Interview with Brandilyn Collins
1. I see that your new book Violet Dawn released August 4th, and it's the first of your new Kanner Lake series. Are we going to see the same lead character in each book, or will each book focus on different characters in the same town?
Same town, different female protagonists each time. Although all the characters show up in each book. This way you get to hear different individual stories.
Kanner Lake is located in northern Idaho, not far from Coeur d’Alene. Kanner Lake is a town of about 1700. The panhandle of Idaho is a beautiful area of pristine lakes, mountains, and forests. Water sports in the summer, snow sports in the winter, hunting in season. A tourist’s paradise. Mine too. It is an established fact that our home in Coeur d’Alene is the closest place on earth to heaven.
2. All of your books have some very unique characters - is there someone at Kanner Lake we won't be able to resist?
Paige Williams, protagonist in the first book, Violet Dawn, is a young woman on the run, new to Kanner Lake, with a mysterious past. Leslie Brymes, protagonist in book two, Coral Moon, is a young reporter who’s determined to make it to the Big Time, or else. (Yeah, and it just might be “or else” if she doesn’t watch it.)
But beyond the protagonists is a whole set of eccentric and unique characters who hang out at Java Joint, the coffee shop on Main. There’s 77-year-old curmudgeon Wilbur Hucks, who can’t resist showing everyone his heart surgery scar. Ted Dawson, better known as S-Man, who broke his leg and had to leave his logging job and now types all day on his science fiction manuscript at Java Joint. If the world were to fall down around him, his head would remain in his fictional world of Sauria. (Or is he really picking up on more than we might think?) Gossipy Jake Tremaine, new retiree from a saw mill, who can’t figure out what to do with all the time on his hands. He’s driving himself and his wife nuts. The list goes on. And of course, Bailey Truitt, Java Joint owner and starter of the Scenes and Beans blog, who tries to keep everyone in line.
3. Can you tell us a little something about Violet Dawn?
Well, let’s just say I hope the hot tub industry doesn’t sue me over this one.
Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the darkness of night—and makes a gruesome discovery. The choice she makes as to what to do with that discovery sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to unravel her life and the town.
I got this idea a number of years ago from our own hot tub in our California house. It’s topped by one of those thick brown covers to keep the heat in. Sometimes we only fold back half the cover to get into the large hot tub. In the dark, I’ve thought—hm, something could be in the water under that covered part of the hot tub, and we’d never see it. Until we felt it . . .
More than a few advanced copy readers have already sworn off their own hot tubs. (Hence my lawsuit worries from the industry.)
A launch party is being held for Violet Dawn in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the Simple Pleasures store. (Not, the store does not sell hot tubs.) This real store is featured in the series. Paige Williams works in this store, and Sarah Wray, owner of the Simple Pleasures in my books, is a Scenes and Beans blogger. The party is invitation-only and will be covered by local media.
4. I noticed on your Kanner Lake website that you will be revealing the first 12 chapters of Violet Dawn - one chapter a week and running a contest along with it. How does the contest work and what will the winners win?
New chapters, one to two a week, are posted every Friday. Anyone can go to the site and read the chapters. But for every twenty people who sign up to be notified via email when new chapters are posted, one of those names will be drawn to receive an autographed copy of Violet Dawn. Folks can still sign up from the excerpt page.
5. Tell us about a little something about Java Joint and its blog.
Bailey Truitt opened Java Joint a number of years ago, and it’s become the town hang-out. In early July, Bailey got the bright idea to start Scenes and Beans, a blog about Kanner Lake, in order to attract more tourists to the small, beautiful town. She wheedled the eccentric characters who hang out at Java Joint to be regular bloggers. They’re telling their stories and writing entertaining, humorous posts. Then on Saturday, July 22, Paige Williams slips into her hot tub—and the trauma begins. The following Monday, July 24, the Scenes and Beans post reflects the weekend’s tragedy.
Scenes and Beans is written to look completely real, and the posts are in real time according to events in the Kanner Lake books. (Although plot points are not given away through the posts.) The SBGs (Scenes and Beans bloggers) won their roles through reading an advanced copy of Violet Dawn and auditioning for whatever character interested them. Their commitment to write posts for Scenes and Beans goes through December. The SBGs are listed on the Kanner Lake website and are linked to as “friends” on Scenes and Beans. The blog has not been running for long, but already the SBGs are seeing results from writing for the blog. They are gaining exposure through being a part of this project—things like noticing many more visitors to their own sites and having their local papers run a press release on them and their involvement. (I supplied the press release for all SBGs to use.) As the Kanner Lake series launches, I have many more plans for Scenes and Beans. My goal is to have this unique marketing project help sell my own books in the series while equally benefiting the talented authors who won their roles (many of whom are trying to sell their own fiction manuscripts).
Starting in September, any reader who wants to audition a post for Scenes and Beans can send in one. If it’s chosen, that person will receive a free copy of Violet Dawn. Reader posts will begin running in January 2007. Details are on this page of the Kanner Lake site.
The Scenes and Beans blog will run during the whole series (and then continue as long as it’s working), blending fiction and reality until the two are completely fused in the storyline of book #4. (I can’t say any more about that yet, but it’s way cool.)
6. And when will the next book in the Kanner Lake series be released?
Coral Moon will release around March of 2007. You don’t have to worry about hot tubs in that one. However, you might want to be careful of those unseen things that go bump in the night . . . Crimson Eve releases around October 2007, and book #4 (untitled) around May 2008.
7. Anything final you’d like to say?
Come join the fun at Scenes and Beans. Leave all the comments you want—we love ‘em. In fact, as you leave comments with your own blogger profiles, that will leave a trail for Scenes and Beans readers to find your own site. You can also exchange a link with Scenes and Beans (and my own blog, Forensics and Faith) by e-mailing me. As you see a spike in visitors to your own site as a result of either of the above, please let me know.
Thanks, Wanda and all. Happy blogging . . . and hot tubbing, if you dare.