Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Interview: Brandi Boddie, debut author!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a new author to all of you today! Brandi Boddi has been a blogging friend for about a year now, and I have been eagerly watching the development of her debut novel! She had just sold it to Charisma House around the time I discovered her blog, and I had the fun of seeing it acquire its title--The Preacher's Wife--and its beautiful cover. Have a look!

Can this small-town girl trade her tarnished past for a respectable life?

During the hot, windy summer of 1870 in the burgeoning prairie town of Assurance, Kansas, Marissa Pierce is fed up with her abusive boss. She longs to start a new life and is growing weary of convincing townsfolk that she is most certainly not a prostitute.

Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man.

Face with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe's family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her?

Here is a little about Brandi herself as well:

Brandi Boddie holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a BA in political science from Youngstown State University. Her love of writing and research has led her to work that includes case management for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington DC and teaching assignments for elementary and secondary students. When she is not working on a story, Brandi enjoys hiking, fencing, and swing dancing. Soon to be a Texas resident, she lives with her husband and a cocker spaniel who aspires to be a food critic. Visit Brandi’s blog at
  Brandi is on tour to introduce The Preacher's Wife to the reading world at large, so be certain to check the end of this post for more fun stops along the way! In the meanwhile, I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her and learning about her story in this fun interview.


Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Brandi: Well, like most writers, I consider myself to be an introvert because I replenish my energy through solitary activities like reading and arts and crafts. However, I am a complete nerd girl when it comes to hobbies. I enjoy swing dancing and at some point I plan to take up fencing again. I love attending Renaissance Faires and sci-fi conventions. Don’t even get me started on how much fun steampunk is, lol. As for beverage of choice, definitely coffee.
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?
Brandi: I remember making up stories featuring my favorite cartoon characters when I was child. Only back then, no one called it fanfiction. As I got older, I still made up stories, but I used my own characters. Writing has always been a source of joy and healing for me.
Tell us a little about your debut novel, The Preacher’s Wife. How long did you work on this story? How did the idea come to you?
Brandi: The Preacher’s Wife follows the journey of saloon girl Marissa Pierce as she breaks away from her abusive employer and draws the attention of Rowe Winford, the town’s new preacher. Even though Marissa seeks to reform herself, she faces ridicule and vicious rumors concerning her virtue. Rowe, being new to the small town of Assurance, Kansas, must decide what’s more important to him, pleasing those who hold his job at stake or defending the young woman for whom he is starting to have feelings.
I became inspired to write The Preacher’s Wife shortly after my husband and I moved to our first military duty station in Oklahoma in the beginning of our marriage. The windy prairie and the local culture was quite a change from the East Coast cities that I grew up in. To help myself adjust, I began writing a story about characters feeling out of place, but also learning to trust God. The story took me close to eight months to complete, counting edits.
Can you pick a favorite character from this story?
Brandi: Definitely Marissa. She’s resilient, determined, and just a wee bit sassy. J I also love her Comanche heritage. It makes me happy to see diversity celebrated in fiction.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Brandi: I draw inspiration from historical accounts of people’s lives. It’s amazing how, despite years of separation, the basic human emotions and motivations never change. When I need an inspirational renewal, I turn to my Bible and prayer. And the occasional video game.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Brandi: My favorite part is that initial flicker of creativity that occurs even before you know what your characters look like or what the plot is going to be.
My least favorite part is editing that first draft. I cringe whenever I see glaring plot inconsistencies or cheesy dialogue. Somewhere in my head, a Steve Urkel-like voice utters, “Did I write thaaat?”
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Brandi: I’d have to go with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes was my first literary crush. Doyle created a brilliant character possessing a razor wit and his share of troubling and complex emotions.
So what is next on your publishing horizons? Can we look forward to a sequel to The Preacher’s Wife? Or perhaps something completely new?
Brandi: A Windswept Promise, Book 2 in my Brides of Assurance series, is slated for release next year, followed by the tentatively-titled third book, The Freedom Trail. I also plan to release a steampunk novella sometime this winter. It takes place in an alternative historical setting, where Britain and France are rival empires that race to get their hands on all sorts of industrial curiosities.
 What are you actively writing right now?
Brandi: I’m currently editing A Windswept Promise and tightening up the second draft of the steampunk novella.
Can you share a short snippet from The Preacher’s Wife
Brandi: Sure! The following is a snippet from Rowe and Marissa’s first encounter:

