Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We're talking to another Summerside Press author, and you won't want to miss this book. Welcome, Irene. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

My faith in Christ shows plainly in my characters as they live out their lives on the pages of my books. I’m also a very determined, disciplined person and many of my characters are like that.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Flying in a helicopter over Niagara Falls. Also, taking a sailing boat ride with my husband during a storm when we were in Tahiti.

Sounds like you've lived an interesting life. When did you first discover you were a writer?

When I was eleven years old, I had my first nudge to be a writer. I’d read a book that appealed to me, and I remember wishing that I could do for readers what that author had done for me. The desire to write (fiction, in particular) has never left me from that day to this.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

My favorite subjects are suspense (think, Mary Higgins Clark or John Grisham), historical fiction (think Patricia Veryan), Regency and Georgian periods. I also like all phases of United States History from Colonial America through World War II. I like light mysteries, too. I read very little non-fiction, except when I’m doing research.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve been a published author since 1984 when I published a non-fiction book (Today’s Women) with Standard Publishing, Cincinnati in July, and a launch title of Thomas Nelson’s Cherish romance series in August (A Change of Heart) The publication of Love Finds you in Valentine Nebraska, will mark my 46th book title in print. Only 4 of these were non-fiction.
I have no idea how many books I’ve written which haven’t been published.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

By putting first things first. My commitment as a follower of Christ is my first priority. I believe sincerely in His promise, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” I interpret “these things” to be my family, my writing and other secular pursuits that benefit others. I hold several offices in the local church and attend regularly. I also claim another promise, “My peace I leave with you.”

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I have books of baby names. I scroll through the telephone directory. I look on an internet site and find names that were popular in various periods of time. If I use names of people I know, then I’m very careful that the personality of that person I know doesn’t come through in my books.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Perhaps the publishing of my first inspirational romance. I’d been trying for 10 years to have a book published, and when I got the first copy of A CHANGE OF HEART out of the mailbox, it was an exciting experience I’ve never forgotten.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I’d like to be a dog. In general, they’re good natured. They have a wide capacity to love others. They always seem glad to see their owners when they come home. They’re dependable.

What is your favorite food?

I don’t have one favorite food, so I’ll mention a menu that I often prepare when guests come. I’m a “from scratch,” cook. Baked steak in gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, hot rolls, chocolate pie for dessert, and iced tea. I like all of those things.

I'd love to be a guest at a meal like that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I’m not an observant person by nature, and I’ve had to learn to take a lot of notes on people and places or I wouldn’t remember. I also notice descriptions in other people’s books

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

“Success isn’t given to the talented; it’s taken by those who struggle, sacrifice and reach for it.”
This isn’t original with me. I read it in a writers’ magazine years ago, and the slogan has been on the bulletin board in my office since then. I think of it often.

I've read Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska, and loved it. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

My contemporary book is Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska. It’s one of the easiest books I’ve ever written. Normally, the first draft of a book is very difficult for me, but it seemed as if the words formed in my mind as quickly as my hands would move on the computer keys. I personally believe that it’s one of my better books. I hope it will bring as much pleasure to my readers as I received in writing the book.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I also prepare a bi-monthly newsletter which can be accessed from my website.

Irene, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can order a copy of this book using this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.


Merry said...

Lovely interview! Please include me in the drawing for Love Finds You In Valentine, Nebraska.

Unknown said...

PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE ME IN THE CONTEST AS I ALREADY HAVE THE BOOK, BUT I just had to stop by and say how much I love this book and how much I loved your interview. I love how you come up with names for your characters. I hope you have a wonderful 2009!

Sandee61 said...

I also like the quote Irene gave, its inspiring for any up and coming author or whatever you want to do. I enjoyed the "quirky" answer she gave...I've also been up in that helicopter over Niagara Falls, and it was beautiful, but my girlfriend was scared stiff. She missed seeing it all because she kept her eyes closed the whole time!
I'd love to read Irene's sounds wonderful. Please enter my name in the giveaway.

Thanks, and Blessings to you,


Martha A. said...

I like cooking from scratch foods too!
Please enter me for the book!

Unknown said...

Please count me in!

squiresj said...

I want in - this will be my second attempt to win this book so I can write some good reviews for it. How do I know they will be good reviews? I've never read an Irene Brand book I did not like. In fact, I just introduced this Christmas my sister to your books - she's hooked.
So you like historical period books. Have you read Elizabeth white's newest Redeeming Gabriel - great read - a blessing for sure.
jrs362 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Delia Latham said...

I enjoyed this interview, and I love the inspirational quote Irene shared. I would love to read Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska!

delia at delialatham dot come

Kristi said...

This was a great interview - and I absolutely love the title of this book!

Please enter me in the drawing.

windycindy said...

I thoroughly had fun reading this interview. Please add my name to your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Valerie Hansen said...

I, too, already have LOVE FINDS YOU IN VALENTINE NEBRASKA and think it's wonderful! The person who does win it is fortunate, indeed. I think Irene and her husband also got caught in a storm while doing research for this book in NE. And, like many of you, I'd love to eat at her house!!!!

Valerie Hansen

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great book.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.


Carole said...

Irene, I'm very familiar with Standard Publishing through our church, so it's neat that you mentioned that publisher. I enjoyed the interview and would love to read "Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska." Thank you for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in :)

Thanks for the interview and the giveaway.

Marla said...

Looke like a good book. Please enter me in the drawing. thank you.

apple blossom said...

I have heard about this series of books. I'd love to win this book.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who has commented. It was a pleasure to write this book. It was one of the easiest books I've written--it seemed as if the characters wrote the books themselves.

Re: characters names.
I had originally named the hero GAGE, which I thought was such a "western" name, but the editors didn't think it would have been a popular name when my character was named 20 some years earlier. I gave them several choices of names, and they preferred Derek, which is okay, but I didn't like to give up GAGE. :)
Irene Brand

Anonymous said...

looks like a really great book. enjoyed the interview. please enter my name in the draw.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Carolynn said...

Sounds wonderful...Please enter me thanks!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

Ausjenny said...

Oh this sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the interview please enter me
ausjenny at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview! This sounds like a great book! Please enter me in the contest! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book!