Saturday, March 9, 2013

Featured Author: Brandi Salazar

Brandi Salazar, author of the YA paranormal romance, Addicted to Magic, is here today. Brandi is a writer, a mother, a student and a blogger. How does she do it all?

About the book:

Addicted To Magic is the first book in a humor filled, witchy series.

Witt and Romance--Together they can overcome anything...

Jessica Warren comes from a long line of witches. At the age of eighteen her ability to wield magic will intensify and she will be welcomed into the fold with open arms. That is, until she she risks it all.

Magic isn't something to be taken lightly. With each spell cast the user suffers dangerous after effects that carry the potential of destroying their life. After her parent's divorce, Jessica begins abusing her powers, but she really doesn't think she's doing anything wrong--it's everyone else that has a problem.

When her best friend, Amber, informs her that she had a vision of Jessica's mother dying in a car accident, a victim of her own abuse of magic, Jessica is in a race against time to save her mother. Her life is only complicated further when a boy catches her attention and she has to not only save the day, but keep all of her secrets hidden.  

Book 2-- Crossfire-- Coming Summer 2013!

Brandi, you're a prolific writer--what do you like best about it?

I love creating new worlds and lives. I especially enjoy getting to know new people. (Yes, I am fully aware that they are not real.)

They're not? Dang. What’s your least favorite thing?

My least favorite thing is how long it takes to finish writing a book. I wish I could just pull out all the ideas in my head and have them be finished, but it’s a process. I guess that’s why it’s called a labor of love.

I suppose so. How did you come up with the title of your book?

Well, it wasn’t too difficult, actually. Jessica is a witch, and she is very clearly addicted to using her magic. It seemed fitting.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes. I am a wife and a mother, which, I have heard, is like having two full time jobs. Considering the amount of laundry I do in a day, I agree!

I agree too. And it's also the hardest job on the planet.

I am also a full time university student studying to become an editor.

And you write? Wow. Do you sleep? How did you create the plot for this book?

This is one of my earlier books, and my method had since changed, but with Addicted to Magic, I just opened a document with the intent to write...something, and the first chapter just came out. After that, it was fairly simple to shape a story around it.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?

I do a little of everything. Sometimes (okay, most times) I think of a conversation or a situation while doing something completely mundane, and I write it down. At that moment, I am writing by the seat of my pants and it is the characters that are driving me. From there, I can usually pour out a chapter or two, or more depending on the day. An outline usually follows as soon as the words stop flowing easily, which gets me over the hump.

Did you have any say in your cover art?

As an indie writer, I have complete say over every aspect of my books. I search out the kind of photo I want, and I create the cover myself. It’s an incredible process that I have learned so much from. I really love that I am able to channel my creativity beyond the pages of the book.

Have you ever bought any books just for the cover?
 

I have bought so many books based on the cover alone.

Did you enjoy them?

Sometimes they are a hit, sometimes a miss, but it’s always worth taking the risk. You never know what you will find!

Like a box of chocolates. Do you have imaginary friends? When do they talk to you? Do they tell you what to write or do you poke them with a Q-tip?

If by imaginary friend you mean something like Drop Dead Fred, no, I don’t have any. But, I guess you could consider my characters my imaginary friends. There are times that they drop in for a short visit, and sometimes they stay awhile. Once in a while they bring a few friends, and let me tell you, when they do, they can get pretty rowdy. Then there are those times when we have a falling out and they refuse to speak to me, so something bigger than a Q-tip is required to poke and prod them with, but eventually, they come around.

You're right. I meant your characters as imaginary friends. And while we're on the subject of characters, do you have a favorite one?
I’ll start by saying that I love all of my characters. They are all unique and charming in their own way, but if I had to choose, it would be Behr from A Warrior’s Betrayal. He’s the gentle giant of the group with a big heart and smart mouth. One day, I will give him his happy ending. Maybe.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?

No, never. I am virtually clueless at the start of a book. I know only the next line. Each character makes an appearance as it develops, so in a way, they decide what the story is going to be and where it is headed. I am just lucky enough to be along for the ride.

That's the best kind of ride. Are you like any of your characters?

All of my characters share bits and pieces of me.

How so?

Some of them are adventurous; others are shy, witty, demanding, and quick to anger, loving, supportive, funny, adoring, confident, and insecure. They run the full gamut, but they are all me in some way or another.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?
Goodness. None of them? They have so many issues. I don’t know that we could cohabitate for any length of time without doing each other bodily harm. Assuming that we did get stranded together, I would choose Godrick from Faerie Tales to be my island partner. He’s gorgeous and attentive and pretty close to perfect. Also, his clothes are riddled with all kinds of pins and chains and such. I’m pretty sure we could pull a MacGyver and live like kings while we waited to be rescued.

Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him. Or her?

