AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Brooke London
J.K.: Hi Brooke, welcome to the blog. As per your website, it seems you’re quite a bit spontaneous. You took off for New Zealand and came back over a year later, having traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Britain as well. What happened there, and do you apply that same kind of spontaneity to your writing?
BROOKE: Hi J.K., thanks for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a wanderer at heart. I had always wanted to travel and my original trip was to be only three months, split between New Zealand and Australia. I had just completed a Business degree at university and had a holiday working visa for Australia but I didn’t think anyone would actually hire me.
But at the three-month mark, I was down to my last dollars and I walked into a temporary employment agency in Sydney. They gave me a typing test and, despite typing 10 words per minute, they gave me a job! I worked for a number of months until I managed to save enough money to make a second trip through the parts of Australia I hadn’t seen. While hitchhiking, I met a British woman who had just traveled through Asia and suggested that I do the same. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided I would go. I booked airfare to Asia. My airline ticket was for Singapore, Bangkok, New Delhi and then London, England.
I didn’t realized what I was in for. The plane was landing in Singapore at eight o’clock at night, it was dark, I was alone and I was freaking out. My instructions were to take a bus to a certain street and someone would find me and give me a place to stay! I couldn’t go back to Australia or hang out at the Singapore airport with the guards who carried these HUGE weapons, so I took the bus, stood on the street and someone found me and gave me a place to stay for $1US per night. After that, I figured I could do anything.
My travels through Malaysia, Thailand and India were eye opening to say the least, especially as I traveled solo. I arrived in London where I stayed for a month before deciding it was time to go home after a year-and-a half. For my entire trip, I traveled west until I ended up at my starting point. I arrived in Alberta and couldn’t handle the cold, so I flipped a coin on whether to move to Vancouver or Toronto. Toronto won.
Spontaneity seems to figure largely in everything I do. For the vast majority of time, I see or think of something I want to do, think about it for a bit and then I just do it. Writing is a very organic process for me. I set up the basic plot, do research, find out who my characters are (which is more organized and less organic) and then I get out of the way and let my characters run with the story. The characters end up doing things I would never have thought of in the beginning—they constantly surprise me.
J.K.: That's an amazing story. I wonder if I could do that. Travel alone in a foreign country (or two) like that. I'll bet the adventure would be worth writing about anyway--if I lived through it. In fact, I think I feel an idea coming on as we speak (and I don't even have to leave the house)...Can I call you for research purposes?
So anyway, Pitch Dark is your first book. When is it being released, and how do you feel about that? Nervous?
BROOKE: Cerridwen Press will release Pitch Dark in e-book format on March 19, 2009. And yes, I am nervous now – six weeks before the release date, the whole thing suddenly became real as I sat in a Starbucks – I started shaking so badly I was glad I was sitting or I might have hit the floor.
J.K.: Are you sure that wasn't because of the price of their lattes?
BROOKE: I’ve been using every resource at my disposal to try to get the word out about Pitch Dark. It’s been a little stressful—going where I’ve never gone before.
J.K.: Every resource? Have you tried singing monkeys? They're awesome at showtunes, and will be sure to get some attention--then again, the clean up is hell.
So how long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create the particular characters that appear in Pitch Dark?
BROOKE: I have been writing since mid-2003. It never occurred to me to write before then. A friend had introduced me to some very good romantic fiction the year before and I thought I could write a novel. So I did.
My basic question for Pitch Dark was: What would happen if terrorists took out the Saudi Arabia oil production machine (with the largest proven oil reserves in the world)? The answer: They would go after the place with the second largest proven oil reserves—in Alberta, Canada. I based the heroine partially on my years of working with the best and brightest in Information Technology and on my knowledge of the oil and gas industry in Alberta. The heroine is a former hacker for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the hero an ex-CIA covert agent, who now owns a natural resources based firm in Colorado. And I made my hero my perfect man. I’m still trying to find him! LOL.
