Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Holly Brandon, author of Nothing’s As It Seems (Chastity Series Book 2).
FQ: Hi, Holly. As a huge fan of Book I (now an even bigger fan), I have to ask: Did you have any idea while writing the first book that you would receive the plethora of excellence awards and accolades that Life in the Chastity Zone gained?
BRANDON: First off, thank you! It means a lot when I hear someone say they are a fan of my work. Life in the Chastity Zone has been many years in the making. That said, I never imagined my novel reaching the publishing stage, plus receiving so many awards which every time I look at my awards hanging on the wall above my ping pong table, I pinch myself. The pinch reminds me that I am an author and that my achievements have gone far beyond my wildest dreams. I feel humbled, honored, and blessed that people like you enjoy reading my novels and provide me with such high praises for my ability to tell a story.
FQ: Did you have the “world” of Chastity already written before you put her life on paper? I know there are many “facts” in this novel because Chastity is based on parts of you and your life, but did the fiction come easily as well?
BRANDON: Unfortunately, the fiction part was a struggle. I reminded myself that it was okay to mesh past men or events together to make a better story. That’s what fiction is all about. When I first started writing Life in the Chastity Zone, I wanted to tell it exactly how it happened. But after the tenth revision, I tossed that idea out the window and let the characters decide where they wanted to go.
FQ: Will there be three in total when it comes to this series; or are you looking at more? Will Roxie, perhaps, have a series of her own one day?
BRANDON: The third novel will definitely close out this series. It’s not a bad idea to have Roxie have her own series. I already have an idea for another book, and perhaps Roxie will be the love interest. I like that.
FQ: Along those same lines, are you already penning the third, and is it possible to give a ‘sneak peek’ to our readers about what comes next?
BRANDON: I am indeed penning the third and final novel, but I’m not quite sure where it’s going to go. I do know much will be revealed, and there will be many twists, including reincarnation, along the way.
FQ: These guys that Chastity meets up with are just beyond astounding. Do you have a favorite amongst them, personality-wise? Such as, does Casper downing his Appletini’s hold some fondness for you? Or is there another that just stands out as being the funniest “failed charmer” in the books?
BRANDON: Ronnie is my favorite failed charmer. When I think of him, I can’t help but smile. He is as crazy as all get out, but on the flip side, with his love note, he’s probably one of the nicest people Chase met. He knew how to command a room and make people feel invigorated and charmed, and yet the tables turned when the dancing grandma showed him her moves.
As far as Casper, he’s one of those who was perfect on paper, and I had high hopes of him being the one for Chase. When I first put him to paper and wrote about his image and resume, I thought, is he for real? Is he Chase’s needle in the haystack? Then I realized perfect is as perfect does, and it was time for him to show his true colors. So, when he corrected her English and tried to suck the joy out of Christmas and had the nerve to say that LSD is okay to take because it opens up your creative pathways, I couldn’t make Chase run away fast enough.
FQ: A structural engineer to a writer. What are the pros and cons of each for you? Do you enjoy writing as much as you do life as an engineer?
BRANDON: I enjoy writing much more than engineering. Pro: I love engineering in that it gives me entrance into a secret club with my dad where we can bond. We can talk shop and build things together, like the chicken coop we designed during COVID. Con: Being an engineer is very stressful, which doesn’t always resonate with my body. For quite a few years now, I have tried to listen to my body. Writing makes me happy because I love telling stories. There are no cons, and therefore, I have no pain.
FQ: Hopefully, now that COVID has subsided a bit, there will be more conferences, events, etc., coming back into the life of writers. What is it like for you when you get to meet and greet a fan whose life you have absolutely bettered with your books?
BRANDON: I feel humbled. I had one girl say to me, “I thought my love life was bad, but then I read about yours and thought mine could be worse.” She asked me how I managed to get over my fiancé dumping me because I’m all smiling. I told her that it wasn’t always like that. I had a few rough months until I realized that I was crying about a person who didn’t even want me. Once I realized that I became stronger, knowing that the person meant for me was out there, somewhere. Even though he seems to be doing an excellent job of hiding, I know that one day I’ll find him. Until that day comes, I’m not going to wallow over a guy who doesn’t deserve me or sees what makes me unique.
Thank you for this second great story. As a romantic, I am genuinely rooting and hoping for Chastity to get to that “place” she wants so badly. Goodness knows she has worked hard enough to deserve it! I hope you and yours have a great holiday season.
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