Joanne Brothwell, author of Stealing Breath (and its prequel Vicarious), currently resides in Saskatchewan, Canada – though you can also find her on Twitter at @JoanneBrothwell. We were fortunate enough to get an interview with her to ask a few important questions – such as details on a sequel! Check out our interview with her below, and check out our review of her book Stealing Breath here.
First of all, this story is pretty unique to what I have read before. How did you come up with the idea – and how much research did you have to do?
“One of my friends, an Indigenous Canadian, told me a story of a time she was on a road trip in the US. It was the middle of the night and she was growing too tired to continue driving, so she pulled her car over to the side of the road, somewhere in Arizona near the “four corners” (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). She planned to have a nap, but was startled awake when her car started rocking as if someone was jumping on her car, their mocking laughter outside sending shivers up her back. Quite abruptly it stopped, and when she spoke to some of her Navajo relatives later, they said these tricksters were Skinwalkers, people who practiced “Bad Medicine” and could perform astral-projection!
How does Skinwalkers tie in with Indigo Children? About four years ago I had this story idea of a spiritually evolved human, based on the New Age concept of the “Indigo Child”. This person would be spiritually closer to God, with psychic abilities and a purple/blue aura. This concept came long before the Skinwalker story. But after the Skinwalker story, I began to think— if Skinwalkers can walk outside of their skin, can they walk inside the skin of another? If yes, can they steal the souls of their victims? If they can steal souls, wouldn’t they want a special purple/blue one that’s closer to God?
In terms of research, I did have to do a fair bit of research, and I read several harrowing accounts of people’s experiences with Skinwalkers. I did change the lore a bit, because they’re technically shapeshifters, but I’m tired of shifters, so I took that part out. I think they’re cooler just being able to absorb into people’s skin!”
Is Stealing Breath your first published book – and can you tell us what that process was like for you?
“Stealing Breath is my first published book. It was a long process, from the first draft written three years ago, to now. I went through a green phase where I started querying before it was ready and got tons of rejections. Fortunately, I just kept revising, and eventually got the offer. My book was published three years – to the day – from when I started writing it!”
Have you always intended to be a writer?
“Sort of. I wrote my dad’s memoir about ten years ago, and started several children’s books that I never finished. I always wanted to be a novelist but just didn’t have the dedication that I have now.”
Is there a sequel in the works for Stealing Breath – and if so, is there a date for publication yet?
“Yes, there is a sequel called Silencing Breath, and it is in the final stage of editing before going in for formatting. No specific date has been set yet, but I have heard from my editor it will be some time in 2013.”
Any plans for making it a series?
“Yes – there will definitely be three books. The third one is already ¼ finished. I could easily continue; I’ve already got about a five different storylines floating around in my head. I’ll see how it goes with the first three before I continue on.”
Which character or scene was the most difficult to write?
“I was writing the dialogue for a few Native American characters who were living on an isolated reservation. It was hard for me to make the dialogue authentic sounding. I gave it to an Indigenous friend of mine, and was relieved when she said: ‘You must have been Indigenous in a previous life!’”
Now I have a few questions for us to get to know you. I’m going to give you two options, and I want you to tell me which you would choose.
Beach or Mountains.
“Beach. I love basking in the sun!”
Cats or Dogs.
Kitties – I love how soft they are, and how they can be so independent. On the other hand, I do enjoy being absolutely revered by my dog, who watches my every move because he loves me so much!
Wine or Beer.
“Coffee! I don’t drink alcohol.”
Friday Night or Saturday Morning.
“Saturday morning. Friday nights I’m in bed, but Saturday is time for FUN!”
Chocolate or Vanilla.
“Chocolate. I’m a total chocoholic!”
Spring or Fall.
“Spring. I just love it when the season is changing to warm weather. It is so cold where I live that I’m always absolutely giddy to finally see the brown dirt revealed after being hidden by snow for six months!”
Great answers! What is your favorite TV show right now?
“Right now it’s the Vampire Diaries. I love Damon. And Stefan. And Klaus. And Jeremy. And…”
Who was your favorite author growing up?
“I loved Stephen King. I read the Dark Tower books compulsively when I was about sixteen. Unfortunately, I hated the way the middle one ended and I swore I wasn’t going to read the final one once it was finished. And I didn’t – although I’m still really curious how it ends!”
What is something people are surprised to learn about you?
“People are often surprised to hear me swear.”
I know that you have a promotion coming up for those who have yet to purchase your book. For my last question, could you please explain it for our readers who would like to participate?
“Yes, I do have a big promotion coming up! I’ve set a crazy-ambitious goal for myself and my book, Stealing Breath. On August 2nd, the full moon, I want to reach the #1 Amazon.com Bestseller, and I’m hoping people will help me out. I’m hoping on August 2nd, people will consider purchasing Stealing Breath ($7.99 Kindle, $14.99 Paperback) and, in thanks, I’m giving away the following freebies to everyone who purchases it:
E-book of the prequel novella Vicarious (published by Crescent Moon Press), Skinwalker Lore (explanation of the Navajo legends), The Indigo Children (a guidebook to the New Age concept, including a self-quiz), and Malandanti Incantations from the Key of Solomon (a Malandanti spellbook).
These freebies will be immediately sent when people order my book (send me a receipt through my Contact Form and I’ll send the files). So, you’ll have an opportunity to read my book (which people are raving about), you get four free reads, my book goes to #1 on Amazon, and hey – a side benefit – an indie author is put on the map for a change!”