COURTNEY BRANDT: THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND—GRAND TOUR

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Courtney Brandt is a woman of many talents. She writes YA, including the steampunk series THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND; she also writes adult books, under the pseudonym Anne Benjamin; she’s a fanfic author; and she has a popular food blog, A to Za’atar. Honestly, with all that going on, I’m not sure how she found the time to do this interview . . . but I’m so glad she did!

Hi, Courtney—welcome to the blog! Congrats on the upcoming release of the second book in your YA steampunk series, THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND: GRAND TOUR. What’s it all about, and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Hi there — thanks for having me!  ‘Grand Tour’ is a continuation of my Queen of England series, the second book in a planned trilogy.  In my books, Queen Victoria dies in an unfortunate airship accident and my character, Juliette, is next in line for the throne.  She’s up against a secret organization that wishes to overthrow the monarchy.  In the second book, Queen Juliette takes her royal airship across Europe, seeking out this threat — and maybe trying to find a suitable husband along the way.  I’m not sure exactly what inspired me, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed researching Victorian England.  I’m not quite an anglophile, but I love all the tradition that goes along with the monarchy.  (So, yes, I’ll be watching Harry and Meghan’s wedding this weekend!)

You write fan fiction, right? What are your favorite fandoms, and what do you love about writing fanfic?

Yes, I write fanfiction.  I actually started writing fanfiction many years ago, which led to feeling comfortable to write original characters and stories.  I’m still active in a few select communities including a new favorite, the Reylo pairing in the Star Wars fandom.  Honestly, it’s relaxing to put aside my original characters for a few hours and imagine adventures and new plots for characters everyone already knows.  I love the free-form nature of fanfiction.  I can write short scenes or much longer stories — there are no specific rules, and really no expectations from readers.  Best of all, I’ve met some amazing and talented writers and friends this way.  I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Tell us about your writing career. You write adult novels under the pseudonym Ann Benjamin, and then YA as Courtney Brandt . . . what’s it like having two literary identities, and how do you balance the two?

I started my career writing marching band fiction, by publishing a series of four books, The Line series, then two stand-alone novels, Confessions of a Teenage Band Geek and Major Pain.  When those projects were finished, I turned my attention to two adult novels, Room 702 and Life After Joe.  Honestly, ideas come to me, and it’s whatever I’m motivated to write.  I’m not a ‘write to market’ author, just one who focuses on my stories and characters.  I chose a pen name (made up of my middle name and my husband’s middle name) because to me, my YA audience was very different than the readers I expected for my adult work, and yes, I even have another name in reserve for two children’s books I’d eventually like to write. I’ll admit, it can be tough to balance all the projects, but I try and do my best for all my books.

In addition to all of the above, you’re an expat living in Dubai who writes a culinary blog, A to Za’atar. How did you come to live in Dubai . . . and has it been challenging to integrate your identity as a fiction writer with life as a culinary blogger? Does one art form inspire the other?

I’ve been in Dubai for over 11 years.  We moved here in 2007 for my husband’s job and thought we would be here for a short-term — ha!  Since then, we’ve also lived in Doha and Abu Dhabi, but are now back in Dubai.  My food writing came as a way to share honest feedback for many of the venues in Dubai.  From there, it’s grown quite a bit, and I’ve made a lot of foodie friends.  However, my typical day always focuses on fiction first.  So, I might be editing, or writing a manuscript, and then I’ll turn my attention to the food writing, only after I’ve hit my fiction goals for the day.  Because the approach is different, the two are very separate in my head.  From a branding perspective, I also keep the two worlds apart.  There are people who know me as A to Za’atar, and people who know me as an author.  Even though I have 20K followers on my A to Za’atar Instagram account, I rarely mention my books, because fine dining and my fiction rarely cross over.

Also, tell us about your voiceover work! How did you come to that as a career path, and what projects have been your favorite to work on?

It’s a work in progress!  I’ve been in the booth a few times, and am waiting for a bit of steady work in the industry.  Given my current location, it would help a lot if I spoke Arabic.  One of my first jobs was reading a relatively dramatic, if short paragraph, and I surprised myself by pulling off a convincing British accent.  I worked with a director and we recorded both my natural voice (American) and a British version, and we both agreed the British was better for the clip.  Perhaps one day I would be able to record one of my novels as an audiobook.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Queen Juliette returns in the second novel of this exciting trilogy to travel abroad. In search of the New World Order — and perhaps to find an appropriate fiancé during the journey — the young Queen of England departs familiar shores with an unusual coterie aboard the HMAS Little Majesty. With unplanned stops, multiple airship battles, and some unexpected challenges, this overseas trip is anything but uncomplicated for the young monarch. An exciting conclusion in London and other revelations bring significant changes in the sequel to The Queen of England: Coronation.

The Queen of England: Grand Tour is the second book in a planned trilogy by Courtney Brandt. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ms. Brandt is proud to present The Line, and the additional novels in the complete series, A Fine Line, Keeping in Line, and The Line Up (available individually, or as a complete anthology). Each of the lighthearted novels was created for high school students and alumni in marching band. As a former drumline member, Courtney enjoys bringing a fictional voice to band geeks all over the world. The author also released two additional stand-alone novels, Confessions of A Teenage Band Geek and her final YA marching novel, Major Pain. She also is the sole manager of the successful Tumblr ‘marchingartsphotography’ account.

