Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Empowered Wednesday: Brooke Cumberland

Welcome back bookworms to another Empowered Wednesday!! Today I have one half of the Kennedy Fox duo for my feature today, and honestly it's like a double exciting day because I also get to share a cover reveal for their latest novel and I couldn't be more thrilled!! I've had the pleasure to work with both authors since the beginning, and I've become way more than a fan, and I'm so lucky to call them friends!! And with that, let's get on with the feature!!

Q: Can you tell our readers about yourself and what you do?
scream queens cathy munsch GIFA: My name is Brooke and I’m 30 years old. I’m married with 3 kids and before I was a full-time writer, I was a stay-at-home mom. I graduated from college six weeks after my daughter was born and though staying home wasn’t my original path, it lead me to where I am now, which was reading my first erotica novel series (Fifty Shades of Grey, of course). That inspired wanting to read more and soon I was in the black hole of the romance indie community. Later, it lead to me pursuing my own writing, something I’ve always enjoyed, but never ever thought it was an actual career path until I just opened my laptop one day and started writing. I’ve been writing full-time since early 2013 now and have published over 20 novels between my pen names.

Q: How did you first get into writing and when did you decide to take the leap and go for it?
A: I mention this above, but I’ll dive deeper into the why. In 2011, my husband was in a horrible motorcycle accident and he lost his leg. It turned our world upside down and he was the only financial supporter of the family since I was in grad school and raising the kids. At the end of 2012 during my winter break, I downloaded my first eBook on my iPad and started devouring books faster than I ever had before.

I’d been in school for so many years that textbooks were all I had time to read. Getting 6 weeks off before my next semester was my first opportunity to really read for pleasure. That’s when I discovered all these great romance novels and a small part of the indie community. (I didn’t really know about the community for weeks after). 

All the stress from my husband’s accident and medical issues had taken a toll on me. I was depressed and stressed, but I didn’t want it to show or admit that it was hurting me. I wanted to be my family’s rock and convince them we were going to get through these troubles. It’s when I turned to reading and when I realized what a great outlet it became, I didn’t stop. Reading turned to writing my own romance that was loosely based on my husband’s and mine story. From there, I hit publish and kept writing. In mid 2014, I had 6 books published and decided to write a serial series, The Intern. That serial took off and changed everything for us. Publishing started to bring in more income than my husband’s disability income and we were finally able to depend on it for financial support. Everything grew from there. In mid 2016, I partnered up with my now co-writer, Lyra Parish, and together we write under the pseudonym, Kennedy Fox. We’ve written 10 books together now and will be publishing 2 more in 2018. 

Q: Who or what inspired you to do what you are doing now?
A: At first, writing was my creative outlet. I was unable to finish pursuing graduate school due to my husband’s health and I had been in school so long at that point, it felt weird to not have something to focus on. So once I started reading, I was incredibly inspired by how reading made me feel. Now that I’ve been writing and publishing for 5+ years, I get inspired in other ways. Music, my family, my writing partner, my readers and friends. I love what I do and hope to do it for many years to come! 

Q: What would be your ideal working environment?
A: My ideal happy place would be up in the mountains somewhere. I am obsessed with that idea—mountain views, surrounding trees, lakes and waterfalls. I’d work on my porch, sipping my hot coffee, and watching the sunrise. My office would be surrounded with windows and I’d have 4 dogs at my feet with a fireplace. It’s very realistic LOL!

Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep the novel going?
breaking bad writing GIFA: My biggest motivator is being able to financially support my family, but aside from that, writing is my passion and though sometimes it can be hard to keep going after a long day or feeling defeated, I keep motivated by music and my writing partner. Knowing there are readers who are actually anticipating a book helps too. I’ve always had a high drive, so I’m pretty self motivating.

Q: How would you describe your style with writing?
A: I’d say my writing style is blending detail into regular conversation. I write the way my characters would actually think and talk and like to give my readers a strong visual while allowing them to imagine it in their own way in their minds.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew starting out with writing or something you could have told your past self?
A: This is a hard one…part of me says I’d tell myself to be careful who you give yourself to, but the other part knows that’s what helped mold my tough exterior and thick skin to deal with the negatives in this type of industry. Still, be careful who you confide in, give your energy and time to, and who you trust. That still rings true today. Another thing I wish I knew was that there was a reading/author community. I had no idea when I first started writing and publishing.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I enjoy spending time with my daughter (who’s 7, almost 8) and taking her out for mommy/daughter dates. I work a lot so I know it’s important to give her that one-on-one time. I also enjoy reading and catching up on my shows in my “rare” spare time. 

Q: What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging aspect of writing?
A: When the words aren’t coming out the way you want, when you’re exhausted but still have a word count goal to hit, or when you want to focus on only writing but also have to worry about the business and marketing side of writing. Most authors don’t enjoy that and would prefer to only have to worry about writing the words, but we have so many other aspects to learn to do as well.

Q: How much time do you spend writing and is it a hobby or job?
A: This is 110% my job. It started out as a hobby and then as it grew, it became the financial security to my family. I work 12-15 hours a day, every day, but not always consistently. I’ll work during the day, take some time off in the evening, and then get back to work after my daughter is in bed for the night and usually work till about 2am.

Q: Can you name some of your favourite authors and explain why they’re your favourite?
A: I’ll name some of my top authors since I love so many bookstagrammers! K Webster, Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland, KC Lynn, Devney Perry, Lex Martin, Carian Cole, Mia Sheridan, J Daniels, Kristen Ashley, Renee Carlino, Lauren Layne, Bayli Lane – these are author’s writing and storytelling that I enjoy and always look forward to more of their books!

Q: Kiss, Kill and Marry:
full house kiss GIF(Uncle Jesse from Full House, Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles, and Jess Mariano from Gilmore Girls) – 
A: Kiss Jake, Kill Jess, Marry Uncle Jesse

Q: What would be your go to meal, outing and Starbucks/Tim Horton’s Drink
A: My go-to meal is Hibachi chicken and rice! We don’t have Tim Horton’s so for Starbucks, I have many favorites! White mocha, caramel macchiato, pumpkin spice, the pink drink, the ultimate caramel Frappuccino (my fave this summer).

Q:If you were stuck on an Island what would be the three things you would want with you?
A: My Kindle because I have hundreds of books I could download on there that I haven’t read yet, my laptop because it’s my third arm, and my coffee maker with unlimited ground beans.

Q: What sort of advice can you give to anyone out there that’s thinking about starting a novel?
A: Just take it one day at a time and remember that your journey isn’t the same as anyone else’s. Don’t worry about the small things and don’t get caught up in the comparison game. 

Here's Where You Can Find Brooke!

That's all for this week's Empowered Wednesday's! I hope you enjoyed this new feature! Check back here next week where a brand new creator will be featured on the blog!!

So until the next time, Keep Reading!

Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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