Selection from

The Preacher's Wife

“That must be our new preacher.” Linda Walsh, the town’s young seamstress, walked up beside Marissa. Always eager for conversation, Linda would speak to anyone who stopped to listen, as Marissa had learned since coming back to Assurance a couple years ago. “We weren’t expecting him for
another two weeks. I wonder what made him take off from home so fast.”
            Marissa groaned at the thought of meeting another preacher. Every preacher she came across had turned her away once they discovered her profession.
            She watched the small schooner pull up to the local inn. She recognized the driver Dusty Sterling seated beside the other man. Dusty hopped down and tethered the horses. The man in black stepped onto the dusty curb. His recently polished boots gleamed.
            “Fancy one, he is,” Linda continued. “I hear he comes from a city somewhere in Virginia.”
            “Where did you hear that?”
            “It was in the paper a month ago. Our advertisement for a new preacher was answered from a man back East.”
            Marissa focused again on what was in front of her. The traveler indeed looked foreign to the prairie. Not a hint of travel dust stuck to his long, black frock coat and four-inhand necktie, probably changed into just before departing the train. His gray pants were new and expertly tailored. He
removed his hat briefly to wipe his brow, and Marissa saw the dark, wavy hair cropped close to his head.
            “He doesn’t have a wife or children with him. Such a shame.” Linda clucked her tongue. “He’s a handsome fellow, for certain.”
            Marissa agreed with her on that. He must have stood over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a powerful build. The man’s profile was strong and rigid, his square jaw and straight nose a true delight for the eyes. Assurance’s former preacher, Reverend Thomas, did not look like this. “Would having a wife and children make him a better preacher?”
            Linda tossed her a look. “That’s got nothing to do with it. One ought to be settled down at a certain age, wouldn’t you say so? Instead of running wild with the barmen?”
            Marissa absorbed the sting of emotional pain. Anything she said in response would not sway Linda or anyone else’s notion that she was just a beer-serving streetwalker. She put on a polite stoic face. “I’m sure the ladies of this town will clamor for his attention. Will you excuse me, Miss Linda? I
should be going.”
            She left the seamstress just as Dusty carried the new preacher’s valises inside the inn. The preacher moved to follow then stopped short, pausing for Marissa to walk past. Marissa saw his blue eyes widen and take in her entire form, from the feathered hat on her head to the dainty-heeled boots on her feet. By his expression she didn’t know whether he admired or disapproved.
            His lips settled into a firm line of what looked to be distaste, and she got her answer.
            The preacher hadn’t been there for an hour and already she drew out his scorn. Marissa returned the stare until her image of him blurred with beckoning tears.
            He jolted from his perusal. His low, straight brows flicked. “Good day to you, ma’am.” He amiably tipped his hat to her.
            She paused, not used to being addressed in that fashion. Kindness was in his greeting, not the sarcasm she normallyheard from others. Marissa tilted her head to get a clear look at him. His eyes were friendly, calm deep pools. The rest of his face, with its strong, angular lines, remained cordial.
            “Good day,” she replied, hoarse. Awkwardness seized her person. Marissa hastily continued on her way to the bank.
Thank you, Brandi, for sharing with us about your story! I hope all of you readers are now eager to pick up a copy of The Preacher's Wife and discover what adventures are in store for Marissa and Rowe. And I'm sure all of you are as intrigue as I am about this mysterious upcoming steampunk novella . . . .
Do enjoy following the rest Brandi Boddie's tour, dear readers, and be certain to congratulate her on her new release in the comments! And did you see that she's offering a sweet giveaway???

The Preacher's Wife

Blog Tour Schedule

October 2 Anne Elisabeth Stengl – Tales of Goldstone Wood
October 25 Just The Write Charisma" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...

This sounds exciting! I love the expression of the woman on the cover. She strikes me as very Marissa-like. :D

Sarah Pennington said...

Interesting. Not the kind of thing I usually read, but it still sounds interesting.

Jill Stengl said...

Lovely cover and excerpt!
Your allusion to Urkel made me laugh. I hear that same voice during rewrites! :-D And I certainly remember that out-of-place feeling as a young military wife.
Blessings to you on your author adventures!

Hannah said...

Congratulations! How exciting to debut your first novel! It's a lovely cover--the background is so rich. I like that your main character has Comanche heritage! :)

Brandi Boddie said...

Allison: Thank you! I love how my publisher's design team did such a great job with the cover. The model is exactly how I pictured Marissa.

Sarah: Thanks! I wanted to write a historical romance with a slightly gritty theme, so it's a bit different. And if you happen to read the novel, I hope you enjoy it :-)

Jill: Thank you! Yes, Steve Urkel was alive and well during the rewriting and editing stages, lol. And from one military wife to another, thank you for sacrificing for our country!

Hannah: Thanks! I love the red and gold background of the cover. And I also love diversity in the characters that I read about. Marissa's heritage is so rich. I loved writing her story.

Thank you for stopping by!

Brandi Boddie said...

And a BIG thanks to Anne for the blog feature. I loved the fun interview!

Meredith said...

Congratulations, Mrs. Boddie. The novel sounds very interesting. I love that the main character is trying to escape her past. The theme of ostracization is such a wonderful one to explore. Is there any possibility of your book being available in audio at some point? Who are some of your favorite historical fiction writers? I enjoy Francine Rivers Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion series and Liz Curtis Higgs Scottish books. Keep up the outstanding work. God bless.

Brandi Boddie said...

Meredith: Thank you for the compliments! The book may be on audio later on in the winter months, but I will confirm with the publisher to be sure. As for my favorite historical fiction writers, I enjoy Phillippa Gregory, Francine Rivers (especially the Mark of the Lion series), and Marylu Tyndall for her pirate romances.

Dom said...

That sounds so awesome! I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.