Have you ever read a book and loved it? Did you ever wish you could speak to the author? I mean really speak to the author? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Well, I did!
In the summer, I met a new blogger. Her name was Brenda Youngerman. I knew nothing about her, except she seemed really nice, and she had a fun blog. One day she emailed me, and I learned that she had a book coming out. After speaking to her a little while, over email, I learned that it was her sixth book, and she was working on another one! I immediately read all of them and loved them!
Since then, Brenda and I have developed a friendship. I have been peppering her with questions for months, as I always dreamed about being an author too. She has always been so open and forthcoming. Since I know I am not the only one who would love to know more, and she allowed me the opportunity to interview her:
When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer and when / how did you decide it was time to actually do it?
I am not sure that becoming a writer was ever a conscious decision as much as something that actually just happened. I have been writing since high school – poetry and short stories and journals – LOTS of journals. I think in the back of mind I thought it would be funny if some day one of my kids found my journals and turned it into a book – tee hee hee hee.
Private Scars was your first published book. Did you write any books before then that weren’t published?
No. never. I was actually scared to death when I was writing and when Private Scars was finished – By the way that was the ONLY book that I have written that didn’t have a title BEFORE it was written – all the others have titles and then are written. ….. But – – no there are no books written and not published – all the Youngerman works are out there for the world to read.
Besides being an author, you have a full time job. How do you manage to write a novel while working full time?
Well…. I used to be REALLY good about coming home from work and writing for an hour or two a day and then writing for all day on Sunday. All that changed this year with Skewered Halo. For some reason I lost my drive – or my inside voice – I think it’s called writer’s block. I didn’t really worry about it too much except that I had made a promise to myself to have a book a year come out. But Disrupted Lives had come out SO far ahead of schedule that I knew I had some breathing room. Luckily the block went away and Skewered Halo is back on track and I am in synch again – at least an hour a day. The most hectic schedule comes in when editing comes around – it is normally 3-4 hours a day and I am never really satisfied. I discovered a long time ago that I could probably re-edit a book forever so just need to let it go!
What is your writing process like?
I get an idea and the book starts and then I write and outline. I normally have a character a character I start with. I usually have some major social issue I want to tackle. Somewhere about 25% through the book another character comes along who ends up taking OVER the whole story. I don’t plan it that way it is just the way every book has worked out! About half way through the characters have completely taken over my life and I no longer function as a human being! Two or three more social issues are tangled up in the process and by the end of the book the characters have woven all the story lines together. I usually like to have happy endings….but sometimes life doesn’t have happy endings — so neither will the books – that is what sequels are for.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Trying to be true to the characters and making sure that the readers will believe. I LOVE reading….so I am always conscious that someone will be reading what I write. One of my pet peeves as a reader is reading extra fluff — I can’t stand reading about the color of things that don’t make any difference to a story – so I don’t put it in my books. I will never forget “Show = don’t tell!” That is an editor’s favorite line – – – when you are reading a book you want to be immersed in a story – you want to feel like you are there — I want to put you there — that is not always an easy thing to do.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Are the characters based on people in your real life?
ha ha ha ha —- look around —- Life is full of stories all you have to do is watch! I have spent my entire life observing. And, NO, most of the characters are not based on people in my real life.
What advice would you give to someone considering writing a book for the first time?
The advice I give anyone considering writing a book is this — write from the heart – but don’t do it for money. I will never forget reading an interview from an author who said they never read a book in their life. That was not a book I had any intention of reading. I get my best ideas from other authors —- how to describe faces, places, situations…. everything! Once you start writing you see EVERYTHING differently.
You have written six books. Which is your favorite and why?
That’s like asking me which is my favorite child! Hidden Truths means a great deal to me… as I was doing interviews for it most people thought it was non-fiction. It made me feel great to know that I could weave a story that was so real people thought it was real! Sorrowed Souls introduced me to something I love and I still participate in every week – serving the poor. If it weren’t for my research for that book I wouldn’t have gotten there.
One of my favorite things about your books is the way you weave characters from previous novels into them. How do you determine who to “bring back”?
Oh — they’ll all be back eventually — it will just take time!
What did it feel like when you saw your first book in print?
It was the most surreal feeling you can ever experience.
I am so amazed that I have the opportunity to become friends with an author whose books I love. It is surreal for me. What does it feel like for you to know that your books have touched so many people? And what does it feel like discussing them with your audience?
Well first let me say that my friendship with you is probably one of the highlights of my work as an author! And discussing my works with my audience is why I write. I write Fiction with a Purpose so that the issues that I bring to light can be discussed. There are so many issues that go ‘under the carpet’ and unnoticed that if we can talk about them – even if it is in a novel and they can bring some help – to even one person – that is great. That is the whole reason I started writing in the first place. Private Scars was written to help women who found themselves in situations they might need assistance in getting out of – even if they didn’t necessarily know they needed help in the first place. From there the issues just sort of laid themselves out for me. I really don’t see much end in sight.
Click HERE for a listing and summary of all Brenda’s novels. I am sure you will love each and every one!