Interview

Interview with Brenda Grace de Jong

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have been a long-distance runner for many years, so that stops the noise in my head from taking over.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, and I think I may have it somewhere. I think I was in perhaps third grade and I remember I got an A. Then I did not write for many, many years, which I now find sad.
What is your writing process?
I much prefer to hand write my work and transfer it onto my laptop much later. I know it is very impractical, but it has a much different voice when it is written pen to paper. It eliminates the temptation to edit while writing, and I feel it is purer and more genuine when I do it that way.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Probably something by either Steinbeck or Hawthorne. I was drawn to their works. Also Poe for my teenage angst years.
How do you approach cover design?
I usually have an idea of what I want based on the story. I work with a wonderful artist who captures my thoughts and emotions, as well as a graphic artist who chooses the layout and puts it all together.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Illusions by Richard Bach for its wisdom.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I love the way he blends history and fiction.
Dutchman Historical Mystery Series by Mann Meyers for its historical view of NYC before it was New York.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the romance.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill because it is the scariest book I have ever read.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much anything; I don’t have a specific genre that I favor. It depends on what mood I am in when I select it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I just got a Kindle Paperwhite to be able to read in the daylight.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Public media and dropping copies in airports, hotels, etc.
Describe your desk
I actually wrote a short story on it entitled, “This Old Desk”. https://cherrycottagefi.com/category/short-fiction/
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Brooklyn in an old brownstone that had long, dark hallways and rooms that were odd. This setting got my imagination in gear and paved the way for me. Also, my mother predicted that I would become an author although I wanted to study law.
When did you first start writing?
I have always written, but it was not until about ten years ago that I became serious about it and began identifying as an author.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The back story to “My Name is Elpee” is complicated, but the story itself is a whimsical and deep journey to find one’s identity.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Time, or lack thereof. Like most indie authors, we often have day jobs and lives other than banging away at a keyboard. I simply could not bring myself to split myself even more and solicit publishing houses or literary agents with query letters and sample pieces.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Honestly, seeing my name in print after all those hours creating a story or a book.
What do your fans mean to you?
Honor and Validation. The fact that anyone would follow my work is truly an honor and validation that just maybe I got this writing thing going on.
What are you working on next?
Another novel, which is very different than the Trilogy. It is a story of two people who are completely opposite of each other and the love affair they begin and struggle to maintain.
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list without leaving out a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By scanning sites for what is new and exciting and upon recommendations.
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Author Interview with Brenda de Jong

One of my favorite author interviews is one with Brenda de Jong!

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself!

Profile pic

am Brenda Grace de Jong, and professionally, I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Services Leadership with a minor in Women’s Studies. I have worked with individuals from every population, and delight in encouraging and aiding women to fulfill their highest goals. Personally, I am an avid barefoot, tree-hugging, candle-lighting student of the Universe, who follows the phases of the moon and the turn of the seasons.

Tell us about your latest project or publication, including where readers can purchase it.

I am an author of both short and flash fiction published works, and I have just released a book entitled, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”. ‘Elpee’ is a darkish fantasy about a girl from a Brooklyn brownstone who escapes the neglect and abuse within it by creating a realm in which she experiences both fun and pain on her journey to wholeness. It is available on Amazon.

book

https://www.amazon.com/Name-Elpee-Brenda-Grace-Jong-ebook/dp/B07GK314VD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537198152&sr=8-1&keywords=brenda+de+jong

How did you become a writer?

When I was a young child, my mother foretold that I would write a book and her words have stayed with me throughout my life. I was a dreadful and delinquent student in grammar and high school and discovered that utilizing my writing skills could make the difference between a failing and a passing grade.

Tell us something people would be interested, but surprised to know about you.

Publically, I am seen as a highly educated, reasonably intelligent woman. People also perceive me to be privileged and ‘all together’ . . . It is partly an illusion. I have done community service, volunteered, and cleaned factories in the middle of the night, to pay my bills and put myself through college. Also, I possess a slim amount of common sense and often do not think things through before doing them. Although this has mostly served me well, there have been times it ended dreadfully. Here are a few examples of the latter: As a grown woman I have: accidentally driven my car into my house; fallen out of a tree; broke my back and was rendered incapable of walking; concocted a mixture of bleach, turpentine, and paint thinner in an enclosed shed resulting in a police boat ride off Fire Island. The list is endless. They all have back-stories, which made sense to me.

What was the high point or best part of your latest project?

The relief of, after almost a decade, publishing, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”, which finally freed me to pursue writing my next book!

What was the hardest part or the lowest point of your latest project?

Becoming emotionally ready to let go of the story contained within the book in order to publish it. 

What is the one you would like your readers to know and remember about you or your latest project if nothing else?

I am fortunate to have experienced a number of different lives in this go-around on the planet. In a more recent one, I left behind an extremely affluent existence, and all I knew, to construct (brick by brick) my authentic life. I stood, stripped of my identity, in a stark and humble place for several years before I could see my way to the other side.

It was through courage and grace that I am where I am today. As said by Elpee, “People will think you odd or insane, and perhaps you are, but weigh your options. Is it better to leave and be deemed crazy or to stay and be driven mad?”

What have you found has been the most successful marketing forum for your latest project?

I am still exploring those avenues, however, above all, I write because I must, and as an aside, I market.

What is your biggest hope for your latest project?

That those who read it will find value in the many hidden messages woven into it.

Please share your links where readers can learn more about you and your work!

http://cherrycottagefi.com/, FacebookLinkedInhttps://www.instagram.com/brendagracede/ and about.me

What advice would you give prospective authors?

Identify as an author. Write. Ignore the rules. Edit later.

What is the one thing or skill that has helped you be most successful as a writer?

Dropping out of Chemistry class in high school and taking typing instead.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I indulge in many and feel guilt about few.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

That people would push through their fear of change and uncover the world that exists on the other side of it.

What are YOU currently reading?

“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr (again).

Thanks for visiting with me today Brenda. Your story is inspiring and your advice to writers is insightful!!!