An interview with A.L. Brooks
1. Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
I do funky (i.e. very silly) dance moves at least ten times a day, and not with music. I don’t know why, maybe subconsciously to relieve some tension or stress?! My girlfriend finds them hilarious, so…
2. If we opened your browser history, what would we find?
Lots of sports websites, and probably a whole bunch of random stuff related to the research for my latest book (some of which might get me on some watchlists, I imagine, haha!).
3. What are your favourite pizza toppings?
Spinach, egg and black olive (e.g. what I know as a Fiorentina).
4. Sing in the rain or dance in the streets?
Dance in the streets – no one needs to hear me singing!
5. If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Michelle Obama, Dame Maggie Smith, and Megan Rapinoe. I think the conversation would be fascinating, hearing from strong women from three different fields (politics, acting, sport) where women have made such huge advances in the last few years.
6. What is your motto in life?
Never be afraid to ask for help.
1. How long have you been writing for and when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I actually started writing when I was about 13, and being bullied at school – it was great escapism. I always wanted to write from then on, but although I tried a few times, I hated what I was writing and lost motivation. Then, going through some rough times in 2014, I started again, and the result was my debut novel, The Club.
2. What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Plot usually, but occasionally I think of the type of person I’d like to write and then come up with a story that fits them.
3. When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
I make sure I have plenty of time to devote to it, to begin with, then make sure I’m not going to be interrupted. I write in silence anyway, but I really need my focus for those big scenes.
4. What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself/or a new writer?
Don’t worry if the first draft makes you hang your head in shame – walk away, take a breather, even for a few months, then go back. Some of what you’ve written might actually be crap, but in between all that, there are more than likely some word gems that you can build on.
5. What’s your next project?
It’s called Chasing Dreams, and will be out in October-ish next year. It’s an enemies-to-lovers, city woman/country woman mix set in Oregon, US.
ABOUT YOUR BOOKS:
1. Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
I started writing The Club in October 2015, when I was stuck at home with a nasty chest infection and bored out of mind with daytime TV. I’d recently rediscovered wlw fiction, having been a big fan when I first came out in the late eighties, and I was inspired to try writing my own stories. I originally planned one story, but as soon as I finished what would become the chapter featuring Max, I wanted to tell the story of Lou, the woman Max hooks up with at the club, and then it kind of snowballed and before I knew it, I’d written a novel-length piece. I had so much fun writing it – I had no expectations of it ever being published, I was just writing it for my own satisfaction, and that certainly made the process less stressful, haha! But when it was done, I wondered if it could be published, and went to an event where Ylva Publishing were present and were holding open pitch sessions for manuscripts. I showed them mine and a month later had a publishing contract!
2. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
That I could actually complete something! Having had all those stop/start writing attempts twenty years previously, I never thought I’d write a story of about 6000 words, never mind a whole book of 60,000. It was liberating – it literally seemed to open the floodgates, and here I am, having just published my tenth novel.
3. Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
You’re not supposed to have favourites, are you?! But I have to say, Tamsyn Harris from Write Your Own Script will always have a very soft spot in my heart. I loved writing her journey, of her facing up to her life and what she wanted from it. It felt good to write about someone being so brave, and being prepared to put everything on the line for the woman she loved.
4. Where can readers purchase your books?
All of my books are available as e-books direct from Ylva Publishing, but also available as e-books or paperbacks on Amazon, Smashwords, and other booksellers worldwide.