Brenda B Dawson: Many published
Meeting the Rising Writer No. 37
Brenda Brouillette Dawson, who is known as Brenda B Dawson in her writing, was born in Mississippi and now lives in Oklahoma. Her writing roots are deep; she started writing her first novel after a book inspired her at age ten. Brenda writes to inspire and to be inspired, and today, she’s shared some of that with everyone.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m retired from retail management, so I do as little as possible. I read, play duplicate Bridge, and shop in that order.
When did you start writing?
After reading Gone with the Wind at age ten, I wrote my first novel, Blue Skies, Gray Shadows. It wasn’t a big seller, but my friend’s mom liked it. She was my only fan.
What was that about? How was the experience?
A Season of Magenta was my first novel. I loved writing it because of the depth of their characters. When the book was finished, I felt empty, as though I’d said farewell to good friends.
What are you currently working on? How did you begin working on it?
My current WIP is called Leotie, Flower of the Prairie.
I’m not a form writer, but sometimes I think it would be easier if I was. My characters write their own stories and don’t like me interfering. I have learned to let them go, and they won’t let me down. When I stick my nose in their stories, I wind up with writer’s block.
What inspires your writing?
I have amazing, vivid dreams. That’s why I can’t write mysteries. I tried that and nearly scared myself to death. Ugly.
What’s your favorite genre to write?
Women’s general fiction. I like to write about good people overcoming crappy situations that were thrust on them through no fault of their own.
Have you written other genres just to try?
I have written two children’s books: Monster in the Goldfish Bowl and Perfectly Imperfect Prancy. I wrote Monster when my children were little to teach them diversity in people and acceptance of others who appeared to be different from us. I wrote Prancy to support animal adoption, and I usually give our local SPCA the proceeds from the book at book signings.
Give us insight to your main character. Who is he or she? What is his or her purpose?
The interesting thing about my Scott Series is that I wrote the series backward. The first book I wrote was A Season of Magenta, the story of RJ Scott and Elizabeth Carlton, two aging baby boomers hiding horrible secrets. People liked it and asked me to write a sequel, but due to H/h’s ages, I couldn’t. The book took place in Texas, so I began the series of how the Scotts came to Texas in 1840: Petals from the Judas Tree, A Touch of Jasmine, Sammy Blue, and Leotie, the one I am currently working on.
Leotie, Flower of the Prairie, 1866.
Five-year old Abigale Scott, a white girl in 1846, was stolen by an Indian searching for a child for his barren wife. Raised within their culture, she became “Leotie” and believed she was an Indian. The Indians hated her for being white, blamed her for the deaths of her parents, and planned to ban her from them until one of the tribe married her out of loyalty to her Indian father. When her husband and child died, the tribe abandoned her in the middle of the night, leaving her alone in the Kansas plains.
This is also the story of Doyle Quinn and his brother, Owen, two Irish slaves who were forced into fighting for the South during the Civil War. Owen was only twelve when he was forced to take his master’s son’s place in the fighting. This left him mentally and emotionally scared.
While searching for work, Doyle found an old reward paper for the return of Abigail Scott, who’d been missing for years. With the substantial reward in mind, the brothers left Virginia after the Civil War and planned to secure a fine future in Texas as soon as they could find the missing white girl. This is where the real story begins.
What/who are your favorite or most reliable support groups?
I think An Author’s Tale is one of the best groups around. It’s very supportive and doesn’t ridicule or offend people when they voice their thoughts. I also like the group Women’s Fiction.
What is the biggest mistake you think you make while writing? How do you overcome it?
Life gets in the way of my writing, and I lose my focus. There’s no way to overcome it unless I croak, and I don’t want to do that. To get back into focus, I read a chapter prior to where I ended my work. That also helps me edit, so it’s a good thing.
Were you always good at writing?
I think I was born with a pencil in my hand. Unfortunately, when I was younger, I had to get a “real” job to help support my family. Now that I’m retired, I can go back to my number one love.
What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
I believe that if you are gifted, you must share your gift, whether you are a novelist, poet, musician, or an actor. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than to discover a wonderful new talent.
Which authors inspire you?
Almost too many to list. I grew up reading historical gothics: Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte and Emily Bronté, and anything by Jane Austin. The men I admired back then were Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Tennessee Williams. My favorite authors of today are Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and LaVyrle Spencer. Yeah, I know. Who are they?
What books or writing projects have you completed/published in the past?
I have written the following books: A Season of Magenta; Petals from the Judas Tree; A Touch of Jasmine; Sammy Blue; Regrets; Indian Blanket; and two children’s books, Monster in the Goldfish Bowl; and Perfectly Imperfect Prancy. All are available as e-books or trade copies at www.brendabdawsonauthor.com, www.2firespublishingco.com, or www.amazon.com.
Do you research your book? If so, what have you learned through your research?
I hate research, but I have found some of my most interesting subjects while doing research. For instance, I had no idea that white Irish slaves existed until the process was banned by England in 1839. Reading that brought up a whole world of ideas to my poor brain, so we will meet two Irish slaves in my WIP, Leotie.
Are you reading any books right now? If so, what are you reading?
I read three to four books every week. I recently finished Jenna Blum’s Those Who Save Us and had a love/hate experience with that book. I am currently reading Melinda Clayton’s Appalachian Justice, which is amazing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Although I loved my dh and children, I would tell myself not to be in such a hurry to marry and have children just because that was the thing to do back then. I would tell myself to study journalism and travel the world.
BONUS QUESTION: Do you have any interesting stories from your time in retail management?
No. I don’t write horror stories.
How can readers and fellow writers discover more about you and your work?
More of Brenda’s books include: