Readers, I’ve known Brandilyn for a long time, and her books automatically go to the top of my to-be-read pile as soon as I acquire them. You won’t want to miss any of them.
Welcome back, Brandilyn. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
Every July, I host an authors retreat in my home. We call it our “Plot, Pray, and Play” retreat. There are eleven of us in total. We have been meeting in my home since 2003. The ten wonderful gals who come are: Robin Lee Hatcher, Gayle deSalles, Sharon Dunn, Tricia Goyer, Tamera Alexander, Francine Rivers, Janet Ulbright, Sandy Sheppard, Karen Ball, and Sunni Jeffers. We’re together from Thursday dinner to Monday morning. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we meet in 75-minute sessions. Each author gets a session in which she can present a book premise. Then the rest of us suggest ideas to help flesh out the plot and characters. Due to the story’s complexity, I presented Vain Empires to this group two years in a row. The novel would not be what it is without some of the ideas that arose from those sessions.
I’ve just enjoyed the pictures on Facebook from this year’s retreat. If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
Next up is the ACFW Conference in
Nashville, in August. I am so blessed to
serve as emcee and prayer room coordinator for this incredible conference.
And I’m sad to miss it again this year. At least, it’ll be close to me next year. If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
I can’t imagine moving away from our “paradise” home in north
We’re in the forest and at the lake, with incredible views and wildlife
crossing our property every day. All the glories of nature here remind me daily
of God’s creativity and love for this planet. That said, if I had to move, I’d
go not to a place in itself, but toward family. So perhaps Kentucky, where I grew up and a lot of my
family still lives.
If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
Writing fiction is a long, hard journey, whether you’re on the “pre” or “post” side of publishing. I find it gets harder, not easier. Make sure you love it. Make sure it’s where God wants you. Then pray your way through every day.
That’s so true, and you gave excellent advice. You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
I’d have singers! I so love music and find it the best way to worship. So I’d have groups like MercyMe and Casting Crowns. Plus gospel groups. LOVE gospel music! I’d also have some classic rock groups, like
Music is a worship language for me, too. James and I are blessed that God is using us in other ways at a church that has a tremendous worship ministry with lots of songwriters who write music that is used around the world. I worship in paradise. Tell us about the featured book.
Vain Empires lies within my Seatbelt Suspense® brand—fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. However, it’s different from my other Seatbelt Suspense® novels. Instead of one main character, there are six. Chapters move from one character’s viewpoint to another. Also, Vain Empires is what I call a “thinking readers” novel. There’s a lot of surface plot, to be sure. And the twists—which readers are loving—go right to the end of the book. But there is just as much going on underneath the plot—in theme and symbolism. This novel ultimately is a story about judgment. What would a world look like that was only full of judgment and offered none of God’s mercy? How would the introduction of God’s mercy into such a world change the people—if they are willing to accept it? What can we learn about ourselves in looking at such a world?
Vain Empires is being highly reviewed on Amazon. Here are two example quotes:
“I read this book in one day. Now I'm thinking about reading it right away again. A first for me. It's that unique and engaging and well-written and thought-provoking.”
“The story was riveting and kept me guessing up to the end. It challenges the reader, too, to think about the ripple effect our actions cause in other's lives.”
Vain Empires back cover copy:
They were stuck on this remote island, all of them.
Trapped in this show.
No way to stop whatever came next.
No way at all.
Six people arrive on a remote island—contestants in the “reality show of the century,” Dream Prize. The winner will be the person who learns the most facts about the others and gains the most viewer votes. Sounds simple. But the three men and three women soon discover nothing is as expected.
They are alone on the island. Cameras surround them, filming twenty-four hours a day. And their challenge? Discover which of the Seven Deadly Sins each contestant, including themselves, represents.
Turns out each person has a damning secret—one that could ruin his or her life. Those secrets are about to be revealed on live television.
And this is only the beginning of the twists in the game.
Multilayered in plot and rich with meaning, Vain Empires is a strong choice for book clubs. Discussion questions included.
Vain Empires sells for $4.99 in ebook from all online retailers, and $14.99 in paper from Amazon. Go to the home page on my website for all order links: www.brandilyncollins.com.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The Prologue is exactly one page:
THE stage stood ready. Waiting for victims.
Sickly light from a bare overhead bulb filtered through the underground room, revealing floor and walls of concrete blocks. Four gray metal folding chairs. A square table in the center, supporting a small computer screen. In one corner of the room sat a half-sized refrigerator, holding bottled water and food. It emitted a low hum. In the opposite corner was a narrow door leading to a tiny bathroom. The toilet flushed. The sink had running water.
A nice touch. The Dream Prize producer smiled.
Fresh air pumped into the room through a vent in the ceiling.
On the front wall was a thick wooden door. A certain button pushed would open and close its digital lock. Beyond the door rose eighteen stairs, also dimly lit. They led to a second heavy door, this at ground level. Its lock—controlled by a similar button.
In time, as one grew accustomed to the bunker’s low light, the round outline of an area cut high in the back wall would become visible. The hole was about three inches in diameter. What lay behind it was almost invisible yet deadly to the dreams of those trapped inside.
Sinners, they were, intent on hatching their vain empires. Sinners, all.
I’m eager to read this book. Where can we find you on the Internet?
You can read more about me, and the opening chapters of all my novels on my website, www.brandilyncollins.com. On Facebook I’m at www.facebook.com/brandilyncollinsseatbeltsuspense.
Thank you, Brandilyn, for sharing this new book with us. It sounds amazing. I know my readers will be as eager as I am to read it.
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