Monday, August 27, 2012

The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James : Interview




 
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else’s shoes?

Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.

A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters.

Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.
 
 

 


Anywhere But Here,  Moving On ,  Let Me,  Can't Get It Right,  Touch You At All,  Lucky One,  It's Not Always About You,  Jeremiah Johnson,  Live and Let Love
 
"Each song is featured as a Title Chapter in the book. The album starts off with Anywhere But Here, a rootsy story song in the vein of Janis Joplin's cover of Kris Kristofferson's Bobbie McGee, typifying our lead character, Harley LeBeau's desire to get out of the small town she grew up in. From there we move to a fun rowdy Alt-Country tune (Moving On) about life, both past and present and the constant movement forward as Harley sets out on her own. Let Me, a Mainstream Country/Crossover tune in the style of Colbie Callait shows Harley's softer side. The Pop inspired, Can't Get It Right, Harley's theme song, featuring catchy soaring melodies and lead guitar, with a great hook. Touch You At All, Alt-Country tune set to a waltz beat, takes you into the heart of Harley with it's intimate delivery of love, lust and desire. A rootsy Alt-Country anthem-esque tune, Lucky One, reminds listeners of the price of freedom, a homage to those who serve. Have you ever just wanted to tell someone, It's Not Always About You? That's what Harley does in track 7, a song with Mainstream Country appeal, in the style of Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood. Jeremiah Johnson (track 8) is the theme song to the soundtrack. Harley is found out by the one man she gave her heart to long ago, Miah. A gut-wrenching, mood setting guitar intro leads into the somber, Live and Let Love, a tribute to those loved and lost. A nice Pop-infused throwback to the 80's, Nothing More Natural, rounds out the album, leaving listeners with a feel good track, as Harley takes it home with the message that there's nothing more natural than an old lover."
 


 

Welcome Brooklyn!  Thanks for visiting.  It's so great to get this opportunity to find out more about you. So shall we begin? 
 
How did you start your writing career?
 
As with most writers, I've written all my life - short stories, poetry, songs. As a New Year's resolution to myself, I penned my first manuscript in the month of January 2010. I grew up in a dysfunctional family setting and had some excess baggage I wanted to get rid of. There's something euphoric about rewriting the script to your life. A reckoning, so to speak.
 
After I finished the manuscript, a friend told me I should submit it (as good friends do...lol). So I did, thinking it would end up in the slush pile. An editor took quite a shine to the story, helping me dig my way through the fluff. We published and released the book in November 2010 as a Women's Fiction /Mature YA about a young girl who overcomes an abusive childhood while coming of age. 
 
The Boots My Mother Gave Me was a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards that Spring of 2011. That was the turning point for me. After receiving that honor and seeing there was an audience for my writing, I thought, Maybe I really can write. We've been full speed ahead ever since. I am still amazed and grateful for the acceptance and readership I have gained over the past few years.

Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

I would have to agree with my readers by saying my favorite character from the book is Jeremiah (Miah) Johnson. Miah is Harley's (my lead female) childhood friend and true love. He is her sounding board, the one constant, good thing in her life, even though she often pushes against that feeling. It doesn't hurt that he is deliciously handsome, and always says the right thing at the most precise time! My readers often comment, I want a Miah! Essentially, he is a road-map to my idea of the perfect man, if there is such a thing. 

It's funny really; his character was loosely based on a guy from my gym. I saw this guy over the course of a year. I was undoubtedly attracted to the man, even though I did not know him from Adam. So I did what women do and made him into the man I wanted him to be, all within the confines of my mind, all the while using him as my muse for the Miah character. 

Until one day, 'Gym Boy' (that's how I would refer to him in friendly    conversation) actually introduced himself to me. My first thought was, 'No. No. No. Don't talk to me. You're going to ruin it!' You know, most men are not what we make them out to be. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. 'Gym boy' is now my main squeeze. My best girlfriend says I wrote him to me by disclosing my true heart in The Boots My Mother Gave Me. It's life imitating art, she says. I guess we'll see if I get the happy ending :) 

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

Total Pantser. I like to be organic in my writing process. I don't much care for confinement in general. I'm a true Sagittarius, in that I thrive on freedom and spontaneity. I like to start with a basic notion and let the story and the characters carry me through to an ending. I find it most thrilling to see how the story turns out, of its own accord. Is it different from what I had originally thought it would be? I love it when I surprise myself! 

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Funny you should ask that. The Boots My Mother Gave Me actually has its very own original music soundtrack, all songs written/co-written and  performed by yours truly.
 
