Today, at Coffee Time Romance, we have the opportunity to have with us, amazing author, Brenda Whiteside. Good morning, Brenda, why not take a seat in our cozy recliner and put on the fuzzy bunny slippers while I pour you a cup of hot coffee or tea, whichever you prefer. We have a selection of cookies, brownies and other baked items too, and KarenneLyn was nice enough to remove all the calories. Just help yourself.
Why not start the morning by asking what a typical day is like for you once your morning begins?
We’ve recently moved to a home on the prairie in northern Arizona. This move changed my schedule drastically. We’re on two and half acres with a small orchard to care for and a garden to plant with every vegetable we plan to consume. So my typical schedule, seven days a week, is this:
Up by 6:00, but many mornings earlier (and without an alarm clock!), coffee on and fire up the laptop
6:00-11:00 I write or do writing related activities, breakfast at my computer
11:00-3:00 I work outside on the yet to be lawn or in the orchard, with a break for lunch
3:00-5:00 Back at the computer writing
5:00-8:00 Shower, dinner and maybe one TV show
8:00-10:00 Work on my critique partners stories or read fellow authors books for reviews
My day is broken up on Mondays and Thursdays for a yoga lesson at 10:30 before I head outside. I have a built-in yoga teacher, my daughter-in-law. And of course, there are the days I have to do a little cleaning or shopping. I try to take a day off for a hike or a motorcycle ride now and then or an evening to have dinner out with friends. All work and no play makes Brenda a little stir-crazy.
I wanted to tell you that I love your website; it makes it easy to navigate. Of your books, would you like to discuss, Honey on White Bread today?
Thank you so much, Cherokee. I’m glad you found it easy to visit. I’d love to talk about Honey On White Bread. This was the book of my heart. I wanted to write the book for a long time before I actually got around to it. I love the era, my mom was a wealth of information, and I had fun writing it. It’s basically a coming of age novel but also an historical romance.
Can you tell us where you derived the idea for this book?
Honey On White Bread is set in 1945 and was inspired by listening to stories my mom told me about growing up in the 1940’s and by the old black and white movies from that era that I watched as a child. My mom was raised by her father who followed the crops. I used that, plus a few other stories, in my book. But those old movies I watched on hot afternoons in Phoenix, curled up on the sofa with the evap cooler blowing on me, really sparked my imagination. The war years and the years that followed were highly romanticized in Hollywood movies. Honey On White Bread is set at the end of the war, and my heroine, Claire Flanagan is starry eyed and infatuated with the ‘silver screen’.
Did you find it difficult composing the right character for the storyline, or did you already have the certain character in mind?
I usually start with the characters and the story follows. Claire is a delightful romantic. My hero, Benjamin Russell, is all 1940’s male. They were fully formed in my head before I began writing.
How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
My first full novel took me over a year to write. I’ve cut that down considerably. I think with each manuscript my time is decreasing. I’ve learned to let my inner editor take the day off when I need her to or work alongside me at times without slowing me down.
Do you go with the flow, when you write, or do an outline?
I’m a total go with the flow writer. I’ve never done an outline. Once I get into a novel, I might go back and do a chapter highlights timeline. The more complicated the plot, the more of a necessity this becomes. I mainly do it to keep track of who said what when or what clues I’ve dropped so I don’t trip myself up. But mostly, I let it flow.
How would you describe your work station?
Crowded and comfy. And very personal with pictures and mementos that mean something to me.
You do have a nice selection of books. Can you let the readers in on any works in progress that you are possibly working on?
Thank you for saying so, Cherokee. I’m pretty excited about my current manuscript and the three percolating in my head. I’ve just completed my first romantic mystery – sort of – I still need to do some editing. My heroine, Lacy Dahl, goes in search of some information on her parents who died when she was a baby. There’s mystery that plunges her into danger and love. And what’s fun is there are four characters in this book that are now demanding their own books. In addition to those ideas, I’d like to write a book set in the 1930’s. I had so much fun writing Honey On White Bread set in 1945. I think the thirties will prove just as interesting.
When is your best time of day to compose?
I love to write first thing in the morning. My energy is highest. I’m just not a night person. The world is quieter, and there are less outside distractions in my morning hours.
You have just been nominated for an award. What would be the name of the award that you have been recommended?
Most Entertaining Novel of the Year
I was an army brat, too, as well as marrying someone in the military. Of all the places that you were sent, which location would you say offered the more in a learning challenge for you and your family?
I suppose Germany presented the most challenges. Language can be quite a barrier. But we loved our time in Germany. Except for the really little towns, most Germans knew some English. And they were friendly and willing to listen. (I agree with you, Brenda, and we absolutely enjoyed our time there, too).
You and your talented family, have the opportunity to either sky-dive, climb Mt. Everest, go on a wild animal adventure to find a rare crocodile, or appear on the Food Network show and prepare your fabulous all time meal, which adventure would you choose?
Oh definitely the animal adventure. How fun looking for a rare crocodile. I think that is the one choice we could all agree to choose.
Do you have a favorite children’s story?
I probably read Charlotte’s Web several times so I must have really enjoyed it.
What is your sweetest treat that you could eat almost every day?
I do eat my favorite sweet treat everyday – dark chocolate. My husband doesn’t think dark chocolate is particularly sweet. So he’d tell me that doesn’t count. How about Reese’s peanut butter cups? I’d never grow tired of those.
I love the state of Arizona, and whenever I am able, like to go visit the different sites. If you were to invite twenty of your readers, into your home, to take them on any site seeing area, where would you take them to visit, and why?
We live fairly close to the Grand Canyon. The canyon is pretty awe-inspiring and a visit to my home would have to include a drive for that sight. Hopefully they’d be more impressed than my four-year-old nephew was with his comment “what’s the big deal? It’s just a hole in the ground. Can we eat lunch now?”
Brenda, I cannot thank you enough for being our guest today. We all look forward to all your books and wish you the best in all your writing.
It’s been fun, Cherokee. Thanks for your time. And I invite all readers to contact me whenever. I love hearing from them.