I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Brighton for a few years now. I’ve even been lucky enough to read some of her early stories. So, of course when I heard she was getting published, I begged asked if there was any way to help promote it. She graciously agreed to do an interiew.
But before we get to my fangirling her answers, check out the info on Plus One.
Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn’t want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can’t pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn’t expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.
When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn’t take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia’s desire to stay “just friends” becomes clear, Ian’s feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?
Sounds good, right?
1. Where did the idea for Plus One come from?
It came from the prompt “secret crush”. I actually wrote it with the intention to submit it to a call for submission from a small publisher. When my critique partner read it, she encouraged me to skip the call and submit to some larger e-publishers. Thank God she’s smart and I listen to her.
2. Olivia and Ian are great characters. Both are full of excellent traits. How did they develop?
Thank you! Ian’s character came to me first because his was the first line in the book I’d thought of. I’ve always loved the friends to more storyline, and the idea that it was the hero that fell for the heroine instead of the other way around attracted me to his story. From there, I was sort of like a witch at a cauldron, just throwing in every trait I’d love to read in a hero. And voila! err…abracadabra! Ian was born. Olivia came to me in bits and pieces. The idea that she was stuck on a bad date popped into my head and then the cat urine guy materialized. And then I started thinking about what other awful, awful men she must’ve gone out with and what that would do to a person’s outlook. After years and years of bad dates, I knew she’d be a little jaded, a little cynical, but overall, I didn’t want her too anything. She had to be smart and strong and confident and funny because, to be honest, as a reader I don’t like reading heroines who aren’t any of those things, so as a writer I refuse to write them. When it came down to it, I wanted to create a heroine I’d be friends with.
3. I love when we get POV from both characters [I especially love boy POV]. Was Plus One always planned as a duel POV?
Yep, from the inception. When a story idea first takes root in my mind, it always comes to me as one person’s story first. In this case, it was Olivia’s voice I heard, but based on the secret crush angle, I knew I’d need Ian’s POV as well. And, plus, I really love guy POVs, too.
4. Were there any scenes that you had to cut that you miss?
I didn’t have to cut a single scene. I’m a fairly compact storyteller. I like to get in and out and get to the good stuff (insert that’s what she said joke here) without unnecessary distractions or meandering. Of course, that means my editor asked me to expand a couple scenes and flesh out a few more details, but no scenes were cut.
5. You’re a genius when it comes to building the UST. Why do you love it so much?
A genius?! Well, I don’t know about that, but I do love to be called a genius so I’m not going to argue with you. I love UST because, frankly, the reward is so much sweeter when you’ve had to wait just a while for it. Of course, there’s such a thing as too much UST, but I like to write with realistic pacing. It’s against my religion to write a meet, greet and fuck. I want to build the yearning between the characters so the readers feel it, too. So when that first sex scene comes, they aren’t giving me their wtf faces while reading and wondering where that came from but instead maybe a little giddy (and by giddy I obviously mean flushed and excited) at the fact that it’s finally happening.
6. And the sexah scenes… Are they easy for you to write?
Extremely. If I could write a book with sex, sex and only sex, I could whip out, like, 50 books a year. Alas, see opposition to my religion in the previous answer.
7. What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Typically, in the beginning, I get a plot bunny and I let it ruminate for a few days or a week or two. Characters always, always, always come to me first and the plot is the last thing that gets filled in. I play around with personalities, life circumstances, hero and heroine obstacles, etc. Then I fill out a character outline–this varies and I don’t think I’ve used the same one for any two stories, but it’s all basically the same, only some are more detailed than others. Once characters are fleshed out, I start outlining scenes. Sometimes these come to me as random, ridiculous one-liners or maybe a piece of dialogue to jog my memory. Or sometimes I write 500 words outlining a scene because it’s fresh in my mind and I don’t want to lose it.Even with all that detail, I’d call myself someone of a plotser, I guess, more so on the plot than the ser. I’ve worked using both methods, and I’ve found I’m a much more efficient writer when I have a clear guide as to what needs to happen next. That doesn’t mean I follow it to a T and won’t deviate from it (especially if my characters are trying to get each other naked 3 chapters before I originally thought it should happen), but if I don’t have a scene at least a little fleshed out, I will sit and stare at my blank document on my laptop and watch all the different scene possibilities play out in my mind like a movie until I’ve sat there for three hours and written nothing.
8. You get the very first letter/email/call that Plus One is going to be published. Tell me what you did immediately after.
It was a phone call. I went up to my bedroom to take the call because my husband and (then) three year old were just getting lunch in the kitchen and they were being a little obnoxious (don’t tell them I said that). So, got the call, got an offer, did a whole lot of listening while doing a fish impression, then hung up and just sort of stood there for a minute waiting for it to sink in. I was…I don’t even know that I can explain it. Giddy and excited and on the verge of jumping out of my skin–sort of like what I’d imagine it’d feel like to hang out of an airplane right before you jump–but I just stood there. And I cried (of course). And then I got over that, ran downstairs, jumped around the kitchen, and told my husband, “HOLY SHIT, I’M GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!” Except, you know, I sort of whispered shit because my kid was there eating his mac and cheese. And because I’m a lady.
9. What comes next for you?
Lots of amazing things, I hope. :) I’ve got a completed contemporary erotic romance novel I’ve just started querying to agents. That book is the first in a planned set of three companion series novels. I was also recently attacked with a wild and ferocious plot bunny, so book two that I’d been writing has been put on hold so I can flesh out a little of this New Adult plot idea. So, short answer: more writing.
Speed [ish] round:
1. What’s your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat?
What’s not my guilty pleasure thing to eat? I love food. But, for the sake of this, I’ll say Salted Caramel Cake Pops from Starbucks.
2. What are you reading right now?
This will no doubt have changed five times over by the time this posts, but right now at this minute, I’m reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio with my eight-year-old son, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (for the first time!), and Saved by the Bride by Fiona Lowe.
3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Oh, man. This is a toughie. Okay. I’m not going to over-think this; just gonna say the first ones that pop in my head (and in absolutely no particular order):
Well. Hmm. I maybe like swoony boys a little?
4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
I’m not much for fangirling, but I am pretty excited to meet Jill Shalvis at RWA this year.
Huge thanks to Brighton for taking the time!!
Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Whether through words or pictures, she’s been weaving tales for as long as she can remember. After decades of cultivating her writing, she finally decided to give life to the voices in her head and set forth to write her first novella. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she’s not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy. The setting of her life story takes place in the Midwest, characters including her very own real life hero she found in her supportive and swoony husband, and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.