I'm a singer/songwriter in Austin. We play acoustical around town a few nights a week. I have a few very minor songwriting credits in Nashville and Los Angeles. At the same time I was purging my manuscript, I was in studio with production of my first solo album. I started noticing song titles from the album matched some of those from the book. I guess it only makes sense as both projects came from the same vein of consciousness. So, we released them together. Even had a nice review: Brooklyn James' soundtrack to her novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me does more than give a clever feminist twist to the title. Her songs serve as chapters themselves, underlining James' deft ability as a storyteller and songwriter. -Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle.  

In general, I do not listen to music while writing, as I find I need complete silence to hear my voice. Maybe I should speak up...lol. However, I do find   great inspiration in music in general, and I definitely feel that bleeds into my writing. 
 
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
 
Fortunately, the book has given me a platform to talk with teens and adults (mainly women) about abuse and recovery. My experience being primarily with verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. My goal to let them know they are not alone, and that within each of us, there lies the innate ability to survive, triumph and overcome, breaking that cycle, having some power over our fate and the fate of generations to come. Nothing has to be just because that's the way it's always been. 
 
After a talk/conversation I had with a group of at risk teens, I received a letter from a young woman thanking me for sharing my story, letting me know it filled her with hope and encouragement to live her life differently than the dysfunctional one she was born and raised in. 

 I  keep that letter in my Bible as a reminder to pray for her and those like her. As much as she may have been inspired by me, I am forever inspired by the beautiful, talented, young people who welcome me into their world, if only for a guest appearance. I keep up with her. She is doing very well.

 
What book are you reading now?

Killing Floor by Lee Child, book #1 in the Jack Reacher series. I saw a movie trailer for the movie, Reacher, coming out this Winter. I believe it stars Tom Cruise. Anyhow, the movie is based on Lee Child's novels. I am excited about the movie as it features a 1970 Chevelle SS (I am a huge muscle car buff), the same make and model as the car on the cover of The Boots My Mother Gave Me. In my book, the car is a character Charlene the Chevelle. Charlene is Harley's freedom rider, transporting her from the small town she grew up in, into the world, and on her journey of self discovery.
 
Our tag line is, Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.  

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

Again, funny you should ask...lol. I just so happen to have such a series. It's the Vigilare trilogy. We've released Vigilare (book #1) and Vigilare: Hell Hound (book #2). We're working on the prequel currently, hoping for a Fall 2012 or Spring 2013 release. And then of course, we'll have the third and final installment in trilogy itself later next year. 

Vigilare is a thriller with a digestible paranormal spin anchored in a scientific discourse around blood rh-negative factor, to be exact. It's centered  around a male/female detective team in the town of Vanguard. Their current assignment to investigate the recent murders of convicted rapists and pedophiles, of which the Vigilare is most likely responsible. In book #1, we find out who the Vigilare is and why she exists. One Amazon review said, CSI meets Batman. Gotham has Batman. Vanguard has Vigilare! 

The series,much like the title, is a play on vigilantism. I love a thinking read. One that makes me question my own position on things, especially good versus evil, and how good can commit evil, even with the best of intentions.
 
The series was inspired by comic books I read as a kid, and movies such as Boondock Saints and The Punisher. It was actually adapted from a screenplay I wrote. Maybe that's why Gabino Iglesias of the Austin Post said, Vigilare reads like a good action movie. 

In book #2, Vigilare: Hell Hound, Vigilare comes face to face with her past in the form of the hellish one a play on Greek Mythology's most notorious hellhound, Cerberus. It's a dark read with twists and turns, and of course cliffhanger endings. 
 
Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

 I certainly do. I believe Wayne Dyer is credited with saying, How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. I love this saying. Thank goodness, most folks I run into are kind and uplifting. However, for the small percentage who are not, this quote is a good sounding board. Let go of the ego's want to respond in kind. Take a moment. Remember who you are, and react accordingly.  

Thank you so much for having me, Laurie! Really appreciate the opportunity to meet your readers. Light and love to all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. The Vigilare trilogy is an adaptation from a short narrative film, inspired by vigilante movies, such as The Punisher and Boondock Saints. She is currently working on the last novel in the series, as well as another book and music soundtrack combination. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author. Listen free at www.brooklyn-james.com  or www.facebook.com/BrooklynJamesSinger.
 
 
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Enter to win a Print or Digital copy of The Boots My Mother Gave Me.
Print book option is open to US shipping.
If winner is outside the US, then the prize will be a gifted Kindle copy of the book.
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Giveaway ends September 22nd 11:59 PM Central Time.
 
 
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