Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Interview: Brooke Cumberland

A Thousand Lives Reviews gives you our very first Author Interview!

This week's author is Brooke Cumberland, author of The Riverside Trilogy.

Taken by Brooke Cumberland

What made you want to be an author?

I wouldn't say anything in particular made me want to be an author, I've always enjoyed writing. Doing college papers were always my favorite - weird I know, but it was just something about putting my thoughts on paper that intrigued me. After reading several New Adult books over Christmas break last year, I decided to put my characters into a story. I found a website where people posted short stories for fun and started writing Kitchen Affairs in there. It had a great response, so I decided to finish the story and started looking into publishing. 

Who has inspired you the most?

An author that has inspired me is the wonderful and talented, Colleen Hoover. Just hearing her story, knowing a little about her background inspires me to keep going and that dreams can happen. My readers always inspire me. I never thought people would want to read my work, it still blows my mind. And my family - my husband, my children, and my dad (who calls me every day and asks how far I am into my next WIP). 

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

I remember writing short stories and song lyrics as young as 15. Perhaps sooner, but one of my first "loves" - more like lust, inspired me to write song lyrics. I used to have a small notebook with pages and pages of lyrics. And then I wrote a story and even printed it out. Ironically, I still have it and have yet to read through it - it's on my very long to-do list. I write from pure raw emotion - it gets the best words out of me. 

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

Honestly, I am so humble, it's weird hearing people call me an "author." I think what's changed the most is the amount of time I spend writing and networking with readers and bloggers. I absolutely love it! I was stunned when I was asked to be apart of a signing next year. It blows my mind, but I'm so honored and feel blessed to have the readers/bloggers/fans in my life during this journey!

What sparked the idea for The Riverside Trilogy? 

My husband and me met in a restaurant - that is where the main idea came from. He was my general manager and I was the cook. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and that is where Stella came from. Although Stella is older, I wanted my heroine character to have a child because I don't see it in many other romance/new adult books. I wanted to portray a love/connection where single parents can still find love and be accepted even as single parents. My husband has 2 kids and so I know firsthand what it's like to be a stepmom and how it feels to go into a relationship that has "baggage" or higher priorities. 

You studied psychology, counseling and education in college. How do you think this has helped you as an author? 

I think it's the main reason I am here writing today! I love writing - but with so much work in college, I didn't have time to write for pleasure. I have learned writing techniques, time management, and how to be thorough in my writing. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I think college and grad school have shaped me as the writer I feel I am today.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

Meeting you all!! The readers, bloggers, fans, everyone!! It's seriously the best part. I love meeting new people, but with my lifestyle in my real life, it's very hard to stay in contact with friends. We all have families and jobs that keep us busy, so I seriously feel like you are all family to me. I don't know them personally, but I feel so close to all of you. 

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Yes, I have 2 stand alone novels coming this year! Spark releases very soon - August 6 about a sexy firefighter, Eric, who meets Velaney as he's saving her from a burning apartment building. This is very different from the Riverside novels, and I'm enjoying finishing it up! Wonderstruck, comes out in October. It's also very different from the Riverside novels, but it deals with a lot of issues that makes or breaks a person. I'm excited to bring these 2 to my readers! And then of course, Kitchen Promises releases in December - the final book in the trilogy.

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

I have so much, where to begin... Well, first off, networking. Something I didn't do until very late in the game. I wrote Kitchen Affairs first then I created an author page. I was so naive and new that I didn't do things the way I am doing them now. But, this whole process is a learning experience, and I'm a fast learner, so I use those opportunities to learn and develop for my future projects. Also - you need to have a thick skin and I say this because you will be criticized - it's inevitable. What you say, what you write, what you post - is all public. I try to remain to myself about major issues because they are my opinions and I don't feel the need to share them with the world. If something is bothering me, I say it in the nicest way possible. 
Be prepared for piracy. It happens. Honestly, I don't even care anymore. I know it happens, it sucks, but I move on from it. If someone is that desperate to steal my work and give people free downloads, they truly are missing out on life. So I say, whatever. 
Write for YOU. No one else. Writing is artistic, full of expression. Don't worry if people will like it or hate it. 
Research. Yes, I said research. Research the best way for you to publish. There are many options. Research editors, cover designers, and other authors. Get in the "know." 
Be willing to support other authors - yes you are trying to become an author yourself, but it's not a one person game. Work together - be a team. I help anyone who asks - if I can that is. It's a scary and crazy journey becoming a self-published author, so direct others on how to get there. 
Have fun. The moment you stop enjoying being a writer, stop. Writing should be able expressing your creativity. If it becomes a chore, it no longer becomes a passion.

Thanks so much, Brooke for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow Brooke on one of her many outlets! You can also buy her books through the links below!

Kitchen Affairs: 

Kitchen Scandals:

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