Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Southern-Style Meet & Greet with Brandilyn Collins Plus Giveaway!

A few weeks back, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting two of my favorite authors at a book signing--Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins.  Believe me, it was worth the 6 hour round trip because both of these ladies are superb writers, and truly at the top of their game in the suspense genre.  I decided to go out on a limb and see if they'd be interested in doing an interview here, and thank heavens, they both said yes.  :o) 

Up first this month is Brandilyn.  I never would've imagined such a sense of humor from someone who writes about boogeymen full-time!!  When you read our fun convo (not to mention that it's the first Southern-Style Meet & Greet that's been here in six months), you'll be able to picture Brandilyn sittin' right in front of you, talking over that glass of tea, and havin' yourself a passel full of laughs.  :o)

Oh, and as always, stay tuned to the very end for a book giveaway!


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Can’t say exactly. I grew up in a family of writers and wordsmiths. (Don’t challenge us in Scrabble. You’ll die.) Anyway, I do remember writing a story in third grade. Oh, wait! In second grade I won the prize for the best story in the classroom! I still remember the opening line: “Once there was a stallion named Betsy.”

I’ve been trying to write with as much eloquence ever since.

Then there’s an event from my teenage years. My friends swears it’s true, although I don’t remember it. We were coming out of church. She says to me, “That was a great sermon, huh.” I shrugged. “Wouldn’t know –I wasn’t listening. I was writing a story in my head.”

Maybe I should add that the pastor was my uncle. I don’t know if this makes my reaction better or worse.

What genre do you most like to write?

You’re asking me this question? Suspense, of course! My trademarked brand is Seatbelt Suspense®. My tagline is “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®  My brand comes with a four-point promise:  fast-paced, character-driven suspense, with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith.

Okay, so I knew the answer to that question, but there might be just one person that didn't.  So...ya know...none of us have a smidge of doubt now.  :o) 

What do you hope readers take away with them after they read one of your books?

First, I want them to have been on the edge of their seats and caught up in the suspense plot.  In other words, they must feel highly entertained. If they’re not entertained, they won’t even finish the book. Second, I want them to have learned something about life. To come away with a deeper spiritual understanding of whatever faith thread is woven into the story. The best novels don’t just entertain. They give us an aha moment.

But that moment—and the faith thread in general—has to arise naturally out of the plot and who the character is. That’s why I never sit down to write a “Christian” suspense. I set down to the most rollickin’ suspense I can, knowing that somewhere along the process, the faith element will naturally present itself. This is why my readers are both Christian and non-Christian. A lot of people simply want to read a “clean” suspense.

What is your latest book release?
Brandilyn with the real-life Cherrie Mae!
Gone to Ground released in March.  It’s a Southern-drenched suspense. The story in a nutshell: In small-town Mississippi, six murders have occurred. Now to their horror, three women of three different generations realize they know who the killer is—someone dear to them. Independently, not talking to anyone, each woman must make the terrifying decision to bring the man down. But each woman suspects a different man.

You absolutely have to watch the trailer for Gone to Ground!  It features the three voices of my protagonists: Cherrie Mae (black, age 62), Deena (white, 35), and Tully (white, 19).  There’s a great background story about my researching in Mississippi for the story.  I met a real-life Cherrie Mae, whose name was so perfect for my character I obtained her permission to use it.  And that real-life Cherrie Mae plays the part of my character in the book trailer. She’s wonderful!

Are you currently working on another novel, and if so, can you give us a snippet about it?

When am I not working on another novel? But the novel I’m writing now isn’t the next one to release. That one, Double Blind, comes out in October.  That story in a nutshell:  When severely depressed Lisa Newberry hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that can heal her, she knows it’s her last hope. But what if she receives only the placebo? What if something far worse goes wrong …?
(Hint—it’s a Brandilyn Collins Seatbelt Suspense® novel. You can bet some very bad things go wrong.)

Where can readers find you on the web?

You can read about all my books, including each one’s opening chapter, on my website. And if you’re not connected to me on Facebook—do you have any idea what you’re missing?  For one thing, you’re missing my Today’s Word.  Every day I give you an unusual word and its definition, inviting people to use it in a sentence. See how much smarter you could be? Talk about impressing your friends (and that snooty relative).  Plus you’re missing out on the deals on my books that I find on the web and pass on to readers. Third, you’re missing my unpredictable updates—maybe it’s creating a caption for Funny Foto, or a crazy event in my life (which seems to be full of them). (Recent update: “what does the death of some American Indians a couple 100 yrs. ago have to do with the sale of our home?” Pretty bizarre answer to that question.) So-come “like” me on Facebook!

Finally, I send out my Sneak Pique newsletter every other month (on even months) via email. Sneak Pique includes info about my books, plus info on the latest releases in Christian fiction. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Most people can recognize a Southerner by their accent.  Would I know what area of the country you’re from by yours?

