Today we sit down with Texas author, Bokerah Brumley. Please enjoy this installment of 20 Questions as we learn about her work and her exciting releases planned for this year.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It’s so clichéd, I suppose, but when I was a child. I wrote a horrible poem for my mom. In my tweens, I wrote short stories and novellas, entered contests, and got my fill of how bad I really was. In my teens, I wrote scads and scads of angst-y poetry. In my twenties, I amused myself by writing enough letters that our budget had “postage/stamps” as a line item. I tried to make the letters as interesting as possible despite the fact that my life consisted of home-making and childbearing / baby raising. I’ve never let the dream sit idle for very long.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It depends on deadlines. I can put a thing off just as long as possible. If I know my story, I can bang out 50K in a couple weeks. I wrote a novella (25K) this last week and got it off to my editor because I procrastinated right up until my self-imposed turn-in date. I always imagine that I’ll organize my time better for the next one. From flash fiction to short story to novelette to novella, it hasn’t happened yet.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’ve found that my business writing – promos, emails, newspaper articles, guest blog posts – is better in the morning. My story writing flows better in the early afternoon on in to the evening. Optimally, I like to have wind-down time before bed.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I feel pent up, like the words won’t flow or I have writer’s block or am struggling with a plot hole, I jump on the trampoline with my five kids. They’re super creative, too, so sometimes I’ll discuss it with them. I write clean stories (no cursing or graphic sex). Even in adult works, I lean clean, so I can discuss everything with them. And they like helping me name planets or people or characters.
Q5) How are your books published?
I want to be a hybrid author (both self-published and traditionally published). I would like to have a series traditionally published and a series indie published. I am working toward that end. Right now, everything has been self-published, except for a few shorter works. I had a flash fiction picked up this week in Havok, a Splickety flash fiction magazine.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I am usually drawn to a character or the kind of story that I want to tell and then I build around that. After that, I’m not really sure, but I love to connect things and reference other classic works in my own.
If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you (or how many years ago was it)?
At 13, I wrote a novella about an emu as he grows up. His name was Pixley. I researched emus from top-to-bottom. I wrote it all down and then typed it into the computer. After that, I wrote a novella to self-publish in late 2015. I’ve written a short scifi novel and other novellas since then.
Q7) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Care for my peacocks. Our family moved into the country about eight months ago. We’re working toward sheep farming. Our latest acquisitions have been an Anatolian / Great Pyrenees puppy that we named Diamond and some chickens.
Q8) What is your favorite book?
At the Back of the North Wind and Wee Sir Gibbie of the Highlands by George MacDonald.
Q9) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
I don’t generally discuss it with them. It’s something I have to do. It makes broken places inside me stronger. I value their opinions a lot. I’m not sure what they think beyond being proud of me for trying. J
Q10) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
EVERY FIRST DRAFT STINKS. Without question. I’ve learned to embrace it. I’m not Charlaine Harris (Oh my goodness! I met her at the 2015 DFW Writer’s Conference. I love her!) or Stephen King. I’m pretty average. My first drafts are hideous.
Q11) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Final read-throughs. I hate going over the story that seventh or eighth time.
Q12) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve published one. I’ve written four in the last year (three novellas, one novel, and about ten short stories / novelettes). My favorite is my science fiction novel. I ❤ Science Fiction. One my strongest desires it to be published by Tor or Baen.
Q13) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Hire an editor. Or ply one with compliments and cookies. Learn what mistakes you always make and fix them when you launch revisions. Keep a check list. I stink at orienting the reader in scene changes. But I’ve learned that I stink at it, so I try to watch for it.
Q14) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
No, not prolific enough to get feedback yet. I hear I’ve got incredible descriptions sometimes, but I’m not well-known enough for much else.
Q15) What is your preferred reading audience?
Those that like clean speculative fiction. I like to write science fiction, fantasy, apocalyptic, and a bit of horror now and then.
Q16) What do you think makes a good story?
