I’m so glad to have Brita back as my special guest today to talk a little bit about herself, the creative process, what she has coming up next. And, if you read all the way to the end, you’ll get the 4-1-1 on some really great prizes she’s offering as she hops the information super-highway to promote her new release, Tarnished Gold.
Brita, why don’t we start of by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: stuff and nonsense and tidbits about your life outside of writing?
Well. I love to travel. My favorite modes are cruises and long road trips. Thankfully, my husband loves the same things. Over the years we have taken many trips and have two big ones planned for 2013.
In May, we are going to England, Scotland, and Wales. In September and October, we are taking a cruise from Quebec to Boston, then a road trip across New York State to visit family and friends, then on to Atlanta for GayRomLit in mid-October, and then finally, back home.
I love movies, particularly old ones and anything with Gerard Butler. My husband and I have a weekly date day, every Friday (we’re retired) and have done for nearly all of our marriage.
I read constantly, but not enough. I love romances, historicals mostly, but I also read non-fiction. History is a particular favorite.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into the nuts and bolts about you as an author:
Q.) How long have you been writing?
I think most authors have written for most of their lives, as I have. I started with newspaper articles from the time I was in middle school. I wrote tons of short stories all through school and my English teachers were very encouraging.
As an adult, I’ve always kept a journal. Creatively, I started in the last four years. Before that, I raised my family, which didn’t give me much time for anything else. I admire anyone who has children at home and they maintain a writing schedule. God bless them.
Q.) Is there someone in your life who inspired you to write creatively?
I have to say that my husband is the person who has been steadily in my corner with encouragement. He knew that I wrote and always wondered why I didn’t take it further. It was him who said I should go for it and I did. Now, he is my biggest supporter and that means everything to me. I’m not sure I could do what I do without him.
Q.) What was your first published novel?
My very first novel was Serenity’s Dream, which is the first book in the Sapphire Club series. I just recently rewrote it and it came out in February.
Q.) You’ve written just a little bit of everything, it seems. Is there a recipe for your plots, i.e. do you get an idea for a storyline and then decide whether your characters are going to be M/F, M/M, M/F/F, etc., or do the characters come to you first?
I have written a variety of things, mostly historical, some contemporary. No, I don’t have a recipe. Each story is individual in its conception. Usually, I have the characters in mind first, then I design the story around them. A story blossoms after I decide what characteristics the players will have.
Once the writing is underway, the characters tend to guide me. I don’t have an outline that I must adhere to. I think that as the story takes shape, it tends to go off into directions that the writer couldn’t possibly have foreseen. Flexibility (no steadfast outline) allows me to meet the demands of the characters, rather than trying to press them into a mold that might not suit them.
Q.) What was your first published M/M novel/novella/short story?
Free Me for Amber Allure was my first m/m novella. It was part of a submissions call, asking for stories where the characters meet while on vacation. That book spawned its sequel, In His Arms. The word count limitation of the sub call kept the story rather narrow, so I felt that Bryan and Phil deserved the rest of the story, which is what the sequel does.
I get the rights to those books in mid-2013, and then I will rewrite them and submit them to another publisher.
Q.) From start to finish, how long does it typically take you to hammer out a first draft of a book?
It really depends on what I’m writing. For instance, for Tarnished Gold, I researched for a solid six months before I ever put a word of the story down. In a story like that, where it has so much historical detail, I couldn’t simply start writing. It is important to get the details right.
I placed my characters in the midst of real people and real situations and with that, you have to treat the circumstances with dignity. You have to know your stuff.
From the research phase, I went into the planning of the overall story arc. I knew I wanted it to span many years and with that, you have to mature the characters. Their experiences and attitudes have to be commensurate with their ages. Their appearance has to change as well as their lifestyle, at each stage of their life. They will drink champagne while successful, where they might drink beer while younger. They may become jaded as life slaps them around, where if pampered, they are less likely to feel the effects. There is no pampering in Tarnished Gold, though!
The first draft writing took about six months, then I went through the manuscript again to fill it in, put more meat on the bones, reword, etc. All in all, for the 105k novel, I had over a year into that book.
Q.) Let’s talk sex for a moment, shall we? Do you think there’s such a thing as too much sex in a story? As a storyteller, how, where, or do you draw a line in terms of content?
Yes, I do. By that I mean, frequency of sex in stories. I do think that the adage that sex sells is alive and well, and the more the better. I think sex sells, but it has to be within reason and not just sex for the sake of hotness.