Okay, here’s a story. I was born in India, raised in Kentucky since the age of 2. (Yeah, well, that’s another story.) Then I moved to California at twenty-one, toting my Kentucky accent. Until I made the mistake of using the word “britches” in a sentence. The woman I was talking to looked at me like I was an alien. She made me repeat the sentence three times. Then finally said, “Oh! You mean pants.” Right then and there I resolved to rid myself of my Kentucky accent. And I did. Except when I’m in Kentucky or anywhere south of there, I find myself picking it up real easily.

Yep, there are"words" that are native to us Southerners.  Don't go sayin' the word "holler," will be interpreted several different ways down here.  :o)

Wisteria Bed and Breakfast
What is your most favorite thing about the South? 
I love the people! I love the culture! I’ve been to Mississippi three times for Gone to Ground, and every time have just loved the total atmosphere of the place.

By the way, when I go to Mississippi I love to stay in Wisteria Bed and Breakfast in Laurel. Lovely setting and genteel Southern owners.

Iced Tea—sweet or un-sweet?

There’s such a thing as un-sweet tea?

You're a woman after my own heart, Brandilyn!

Gulf Coast beaches or the mountains of East Tennessee?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. So much beauty in both. The beach. No, the mountains. No, the beach…

Ask me again tomorrow.

Dolly Parton or Elvis Presley?

Elvis, baby!

Beignets in New Orleans or BBQ in Memphis?

Oh, have mercy? How to answer this one? I’d say … beignets in the morning (with a latte), followed by a bbq dinner at night.

(What do you mean, I’m cheating? This is my interview, ain’t it?)

(I didn't say a word, but I guess we can allow some cheating around here.  Be good, though.)  :o)

You, you all, or y’all? 

Even in chic California, y’all is simply the best.


Brandilyn, thank you so much for being my guest this week!  I've said it before and I'll say it again...if no one else had a great time today, I know I did!  :o)

And just like I promised, there is a giveaway this week for Brandilyn's newest book, Gone to Ground.  Simply complete the form below with your full name, mailing addy, and email addy, and your name will be entered to win a copy!  Be sure to complete your entry before Tuesday, May 15th, 11:59 CST, if you want it to count.  :o)  Giveaway is limited to US residents only, and void where prohibited.  Odds of winning are based upon number of entrants.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged books.

And if you'd like to leave a comment for Brandilyn, scroll down just a little further past the giveaway form to the comment section, and talk 'til your heart's content.  :o)  I know she'd love to hear from you!



  1. Woo-hoo! I'm the first to comment!??!!

    What a great interview! SOOO glad Brandilyn chatted with you - you both gave us readers a glimpse into a delightful conversation. Can't wait to read this book!

    1. Thanks for coming by, Becky, and for commenting! Have you read any of Brandilyn's other books?

  2. What fun! I had to go and buy this book and it's on my TBR mountain, can't wait to get to it! :D Brandilyn is so funny! She makes a fantastic MC at ACFW, makes you feel right at home with her special brand of humor.

    1. It's on the TBR mountain in my Kindle, and I hope I can get to read it VERY soon! Her books are always fast reads. :o)

      And I agree about her sense of humor...special indeed!

    2. Casey, thanks for your kind words about my emceeing. Hope you enjoy Gone to Ground.

  3. I love suspense novels and as a young adult I tried several secular suspense fiction but quit them all due to language and sex. I had read everything my library had from Blackstock and Dekker but wanted more. I was very excited to discover both Brandilyn Collins and Colleen Coble right around the same time. I have read everything I can get my hands on of those two. Very excited about this new release!

    1. Sara, I know what you mean about the secular fiction. I can't stomach the bad language and such, either. I've always recommended Brandilyn and Terri to fans of suspense, and now that I'm reading it a little more frequently, I can also add Irene Hannon and Mindy Starns Clark as two more who can really crank out some great reads!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Sara, so glad you're enjoying my books. And the other authors you mentioned are all my pals--glad you enjoy them also.

  4. Lovely woman. Always with that sparkle in her eye looking for the next opportunity to pull a prank. Looking forward to this one.

    1. Nicole,

      I didn't know she even had it in her until I met her, and then, more so after this little chat. One thing that wasn't posted here was a pic of her and each other! She sent it over to me, and I wish I could've included's funny as all-get-out! I think it's up on her Facebook page, though. You'll know it when you see it!

    2. Prank? Who? Where? I'm on my way...

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  6. southern-drenched suspense!! sounds great!!

    1. I know!! Don't you just LOVE that description?!

    2. Hope you read Gone to Ground and love it, Carrie!

  7. What a fun interview!!! Really enjoy Brandilyn's books.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Brenda! You're in great company here with all her other fans. :o)

  8. Enjoyed reading the interview. Wish I knew when Brandilyn visits Laurel, MS - that's where I live! How cool is that! And yes, I know the Bed and Breadfast she's talking about. Now I've got to read her book!


    1. Patsy, so sorry I've missed you while in Laurel. How interesting that you live there!

  9. Loved the interview. I would love her book for our church library. We have several of her books already. I loved the comment about not hearing the sermon, because she was writing a book! She sounds like a fun person.


I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)