Courtney looks forward to turning back to her YA roots as she completes a new steampunk series set in Victorian England. The Queen of England: Coronation, The Queen of England: Grand Tour and The Queen of England: Ascension are a planned trilogy, with the first book and second books in the series now available on Amazon.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ABenjaminAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbrandtwright/

Website: https://annbenjamin.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/cbrandtwright

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B002BLOXRM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Courtney Brandt is a woman of many talents. She writes YA, including the steampunk series THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND; she also writes adult books, under the pseudonym Anne Benjamin; she’s a fanfic author; and she has a popular food blog, A to Za’atar. Honestly, with all that going on, I’m not sure how she found the time to do this interview . . . but I’m so glad she did!

Hi, Courtney—welcome to the blog! Congrats on the upcoming release of the second book in your YA steampunk series, THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND: GRAND TOUR. What’s it all about, and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Hi there — thanks for having me!  ‘Grand Tour’ is a continuation of my Queen of England series, the second book in a planned trilogy.  In my books, Queen Victoria dies in an unfortunate airship accident and my character, Juliette, is next in line for the throne.  She’s up against a secret organization that wishes to overthrow the monarchy.  In the second book, Queen Juliette takes her royal airship across Europe, seeking out this threat — and maybe trying to find a suitable husband along the way.  I’m not sure exactly what inspired me, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed researching Victorian England.  I’m not quite an anglophile, but I love all the tradition that goes along with the monarchy.  (So, yes, I’ll be watching Harry and Meghan’s wedding this weekend!)

You write fan fiction, right? What are your favorite fandoms, and what do you love about writing fanfic?

Yes, I write fanfiction.  I actually started writing fanfiction many years ago, which led to feeling comfortable to write original characters and stories.  I’m still active in a few select communities including a new favorite, the Reylo pairing in the Star Wars fandom.  Honestly, it’s relaxing to put aside my original characters for a few hours and imagine adventures and new plots for characters everyone already knows.  I love the free-form nature of fanfiction.  I can write short scenes or much longer stories — there are no specific rules, and really no expectations from readers.  Best of all, I’ve met some amazing and talented writers and friends this way.  I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Tell us about your writing career. You write adult novels under the pseudonym Ann Benjamin, and then YA as Courtney Brandt . . . what’s it like having two literary identities, and how do you balance the two?

I started my career writing marching band fiction, by publishing a series of four books, The Line series, then two stand-alone novels, Confessions of a Teenage Band Geek and Major Pain.  When those projects were finished, I turned my attention to two adult novels, Room 702 and Life After Joe.  Honestly, ideas come to me, and it’s whatever I’m motivated to write.  I’m not a ‘write to market’ author, just one who focuses on my stories and characters.  I chose a pen name (made up of my middle name and my husband’s middle name) because to me, my YA audience was very different than the readers I expected for my adult work, and yes, I even have another name in reserve for two children’s books I’d eventually like to write. I’ll admit, it can be tough to balance all the projects, but I try and do my best for all my books.

In addition to all of the above, you’re an expat living in Dubai who writes a culinary blog, A to Za’atar. How did you come to live in Dubai . . . and has it been challenging to integrate your identity as a fiction writer with life as a culinary blogger? Does one art form inspire the other?

I’ve been in Dubai for over 11 years.  We moved here in 2007 for my husband’s job and thought we would be here for a short-term — ha!  Since then, we’ve also lived in Doha and Abu Dhabi, but are now back in Dubai.  My food writing came as a way to share honest feedback for many of the venues in Dubai.  From there, it’s grown quite a bit, and I’ve made a lot of foodie friends.  However, my typical day always focuses on fiction first.  So, I might be editing, or writing a manuscript, and then I’ll turn my attention to the food writing, only after I’ve hit my fiction goals for the day.  Because the approach is different, the two are very separate in my head.  From a branding perspective, I also keep the two worlds apart.  There are people who know me as A to Za’atar, and people who know me as an author.  Even though I have 20K followers on my A to Za’atar Instagram account, I rarely mention my books, because fine dining and my fiction rarely cross over.

Also, tell us about your voiceover work! How did you come to that as a career path, and what projects have been your favorite to work on?

It’s a work in progress!  I’ve been in the booth a few times, and am waiting for a bit of steady work in the industry.  Given my current location, it would help a lot if I spoke Arabic.  One of my first jobs was reading a relatively dramatic, if short paragraph, and I surprised myself by pulling off a convincing British accent.  I worked with a director and we recorded both my natural voice (American) and a British version, and we both agreed the British was better for the clip.  Perhaps one day I would be able to record one of my novels as an audiobook.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Queen Juliette returns in the second novel of this exciting trilogy to travel abroad. In search of the New World Order — and perhaps to find an appropriate fiancé during the journey — the young Queen of England departs familiar shores with an unusual coterie aboard the HMAS Little Majesty. With unplanned stops, multiple airship battles, and some unexpected challenges, this overseas trip is anything but uncomplicated for the young monarch. An exciting conclusion in London and other revelations bring significant changes in the sequel to The Queen of England: Coronation.

The Queen of England: Grand Tour is the second book in a planned trilogy by Courtney Brandt. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ms. Brandt is proud to present The Line, and the additional novels in the complete series, A Fine Line, Keeping in Line, and The Line Up (available individually, or as a complete anthology). Each of the lighthearted novels was created for high school students and alumni in marching band. As a former drumline member, Courtney enjoys bringing a fictional voice to band geeks all over the world. The author also released two additional stand-alone novels, Confessions of A Teenage Band Geek and her final YA marching novel, Major Pain. She also is the sole manager of the successful Tumblr ‘marchingartsphotography’ account.

Courtney looks forward to turning back to her YA roots as she completes a new steampunk series set in Victorian England. The Queen of England: Coronation, The Queen of England: Grand Tour and The Queen of England: Ascension are a planned trilogy, with the first book and second books in the series now available on Amazon.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ABenjaminAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbrandtwright/

Website: https://annbenjamin.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/cbrandtwright

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B002BLOXRM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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