Monday Motivation: Interview with Author Barbara Brutt

Thank you for joining us today, Barbara! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? For some readers, writing is a natural extension of that deep love of reading. I think that’s true for me.

My mom claims I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but my first conscious decision to see myself as a writer started in college. I switched my practical degree of English education to the supposedly very impractical English degree (“you won’t get a job”). But I was in love. So I followed that love, and I do have a day job that includes writing while I write fiction on the side.

Tell us about the Painting in Paisley series! Jadyn Simon is trying to find her place in the world (she loves painting, but can it pay the bills?) while grappling with a people-pleasing problem, her mom’s expectations, and an absent father. Meanwhile, her almost-didn’t-happen relationship with the office hottie becomes more serious. Does Jadyn have what it takes to seize her future while allowing the wounds from her past to heal?

Phew, trying to summarize a series was difficult. 😉

What is the greatest praise you’ve received about your writing so far? Stylistically? Oof. People tell me that I write like I talk, which is comforting, I suppose. But I think the biggest compliment to me is when someone sends me a private message, saying that a particular blog post really challenged or encouraged them. One time, someone sent me a photo of her phone home screen; she had quoted me as a reminder for that season of her life. I still turn pink at the thought.

Your most creative ideas come when. . . Ideally, when I sprawl in the grass and think, allowing my mind to wonder and wander. Ideas spring from the tiniest things. Of course, since laying around is luxury, I find that ideas tap on my shoulder while I’m washing the dishes or cleaning. The anchoring of my body in some menial task allows my mind to fly.

Describe your writing style in three words. Whimsical, introspective, funny. That was much harder to think up than I thought it would be!

Which author most influenced your writing style? Sandra Byrd, hands down (I love her French Twist series). Of course, I had the great pleasure of hiring her to be my coach for a number of months. I learned so much from her. Also, I think that every author I’ve ever read has impacted my writing style for better or for worse. Also, I need to mention Pepper Basham because her books make me laugh even as I tear up, and I want to write like that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Be your turtle self. When I first started writing, so much about the author world intimidated me (still does) because I was constantly comparing. Finally, I made peace with the fact that I’m not a brilliant writer (I have writer friends who win the awards), but that realization freed me to be my turtle self. I would keep showing up to my writing desk to see what happens next. So embrace your weaknesses and strengths so you can focus on your goals.

Can you give us a teaser about your WIP? Of course! Teal Paisley Tights (the working title) centers on Jadyn Simon. She’s a quirky people pleaser with a passion for watercolor and teal paisley tights (did you guess that?), but Jadyn’s trying to figure out if she can live a passionate painting life while still paying the bills. Did I mention that her date with the office hottie gets hijacked by a guy friend? That still makes me cringe/laugh.

Wait, here’s just a little snippet.

“I have a work thing.” What else could I say? I didn’t want him to know I had a date, and Ethan did work with my company. Travis and I were buddies, which included the occasional pizza nights on Fridays, but usually we planned ahead and ordered the pizza. Something about this seemed odd. The clothes for one. Our pizza nights always included sweatpants. But then again, maybe he’d come right from work.

Wait. My hand slipped off the doorknowb and I banged my shoulder against the door frame. He wouldn’t be asking me out, would he?

The elevator pinged and the hummingbirds threw themselves into their thrumming African dance again. Even from this distance, Ethan looked like my own personal blond fairy tale.

Crap. Ethan. Maybe I can hide Travis? Wild scenarios of drugging Travis, hiding him under a bed or in a closet flew through my head. Nope, too late.

So? What do you think?

Which fictional character is your doppelganger? *Blinks* I’ve never considered this question for myself before. Wait a second, I’ll be back.

Three days later (no, seriously), I’ve considered the Cheshire Cat, Jessica from The Thorn Healer, Danielle from Ever After, Dumbledore from Harry Potter, and Rogue from X-men.

So, after all these considerations, I think Danielle de Barbarac from the movie Ever After might just be my fictional doppelganger. She’d do anything to protect her loved ones, and she’s deeply passionate about books and people. She loves challenging conversation, and she doesn’t need saving.

When you aren’t writing, you enjoy. . . Flying is my favorite. Whether flying to a new country, or flying on the aerial silks, I can’t get enough. However, I’m just as likely to be hidden away reading a book, writing for a blog, or jamming out to music.

About Barbara

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I’m a 20-something hope-in-progress bent on growing despite the gritty, pot-holed road of adulthood. My work experience includes a smattering of jobs from pastry shop girl to project manager with a healthy dose of nanny and house-cleaner. Basically, I’m your Jane of all trades.

I’ve lived in three countries (USA, Dominican Republic, and Austria), and I’ve visited 18 more countries on top of that. My most cherished dream (besides traveling the world) is to become a published novelist (I’ve completed two manuscripts!).

I rarely turn away ice cream (peanut butter, please) and only buy purses that provide room for a book or two (or a Kindle).

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