J.R. Ward would definitely be my dream guest. Since I don’t have any doggen on hand, though, I would bake up a nice lasagna and a peach cobbler (I am assuming she likes peaches considering her many references to them.)

How do you handle criticism of your work?
I curl into a fetal position and cry for days. Thankfully, my readers have been blessedly kind, and I have only experienced this a couple times. In those instances, despite the initial sting, I have taken their words into serious consideration and made adjustments accordingly. I like to listen to my readers, and I like to give them what they want, within reason and where appropriate. I still write the way I want to write, but I have learned that sometimes readers see something that I might have overlooked. I look at them as a tool to help me improve as a writer.

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

My routine has changed over time and I adapt it according to what is happening in my life. Currently, I get up before the sun rises to write. I find I am better able to concentrate when I don’t have to think about all the other things I have yet to do that day.

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow?

I do a few things to help keep the words flowing. I talk to my husband, and he helps formulate ideas. I have a playlist that I add to almost constantly, but sometimes I end up just singing along, so that doesn’t always help as much as I wish it would. What I found works best is cleaning. The moment I pick up a broom, conversations begin. It’s like being at the horse races when the gun goes off.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read. It’s the perfect opportunity to not only escape into another reality, but to gather more ideas and learn more techniques.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Scotland. I think the mental picture that one word calls forth is explanation enough.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working to finish up That First Kiss, which is a book written under a pen name and should be out late spring. After that, I plan to get working on finishing up Crossfire, the second novel in the Addicted to Magic series.


Cool. Come back and tell us more when they're published. And thanks for being here. 

Brandi turned the tables and interviewed me on her blog. Go here if you'd like to read it.

Addicted to Magic excerpt

"What are you doing at this party? Last time I checked, you were still in high school. And what is this?” He snatched my cup from my hand, studied it, and took a sip. “You’re drinking alcohol, too?”

My eyes went wide with shock. “What? No! That’s not mine.”

“Not yours, huh?” he asked speculatively.

“Well, it’s mine, but I haven’t actually drank any,” I backpedaled. “This looks bad, I know, but I assure you, I have not been drinking tonight.” Lies, all lies, my brain shouted.

This was so bad. Not only had I not wanted to be here, but now I had been caught too. And if my parents ever found out they’d...they’d what? They’d do precisely nothing, except maybe throw me into another rehab.

“I have a hard time believing that,” Carmen said, placing both of our drinks on the mantle.

Knowing that I really had nothing to worry about besides soiling someone else’s own interpretation of me, which I could give a hoot about, I raised my chin in defiance.

“And I am having a hard time finding a reason for why I should be explaining myself to you. Have a good one, chico.”

Wait. Was that the right word? Oh well, couldn’t turn back now. Patting him on the arm, I turned and walked away.

“Jess,” Carmen said, keeping pace as I cut a swath through the crowd, and in the complete opposite direction as Amber. “Answer one question for me.”

I stopped and turned to face him. He stared down at me, then reached a hand out and touched my shoulder, lazily sliding his palm down my arm. I swallowed hard, feeling butterflies suddenly take flight in my stomach. What was happening here?

He watched his own movement and I felt his grip tighten. When his eyes lifted back to mine all I could see was a knowing, burning anger residing behind those brown orbs.

I tamped down the fear that tried to bubble up, and yanked my arm free, becoming a little angry myself. “What is it, Carmen. I don’t have all day,” I snapped.

He matched my glare. “If you’re here, then where is my sister?”

Crap.

My first thought was that he was too smart for his own good. My second, that me and Amber were practically joined at the hip. It could only be expected that he would come to that conclusion. I rested a little easier knowing this.

I shrugged. “Home? How am I supposed to know? I haven’t gotten around to attaching the GPS to her yet.” I strode through the house and out the back door, coming out at the pool again. Not exactly where I had intended, but I had to keep Carmen as far away from Amber as possible.

“Yeah, do I have stupid stamped on my forehead somewhere?”

I glanced at his forehead. “No, looks more like loser, but I forgot my glasses."



About the author:

Brandi resides in Ohio as a devoted wife and mother of three beautiful children. She has many passions in life, writing being one. Unlike a lot of writers, Brandi doesn't see this as a job, but as a passion, and it comes naturally to her. Throughout her life she has played with it, writing quirky poems and short stories bordering on the bizarre, which no doubt reflects her self-proclaimed "weird" personality, but only over the last three years has she really focused on finding her voice.

Writing is an outlet. It's what offers relief when she is overflowing with creative juices. It is what keeps her company on a quiet night. And, as all writer's can relate, it is what keeps her up far too late when she should be snuggled into her pillow.
As of now, Brandi has quite a few projects she is working on, all unique in their own way, but all with an element of fantasy. A perfectionist at heart, she constantly strives to make each work better than the last. Here's to hoping you enjoy her work because there is more to come.

Connect with Brandi:
Website / Blog /Facebook page / Goodreads / Twitter / Amazon 

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