That's right, it's Monday again, and...
It's not Monday?
When did this happen?
This is unacceptable! Nobody told me it was Thursday!
Fine, fine, we'll just go forward.
Today I have H.M. Brandon dropping in. H.M. Brandon is the author of A High Council Saga, Immortal Sacrifice, multiple articles, short stories, and poems. She was born and raised in the Montana wilderness and has been writing stories and letting her imagination gallop at full force since she was a small child. Her mother bought her books instead of toys and always encouraged H.M.’s creativity. She has fond memories of her mother reading to her and helping her make books out of notebook paper.
H.M. Brandon went to college for psychology. Which, she has found to be a great resource for writing compelling and believable characters. She writes Adult Fantasy. Her area of focus is Sword and Sorcery with glorious battle scenes and a slight sprinkle of romance. There is a heavy Norse influence in much of her writing, probably because Vikings is her favorite show, ever. Most of her pets are named after
One of her favorite things to do is adventure with her nine-year-old son. H.M. Brandon is a mother first and an author second. After that, she helps run a non-profit organization called Eden Manor Pet Sanctuary, where she works and lives on the banks of the Musselshell river in Montana. She loves living out in the wild and says the solitude is great for writing. She spends a decent amount of time in character, pacing around and arguing with herself. She admits to being a bit eccentric.
H.M. is also owner, operator and model at Cosplay All Day. She attends all her appearances cosplaying her characters. She is right hand lady of Ladies of Corrosion Wasteland tribe, a sister tribe to Lobo’s Lot. They do post-apocalyptic live-immersion events in California and Montana.
When H.M. is not chasing her kid and animals around, writing, reading, studying, researching, she practices herbal healing, sword fighting, medieval weaponry, and anything else she thinks will be fun to learn along the way.
1. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My Five Realms universe is modeled after bits and pieces I pulled from Norse Mythology and the Poetic Edda, I took names and events and changed them slightly to create my own world. Anyone well versed in the Mythology will be able to spot those easter eggs but it won’t be obvious to those who aren’t, another trick I borrowed from from Tolkien.
I also bought a grimior off amazon and started doing the rituals so I could get a feel for what they were like for the witches in my stories.
I watch tv every night, take notes on the structure, arcs and any great ideas that pop out or emotional scenes that really hit me hard.
Wikipedia is also a big one. I keep waiting for a SWAT team to kick my door in and arrest me as a terrorist or something for some of the stuff I research on the internet, but that hasn’t happened yet. Just one of the hazards of the job I guess lol.
2. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
As a decendant of Edgar Allen Poe, I can get pretty dark. My character’s are very morally grey. My style can be summed up in four words: love, war, blood, gore. My work has been compared to Game of Thrones and, of course, Tolkien. Which is a huge honor that I don’t feel like I deserve, imposter syndrome is real. But if you don’t believe me you can check my reviews lol.
3. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Adventure with my son, play with my animals, I own a non-profit animal sanctuary, herbalism, live-immersion events, sword fighting, binge watching shows.
4. What do you think makes a good story?
Flawed characters with clear goals who run into a bunch of conflict trying to reach those goals that ultimately changes them somehow. I am very character oriented with my writing. I build the story (plot, setting) around my characters.
5. What is the first book that made you cry?
If I remember correctly, it was The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.
6. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Definitely the con-artists and scammers out there. Vanity Publishers. Cover Designers. Editors. Formatters. The wolves that take advantage of aspiring authors are everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes. I have been had a couple times and had to learn these things the hard way. Now, I make sure to do my research on every single person I hire, and never hire anyone that doesn’t have samples of their work, a web/social media page, and recommendations.
7. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I don’t think a big ego really helps anyone.
8. What is your writing Kryptonite?
TIME! There is never enough time!
9. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
From the beginning. I learned that there was another author out there with my name so I didn’t have much choice. Plus, most of my heroes like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling all used their initials so it didn’t take much for me to jump on that train.
10. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Absolutely! Most of us don’t pop out of the womb as talented literary professionals. Writing is a craft. It must be studied, practiced, and honed over time.
11. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
All of my books are set within the universe of the Five Realms. I am building an empire.
12. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You can do anything, magik skeleton, do not let anyone tell you differently. Always forward. Chase your dreams, never give up. You will get there.
13. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
My first novel took three years to finish. I obsessed over every little thing before getting a developmental edit. I had to change a lot of the things after that edit. Like cutting the entire first act and completely changing the tense, type of changes. So obsessing about it being perfect before getting it dev edited was a waste of time.
I learned that a first draft is not perfect and it doesn’t have to be, the story just has to be there. So now I fast draft and only go through the manuscript a couple times before sending it out to others for editing. I can now write a novel in a month. I don’t write a novel per month but, I know I can do it because I joined NaNoWriMo last year and finished lol. That was not a pace I think I could keep up with month after month.
14. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hands down, my laptop, but a close second would be shelling out the money for a professional cover designer. The reality is, books are judged by their covers.
15. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Most likely a raven, Hugin and Munin, thought and memory, Odin’s ravens, plague my dreams and my pages. It would also be a nod to being a descendant of Poe. Or a dragon, because…dragons.
16. What do you have coming next?
Immortal Sacrifice will be released July 1st, after that, I am going to work on finishing A High Council Saga, the first two are out for that and available on Amazon or my website. I give out the first one, Nevrine, for free to people who join my newsletter.
My writing group, the Seven Sisters, also has an anthology coming out in October. We are giving villians who didn’t deserve their fates, happy endings. I am doing Medusa. We will be donating one-hundred percent of the proceeds from that to abused children but, haven’t locked in on a specific organization yet.
Excerpt from Immortal Sacrifice (July 1st, 2022):
Another fun tidbit: I chose this as my launch date so I could legally blow stuff up (launch fireworks) in commemoration lol.
Dying is easy. Living with myself, that’s the hard part. I was built for war. I’m good at what I do. We have lived in peace for over a century. . The silence is driving me mad. I don’t trust it. For an immortal, trust is an illusion. If you live long enough, everyone will betray you in the end.
So, So, I focus on progression, defenses mostly. I invent new things, things that will improve our lives. Staying busy is the only thing that keeps the voices at bay. Well, staying busy and lots of wine. People call me the mad queen, never to my face, but I hear the rumors. Demons, of every soul I have sent to the Neverworld, haunt me. No matter how I quiet the voices by day, when I close my eyes, they are there, waiting for me…