Welcome back, Brandilyn. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I grew up in a Christian home and so was taught from an early age about Christ and His salvation. I accepted Jesus as my savior as a teenager, later rebelled, then came back to Him at the age of 24. Since then it’s been a continuing experience of learning a deeper walk with Him.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
If we’re talking about a plotting retreat (rather than a spiritual one): Steven King, for his plotting brain for suspense. Dean Koontz for his word imagery. James Scott Bell, for his understanding of plot structure. Christopher Vogler, (author of The Writer’s Journey) for his insights into mythical story.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I keynote at writers conferences when I’m able. I try not to do more than 3 conferences a year (teaching and/or keynoting), since it takes time away from my writing. So my schedule tends to fill up in advance for these. I do enjoy speaking and being with writers at conferences.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Honestly, I can’t remember ever being deeply embarrassed by some event. But I know what I’d do. I’d laugh. I have a rather warped sense of humor and have no problem laughing at myself.
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I would say, “Great. Do it.” The person might find great satisfaction in the writing. He may have fun. I always encourage people to write if they want to. What I don’t do is tell them whatever they first write will be publish-worthy. It won’t be. But everyone has to start somewhere. If someone really has a dream to write, one day he/she will. Doesn’t mean that person will necessarily ever be published. But who am I to discourage the writing itself?
Tell us about the featured book.
Sidetracked is a Seatbelt Suspense® novel, and comes with my brand’s four-point promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith.
The back cover copy:
When you live a lie for so long, it becomes a part of you. Like clothing first rough and scratchy, it eventually wears down, thins out. Sinks into your skin.
Thirty-four-year-old Delanie Miller has fled her dark past and is now settled into a quiet life in small-town
Kentucky. She has friends, a faux “family”
who lives in her house, and a loving boyfriend who may soon ask her to marry
him. Her aching dream of a husband and future children are about to come true.
But protecting this life of promise means keeping a low profile and guarding
the truth of her past—from everyone.
The town's peace is shattered when Delanie's friend, Clara, is murdered, and Delanie finds her body. The police chief quickly zeroes in on Billy King, a simple-minded young man whom Delanie knows would never hurt Clara. Delanie can hunt down evidence and speak out publicly against the chief—only at great risk of her own exposure. But after suffering such injustice in own her past, how can she keep silent now? Delanie must find a way to uncover Clara’s murderer yet save the life she’s created for herself—the deceit-ridden life that will forever distance her from others and God.
With page-turning intensity, Sidetracked hurtles between Delanie’s trauma in Redbud and the chaos of her past. Those experiences forced Delanie to reinvent her present—but at what cost to her future?
Please give us the first page of the book.
In the beginning comes the end.
April in Redbud,
brings to full bloom the trees that give our town its name. Pink blossoms
against blue sky. Daffodils push up yellow and sassy. Lilies are still in stem
but boast lush promise. Tulips splash the yards, multicolored and fragile.
Spring days are warm without summer’s humid oppression. The time of renewal.
Spring was my favorite season. Once.
In the dark just after nine-thirty, I drove away from the town’s Methodist church, a white wooden building with a tall steeple. I was the last to leave Clara Ann Crenshaw’s wedding shower, having stayed around to clean up. After all, I was the one who’d thrown the party for Clara. She had left a few minutes before, her car chock full of presents. The rest she’d left behind to pick up the following day. I locked them up in the church.
Clara was twenty-two, vibrant and in love with life. In love with Jerald Allen, too, who would become her husband in June. The church hall had been full of her friends, young and old. The rip of wrapping paper, laughter, and clink of forks against cake plates vibrated in the air. A true celebration. Clara wore her signature bright blue to match her sparkling eyes. Rosy-cheeked, she hugged me hard before she left. “You’re next, Delanie,” she whispered in my ear. “Mrs. Andrew Bradshaw.”
I smiled. Andy had carried that look in his eye lately. I hoped I was reading him right. I was thirty-four already and so wanted to be his wife. Build my own real family—even though it would mean breaking up the pseudo one I’d gathered around me. Folks in town just knew Andy and I would be married before the year was out.
When you live in a town of twenty-five hundred, everyone assumes your business is theirs.
I drove out of the church’s parking lot and rolled down quiet
Streetlights spilled over the tree-lined sidewalks. No one else in sight.
Redbud always shuts itself up early. At Walton Street I went left, my house about
a half mile away. One block over ran Main
Street—the home of quaint shops and cafes. For a
small town, Redbud had built quite a local reputation on its fancy-painted
store fronts. Many from around the area came to browse through the town’s shops
and dine in its homey restaurants.
Brewer approached. I turned onto it—and saw a shadow on the street. Faint, fleeting. Until it materialized again and went still, as if trying not to be seen. Washed pale by the umbra of a streetlamp, it looked like a man’s form, wearing a baseball cap, hands raised to his chest. Legs apart, as though ready to run.
A chill needled my bones.
I slowed the car. Slid my gaze left toward the source of the shadow. He stood by a front yard bush as tall as he, backlit by the house’s front porch light. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I felt them lock onto me.
A forever second ticked by.
He swiveled and ran toward the back of the house. Disappeared into the night.
I braked to a stop. Peered into the darkness, looking for him.
He was gone.
Was this a robber? We had so little crime in our town. But this man was too out of place, too … raw. I was well acquainted with sudden trauma. Knew the feel, the smell of it. And this wasn’t right.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
On my website they can read the first chapters of all my books and sign up for my newsletter. www.brandilyncollins.com
I love to interact with readers on my Facebook page. There I post Today’s Word, an unusual word and its definition, and ask for creative sentences using the word. I also post a daily funny picture and ask all my “Creative Captioneer” readers for their best caption. Those are fun. And I post info about my or other writers’ books—when the ebooks either go on sale or are free. Plus photos from around our house and forest/lakeproperty. You never know what those crazy deer/turkeys/osprey/etc. will do. (Not to mention the humans.) www.facebook.com/brandilyncollinsseatbeltsuspense
Thank you for sharing your new book with us today, Brandilyn.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Sidetracked - Christianbook.com
Sidetracked (Jerry B. Jenkins Select Books) - Amazon
Sidetracked - Kindle
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