Good morning, help me welcome Brenda Whiteside to Coffee Time Romance.
Brenda is the author of the Love and Murder Series which is going to audiobooks.
Good morning, Babs. It’s great to be here.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up thinking I was born to be an artist. I loved to read and to write stories, but I never took my love of writing seriously…until sometime after college, after marrying a man doing a stint in the army, and after the birth of my son. After a writing class I took for fun, I discovered I found more satisfaction filling a blank page with words than an empty canvas with color.
Early in our marriage, we discovered we’re gypsies at heart. We’ve lived in six states and two countries—so far. Currently, we split our time between the pines of Northern Arizona and the RV life. At home or in the RV, I spend most of my time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.
Please tell us about the Love and Murder Series.
This is a five-book romantic suspense series that is set mostly in Arizona with one side trip to Austria. The characters are either related or friends. There is a search to learn about birth parents, a mystery writer who is stalked by someone acting out her murder scenes, an Austrian fairytale turned nightmare, a politically driven madman, and a good old western land grab turned nasty. And in the midst of all the mayhem, love and romance. The first two books are now on audio. The third book should be available in the next few weeks.
Can you introduce us to your hero and heroine in the latest Love and Murder book that is now in audio?
What makes them tick?
Southwest of Love and Murder is book two in the series. Laura Katz has just arrived at the Meadowlark Ranch to nanny Sky Meadowlark. Laura had an abusive childhood, then married a criminal. She’s running from her ex-husband who has just been released from jail. In the hopes of starting a new pattern to her life, she embraces ranch life. Randy Silva is the ranch foreman with hopes of having his own spread. His wife died years ago and he’s never quite gotten over it. You can guess they come together and have to find a way to dump all that baggage while dealing with the villains. There are three in this novel.
Were you an avid reader before you began to write? Oh yes and I still am, although I have less time to read because I write.
What is an interesting fact that has stuck in your mind? In order to keep focused as a writer, you have to write every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.
Is there a character that was the hardest to write? The easiest? Have you ever patterned a character after someone you knew?
In the last book of the series, The Deep Well of Love and Murder, Laura Katz gave me the most trouble. She had an abusive childhood and then married a man who turned out to be a drug taking thief. She had low self-esteem. Finding a way for her to like herself was a tricky situation.
Phoebe in book two, Southwest of Love and Murder, was the easiest for me. She’s a murder mystery writer, a free spirit, and gutsy. Lots of fun to write.
Two of my books not in the series were based on real life people. In Sleeping with the Lights On, the heroine was based on my sister. Both of her loves, in the book, were patterned after men I knew. Post War Dreams, set in 1945, is based on stories my mom told me of her life growing up in Phoenix, Arizona.
On average which of your characters get the best lines and why, hero, heroine, baddie, sidekick, etc.
That varies in each book. If I have to choose one, then I’d say the hero in the greatest number of the books. Why? Not sure. I can think of a couple of books where the heroine shines with the lines. In Southwest of Love and Murder, the latest audio release, Phoebe offers up a lot of zingers. She’s a fun lady.
What influenced you to get published?
After taking that class I mentioned above, several of the students came together and formed a critique group. I had so much fun. We encouraged each other in our various genres. I decided I’d like to try to entertain more people with my stories.
What makes your characters so vulnerable yet strong? Can you describe them to us?
The most important thing about making characters real for the reader, keep the reader interested and identifying with the characters, is to write them with depth. No one is totally good or totally bad. A hero must be strong and admirable, but he needs to have weak personality points too. Same for the heroine. Villains need to have some sort of redeeming quality, but not so much you like them. The reader needs to love to hate them, but have some idea of what made them go bad.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Storyteller, organized, open-minded.
Thank you Brenda.