J.K.: The perfect man? Really? He doesn't even leave the toilet seat up? Hm, now I know it's fiction. What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?
BROOKE: I think the most important thing is to go with your gut and to try to not over-analyze what you’re doing. And that getting published is a MUCH longer process than you think.
J.K.: And what do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?
BROOKE: Well, this sounds totally arrogant but I want to be a New York Times bestselling author. I’m working on improving my writing style to get there. I am a half way through the sequel to Pitch Dark and I am a fifth of the way through a paranormal romantic suspense novel.
J.K.: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?
BROOKE: I unplugged the toilet today. Ick!
J.K.: Yep, that's glamorous, lol. So, what genre do you love to read, but you think you’d never actually write?
BROOKE: I love Regency period and erotica romances. But I’d never say "never", so maybe one day…
J.K.: What books are currently on your nightstand?
BROOKE: I have Stephanie Laurens’ “The Edge of Desire”, “All About Love” and “A Gentleman’s Honor” and Francois Neveux’s “A Brief History of the Normans”.
J.K.: Do you have a pesky day job?
BROOKE: Fortunately no. I have enough resources at this point to give all my attention to the business of writing.
J.K.: If you had to write yourself as a superhero, what kind of superhero would you be? What would you be named?
BROOKE: I think I would write myself as someone with paranormal abilities who is working to prevent the fall of civilization, fight crime, terrorists, etc. Name?? Um, Super Geek? The One? Jane?
J.K.: If you were a world ruler and you were given a choice of 3 laws to enact, what would they be?
BROOKE: I was going to say world peace but that sounds too Beauty Queen for me, so I’m going with:
1. Free, quality healthcare for everyone
2. Freedom from hunger for everyone
3. Freedom from abuse for everyone
J.K.: Sorry hon, but that still sounds pretty mushy to me. I probably would have gone with mandatory housecleaning lessons for every man, but maybe that's just me.
Okay, next question: you’re the heroine of your book, why do you fall in love with the hero?
BROOKE: I fall in love with the hero because he’s smart, honorable, honest, courageous, loving, compassionate, understanding, a go-getter, strong mentally, morally and physically and, naturally, great in bed.
J.K.: Naturally. :)
Brooke, thank you so much for being here, and before we go, let us know what’s next for you.
BROOKE: J.K., thanks so much for having me! I am working on the sequel to Pitch Dark, my third novel (paranormal romantic suspense) and working on promoting the first novel.
Brooke London was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and grew up in the hamlet of Sherwood Park, a suburb of Edmonton. She finished high school and then went on to university to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Ten days after her last exam at university, she took off for a three-month tour of Australia and New Zealand. A year-and-a-half later, after adding Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Britain to the itinerary, she returned to snowy Edmonton. Deciding that she wanted a change of location, she flipped a coin to decide whether to live in Vancouver, British Columbia or in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto won (or lost depending upon how one looks at it).
After working at stockbrokerages for three years, she went back to school to learn how to program computers. She worked for over a decade in Information Technology and is very happy to be writing full-time now.
Brooke has completed one romantic suspense novel, which is to be published by Cerridwen Press on March 19, 2009. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Toronto Romance Writers.
Alyssa Tiernan must protect her grandfather’s cutting-edge, environmentally friendly oil sands extraction technology—and his life. Forced into dealing with her grandfather’s chosen partner, Connor Donnelly, a wildcard business mogul and ex-CIA spy, she knows she can’t trust him.
Connor resents that she has the final say on his multi-million dollar partnership. When someone tries to kill them both, they are thrust together and their mutual attraction sparks hot enough to heat the sheets to searing intensity, despite their mutual distrust.
Together they race between his headquarters in Colorado and the oil sands of Alberta to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who are determined to stop them at any cost.
It will take their combined cunning and courage to survive the explosive and treacherous covert world of espionage, betrayal, terrorists and spies. But even if they do, can they survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/people/Brooke-London/1076014482
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/brookelondon
Cerridwen Press Website: http://www.cerridwenpress.com