, I picture what they look like. I even know who I would like to play them in a movie, only in my dreams of course. I even make layouts of rooms so I know exactly where the furniture should be etc. I want to make it as realistic as possible. But I must confess I don’t over describe characters because I like the reader to form their own opinion of what they look like. Too much detail can sometimes be confusing to the reader; I know it is for me.
Naughty Reader’s: How do you pick locations for your stories?
Brenda: Those just happen also, I know E.L. James was criticized on a blog for writing her characters in Washington State, since she had never been there, and apparently made errors on her driving directions, but who has the money and time to visit every location they want to write into their fictional story! Good luck with that, and thank god for the internet.
Accidentally I came across an island called Los Rogues and expanded out to find Isla de Margarita in the Caribbean where a lot of my story takes place. Once I started browsing websites about the island, I fell in love with it. In a strange way I felt comfortable on this Spanish island a lot of people probably haven’t even heard of. At one point I envisioned how long it would take to get from the airport to the main character’s home and when I checked it out on Google Earth I was off by 5 minutes.
One website was for accommodations on the island and I saw a Canadian flag flying on the house and since there was an email address I decided to email them and see if they would answer some questions about the island. I was hoping that they were truly Canadian and they would take pity on me. That worked out great, as the posada owner was from Ontario Canada also and we had our first connection to each other. His name is Dan and he has been so helpful with answering questions I couldn’t find on the internet or didn’t really trust. He has been amazing for giving me a feel for the island and in fact I have a standing invitation to visit him. For now that will be only in my dreams.
The thing that gets me really emotional about this ‘island, and the people’ connection is that I wrote from my head about a marina I found on a map of the island. I wrote about the boats docked there and about a fence blocking it off and the gate you had to go through to get to the boats, along with security. It is a critical part of the story. Long after that was written. I decided to ask Dan about the marina and he emailed me that he would be over that way the next day and if he had time he would swing by and take some pictures for me. When I got the pictures I cried because the marina was exactly as I had envisioned it. Right down to the fencing, guard house and the types of boats moored there. It just felt like karma. Also as I stared at the pictures, the way to solve the murder popped into my head. I was screaming out loud when that happened. I can get quite emotional. Case in point when I wrote the ending of the novel, by the way just on the fly, I cried when I typed the last word. My novel has lots of sex and swear words and what some people would call infidelity but the ending is just like something you would read from Debbie Macomber, or Danielle Steel, not that I classify myself anywhere near their capabilities of storytelling.
'Arranged' Buy Links:
Contest: I would like to offer two giveaways. The two commenters can choose between an e-book download or I would be happy to mail a signed copy of the book. I have to say, I am in love with the book cover. It is shiny and just beautiful, and of course has so much meaning for the island where most of the book takes place. Thank you for stopping by! Please do leave a comment to be in the drawing!
Excerpt from Arranged:
Excerpt from Arranged:
Jim lay in bed beside the sleeping Samantha, he glanced up through the hatch. It was almost dawn. He listened as he heard a small motorboat approaching. His ears pricked intently as it came closer and closer. Suddenly the engine stopped. He didn’t flinch expecting to hear it once again as it moved out of earshot, but he didn’t. In an instant he realized it had to be along side. He shifted his feet to the floor and reached for his swim trunks, slipped them on and knelt back up on the bed. He leaned over Samantha and firmly placed his fully extended hand over her mouth. Samantha jolted awake, her hands flailing at his arm. He moved in closer to her face and motioned “ssshhh” with his finger to his lips. Samantha nodded yes. He removed his palm and Samantha gasped in air. “I think someone’s trying to come on board. Stay here.” He whispered. He backed off the bed and reached into a wooden cupboard built into the headboard. Jim pulled out a glock handgun. He pointed it to the floor and grabbed the rear of the slide back as far as it would go. He turned to leave the room and released the slide, as a click moved the first round into the chamber. “Stay here don’t make a sound,” he whispered as he partially closed the door.
Samantha scrambled for some clothes.
As Jim walked through the salon, he could see a small skiff bouncing beside the boat, a man sitting inside. He unlocked the main hatch door, and quietly stepped to the deck. He quickly turned to the bridge. A man was desperately trying to start the engines. He turned and looked down at Jim. Jim noticed the knife in his waistband and he fired one round. The young man grabbed his shoulder and collapsed half way down the steps.
Samantha screamed and ran up top. Jim grabbed the intruder and dragged him to the edge of the boat, he pulled the knife from the man’s waist, disengaged his gun and threw them on the deck.
“Tell them Samantha, tell them the name of my boat. Jim yelled, as he grappled with the moaning man. The accomplice in the small boat stood, desperately trying to pull the ripcord on the outboard to start the small boat.
“Tell them again Samantha, he bellowed. Tell them if they ever come near my boat again I will fucking kill both of them.”
Samantha braced her hands on the edge of the boat and screamed Jim’s orders in Spanish down to the man.
Jim unceremoniously flung the injured one over the edge and he fell into the bobbing boat, screaming at the top of his lungs. “Tell them,” Jim yelled. “I will kill them if they ever come near this boat again.”
Samantha once again yelled down to the pair in Spanish, as the lookout finally got a sputter out of the motor. He looked up at Jim and nodded yes. “Si, si, si,.” He repeated over and over, as he frantically tried to start the motor. The other one continued to moan and writhe in pain, as the engine finally connected. He sat down and quickly steered away from them, heading towards the Venezuelan mainland.
“Son of a bitch. This is my knife, he pulled it out of the locker.” Exclaimed Jim angrily. He placed it in the box once again and secured the lock on it. “You know there’s a good chance if he had gone below and found us sleeping, he could have slit out throats, and tossed us overboard.” Jim reached down and retrieved his gun, he checked to be sure the safety lever was still on before going below to place the gun back in the cabinet.
Samantha followed him down, whimpering. “Oh my god he could have killed you, he could have killed you!”
“Not that asshole, I don’t know how he thought he was going to start the engines. It wasn’t going to happen. Thank god, this time he was no match.”
Jim removed his trunks and headed for the shower. “I’ve got to get this blood off of me right now.”