When I first started writing for publication, I believed that, but not anymore. I truly work very hard to thicken the plot and have the sex as a meaningful thread within the story, rather than the story a thread to more sex.
I don’t have a limit as to content, it just depends upon the story, the characters, their attraction to each other, their sexual practices, the moment, etc.
Q.) Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, why is s/he so special to you?
I do have a favorite, which makes me feel rather traitorous. I’ve said this before, when Phillip Allard, Duke of Thornhill from Chocolate, Tea, and the Duchess was, for me, the character that spoke loudest to me. While that is, in many ways, still true, I have to say that Jack Abadie from Tarnished Gold continues to live in my head.
Jack is a man from a Louisiana family, raised on the property that my husband grew up on. Jack is gay, something his small hometown would never understand. He loves the relatively new entertainment medium, the flickers, and as he sits in the theater, he dreams of fame and fortune.
Grit and determination propels Jack through his salad days, props him up through disappointments, tragedies, and great triumphs. He also possesses a quality that many of us wish they had—the ability to travel his own path, without apology.
Q.) In the same vein, of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite cover?
I do. I absolutely love the covers for For Men Like Us and the new one for Tarnished Gold. Anne Cain created wonderful representations of the stories for each one. I love them so much, I have them framed and hung on my wall at home.
Q.) If there were any one person (past, present, or even fictional) that you could sit down to dinner with, who would that person be, and why?
My love of history compels me to say Abraham Lincoln. I am fascinated by him and his wife, Mary. We traveled to Springfield, Illinois to visit all the prevalent spots, as well as Washington, DC—Ford’s Theater, Peterson House, and of course, the White House. We even visited Hildene, Robert Lincoln’s home in Manchester, Vermont. That was a fun day that we share with my brother and his wife. Makes me homesick thinking about them.
I would love to speak with Abraham Lincoln, though. He was a brilliant man, despite the fact that he came off as a country bumpkin.
Q.) What makes you laugh?
I laugh a lot, so many things strike me funny. Fiona, our grandpuppy is a constant source of humor and wonder.
One recent thing that gave me a real giggle:
My daughter and our grandson, who is 14, were talking about the day he would start driving.
Him: “If you think I’m going to go to the store for you, you’re wrong.”
Her: “No worries. If you think you’ll get the keys to my car, you’re wrong.”
One for the Mom!
Q.) Have you ever read something, a line or passage from a book, and thought, wow, I wish I’d written that? If so, what was it?
LOL Every book I read I find a line that I wish I had written. Often what I do is write it down and then study it. It does help the writing.
Q.) Would you like to talk a little bit about your upcoming release Tarnished Gold?
I would love to. First, there is the blurb:
After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.
As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.
I’ve always been an old Hollywood trivia buff. Stars like Charlie Chaplin and Wallace Reid have fascinated me since I was very young girl. I remember summer mornings in front of the TV, watching Charlie Chase and Buster Keaton.
I have read the biographies and autobiographies of tons of early Hollywood stars like William Haynes, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and so many others.
From early in my writing career, I knew I wanted to write a book set in early Hollywood. While I was never terribly interested in the glamorous women of Hollywood, my interest fell to the enigmatic matinee idols.
My story is dedicated to William Haynes, who was the first openly gay Hollywood star. Billy didn’t give a damn what people thought and he stuck to his guns. When the system changed after many years of tolerance, Billy told them what to do with their changes.
In Tarnished Gold, Jack Abadie is tough, while negotiating the minefield that comprised Hollywood in the ’20s and early ’30s. Jack falls in love with Wyatt Maitland and with that, he sees his life clearly defined, more so than ever before.
Wyatt “gets” Jack, the man. He understands him and helps Jack to get himself. In return, Jack fills the emptiness in Wyatt.
Their relationship isn’t all roses, but they truly present a united front when the world tests their mettle.
The story spans many years—from the 19teens to the 1930s, then the epilogue takes the characters into the 1950’s. They evolve, mature, and on occasion, thumb their noses at the powers that be.
The story covers Jack from the time he leaves his childhood home to later years. I kept meticulous notes, because it’s easy to get lost in the details in a novel of this length.
The cover is absolutely beautiful too. Anne Cain knocked this one, and For Men Like Us, out of the ballpark. I love them both so much.
Anne also created my wonderful contest prize—an 8×10 glossy of Jack Abadie, that will be autographed for the recipient.
Q.) Do you have any more new projects in the works you’d like to give us a little teaser of?
