Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Brandon Witt – Today I am excited to welcome Brandon to my Author Spotlight hotseat. I “met” Brandon early on via Facebook, and he is one of the three authors joining me in the Myths Untold project. Our first book in the series, Faery, is coming out this spring from Wilde City. Welcome, Brandon!
Thanks so much, Brandon, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Brandon Witt: As an ex-teacher, I so love this question! For me, it was my sophomore year in high school, and it is all thanks to Ms. Hungerford. I was a nearly straight A student, but, unlike a lot of my brilliant friends, it was never easy for me. I worked my ass off on homework, and had to come in a couple of times a week for math and science tutoring. (Up until the fifth grade, I couldn’t really read either, but that did a 180.) So, when I took Ms. Hungerford’s English class, with a huge emphasis on creative writing, I found a subject that not only was fun, but it was rather easy, at least compared to the torment of every other class. She always pointed out the things she loved about my writing. I’m sure it wasn’t wonderful, but I enjoyed it and she was sincerely kind. I started planning novels then. It would be another eleven years before I finished one.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
BW: Though urban fantasy is my first love (and I have a series out in that genre—Men of Myth), the majority of my books are contemporary gay romance. I classify my writing style as realistic. I get so bored with perfect characters. I want there to be some flaws, some struggles, some bad choices. I want them to be people you know. I want you to believe they are real so that the beauty and the pain and the joy is that much more powerful.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
BW: The Shattered Door, published in 2012. That’s a powerful novel for many people. Powerful in the way that, most of the time, you either LOVE that book or really, really HATE that book. I tell people it’s about 30-40% autobiographical, though I’ve not really shifted through it to really measure. But nearly all of it is inspired by true-life events. It’s based in the small, Ozark town in which I grew up. A huge theme of that novel is dealing with religion, family drama, and some abuse. (It’s not a light, fuzzy read). I was on my way home from the funeral of my favorite cousin, who was around 23 at the time, when I decided to write a book in his honor. I hope he would like it.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
BW: I’m a planner. And though I type the books on the computer, I plan on paper. Each book or series gets its own notebook. In those, you will find family trees, pages upon pages of character development, various outlines and event, constantly re-worked and re-ordered, and a ton of questions. For some reason, most of my stories come from questions about the characters and/or situations. The answers to those questions pretty much dictate the story. While I am planner, my favorite part happens when the characters take over and switch some stuff in the middle of my writing process. That’s the most fun. And because I feel like I know my characters so very well by the time I sit down to write, I trust where they lead me once we get going.
Though I’m now a Colorado boy I still have that mid-west work ethic. I have set hours that I write and a routine that goes along with all of it. I treat it like a job. The best job in the world.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
BW: That is really hard, honestly. If you follow me at all on Facebook, you probably know that I have no secrets. I post EVERYTHING. To the point that if you have followed me on Facebook, you’ve probably since blocked me. How many pictures of dogs, food, and books do you really need?
Hmmm, all I can come up with is a dumb trivia fact, so here it is. I’ve never smoked a cigarette or joint in my entire life. However, I did have half a pot cookie once. I’ll never do that again.
JSC: Do you write more on the romance side, or the speculative fiction side? Or both? And why?
BW: I will have to say both, since I have urban fantasy books and romance novels. However, my romances are more simply gay fiction with some romance in them. They aren’t heavy in erotica or steam. My urban fantasy has a lot sex though—most of it wouldn’t be qualified as romantic, however, just dirty. 😉
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
BW: After losing both of my corgis, Dunkyn and Dolan in the past year, I recently adopted a new little guy. His name is Alastair, and he is so stinking sweet. Still scared of EVERYTHING, but the most loving little man ever.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
BW: I guess I answered that in the writing process question. Sorry. Plotter. For sure!
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
BW: Cheeseburger day. Everyone has to eat cheeseburgers all day long. Sounds perfect. Or homemade tortilla day. It’s a toss-up which one I’d like more. Okay, scrap that.
Cheeseburger and Homemade Tortilla Month.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
BW: Oh, goodness!
Well, on March 21, Under a Sky of Ash arrives into the world. I’ve yet to figure out how to explain this book without giving away the entire book. I’ll say this, it’s one of the things I’m most proud of. And it was one of the easiest books to write. Most of the time when I’m writing, I just keep thinking, ‘this is shit!’ the entire time (its exhausting in my brain.) However, with this novel, it flowed like water and the entire time I kept thinking, ‘this is brilliant!’ I’m praying that isn’t the kiss of death! LOL
In June or July, you will see Son of Money. It’s about a man from an extremely wealthy family who rejects the fortunate for the sake of freedom. However, he also gets into some forms of sex work (partly for the money, but also because he likes sex). The book is my exploration of slut shaming and power of our family, even when we THINK we are free.
I’m currently writing the first installment of my new series Rocky Mountain Boys. It will be five books featuring five different couples in Estes Park, Colorado. (If you’ve read my Christmas story, Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce, you’ve already met some of the characters.) That will be out around October.
Thank you so very much for letting me spend some time with you. I greatly appreciate it! I would love to hear from any of you with any questions or comments you might have. Or if you need my address to send me cheeseburgers and homemade tortillas!
And now for Brandon’s new book: The Imperfection of Swans:
Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.
Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.
With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.
Dreamspinner: Click Here
Amazon: Click Here
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….
Visit Brandon’s webpage: http://www.brandonwitt.com/
Visit him on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brandon.witt.author/
Enjoy episodes of The Witty Hour: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO5cFqYKyNyDCxExAonFPRA/videos?view_as=public