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Creative Spotlight on Author Fern Brady
This post contains questions answered by the author that may or may not have been discussed in the live interview. Check out the replay above or in the YouTube video at the bottom.
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
I am a writer and publisher. Have been running Inklings Publishing for ten years, and this is our 10th anniversary year. I'm very excited about the two novels that are set in my world of Thyrein's Galactic Wall, which is out now, and the work I'm doing on the next installment of each series. I've had the privilege to work as a teacher for many years in public school and to work as a journalist as well. In fact, the world of my novels was born from the lessons I did with my students.
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
Love's Call is my most recent release. It is book one of the Dragon and His Kitten series. Basically, this is the story of Nichamir, who is a side character in the mainline series. He is going to make a huge decision at the end of Verena and Amiel's story, and it would be hard to really show why this choice is so important because he is a minor character there. So I decided to take a step back and show what has happened to him in the years before the opening book of United Vidden. By the time we see him in that series, his storyline will have culminated, and the choice he makes will be more meaningful for the reader since; hopefully, they will have read his story as well.
What inspires you?
Our world and the geopolitical and social issues we face inspire a great deal of my work. I love to explore beliefs and decisions that are taking place in our world through a made-up planet and an alliance of planets. I feel that the power of fiction, in general, and science fantasy, in particular, is that it allows us to explore the things that we struggle with as humans and as a society in our real life through a nonconfrontational fiction world. We can discuss things with less defensiveness when we are talking about the lizard people of the universe instead of the real people of our world.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
I actually have a full-time teaching job as well as running my own publishing company. So time management becomes crucial in order to ensure my own writing doesn't end up on a back burner forever. I have a very specific system for budgeting out time which I have shared in classes and on the RoadBroads blog I co-write. It allows me to carve out space for both my jobs, my family, and my friends, as well as keeping sacred the writing times that are needed to work my own stories and bring my books forth to fruition.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your creative process like?
I tend to be a discovery writer more than a plotter. I find that I often have a starting idea, and then in the process of writing it, the plot materializes. As I have moved into the second book of the series, I find myself doing more plotting ahead of time because there are elements that need to be woven in not just within the series itself but across the two as they move toward the culmination point. Yet, I still give myself space to find the story because often, characters have a way of taking things in a different direction which was unexpected. I hold my planning lightly in order to be able to shift as the story moves forward.
Do you have a self-care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
I have several things that I do to ensure I take care of myself as I juggle multiple jobs and my own writing goals. I have a time of prayer and reflection every day built-in, as well as my exercise routine. I also enjoy at least one or two spa days in which I do my own cleansing mask facials and spend time reading for pleasure and self-improvement. When life hits hard, I take time away, rent an Airbnb and step out to reflect and heal from hurts that accumulate. It's important to release unforgiveness and to stay in a positive frame of mind.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
My favorite creation thus far is the universe concept of Thyrein's Galactic Wall. The idea of 51 planets scattered across various galaxies that are intertwined through commerce and common interests is fun to play with. I enjoy the intricacies of the political power plays that happen across my universe and the very personal relationships that are affected by the larger moves. We, in our daily lives, experience the larger geopolitical shifts on a very personal level, and I love creating relationships that showcase how these moves play out for people, albeit made-up characters.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
My favorite character is Amiel ra Aulden. He is an intriguing male character to explore. He is not evil, but he is not good. He loves power, but he also loves Verena. The two are often at odds with each other because of his desire to hold power. He also has a very firm belief in his right to rule, that he was born to be who he is. This is a fun space to play with and develop.
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
The heart of my work revolves around the power of love to heal and to build. The darkness of hate and oppression and how it shows up in the world is another key element. At the end of the day, my books are about the darkness that wars with the light that is within each and every person and how even small choices feed one over the other in our daily lives.
Non-Fic: How much research was required on your topic of choice?
Even though my books are fiction, there is research involved. Because I work with science fiction, it is important that the technological aspects of the world I've created be believable and plausible in the future.
What does success look like to you, considering your creative passion?
Success is when someone reads my book and has a response to it. When they have thoughts about the characters -- whether they love them or hate them -- and about the situations. As an artist, I want my reader to bring themselves to the work and for it to impact them. I love when a reader mentions how something in the book made them think about something in our world or in their own lives.
What has been one of the biggest lessons you've learned since starting this journey?
I've learned that you can either write fast or you can write well. Even though it takes time to really develop a strong story and make sure the work is well written, it is worth it in the end. I often hear of authors that write a lot of books and get them published fast, but I feel my work needs time to simmer and really develop in order to have the lasting legacy I hope it will have for those who become fans of the universe I've crafted.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
I would encourage them to take their time to hone their skills and polish the work before rushing it out the door. I would encourage them to connect to writing communities and work with developmental editors and critique partners to work on the content so the quality of the story is as good as the quality of the mechanics. Many authors focus on copy editing to make sure typos and grammar and such are good, but they don't give the story the same time and effort, and I feel many books could be so much stronger if the author had taken a little more time with developing and deepening the content.
Where do you get your ideas for world-building?
My world was born in my classroom. As a 6th grade teacher, I taught Language Arts and Reading as well as Social Studies. To form connections, I would have my students create their own imaginary planet, and we would write stories about the people living there, the cultures that developed, and the social issues that would arise. Today, I look at our world and the issues we face and play with those in my work as well.
What genre do you prefer to read?
I love to read a variety of genres. I love to read mysteries and romance novels as well as Sci-Fi fantasy works. I love Dean Koontz work as well as other authors.
What hobbies do you have?
I enjoy playing table shuffleboard in a local league as well as oil painting, though have not done much in that arena since moving houses.
Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?
You can follow Fern Brady on Facebook and Instagram as well as on my website fernbrady.com or you can follow my publishing house at Inklingspublishing.com and on Facebook as well.
More about this author.
Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She holds multiple Masters degrees and several certifications. She began her professional life as a foreign correspondent, and taught for 15 years in Alief ISD. She has published numerous short stories, two children's picture books, and a couple of poems. Her debut novel, United Vidden, which is book one in her Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series, was given a glowing review by Dr. Who Online, the official site of the fandom. Also available for purchase is volume one of her graphic novel/novella hybrid project, New Beginning. She has returned to the leadership of the Houston Writers Guild, with whom she served as CEO for four years previously. She co-hosts on the popular podcast Author Talk. Besides being active in WIVLA (Women in the Visual and Literary Arts), she is also a member of Blood Over Texas, Romance Writers of America, and American Booksellers Association. Fern lives in Houston TX with her parents and her talkative husky, Arya. Follow Fern's writing at: www.fernbrady.com
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