Part One (Part Two will run on Wednesday)
All my life? I remember when I was little, I was writing stories on a DOS computer and saving my files on floppy disks. Before that, I hand-wrote. I still have a collection of poems I’ve written over the years. So it’s just always been something I did – writing is as much a part of me as my legs are, I think.
When did you get to the point that you called yourself a writer out loud?
Fifth grade, if not earlier. I was ten years old, and I bet a boy in my class that I’d be a rich and famous author by the end of summer, and wouldn’t he feel stupid when sixth grade started and I was a star? It’s a bittersweet memory now … we fell out of touch after middle school, so he never knew that I finally did become a published author. Much later than agreed upon, but his name was on my mind when I clicked “publish” for the first time. He got in with a bad crowd in high school, and I saw his obituary in the paper a few years ago. I still remember the shock of seeing his name.
What does a successful writing career mean to you?
Success? Between that and raising my kids, it would mean I’ve achieved everything I ever wanted in my life. I remember being in middle school, and I was the kid who actually liked getting grounded to my room, because it meant I’d be left alone to read. I remember running my fingers over the embossed book covers in my prized collection of books, wondering what it would be like to see my name on a cover. But success is a relative thing – I now know exactly how it feels to see my name on a cover. And I may not be a rich and famous household name, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished.
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Do you have a writing routine?
Not really. I’d like to, but I live in a small house with two kids, their dad, and our family dog. It’s a busy place. So my usual routine is just to write as much as possible, whenever and wherever possible. Someday, I will have a routine. I will have a “writer’s cave.” And I will write in it. But right now, my life isn’t in that place, and I’m okay with that.
How do you keep track of your information/background about your characters and their world (3 ring binder, Scrivner, bulletin board/pictures, file folders)?
I keep Word files, spreadsheets. Whatever fits the project I’m working on. I suppose when I have a dedicated office of my own, it’d be nice to have a corkboard I could pin notes to, so that I could have everything right in front of me at a glance. For now, I try to keep everything mobile, digital, and easy to access from anywhere.
The Kingsley Series:
Do you give yourself word count, chapter, or page goals for your projects?
No. I did for a long time though, as a new author. I joined all the websites you “had” to be on, and set all the goals you “had” to set. I did all the things you “have” to do. And then I went two years without writing, because it became a chore – just another thing to check off an arbitrary list. Facebook post, check. Twitter post, check. Blog post, check. Write a chapter, check. And when I didn’t do it one day, I felt so guilty that it became harder to do the next day. Eventually, I just had to be okay with throwing out all the “have-to’s” and just letting myself write for the love of it again. Some people need to have their word counts and to-do lists. Some people work best under deadlines. Me? I write best when I’m writing because my soul needs to, not because my spreadsheet told me that in order to meet x deadline, I need to write y amount of words.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get over it?
As mentioned above, I do get writer’s block, usually when I’ve stifled my creative side with too many rules and regulations. To be clear, I don’t shuck the rules of proper grammar (usually), and I make sure my product is a professional one that I’m proud to stand behind. But what I mean is this: when I catch myself feeling guilty because I don’t have multiple spreadsheets for each novel, when I catch myself feeling like I’m doing everything “wrong” because I don’t fill out pretend character questionnaires before I write. It’s too stifling. For me, writing has to be an organic creative process, or it just doesn’t work.
About the Author
Brandi Kennedy is an American writer who is finally living her childhood career dream. As a child, books were her world, and through adulthood the love of words has never changed. A woman of varied interests, Brandi loves photography, music of all kinds, knitting, crochet and of course, mothering her two young daughters.
Currently, she finds her home in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, among the mountains and the members of her extended family, where she spends her days at the computer, bringing fresh and incredibly real characters to life.
To find notes, news, and a list of Brandi’s social media presences, please explore: http://authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com/, where you can also sign up to receive updates by email.