Hi, everyone! I'm so excited to be able to share with you my interview with my Author of the Month choice for August--the fabulous Brittany Fichter. I've been enjoying her books for a few months now, and I'm delighted to have a chance to get to know her better--and to share with all of you!
Be sure to stick around after the interview to see how you can enter the giveaway for a beautiful Brittany Fichter novel!
Hi, Brittany! So, let’s start at the beginning. When did you start writing stories, and how did you first start publishing?
Brittany: I’ve written for…as long as I could write. I was definitely a 90’s child, so my first story journal was one of those pink Lisa Frank notebooks with the puppies eating ice cream, the kind you lose the key to and hope you didn’t actually lock it. (But you might have…because you hope your brothers don’t decide to be smart Alecs and “help” your story along.) I started publishing myself, however, when I was pregnant with my first child and realized that if I didn’t do it myself, it wasn’t getting done, not within the next few years. And working for myself has been such a gift of God that I’ve never looked back.
As a wife and mother, do you keep a routine to allow blocks of time for writing, or do you sneak in writing spurts where possible—or both?
Brittany: I write when my kids sleep…which isn’t nearly as much as I’d like these days! (Baby is teething.) Because of my son’s health problems this last year, however, I’ve had to really scrounge out every moment I can get. That often meant writing my manuscript on my phone with my thumbs. But I praise God every day that I have a job with flexibility. I’ve been able to take my manuscript with me to the ER to work on while the baby sleeps. When I ended up in the hospital myself, I was able to rearrange work as needed. And whenever life gets too hectic, I can remind myself that my children will never be this young again, and as a military wife, my husband can technically deploy at any time. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what I love when it’s best for me.
Do you find that your life experiences affect your story ideas? If so, can you give us an example?
Brittany: I have Tourettes, chronic anxiety, and OCD tendencies. Most people don’t know it, as I’m pretty good at managing my symptoms, but writing allows me to channel my anxiety. Because of that, a lot of my characters have “quirks” that were inspired by my tics and anxieties. Katy, my fairy in The Autumn Fairy, has power that tries to escape and destroy things. It travels through her fingers, and she often has to clench and unclench her hands to keep her power at bay. I took this from my experience with tics and how to move other parts of my body in order to cover them up.
Similarly, Isa, my Beauty character from Before Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, has a limp and is seen as the town outcast for it. It was easy to channel the way I felt broken because of my disorders as a teen and put them into her (in an exaggerated way, of course). I think it’s because of this reason that I have readers that have told me they can connect with my characters. We all know what it’s like to be broken. We all know what it’s like to hope someone will see past it to find the real us.
Do you ever base your characters (even partially) on people you know?
Brittany: I do, though only those who know me intimately would be able to spot them. For instance, I based Launce, Isa’s younger brother, on one of my younger brothers. He’s kind, smart, and loyal to a fault. King Everard was based on my other brother. It’s never an all-out character copy. Each character has his or her own personality and history. But using characters in my life makes it easier to pull in real dialogue, beats, and choices that seem authentic.
Why do you write fantasy in particular?
Brittany: As I said earlier, I’ve lived with anxiety my entire life. I latched on to fairy tales from the moment I first heard them read to me because there was always a happy ending. (Maybe not in some of the originals, but the ones my parents read…) The characters face trials, and they must overcome them and turn out stronger in the end. To me, magic is a picture. It’s a way to understand real life. My stories aren’t about the magic, but about what the right frame of heart can do with it. They’re about what can happen when we learn to grow the way God made us to.
Have certain authors inspired your work or given you jump-off ideas for your stories?
Brittany: When I was little, my grandfather gave me a set of fairy tales for children, the big kind with dozens of stories and colorful pictures in each. I always wanted to know more about the characters and why they made the choices they did. So when I discovered Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, my world got infinitely bigger. And then it multiplied again when I found Robin McKinley’s books. I also greatly enjoyed the Legends of the Guardian-King series by Karen Hancock. Every time I feel like my writing well is running dry, all I need to pick up another book, and the creative juices are off and running again…as soon as I finish the book.
Thank you for taking time for all these questions, Brittany! It was really fun to launch my new Author of the Month feature with you and your stories.
Reader friends, be sure to visit Brittany's website today. She's got some free stories available for those of you who'd like to sample her work. And now . . .
One lucky winner is going to get a paperback copy of The Autumn Fairy, book one in Brittany's new series. Isn't it pretty? It's a wonderful story too.
This giveaway is EXCLUSIVELY for my mailing list subscribers. If you are already a subscriber, be sure to check your inbox for a link so you can participate! If you're not, head over to THIS page and sign up today (you'll also get a free story from me!)
Be sure to leave a comment for Brittany. She was very kind to take time out of her busy schedule to feature on my website today. Let her know if you've enjoyed any of her books already (We authors always need to hear it!).