Intro: What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythological being, what or who would you be?
Brittney Mulliner, I write contemporary YA. Every story has romance, but the Begin Again Series has a mystery theme while Finding My Charming is more of a Fairytale Retelling.
If I could be any mythological being I’d want to be a witch, so I could attend Hogwarts. Another perk is Floo Powder. I could travel so much more if I had that!
How did you become interested in writing?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I devoured books growing up and through college I had a hard time finding books I wanted to read. I have a special place in my heart for YA and love reading stories of first loves and high school drama, but the books I was finding wasn’t what I wanted to read. I got sick of reading about teen pregnancies, underage drinking and partying, and drug use without consequences. I know that this all happens in high school, but I didn’t want to glamorize it like I was seeing. This was the catalyst for me wanting to write.
When did you become SERIOUS about writing?
I wrote Begin Again in two months and shared it with some friends and family. They were super supportive and encouraged me to publish it. It was the first book I’ve ever written and I fell in love with the process. I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Now I’m a bit addicted to writing. Finding the writing community helped so much. I found likeminded people who understood what I was going through. They didn’t give me weird looks when I said I had characters talking to me or characters changed my plot. They understood and encouraged the crazy. I was bitten by the writing bug and I’ve now written seven books, published three, and the other four are in various stages of editing and publishing.
What inspired your Begin Again series?
I had a dream! I actually get a lot of ideas from dreams I have. I’ve always had super vivid dreams that I remember, so if I like an idea I write it down when I wake up and find ways to work them into my writing. This dream was about being followed. I was with my best friends and could feel someone watching us, but every time I turned around the person disappeared. This was turned and twisted and stretched until I outlined Begin Again and the second book, Live Again.
What is your most recent book about? What are the characters like?
My most recent book, Live Again, is the second book in the series and picks up where Begin Again ended. It’s Aubrey’s journey through rediscovering herself after moving across the country and navigating through new friends and their expectations. She’s also dealing with a stalker who’s able to get close to her. Her friends and family try to protect her, but Aubrey has to fight for herself. There’s a lot of boy drama and fights with friends, but each character learns a lot. I love Aubrey because she doesn’t accept other people’s judgements at face value. She’s willing to give people multiple chances, even though she’s been hurt before.
Best behind the scenes story about working on your newest release?
There’s a scene in Live Again where Carter and Aubrey are attacked by a masked guy on the street. This was inspired by an event that happened in high school. I was with a group of friends playing a game with someone driving a car and they have to find everyone else, like a game of hide and seek with a car. I can’t remember what the game was called. A few of my friends were met with some guys that got kicked out of a party happening a few streets away and they pulled a knife of my friends. One of my friends was stabbed a few times and I used those injuries in my story. It was a crazy thing to happen in our neighborhood, but in the end everyone was fine. That event haunted me for a while and writing it really helped me let go of it.
Favorite quote from your own work?
I love this quote from Live Again:
“Aubrey, I was out of line that night. I never should have…”
“You regret it?”
“Yes and no. I regret kissing my best friend’s little sister, but I don’t regret kissing you.”
Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?
I’m a hybrid author. My publisher is Blue Tulip Publishing for my two YA series. I have a book coming out this month that I’m self-publishing and an adult Sports Romance series that will be released this summer. I like having my feet in both places. I can self-publish a lot faster, so that’s a plus side but I’m doing it all on my own. With my publisher I have a team to help me, but it takes longer to publish and I give up a percent of royalties. There are pros and cons for both sides, so I decided to diversify.
Name one book that changed the way you write.
Oh gosh. There are way too many books. I credit Harry Potter for my love of reading, so of course those books influenced me. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one book, but I can probably get down to one author that changed the way I write. Rachel Van Dyken’s books, especially the Seaside Series and Consequences Series, were hugely inspirational for me because of how much emotion I felt reading them. I ugly cried through parts of Seaside, and laughed until I cried with Consequences. I want people to have that much of a reaction when they read my books.
What would you say to a writer who is looking to turn their hobby into a more serious career?
Keep writing! An author friend told me when I was starting that she reached a level of “success” when she published five books. I keep that in mind when I get discouraged. A career in writing is a lifelong marathon, not a sprint. Some people think that they’ll have riches and fame with one book, and there might be .001% that have that happen, but it’s so rare. Plus, writers have more than one story in them. They write because they have characters and stories that MUST be told. So sit down and start writing. When you’ve finished book one start on book two. Building a backlist is more important (to me) that spending hundreds on marketing. You might be able to get 10,000 people to buy your book, but if you only have one or two or five the well will dry up. You need to feed your readers, so get those books written now and worry about marketing them later.
Do you have a writing routine? If so, can you tell us about it, and if not, why not?
I write when I can. I bring my laptop on road trips and write while my husband drives. I wrote three chapters while waiting for an oil change. I’ve been stuck in traffic and dictated a chapter on my phone. There are nights when I’m too tired to sit down with my laptop and write and just want to watch TV, so during commercials I’ll write a few hundred words on my phone. By the end of the night I’ve got an additional 1,000 words or so I can add to my current project. My favorite method is sprinting. I found out about this through a Facebook group. Spring is when you turn off all distractions (your phone and internet) and write as fast as you can for a set period of time. I don’t worry about finding the perfect word or fixing spelling errors, I just get everything out on the page. I average 700 words per 15 minute sprint, so that’s a quick way to get through a scene. There are even groups where you can set up sprints with other writers so you have someone holding you accountable. I also have a group that shares their daily goals and that’s a great way to hold yourself accountable, and support other writers.
What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
The world can be overwhelming, sad, discouraging, painful, tiring, and people need an escape. That’s why I write. I read to go somewhere else for a little while. I escape into the other worlds created by writers for a distraction. Even if it’s when I’m on the treadmill hating my life for thirty minutes, or lounging by the pool. Reading is the perfect way to take your mind off things. I want to give people an interesting place to go for a little while.
What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
Getting accepted by my publisher was a pretty great moment. I may or may not have sobbed in my car when I got the call. It was a huge dream come true.
What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
I cherish each message and email I get from readers. I’m honored that someone would buy my book, let alone write me to tell me what they think. So each time I hear from a fan it’s pretty surreal and makes me want to keep writing.
One fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I’m obsessed with sloths. I love them so much! Our local aquarium got some on my birthday last year, and you can bet I was there. One of my bucket list items is to hug a sloth. I would Kristen Bell-cry if that ever happened.
Thanks for the awesome interview, Brittney! Readers, don’t forget to check out her books and stay in touch using any of the following links:
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!