Welcome to the seventh post in my Author Spotlight series! Every month, I showcase an indie author and interview them to find out more about their writing life.
This month, the author in the spotlight is Brianne Wik! I met Brianne on Instagram, and we quickly connected over our love for stories. As soon as I knew Brianne was publishing her debut novel, I jumped on her ARC team so I could be one of the first people to read it! Her novel One Iridescent Night is a Cinderella retelling sparkling with magic and a heated love triangle. Bonus: it's the first in a series!
Bio: Discovered outside of a wardrobe when she was young, Brianne Wik was born in Narnia and raised by the Princesses in Disneyland before her house fell on a witch in North Carolina, where she got some awesome shoes and then settled down with her Rebel Prince Charming.
… you know the rest.
When not writing, Brianne can be found curled up on the couch reading all things fantasy and/or romance, watching Disney+ or Hallmark Movies, or snuggling her cat and husband.
Q: What made you want to be a writer?
A: Short and quick answer: Reading and my own imagination.
I’ve spent my whole life getting lost in new worlds with wonderful characters and swoony romances, both inside books and inside my own imagination. I wanted to become a writer so that I could do what I love to do every single day . . . make believe. <wink>
Q: How do you choose your characters’ names?
A: I base names off of what they mean. The meaning of a name holds extreme importance and value (whether we consciously know it or not), so I choose names that fit my characters and what I think sounds fun/cool.
Sometimes I swear the name chooses me.
To get more technical with this question, I spend a lot of time looking through lists of names and their meanings. (Baby name websites work great for this.) I also like to look through lists of names that are from different countries; this helps with the uniqueness factor (if necessary).
Q: Have any of your characters surprised you? If so, how?
A: I’m struggling to answer this question. Sometimes I feel excitement or delight by something my characters might do or say. But in general I usually feel really in tune with my characters and don’t often feel too surprised by their actions/decisions, even though I’m a “pantser” writer (for the most part).
Q: Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g., lighting a candle before you write, meditating before you write, going for a walk to get ideas)
A: I wish I had any kind of ritual to help me get into writing. Sometimes I will listen to my characters' songs before I jump into writing their scene. (Yes, all my characters have personalized playlists with songs that sound/feel like them, and I’ve spent WAY too much time creating these playlists.)
Q: How much research do you do, and how long do you spend on research for one book?
A: I spend a lot of time researching certain time period names for clothing items or what a bathroom was like back in the day. (ha!) Even though my world is fictitious, I like giving an idea of a familiar time period to help the reader envision the world a little better.
I really only research on an “as needed” basis. Since I play in the make-believe world of fantasy, it’s mostly random things I have to look up when I’m trying to write or explain something specific, but I’m not entirely sure how to describe it.
Q: Do you have any specific authors or books that you've learned from on your writing journey?
A: Every time I open a book and read it, I’m learning. So I read A LOT. But a technical writing book that I found extremely helpful was Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. Excellent book for romance writers, I highly recommend it.
Q: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
A: The two things I’ve changed in my writing process are spending far more time on my character development BEFORE I begin writing the book (I have HUGE multiple-page worksheets I fill in for each character), and mapping out my main story/romantic “beats.” I don’t respond favorably to outlines, but planning out the “beats” of my story makes perfect sense to me and has helped me immensely.
Q: What’s your number one tip for tackling imposter syndrome?
A: Well, I never thought I could ever be a writer. I’d been told in the past that I wasn’t very good (I mean, my grammar is atrocious), that I was bad at storytelling, and when I coupled that with the fact that I never went to school for writing . . . I’ve felt like a downright IMPOSTER attempting to become an author.
But my advice? Do it anyway. I call this concept my Brave Fear moment. Basically, when your fear pops up, telling you that you’re an imposter, that you’ll never be good enough or at “that” level . . . I tell my fear it’s time to be brave and do it anyway.
I would rather fail at something then never even try.
When you try, you can get better. There’s hope in trying (and failing).
If you never even try, then there’s nothing to get better at. There’s no hope in that scenario, because there’s no opportunity.
Q: What is your go-to snack and/or drink while writing?
A: I drink water and tea (herbal), all day, every day. And I love munching on some healthy trail mix (to keep my energy up) while writing. Other than that, I don’t really eat while I write. My fingers are usually moving too fast to get a chance anyway.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Book 2 of my 3-part series! I’m so excited.
Currently I’m moving into the revising stage as I just got back the development notes from my editor. This is the most action-packed book I’ve written yet, and it’s already been quite the challenge, but I’m really loving stretching my writer wings with this book.
The first book, One Iridescent Night, was my Cinderella Retelling. This second book, An Evanescent Shadow, is the continuation of her story . . . but you won’t recognize the classic Cinderella story in this tale. I’ve gone off the rails entirely and am diving deep into what happens AFTER our Cinderella character dances at the ball and meets the Prince. I’ve always felt there was a lot more that could be told, so I’m diving into it all.
If you'd like to follow Brianne on her writing journey or find out more about her stories, this is where you can find her:
Facebook: Brianne Wik's Whimsical Readers
Goodreads: Brianne Wik
Amazon: Brianne Wik
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