The characters in it. Stringing words and then sentences in a way that makes a reader think. Also, if I can get laughing and crying from a story until I feel like a wrung out washcloth, I’ll come back for more.
Q17) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A doctor. Then a writer. Then a wife/mom. Then a writer… writer… writer… herbalist… writer… I think you can figure out what stuck.
Q18) Where can we find your books?
Amazon. I have a few shorts, like Dogwood Sprocket and Circular Horizon, with collections or anthologies. I also have a novella out called, “Woe for a Faerie.” It’s an urban fantasy romance (Paranormal romance) in another anthology. It’s a bit like City of Angels Meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I write as Bokerah Brumley and B. Brumley.
Q19) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
From Woe for a Faerie
New York City
Unresponsive gargoyles sat on either side of me. The sunset blazed overhead, and the city stretched below my toes. I still preferred the openness of the rooftops, but for a different reason now. I never felt closed in up there.
From my perch on the parapet, I peered into the statues’ open mouths. Funnels for hundreds of years of prayers, the gargoyles used to whisper things I could hear, but now the teeth were fixed in the grotesque stone mouths. The tongues refused to move.
I’d traded a galaxy of knowledge, saturated with a spiritual fullness gleaned throughout a millennium, for the limited history of a struggle towards pinpricks of physical sensations and smallness. I’d relocated from the wide lens of the telescope to the narrow eyepiece.
A gust buffeted me on the concrete pedestal and turned my hair into a blindfold. Terror warred with the thrill until fear won. Unfamiliar instincts bent my knees, and I clutched at the roof edge, unable to see until I slid down from the elevated position.
The crunch of my boot soles in the gravel of the rooftop garden dissolved the fright, and, as it faded, an emptiness yawned in my stomach. I shifted from side to side and hoped the movement would ease the uncomfortable feeling. Paper crinkled underfoot.
The edge of the brown paper bag was caught beneath my boot. A tiny dirt devil stirred the gravel, and the yeasty perfume wafted upward. My hollow stomach growled.
Oh. This must be hunger.
When I opened the bag, the second whiff of the nuns’ skilled cooking made my mouth water.
I pulled a roll from the bag. Scored into equal quadrants, the whiteness of the cross on the bun burned my thoughts.
It would be delicious, even tainted with that mark, and I was famished. I broke each roll into four parts. No more offensive mark, only food to satisfy my hunger.
I ate as the sun set, and within the architectural silhouettes, lights flicked on one by one. The illuminated rectangles each added their own fluorescent hum to the cacophony of the urban nightlife.
When the sunset colors were nearly gone, I walked to the opposite side of the building to watch the night steal down the street and creep through the old cemetery and up the spires of Jason’s church.
Across the way, the pale moon ascended. It hung just above the horizon. More at home in the nighttime glow, my dinner wrappings carefully discarded in the trashcan inside the rooftop access door, I sank into a chair some gardener had left behind after tending the rows of soil in the nearby raised boxes.
Mortality was tedious without a purpose, and I had none. I used to know exactly what to do and when. Before, there was never any question about what came next. There was never any choice.
And then I made one.
And it changed everything that came next.
Retribution burned away my wings, took away my purpose, and only the mercy of a stranger spared me the ultimate consequence.
I used to know what came next. Now I had no idea.
Q20) Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where to find your books
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. When she’s not playing with the quirky characters in her head, she’s addicted to Twitter pitch events, writing contests, and social media, in general. With three urban fantasy novella releases scheduled for 2016, Bokerah has too much planned for this year, but is happily doing it anyway. She lives on ten acres with five home-educated children, four peacocks, three dogs, two cats, and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired Publicity Officer for the Cisco Writers Club.
Connect with Bokerah
Dogwood Sprocket for FREE in Seasons: A Multi-Genre Story Collection (Volume I) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0190O0IX0
Circular Horizon for FREE in Where the Light May Lead (Reflections of Faith Book 1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EGQAOMW
Woe for a Faerie in Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E1WO350