Monday, November 4, 2013

How Authors Write- Heather Fraser Brainerd

Today I welcome (back, in a way) fellow Muse author Heather Fraser Brainerd. Heather has been here before with her brother, David, but today she's here to talk about her individual writing process and share her new release with us (and a giveway to a lucky commentor)!

Welcome, Heather. Would you please tell us what you write?
I’ve dabbled in several genres, from Paranormal to SciFi to Chick Lit, even delving into YA and MG. Everything I write seems to involve some element of mystery. I guess this makes sense, since I love to read mysteries.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
It really depends on the piece. I write it down the way I hear it in my head. That only sounds a little crazy, right? [I totally get that- it's a writer thing for sure. The same way our characters 'talk' to us.]

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
It totally varies from story to story, but usually seems to start with a seed of “what if…”

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I absolutely love research, and work it in as needed — sometimes before I write one word, sometimes mid-manuscript.

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I enjoy coming up with names, and usually just go with the first one that pops into my head. They always seem to be more natural than a name I’ve agonized over. [I love it when the character's name just pops up naturally like that.]

Do you work with CP's or Beta's?
On my solo works, my brother Dave is my beta reader. He’s brutally honest, which I greatly appreciate. He’s my co-author on other books, so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well.

How does writing on your own differ from writing with Dave? Do you prefer one to the other?
Dave and I email our co-authored works back and forth to each other. One of us will work on it for however long they feel inspired, then pass it back to the other. While Dave is in possession of our co-written work-in-progress, I work on whatever solo piece I have going. I love the fact that I get to switch back and forth between co-writing and solo writing. It helps to keep things fresh and is a great antidote to writer’s block. [Oh! That sounds like a great way to avoid writer's block. Also sounds like it gives you some space to let things rest and look at your work with fresh eyes.]

You and Dave write adult paranormal. What made you decide to go with YA for your solo book?
Actually, Dream Shade (YA paranormal) is the first thing I ever wrote to completion. After I finished the first draft, I told Dave about it. I actually thought he might tease me about my newfound “hobby.” Instead, he was extremely encouraging, and even expressed the thought that writing might be a good creative outlet for himself. A year or two later, we started writing our first co-authored piece. That one turned out to be my first published work. After the success of publishing a co-written book, I found the courage to submit my solo effort. {Wow! That is awesome. And yay Dave! Way to support your sister!!]

What's your favorite thing about writing on your own?
I can write whenever inspiration strikes, without waiting for it to be my “turn.”

What do you miss about your team writing?
It is SO MUCH FUN to bounce ideas off a co-author! Dave and I have the best conversations when we call each other to discuss a work in progress.

Do you have more solo books planned and if so, what genre(s)?
I’ve already written two other solo novels — one SciFi and one Chick Lit — and a slew of short stories of various genres. Will they ever see the light of day? After many revisions, maybe!

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?

Dream Shade was just released on 10/25/13. It’s available through MuseItUp Publishing.

As if high school wasn't tough enough, sophomore Sarah Pasmore has one extra little problem: ghosts have started appearing to Sarah and they seem to want something from her. With help from her brainy best friend, as well as a few new friends (including the hottest guy in school), Sarah must solve the mystery of what the spirits want in order to put them back to rest. To complicate matters further, a more evil spirit will go to great lengths to make sure this doesn’t happen. As they investigate the past to unravel this supernatural mystery, the teens learn a lesson in the powers of friendship and love.

You can find me on:
Amazon Author Page:

Thanks for having me, Mary!

Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win the prize of your choice! If your name is randomly selected, you’ll get to choose either the YA paranormal mystery/romance Dream Shade, or one of the paranormal mysteries from the José Picada, P.I. Series: Deception Al Dente (book one) or The Sound of Sirens (book two).


  1. I love the brother-sister angle of working together. It's very sweet!

    1. It's incredibly fun to work with my brother. He lives 3 hours away, but we still make it work. Thanks for stopping by, Johanna!

    2. I know! Isn't that so cool?!? They make a great team!

    3. Thank you, Mary! And thanks for having me here today! :-)

    4. Anytime! I love having you (and Dave) here!

  2. Great interview, Heather and Mary! Interesting to have written both with a partner and solo. I wanted to co-write a book with a friend, but it never worked out. His schedule was too busy. What is the name of your chick-lit book?

    Best wishes on your book. Interesting questions, Mary!

    Susan Bernhardt
    The Ginseng Conspiracy coming 1/14

    1. Thanks Susan!

      I think it would be quite fun to write with a partner. Think of the twists and turns you could plot into there!

    2. Thanks for your comment, Susan! My Chick Lit novel is a WIP with a working title of "When Kai Was Sick." I wrote it for NaNoWriMo last year and it needs a LOT of work! :-)

  3. What a great post. I love the fact you are jumping genre's Heather. Was David one of your proof readers and if so, did he offer advice and or suggestions. Is your hubby a proof reader and did he put in his two cents worth?
    Heather G - Natasha's Dream
    The saga continues with Natasha's Diary

    1. Hey, Heather!

      Thanks for stopping by. And what great questions for Heather!!

    2. Hi Heather! You have some great questions. Dave was one of my beta readers for Dream Shade (I don't submit anything unless he's gone over it first!). He gives me great suggestions every time. My husband is literally too busy to read (the poor guy works almost non-stop, but at least he loves his job). I've actually read a couple of my books out loud to him while he works!

  4. Hi Heather, it must be great to have someone else to collaborate with, and yet still be able to pursue your own projects. The best of both worlds! Congratulations on your release

    1. Thanks, Helena! It truly is the best of both worlds. I learn so much from my brother.

    2. I think collaborating and brainstorming together must be so much fun!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    3. I am a great fan of any scifi. In fact I have encouraged my grandchildren to pursue their interests there. Keep writing. I love your work.

    4. How wonderful, Betty. I'm sure your grandchildren appreciate your support.

    5. Thanks for your support, Betty! :)


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