A Kentucky native who’s since moved across the river to southern Ohio, the lovely Brianna Inskeep is a part-time college English teacher and also the Program Coordinator for a National Endowment for the Arts program called The Big Read.
When she’s not writing, Brianna spends her time taking care of her “high energy, mischievous, darling 2-year-old daughter” and reading whenever she gets the chance (which, I would imagine, is probably not very often with a 2-year-old in the house). She also has an imaginary cooking show on The Food Network and even manages to work out a few times a week.
Brianna is currently working on a contemporary fiction novel about a twenty-something female protagonist whose three-year marriage begins to deteriorate when she falls for her college student. I’m cringing just thinking about it – but literarily speaking, that’s a good thing!
Here’s my interview with Brianna. Enjoy!
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Anne: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Brianna: Somewhere in Europe. I’ve always felt like I lived there in another life. One day I hope to live there and write my books – that would be bliss. I’d love to spend time in England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece – basically all over eastern Europe!
A: Oh honey, you and me both. Can’t you just see yourself in some little Italian villa, tapping away at your keyboard while your kitten naps on the windowsill and the Polish immigrants you hired to work on your house come in and out – oh, wait, that’s Under the Tuscan Sun. Ahem… sorry. Anyway, next question: If you could only have one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
B: It would need to be something epic, something classic, something with unforgettable characters, romance, action, history – everything. The only book that pops into my head that meets all the criteria is Gone with the Wind. I think I’d be pretty happy with that choice. The story also brings back so many wonderful memories of growing up, because my sister and I both were in love with Gone with the Wind. We wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara – the pre-Civil War debutante in gorgeous dresses, flirting with the men at plantation parties, drawling “Fiddle-dee-dee!”
A: Oh, that is a good choice. Scarlett O’Hara obsessions aside, what is your biggest quirk?
B: I recycle everything possible. I have been known to dumpster-dive after beer bottles, telling the offending person, “We recycle!” in my best nerd voice. I can’t stand to see something go in the trash if it can go in the recycling bin. I have the conscience of a nun and feel guilty very easily.
A: Well, I would say that as quirks go, that’s quite a responsible one. Makes my kitten juggling quirk look a bit crude, actually. Anyway, tell us something else unusual or unique about yourself. Any strange talents? Crazy adventures?
B: I speak Swahili. Nah, I’m kidding. But I do speak a little French (ok – that’s not entirely true either – although I did take two semesters of it in college. I’d LIKE to be fluent…) I’ve been a vegetarian for 11 years and I’m also raising my daughter this way. I think it’s one of the absolute best things a person can do not only for their health but the planet’s health.
A: What is one thing you would never, ever do?
B: Play Russian Roulette. On a more realistic level, though, I’d never swim with sharks. Another thing that really freaks me out is deep sea divers or those vessels that go to the bottom of the ocean. I couldn’t do that – something about deep, dark water terrifies me. My husband’s commentary on this subject is, “Well, I couldn’t see you running with the bulls in Pamplona.” True! Funny thing is, I’ve actually been to Pamplona.
A: Really? I take it you did not run with the bulls, though. Probably a wise choice. So, what author (dead or alive) do you admire most?
B: It’s really hard to pick one! Can I pick one dead and one alive?! I really admire Beatrix Potter because she was a wonderful anomaly of her time. She defied tradition and did what she wanted to do – write and paint. She believed in herself. A contemporary author I highly admire is Margaret Atwood. She is incredibly gifted. Her dystopian literature blows my mind!
A: Which of your characters do you identify with the most?
B: My knee-jerk reaction is to say my main character, but I probably have more in common with another character named Jade. She is sarcastic, mouthy, and has a temper – but loves fiercely. She thrives off the ability to create something with her own imagination and bring it to life. She’s tenacious and goes after what she wants. She’s a good soul.
A: What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
B: Description. I often feel that I haven’t described the scenery/setting enough and it feels like a major issue to me. I really admire authors who are able to seamlessly break away from the plot to describe a street, a house, or an outfit someone is wearing, without thinking about it. I have to remind myself that it’s not all about the dialogue, characters, and plot. Those are the main things, but description is incredibly important, too.
A: Funny you should say that… my first drafts are always about 35,000 words long because I have to go back and add details, scene descriptions, etc. Sounds like we are kindred spirits!
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Isn’t she fun?! If you would like to get to know Brianna better – and really, who wouldn’t? – you can find her online at her blog, http://poeticserendipity.blogspot.com.
If you would like to participate in the Pre-Famous Author Series, let me know by leaving me a comment or tweeting me @AnneRiley. I would love to have you!
Also, be sure to check out the AKA Flash Fiction Contest I’m hosting with my CP partners. You can find all the details here!