A few months ago I had the privilege of reviewing “Solitude of a Birdcage” by Brielle Skye. Since then, we have emailed back and forth, become Good Reads friends and was asked to join her pre-release blog tour! This is Brielle’s first novel and I am super excited to have the opportunity to help it grow! To see my review of “Solitude of a Birdcage,” click the linked title. In order to understand the rest of this post, here is a quick description of the book.
“Maxie Shannen and Savannah Trimmel are more than best friends. They’re sisters, bound by a tragic past and an unbreakable bond. When Isaac, Savannah’s boyfriend, falls victim to an act of violence that leaves him with no recollection of the prior eighteen months, both women tend to his recovery. For Savannah, it’s simply an attempt to care for the man she loves.
For Maxie, it’s a chance at redemption.
She tells Isaac nothing of the passionate secrets they’d been keeping from Savannah, nor of the unyielding feelings that nearly consumed them both.
But as the fragile wall obstructing Isaac’s memory begins to crack, hidden truths slip through the fissures, and Maxie will once again be faced with an impossible choice– her loyalty, or her heart.”
One of the most exciting things about this post was getting to interview Brielle! YAY! “A” is myself and “B” is Brielle. Funny how that worked out- Anna and Brielle “A” and “B.”
A-First of all I am so excited to have this opportunity to chat with you. I could read forever but I’m not a “writer” in the classical sense. When did you realize that writing was something you were good at and wanted to do?
B- I first want to thank you so much for having me! I’m so happy for the opportunity to drop by and chat! I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I think I must have decided I wanted to write when I learned how to read. I can’t remember ever not wanting to do it. There were phases along the way when I was really into other things, like drawing, and fashion design, but no matter what else I was into, I’ve always knew that one day I would be an author.
A- What steps did you take to make it happen? Education, workshops, networking etc
B- Practice! I never took writing classes, I didn’t finish college. But I devour books and I never stop exercising my creative muscle. I was also fortunate enough to land a job in the publishing industry, and that has afforded with so much knowledge and insight on the business side of things.
A- I’ve heard a number of times through my own education that authors write what they know. Where did the inspiration for “Solitude of a Birdcage” stem from?
B- This is such a hard one! I actually don’t remember where the idea originally came from. I actually finished the first draft of “Solitude” back in 2010. Since then, the story, the characters, the sub-plots, the conflicts, even the resolutions, have all changed about a million times. However, through all of those re-writes, I really got to know the characters so well—their lives, their flaws, their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses—that eventually the story began to play out on it’s own. It got to a point where the characters were making their own decisions. I was just narrating.
A- “Solitude of a Birdcage” was not the original title, “Forget-Me-Not” was. I’m actually a huge fan of both titles. I think they both work and have their own impact on the novel itself. How did “Solitude of a Birdcage” even become an option?
B- I actually never meant for the title to be “Forget Me Not.” I didn’t have a title for a long time, but I was still promoting the manuscript on my website and letting friends read it and things like that, so I needed to call it something. “Forget Me Not” just seemed fitting. Once it stuck, I considered just going with it, but once I looked at it from a business standpoint (if you search “Forget Me Not” on any book retailer, you’ll get about a million results of books with the same title) I decided I definitely needed to go with something a little more original, and catchy. “Solitude of a Birdcage” just came to me one day. I didn’t even have to consider it. As soon as it hit me, I knew it was right.
A- Maxie is an extremely endearing character. Do you find you have put bits of yourself into who she is and her little quirks, like dancing around the kitchen?
B- This is such a common question, especially from people who know me personally. The answer is both yes & no. Yes, because she was born from me. I feel that there may be a tiny bit of myself in all of the characters I write, be it something from my personality, from the way I look, the things I say, my hobbies, interests, beliefs, morals, etc. However, I’ll say no because if there are bits of me in Maxie, it isn’t intentional. I didn’t take anything from my life and consciously apply it to her. If there are similarities, it’s coincidental.
A- Did you intend to end the book in such an open, questions unanswered, cliff-hanger?
B- No! I actually struggled terribly with the end! Here’s the thing: “Solitude” had started out as just one book. One massive, wordy book. Eventually, I split it down the middle, so trying to end Part I in a way that left readers with a sense of finality, yet still wanting more was SUCH a challenge. However, I think I was able to find a good balance that will leave readers eager, not frustrated.
A- How has writing the second book “Like the Red Sky At Morning” been going? Is it going in the direction you expected it to when you first started thinking about writing Maxie, Van, Isaac and Gnar’s story?
B- Oh, my. I can actually go on forever about how writing “Red Sky” has been. As of right now, I have two (and a half) completed versions of it. After splitting the book in two, I worked a lot on the second book but just wasn’t satisfied with the finished product. I ended up re-working the entire plot TWICE. However, it’s definitely in a MUCH better place now and even though “Solitude” isn’t even out, I’m SO excited to release “Red Sky.”
A- In my original book review I threw a fit about having to wait until 2015 to read “Like the Red Sky At Morning.” Do you have an idea as to how far into 2015 readers might have to wait to find out what happens to Maxie, Van, Isaac and Gnar?
B- Definitely the beginning of 2015! Latest March, though I’m shooting for a January release. If everything goes without a hitch, you’ll have an ARC in your hands by the end of the year!
A- Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have any thing in particular you like to have with you? Tea, specific music, candles, outside etc…
B- I don’t have a specific place that I like to write, more like a particular environment. I love open, airy rooms. Big windows, sunlight. And a nice place to sit that allows me a dozen comfortable positions. No television, & classical or Radiohead as background music.
A- You are a New York native. How do you think the environment influenced your writing?
B- There’s inspiration at every turn in New York, especially New York City. From the different types of people you encounter every day to the odd, random things you see, to the city itself; the streets, the buildings, the beauty and the ugliness. When you combine your imagination with the infinite amount of material the city naturally provides, there pretty much aren’t any limits to what can realistically happen to a character living in New York.
A- Where has been your favorite place to travel?
B- Australia, hands down. I’m a mover. I don’t visit places, I relocate to them. Usually, around the 6-8 month mark, I’m over it, though, and come back home. While sometimes I miss the places I’d lived, I’ve never wanted to move back to any of them. Until Melbourne. I LOVE Melbourne.
A- Where is the next place you want to stop?
B- For a visit: Greece in August, Thailand in December. To live? England. Probably not any time soon, but eventually I’m going to try out England.
A- What is the best advice you have been given as a writer thus far?
B- Get the first draft out. Just get it out. Don’t go back and re-read previous chapters, don’t re-write, don’t change or fix anything, just get that first draft out. Before I actually started listening to these wise words, I spent more time re-writing chapters I’d already completed three times then actually finishing anything.
Thank you again, Anna, for having me! Hopefully I’ll be back soon enough to talk about “Red Sky!”
Brielle is obviously more than just a great author, she is one swell person as well! I am slightly biased, being that we have quite a few hobbies in common. LIKE: crocheting, traveling and reading. 🙂 She is also the founder of the New York City Writers Network, an organization dedicated to uniting the very people who share her passion for words.
If you are interested in learning more about Brielle check her out at one of the below social media sites. If you are as excited as I am to read “Red Sky” OR to read “Solitude of a Birdcage,” the information to make that happen is below as well! “Solitude of a Birdcage” is available NOW until September 13th for a pre-order special price! Don’t miss out!
PRE-ORDER LINKS: (Only .99 before release, 5.99 after September 13th)
Also available for request on Netgalley!
Enter to win your own copy by visiting @brunetteswithbrains on instagram OR commenting on this blog “I want my copy!” Winner will be drawn 10/15