BRIGHTON WALSH: SECOND CHANCE CHARMER

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Brighton Walsh’s LONDON HALE series writing partner Ellis Leigh calls her the People Collector. Having watched Brighton in action (if only briefly) I think Ellis is definitely on to something. This time around, I turned the tables and collected Brighton for an author interview—and I’m so glad I did! Here, she chats about how her writing career was spawned by the TWILIGHT fandom (50 SHADES OF GREY, anyone?), her transition from photography to writing, the smutty story she penned at the age of 14, and her newest romance novel, SECOND CHANCE CHARMER.

Hey, Brighton! Congrats on the release of SECOND CHANCE CHARMER. What’s it all about?

Thank you! SECOND CHANCE CHARMER came about when I got the idea of a hero opening the first bar in a formerly dry county. Add in that hero being from the wrong side of the tracks and trying to earn back the well-off heroine he’s still in love with, and how could I say no? It’s funny how things seem to either come to a screeching halt or just roll along smooth as can be when plotting, and this was definitely the latter. Making the heroine well-off spawned an entire town (that’s named after her), and a crazy family I’m totally in love with.

Given that you hate the heat so much, what made you decide to set SCC in a small Southern town? Did you just want to give your hero as many opportunities to take his shirt off as possible? 😉

Ha! You’re on to me. I had no idea I was so transparent. LOL I started out wanting to do a small town series. I’d been wanting to for a while—years—and the ideas for this series fit that really well. Thus far, I’ve set all my books in the Midwest, and I was craving something different. Fortunately, I have a southern counterpart who can check me for correctness so I don’t accidentally stick my foot in my mouth. Plus, NO SHIRTS!

 On your website, you mention that you wrote a smutty story when you were fourteen. Well, I can do you one better—when I was in the fourth grade, I read Judy Blume’s FOREVER and got seriously inspired. I decided to write my own smutty story, entitled PAGE 17—because the sexytimes scene took place on . . . you guessed it . . . page 17 of my little book. I brought PAGE 17 to school and it was like literary crack. Kids were reading it in the middle of math class, in recess, in the bathroom . . . it was crazy. (And also, a little embarrassing.) That was my first glimpse into the power of storytelling—and the addictive nature of a good sex scene! Can you tell us—what was your first smutty story about? Do you remember the plot? And did you share it with anyone?

Oh my GOD. That is maybe the most fantastic story I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, mine has no such glamorous entry into the world. I probably wrote it secretly in my room, shoving it under my mattress whenever anyone walked by. And plot? You think way too highly of my fourteen-year-old self. It was just a lot of body parts. #klassy

You are an insanely prolific writer—you’re multipublished by several presses, are venturing into self-publishing, work on your own and with a co-author, and write both series and stand-alone books. What’s your secret? Do you ever have a shortage of ideas? And is there anything you haven’t tried yet, writing-wise, that you’re dying to?

Oh, man. I don’t feel prolific! Which I suppose just goes to show that we tend to be kind of hard on ourselves and our accomplishments. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, isn’t it? I always see those authors who pound out ten full length novels a year and feel like such a slacker. At that point, I recite my mantra: their path is not my path. As far as secret, I have a plot whisperer. My bestie is my idea factory. Her brain is a crazy, amazing place, and we feed off each other like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve joked that it’s good we live half a country away because we’d get into too much trouble otherwise. I can go to her with a whisper of something niggling in my mind, and two hours later we’ve plotted a whole book. Right now, the only thing I’d like to try is writing under a super secret pen name I didn’t tell a soul. I’d like to see how prolific I can be without the pressures of people knowing it’s me writing. 

 You used to be a professional photographer, and then you segued into writing. What was your inspiration for your career change, and how does your experience as a photographer help you out in the writing world?

Once upon a time, I read TWILIGHT, ironically on a way to a photography workshop weekend. (Bear with me; I have a point.) I fell in love with the book and immediately dove into the lovely world of fanfic (yes, it popped my cherry). Mere months after venturing in, I wrote my first fic. I hadn’t written anything since high school, and even then it had only been poetry, so it was a fun new medium to play with. Over a couple years, I wrote half a million words of fanfic—my publishing training wheels, or more aptly, my drawer novels—before I decided to try my hand at original fiction. My first original piece—PLUS ONE—got published by Carina Press. From there, I wrote a couple more novellas before drafting CAGED IN WINTER, which got me my agent and sold to Berkley. Once I got the contracts for the two books with Berkley, and then the other two book series with St. Martin’s Press, I knew I couldn’t do both writing and photography. While I still loved (still love) photography, I found that I craved writing, so I closed the doors on my photography business. 

As far as helping me in the writing world, I see things in still-shots. Plot points play out like a movie in my mind, especially when I’m writing, but when I need to freeze something to really hit a description, I can slow it and view it like a photograph. All my training comes back then, and I notice the small details: what’s the focus of the shot, how does the light hit the focal point, is anything hiding in the background? It’s fun to play and stop, play and stop as I go through a scene that way. 

In this wild world of writing and publishing, it’s so important to have a community. How did you find yours, and what does it look like?

