All Lit Up: Do you have a book that you’ve gone back and read several times?
B.R. Myers: Many! I mostly like to flip through my favourites, looking for certain passages that I’ve underlined (yes, I’m one of those). I never tire reading from Alice Munro, Lisa Moore, or Sarah Waters. However, the one novel I’ve read front to back the most is Pride and Prejudice. Even after thirteen times the witty banter and effortless unbeknownst seduction between Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam (I bet you didn’t know Mr. Darcy’s first name, did you?) reads like a writing course on how to create romantic tension and tight, whimsical sequences.
ALU: What’s one book you always recommend?
BRM: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. It has everything. And if you don’t like it, I’m not sure we can ever have coffee together.
ALU: What are you working on now?
BRM: A young adult mystery wrapped in a gothic-style romance with a ghost thrown in for good measure. I describe it as Downton Abbey meets Edgar Allan Poe.
B.R.'s writing advice.
ALU: Why do you write?
BRM: I ask myself that every time I sit down in front of my laptop. But in all honesty, I think it’s the accomplishment that comes with finishing a chapter or a particularly tough sequence. And not much can compare to that moment when I find the thread that tightens all those loose scenes together, as if my brain knew what it was doing all along.
ALU: Do you ever have writer’s block? What did you do about it?
BRM: I’ve learned the best way to avoid writer’s block is to keep writing. I know this sounds flippant but it’s true. Here are some guidelines that have helped me:
Set a time limit rather than a word count: Who wants to sit down knowing they have to churn out two thousand words? I found it overwhelming and did everything I could think of (even laundry) to avoid writing. Then I decided to just work for small increments, starting with fifteen minutes. It was much less daunting and the easily reached satisfaction brought me back to the laptop each day. It was surprising how quickly the story grew.
Write Every Day: As I mentioned above, even a small amount of time devoted to writing yields results. I also discovered these quick writing sprints helped create a habit of writing daily.
Be Accountable: When you’re not writing under a deadline it’s easy to slack off because you don’t have to answer to anyone. However, I found when I posted my daily word count on Twitter, it created a responsibility that helped motivate me the next day.
ALU: What question do you wish someone would ask you about your book?
BRM: Where can I buy it?
ALU: What’s the toughest part about being a writer?
BRM: The paparazzi and nonstop glamour. A close third is the amount of waiting involved at each step of the process. Publishing moves at a glacier pace. I’m so impatient, once I finish a novel I can’t wait to share it; I’d rent a plane and write it in the sky if I could.
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About B.R. Myers:
This is how it happened.
My sister and I were on vacation in Charlottetown, PEI, overlooking the hay field with Lucy Maude Montgomery’s house in the distance. We’re both nurses and when nurses get together they talk about what they can do to earn a living other than being nurses.
That summer one of her daughters was reading Twilight. The movie was going to be released that autumn and the posters for the fourth book were everywhere. We were talking about it and my sister said, “That Stephanie Meyers must be so rich. You should write a book.”
I said, “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” I have always been a voracious reader, but I’d never written anything since high school. But her suggestion, no matter how casual, planted a seed, and I started thinking seriously about writing.
I’ll spare you the years of painful details of learning to write — I’m still learning, by the way — and the hundreds of rejections, but it has led to eight published novels (two romance titles under a penname) with nine and ten being released this fall.
I haven’t become rich like Stephanie Meyers or rich at all, really. In fact, I consider writing a hobby in the sense that I gladly give it my time and my money.
Beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, is where my husband and I make our home. It’s good to live by the ocean and it proves a constant inspiration. My teenagers have never read any of my books, which I totally understand, because who wants to read a kissing scene written by their mom?
My dog Oscar is my biggest fan and he always listens when I need to talk about a plot hole or a character who isn’t cooperating. He never misses an opportunity to snuggle beside me when I’m on my laptop. In fact, he’s at my side as I write this.
By the way, my sister and I are still nurses.
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