Several actually. I am totally rewriting what was once Love Immortal. I got my rights back in November, 2012, and want the book better than it ever was. I intended to write a sequel, but then I didn’t feel I was with the right publisher. LI was 27k and the newly renamed novel, Mysterious Moonlight, will be over 60k, with a much meatier story and the sequel added in the volume. I will submit to Dreamspinner upon completion.
I am writing a saga that starts in 1754 and it will tell the tale of generations of one family who live and work a homestead in Upstate New York. The stories will span more than 100 years. I’ve done many hours of research for this series and I’m very excited about it. No publisher in mind as yet.
I’ll also be rewriting Splendid Captivity, which I now have the rights to. That one will get more story and expansion and then I will sub it to a new publisher.
Thanks so much for being here with us today, Brita. How about an excerpt from Tarnished Gold?
“Mr. Abadie, did you fall in love with either of your co-stars?”
Jack smiled, glanced at Maitland, then at each of the ladies. “I fear I’ve fallen for both, but they won’t have me.”
Lita and Mary giggled. A lady from the audience stood and shouted, “Marry me, Jack.”
The crowd erupted into thunderous applause.
“It’s a bit too soon, my dear, to consider marriage, but thank you for asking,” Jack answered with a wink. The woman giggled and fanned herself.
After several more questions in the same vein, Jack whispered, “Please, no more,” and Maitland, for the next hour, again focused the questions on the serial.
Maitland checked his watch. “It’s time to wrap up here, if you are to get to the train station on time.”
Jack watched the man put his watch back into his pocket, and only then realized that for several minutes, he’d watched Maitland’s every movement.
Hoping the man hadn’t noticed his rudeness, Jack tugged his own watch from its pocket and raised a brow. “Yes, I believe you are right,” he said with a smile. They were due to leave within an hour.
Maitland stepped up to the microphone. “Our stars must leave now, as they are about to embark on a very long tour to celebrate A Charmed Life. Thank you again for coming, and please enjoy the reshowing of the serial.”
With waves and blown kisses, they all stepped back behind the curtain.
All told, for two hours work, Jack received his first dose of true adulation and attention from a real audience. He’d work very hard not to take it for granted, but it felt damned good.
Wyatt Maitland and Jack escorted the ladies to their car.
“I’ll see you at the station,” Jack said to Lita, who’d gotten quite teary-eyed. Mary, who played a less than sympathetic character, wasn’t going on tour, leaving Lita none too happy about her exclusion.
After the ladies’ car pulled away, Jack walked to his car, and to his delight, Wyatt followed. Jack dug into his pocket for his keys, then stuck his hand out.
Wyatt took it, holding Jack’s hand in his firm grip well past the time it took to shake it.
Even behind tortoiseshell glasses, the man’s blue eyes bore into him, as though he could read what was in his heart. Impeccably dressed in a fashionable single-breasted suit and straight, wide-legged trousers, Maitland struck a delightful view.
My newest releases:
For Men Like Us takes place during the Regency in England. You can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.
Blurb for For Men Like Us:
After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.
The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.
When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”
Blurb for Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity
Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married.
Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their marriage?
You can purchase Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity at Amazon
About Brita Addams:
Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee.
She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.
As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.
Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War.
In May, 2013, they are going to England for two weeks, to visit the places Brita writes about in her books, including the estate that inspired the setting for her Sapphire Club series. Not the activities, just the floor plan. :-)
A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, B-Rita, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.
Please visit me at any of these online locations:
And now, the part about the Giveaway:
2.) Signed 8×10 glossies of Jack Abadie
3.) Grand Prize is a Kindle, along with the winner’s choice of five (5) of my backlist titles, sent to them by email.
Easy. Leave a comment at one or all the stops. At each stop, a random commenter will be selected to win their choice of backlist book **(Tarnished Gold excluded.)** This selection will be made daily throughout the tour, except where blog owners wish to extend the eligibility. Be sure to leave an email address in your comment.
All names of commenters and their email addresses will be put into the drawing for the Kindle, even if they have won the daily drawing. The more comments you make the more chances you have to win.
Other prizes include five (5) 8×10 glossies of Jack Abadie, signed. The winners will be selected on April 10, 2013, from all the commenters at all the stops, and notified by email.
The Grand Prize winner will be selected on April 10th and notified by email. Once I have heard from the winner and obtained a shipping address, I will order the Kindle and have it shipped directly to the winner. They will also be eligible to select five (5) of my backlist titles and I will email them to the winner.
**Contest valid in the United States.
Full schedule for the Tarnished Gold Virtual Book Tour