So, so many of my tribe came from the fandom. My aforementioned bestie. My critique partner and conference wife. My writing partner. I met them all in the world of fanfic first. The TWILIGHT fandom spawned a crazy ridiculous number of now-published authors, so it’s pretty unique to have that base in common. The rest of my crew I collected along the way. LOL My LONDON HALE writing partner, Ellis Leigh, calls me a people collector. I don’t like anyone to feel left out, and—this may come as a shock to you—I’m an extrovert, so I just grab people wherever I go. So far no one’s minded. (Or if they have, they’ve been kind enough to pretend for the People Collector. LOL)  

Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have? Whatever it is, please answer it here!

How about: What was your favorite part of writing SECOND CHANCE CHARMER?

I’m a sucker for second chance romances. They’re one of my favorite tropes to read and write, because I love that we not only get a glimpse of how the couple fell in love, but also how they fall in love again. I also adore the reconnection, especially through the hero’s eyes. Plus, I have this sick fascination with making the hero totally yearn for his girl. When in doubt, make him yearn. 

Back Cover Copy

Willow Haven’s content. Okay, that’s a lie, but she has been trying her damndest. Trouble is, it never sticks. Second oldest in a family her town was named after, she’s always felt the pressure. From the townspeople, from her sisters, but most of all from her daddy—the original Good Old Boy and Havenbrook’s reigning mayor. The only time she didn’t feel that stress had been those blissful months spent in the arms of the resident bad boy. The same one who broke her heart beyond repair when he left without a word.

Life hasn’t come easy for Finn Thomas. He’s had to claw and fight for everything he’s ever had—and truth be told, it hasn’t been much. He spent the first eighteen years of his life living so far from the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. The only thing that ever came easy for him and made his sorry ass happy was the one girl he loved with all his heart. And the one thing he had no choice but to leave behind.

When an opportunity arises to return to his tiny, southern hometown and open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he jumps at the chance. That won’t win him points with the mayor, who’s hell bent on making Finn’s life a nightmare for sullying his namesake. But too bad for Mayor Haven, Finn’s got his sights set on more than just the town, and this time he won’t be scared off quite so easily.

Bio

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible. Visit her online at brightonwalsh.com.

FB: www.brightonwalsh.com/facebook

Twitter: www.brightonwalsh.com/twitter

Instagram: www.brightonwalsh.com/instagram

Pinterest: www.brightonwalsh.com/pinterest

Where You Can Find SECOND CHANCE CHARMER

Amazon: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-amz

iBooks: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-ibooks

Barnes & Noble: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-bn

Kobo: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-kobo

Brighton Walsh’s LONDON HALE series writing partner Ellis Leigh calls her the People Collector. Having watched Brighton in action (if only briefly) I think Ellis is definitely on to something. This time around, I turned the tables and collected Brighton for an author interview—and I’m so glad I did! Here, she chats about how her writing career was spawned by the TWILIGHT fandom (50 SHADES OF GREY, anyone?), her transition from photography to writing, the smutty story she penned at the age of 14, and her newest romance novel, SECOND CHANCE CHARMER.

Hey, Brighton! Congrats on the release of SECOND CHANCE CHARMER. What’s it all about?

Thank you! SECOND CHANCE CHARMER came about when I got the idea of a hero opening the first bar in a formerly dry county. Add in that hero being from the wrong side of the tracks and trying to earn back the well-off heroine he’s still in love with, and how could I say no? It’s funny how things seem to either come to a screeching halt or just roll along smooth as can be when plotting, and this was definitely the latter. Making the heroine well-off spawned an entire town (that’s named after her), and a crazy family I’m totally in love with.

Given that you hate the heat so much, what made you decide to set SCC in a small Southern town? Did you just want to give your hero as many opportunities to take his shirt off as possible? 😉

Ha! You’re on to me. I had no idea I was so transparent. LOL I started out wanting to do a small town series. I’d been wanting to for a while—years—and the ideas for this series fit that really well. Thus far, I’ve set all my books in the Midwest, and I was craving something different. Fortunately, I have a southern counterpart who can check me for correctness so I don’t accidentally stick my foot in my mouth. Plus, NO SHIRTS!

 On your website, you mention that you wrote a smutty story when you were fourteen. Well, I can do you one better—when I was in the fourth grade, I read Judy Blume’s FOREVER and got seriously inspired. I decided to write my own smutty story, entitled PAGE 17—because the sexytimes scene took place on . . . you guessed it . . . page 17 of my little book. I brought PAGE 17 to school and it was like literary crack. Kids were reading it in the middle of math class, in recess, in the bathroom . . . it was crazy. (And also, a little embarrassing.) That was my first glimpse into the power of storytelling—and the addictive nature of a good sex scene! Can you tell us—what was your first smutty story about? Do you remember the plot? And did you share it with anyone?

Oh my GOD. That is maybe the most fantastic story I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, mine has no such glamorous entry into the world. I probably wrote it secretly in my room, shoving it under my mattress whenever anyone walked by. And plot? You think way too highly of my fourteen-year-old self. It was just a lot of body parts. #klassy

You are an insanely prolific writer—you’re multipublished by several presses, are venturing into self-publishing, work on your own and with a co-author, and write both series and stand-alone books. What’s your secret? Do you ever have a shortage of ideas? And is there anything you haven’t tried yet, writing-wise, that you’re dying to?

