Whether you're a seasoned novelist, novice author, or somewhere in between, we can all use a little writing advice and inspiration to keep us on track!
Join Brandi Sumey and I in this segmet of the Author Blog Series as we dive into the writing experience. You'll get the opportunity to learn about her novel, Because of India, and discuss topics like NaNoWriMo and publishing.
Leave a comment on the blog and you'll enter for a chance to win a F R E E book!
Let us know which publishing routes you prefer, your experience with NaNo, or tell Sumey hello!
Let's Meet Our Author:
Brandi Sumey is a Pennsylvania-based author of YA Contemporary novels. She is a junior in college at a university in Southwestern PA, where she studies elementary education. She hopes to educate others on the art of writing and inspire the younger generation to love and appreciate the craft.
1. Your book, Because of India, has a beautiful title. What do you think makes a great title, and why did you choose the title for your book?
Thank you! Choosing the title for this novel was relatively easy, while other stories I’ve written have taken more thought. The entire story centers around the main character, Edalene Brooks, and how her best friend India changes her life in various ways.
I believe that titles are a bit like covers, in a sense. While we tend to judge books by their covers, I sometimes find myself judging books by their titles, too. This mainly happens after reading. I’ve read several books that could’ve had another title as a better fit, in my opinion.
As authors, I think we should choose our titles carefully and choose something that reflects the central theme of our stories. We can always choose to ask our early readers for help when brainstorming a title as well!
2. What challenges do you face as an author?
The biggest challenge that I’ve faced as an author thus far is self-doubt.
It’s easy to think of reasons why we are not the best person to write our stories instead of thinking of the reasons why we are. Self-doubt is the enemy of motivation.
There were several days that I gave into my doubts and chose not to write, all because I convinced myself that I wasn’t the right person for the job. But writing is such a beautiful and personal experience, something that we owe to our stories and our future readers. If someone else were to write a novel following your outline word for word, I promise that it would be very different from how you would write it.
When I’m faced with self-doubt, I do what it takes to write anyway.
3. We've all had it where we fall in love with a storyline and can't wait to start writing! Everything is beautiful and you think you just may win an award for your new masterpiece . . . and then you get to the half way point and it's just not the same. Can you still salvage it to not add to the pile of other tossed books in your garbage bin?
What would you do/what have you done when you get half way through a book and hate it?
Oh, this has happened to me more times than I can count! I have so many story ideas that I’ve tossed aside, whether it be a few chapters in or halfway through.
I recently went through something like this, actually! I wrote a few chapters of four different story ideas before settling on my current WIP. While I haven’t hated any of these story ideas, I’ve come to realize that if we’re going to put our time and effort into writing a novel, it needs to be something we love.
When I’ve reached this point with a story idea, I tell myself that maybe it’s just not the right time. In fact, I had a vision for Because of India all the way back in 2015, but didn’t finish a full draft until 2019. The story just wasn’t ready to be told, and that’s okay.
Write something that you are going to fall in love with and want to come back to time and time again. It’s okay to put something aside for a while, whether or not you come back to it again.
4. The writing community has a challenge for writers every year called NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month). It's an opportunity to finish a book in a single month. This has developed beautiful stories, but it isn't for everyone. Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why do or don't you?
It depends, year by year!
I’ve participated in NaNo for both drafting and revising. This past NaNo, I spent the month writing the third draft for Because of India. Personally, I love participating. I love knowing that I have that accountability and community for an entire month! But it’s entirely up to you whether or not NaNo is your jam.
If I were to find a new writer considering participating in NaNo, I would 100% tell them to give it a shot!
5. The unholy question for all writers: Self-publishing or Traditional publishing?
I’m striving for both.
My debut novel, Because of India, is self-published. I chose to self-publish this novel mainly because of the creative control. This story is so personal to me for several reasons, and I didn’t want much outside influence on the developmental aspects of the story itself. I want to give this publishing journey its best chance, so hopefully you choose to take part in it with me!
However, for my new WIP, I’ll be going for the traditional publishing route. It’s always been my dream to be traditionally published, but I love the flexibility that comes with publishing today. More and more writers are choosing to become hybrid authors and having the opportunity to make the decision for each story, individually.
My advice would be to weigh the pros and cons of each and decide what would be best for your novel!
6. What genre do you generally write in, and why?
The majority of my stories have been contemporary. Contemporary and realistic fiction is my comfort zone, but I believe it’s important to always challenge yourself.
My current WIP is a YA fantasy, a genre that I’ve never written in. I’ve also experimented with science fiction and thriller.
7. Do you have a favorite quote that you've written?
From Because of India:
“Go after whatever dream is igniting your soul and don’t stop until it’s yours.”
Learn About the Book:
Edalene Brooks has a desire to run from the past. After moving with her family from their small, urban apartment following the passing of her little sister in a car accident, she decides to take action. She packs a suitcase, makes a break for the nearest bus stop, and doesn’t look back. That is, until she hears the voice of her next-door neighbor, India, who challenges her to face her choice. Choosing to stay because of India, Edalene becomes aware of the way India fills the empty parts of her that her sister left behind. Despite experiencing the ups and downs of friendship as they grow up together, Edalene is content. But when tragedy strikes and India makes an abrupt exit from Edalene’s life, she finds herself repeating the same past she attempted to run from. Left to pick up the pieces, Edalene struggles with her newfound independence and following through with India’s last words to her: "Be brave, Eda.” In her darkest moments, Edalene uncovers secrets about India that she never knew, including secrets that may reveal India’s motives behind her death.
Discover the Author:
When she’s not writing, Sumey can be found reading, kayaking, or binge-watching Jane the Virgin or The Office. To learn more, check out the FAQ page on Brandi’s website.
Writing is a beautiful, yet intense craft. If you're nervous to take the leap and start, don't doubt yourself! Ask for support and guidance from your writing community, practice, and read books and articles like this.
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