Pen Friends ~ Get ready for a long string of author interviews this month! We just love learning from other authors and hearing their stories from dreams to publication. We hope you do too!
Today’s interview is fantasy and fairytale-inspired author, Brittany Fichter! If you love fairytale spin-offs and heart throbbing arcs and characters, you have a list of books to choose from–See below for Brittany’s book pics!
SP: Hi Brittany! Thanks for joining us. First, please tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you have been writing?
BF: Thank you so much for having me on! I’m an Air Force wife and stay-at-home mommy to a pre-schooler fairy and a little prince who is nearly one. When I’m not writing, you can find me stalking my kids with my new camera and baking cakes. As far as writing goes, I’ve been writing my entire life (though how much of that writing was “good” is debatable). My first story journal was a Lisa Frank journal, one of those bright pink ones with the puppy goes eating ice cream, and a lock that eventually lost its key.
Prolific is one word to describe you! We’re amazed at how many beautiful books you have written. How did these series come about? Will you always stick to fairytales?
BF: You’re sweet! I feel like my writing moves at a snail’s pace right now compared to some of my author friends who put a book out every other month. The last three years, though, have been a blessing, and I’m reminded to just keep moving forward (Yes, that is borrowed from Meet the Robinsons, one of my favorite moives of all time.)
In truth, fairy tales have always been my vice. I live with chronic anxiety, so I learned as a small girl that fairy tales were a good way to immerse myself in a place where the good guys always win. But the more I read the original fairy tales the more questions I had that were unanswered. What was it about Cinderella that the prince truly fell in love with? How did Belle really begin to see past the beast’s horrid ways? Why on earth would a king force his daughter to sleep with a talking frog? Answering these questions eventually became something I could no longer resist.
I plan to write in my fairy tale series, The Classical Kingdoms Collection, for a long time, though recently, I’ve begun to branch out. My Autumn Fairy Trilogy is an original fairy tale, but it technically is a “fairy” tale, keeping to a similar structure as those from Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Clara’s Soldier: A Retelling of The Nutcracker, is a novella I’m putting out next month, and it’s historical fantasy. Basically, I plan to continue writing happily ever afters, which means following where the “magic” takes me. Folklore, Legends, and tall tales are possibly in the future as well.
SP: You are self-published, and we commend you! That is like 10 jobs all in one! Can you tell us a bit about your journey? What is one of the hardest things about self-publishing and what are some of the rewards?
Indedendent publishing is hard! What convinced me to try it, however, was the reason I’m still doing it today. My daughter was on the way, and I knew that if I waited to query agents, I would never get the book published. At least, not before she was three or four. So I decided, “Why not? I’ve got five months. What could it hurt to try?” I had Before Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, out the week before she was born. It was full of typos, had a horrid cover, and it has since been revamped and rewritten to a point, but it was there. And I’m so grateful for independent publishing ever since.
The most difficult part of running my own business is “momming” at the same time. I was actually given this interview last year the day my son was born. His first year of life has been somewhat difficult, due to numerous health issues. A lot of nights at the ER, specialist consultations, and sleep issues. It’s hard to write, improve your craft, improve your marketing, and actually market when you’ve got small children demanding your attention every second that they’re awake (especially when they don’t sleep well), not to mention all the stress of children that seem sick constantly.
But therein lies the blessing as well. Because my children are small and need lots of attention, mine and the local medical staff’s, I have the flexibility to do what I need to take care of them. I can push back deadlines, work while they play on the floor, and if I need, take a break. It can feel like a burden, but in the end, it’s a blessing, and I’m so grateful God has given me this opportunity.
SP: You are a mom and just had a second baby! Congrats! We know many mom and dad writers here within the SP community, can you give us your tips on balancing children and writing?
BF: I love my babies, and the thought of letting someone else experience their first steps and teach them life lessons breaks my heart. I know a lot of women have to do it, and I don’t judge them for that at all, but self-publishing allows me to make money while being a mom at home, and that rocks my world.
Most of my writing happens at night and during naptime. When the babies are really little, I’ve written a large portion of my novels in the rocking chair while nursing. I’m constantly thinking of my next storyline so I can jot it down and not forget it. And while it may seem slow at first, all that “thinking” about my stories means they’re ready to write as soon as I get the time.
I’m really working on balance this year, though. It’s easy to get caught up in the work and to try to do it all day, and I have to remember to make sure my kids get attention and my body gets the attention it needs as well. To be honest, I’m still struggling a lot with getting sleep (The baby still wakes up a lot.), as my creative juices flow best at night. But with prayer and the constant reminder that these days will be gone in the blink of an eye, I’m beginning to find a happier medium. So if you’re a mom out there who wants to write AND spend time with her babies, do both, but make sure your babies and your body are taken care of before you write. These days of no sleep and constant “Mommy, pretend you’re Captain Barnacle!” won’t be here forever. And dozing off at the keyboard won’t do anyone good. (Believe me…I know!)
SP: Writing Tip: If you could give one piece of writing advice to our readers and writers about character, or plot, or voice, what would it be?
BF: Improve your craft. No matter how many books you write, you can always improve your craft. I see so many obviously self-published books that violate the basic elements of storytelling and could have been easily fixed. My first book was poorly proofread and had a bad cover, but it did sell more than the average that new authors sell. First, by God’s grace, people found the page enough to even try it. Second, not because I was a genius, but because I’d read enough about craft that I knew how to avoid the major pitfalls.
Some books that I highly recommend are The Storygrid by Shawn Coyne, How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them-A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King, and The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing by C.S. Lakin
In all of your books, is there one character that you love most?
BF: Elaina, from Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers: A Retelling of Cinderella. She’s me, but way cooler. Haha, basically I made her everything I wish I was. She’s got my nervous tic of putting her fingers to her mouth when she’s stressed, and she tries to do way too much on her own. Unlike me, she always has the perfect sarcastic retort.
SP: Thanks again for being on the SP!!!
SP: You can we learn more about Brittany’s books here:
(Not all books included below– to see her full list, please visit her site!)
Nova, Signing off