Oh, man. I don’t feel prolific! Which I suppose just goes to show that we tend to be kind of hard on ourselves and our accomplishments. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, isn’t it? I always see those authors who pound out ten full length novels a year and feel like such a slacker. At that point, I recite my mantra: their path is not my path. As far as secret, I have a plot whisperer. My bestie is my idea factory. Her brain is a crazy, amazing place, and we feed off each other like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve joked that it’s good we live half a country away because we’d get into too much trouble otherwise. I can go to her with a whisper of something niggling in my mind, and two hours later we’ve plotted a whole book. Right now, the only thing I’d like to try is writing under a super secret pen name I didn’t tell a soul. I’d like to see how prolific I can be without the pressures of people knowing it’s me writing. 

 You used to be a professional photographer, and then you segued into writing. What was your inspiration for your career change, and how does your experience as a photographer help you out in the writing world?

Once upon a time, I read TWILIGHT, ironically on a way to a photography workshop weekend. (Bear with me; I have a point.) I fell in love with the book and immediately dove into the lovely world of fanfic (yes, it popped my cherry). Mere months after venturing in, I wrote my first fic. I hadn’t written anything since high school, and even then it had only been poetry, so it was a fun new medium to play with. Over a couple years, I wrote half a million words of fanfic—my publishing training wheels, or more aptly, my drawer novels—before I decided to try my hand at original fiction. My first original piece—PLUS ONE—got published by Carina Press. From there, I wrote a couple more novellas before drafting CAGED IN WINTER, which got me my agent and sold to Berkley. Once I got the contracts for the two books with Berkley, and then the other two book series with St. Martin’s Press, I knew I couldn’t do both writing and photography. While I still loved (still love) photography, I found that I craved writing, so I closed the doors on my photography business. 

As far as helping me in the writing world, I see things in still-shots. Plot points play out like a movie in my mind, especially when I’m writing, but when I need to freeze something to really hit a description, I can slow it and view it like a photograph. All my training comes back then, and I notice the small details: what’s the focus of the shot, how does the light hit the focal point, is anything hiding in the background? It’s fun to play and stop, play and stop as I go through a scene that way. 

In this wild world of writing and publishing, it’s so important to have a community. How did you find yours, and what does it look like?

So, so many of my tribe came from the fandom. My aforementioned bestie. My critique partner and conference wife. My writing partner. I met them all in the world of fanfic first. The TWILIGHT fandom spawned a crazy ridiculous number of now-published authors, so it’s pretty unique to have that base in common. The rest of my crew I collected along the way. LOL My LONDON HALE writing partner, Ellis Leigh, calls me a people collector. I don’t like anyone to feel left out, and—this may come as a shock to you—I’m an extrovert, so I just grab people wherever I go. So far no one’s minded. (Or if they have, they’ve been kind enough to pretend for the People Collector. LOL)  

Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have? Whatever it is, please answer it here!

How about: What was your favorite part of writing SECOND CHANCE CHARMER?

I’m a sucker for second chance romances. They’re one of my favorite tropes to read and write, because I love that we not only get a glimpse of how the couple fell in love, but also how they fall in love again. I also adore the reconnection, especially through the hero’s eyes. Plus, I have this sick fascination with making the hero totally yearn for his girl. When in doubt, make him yearn. 

Back Cover Copy

Willow Haven’s content. Okay, that’s a lie, but she has been trying her damndest. Trouble is, it never sticks. Second oldest in a family her town was named after, she’s always felt the pressure. From the townspeople, from her sisters, but most of all from her daddy—the original Good Old Boy and Havenbrook’s reigning mayor. The only time she didn’t feel that stress had been those blissful months spent in the arms of the resident bad boy. The same one who broke her heart beyond repair when he left without a word.

Life hasn’t come easy for Finn Thomas. He’s had to claw and fight for everything he’s ever had—and truth be told, it hasn’t been much. He spent the first eighteen years of his life living so far from the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. The only thing that ever came easy for him and made his sorry ass happy was the one girl he loved with all his heart. And the one thing he had no choice but to leave behind.

When an opportunity arises to return to his tiny, southern hometown and open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he jumps at the chance. That won’t win him points with the mayor, who’s hell bent on making Finn’s life a nightmare for sullying his namesake. But too bad for Mayor Haven, Finn’s got his sights set on more than just the town, and this time he won’t be scared off quite so easily.

Bio

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible. Visit her online at brightonwalsh.com.

FB: www.brightonwalsh.com/facebook

Twitter: www.brightonwalsh.com/twitter

Instagram: www.brightonwalsh.com/instagram

Pinterest: www.brightonwalsh.com/pinterest

Where You Can Find SECOND CHANCE CHARMER

Amazon: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-amz

iBooks: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-ibooks

Barnes & Noble: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-bn

Kobo: www.brightonwalsh.com/SCC-kobo

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