Cover Reveal and Q&A with Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Speak

Nadine Brandes, a longtime friend of NAF, is revving up for the launch of the sequel to her fantastic debut novel A Time to Die. Book Two of the Out of Time series, A Time to Speak, will be coming out from Enclave Publishing this fall.

time to speakTell us about your family and home life.

My home life is very calm and pleasant. Hubby and I (no kids yet) live in a tiny town set in a small mountainous valley. I work most of the day at home either indoors or outdoors if the weather is nice. My husband is the administrator of a small Christian school that is across the field from our house, so he walks to work a lot and I get to see him for lunch. Doesn’t it all sound so picturesque? Ha! Sometimes I feel like we’re living out Little House on the Prairie!

What does a typical weekday look like?

I’ll wake up and make cheesy toast while doing my morning reading. Then I make a cup of tea and get to work, putting together that day’s to-do list. “Work” involves writing 1,000 words on my current manuscript and then working on editing projects. I’ll usually take a walk either in the morning or around lunch time. It’s stunning here, so walks are very inspiring. I usually post pictures from my walks on my Instagram.

What lifestyle changes did you make to give yourself time for writing?

I graduated with my Master’s degree in speech therapy and that’s about the time God told me to devote my time to writing. This was the hardest decision to make because I wasn’t a certified speech therapist yet—that would have taken another year of working in a clinical fellowship. After a lot of prayer, I turned down the opportunities to work as a speech therapist and said good-bye to that career. I’m thankful I have that knowledge and it’s come in very useful in many areas of my life, but I’m called to be a writer so I had to choose which path to take. I couldn’t have a foot on both.

Also, I love part-time jobs. I’ve worked as a barista, a gymnastics teacher, in a paint-your-own-pottery store and they’ve all been a blast. But as much as I enjoyed doing those things, I had to let them go as well.

What’s your writing routine? Do you have any rituals to help you get in the mood?

Writing routine is still a work in progress, but I’m getting better! I try to write 1,000 words before the afternoon. I am part of a chat room put together by some past Camp NaNoWriMo friends and we’ll word war a couple times a week. It really helps me meet my goal.

Other than that, I have my “writing space” in an inspiring guest-room-turned-writing-room and I’ll listen to a set writing playlist to get me in the story’s mood. I’ll let you know when I’ve figured out the magical ritual! [grin]

How was writing the second book in your series different from the first?

Worlds different. I spent three years fine-tuning the first and then had to crank out the second in eight months. I thought I’d die, but both my publisher and editor calmed me down and told me to take my time. While I still panicked, having never written to deadlines before, my editors did more of the fine tuning than I did. I felt like it’d be the worst book in the world (which is how I’m currently feeling about book three as I write it right now), but in the end other writing professionals walked me through my meltdowns. Thank goodness!

I wished more times than I can count that I’d written the first and second books before pitching A Time to Die. That would have made things a lot easier, but I suppose every author has to go through this process at some point.

Are you a plot-first or character-first writer?

I actually wrote a whole blog post on this. I think there are more options than just those two. I’m a question-first novelist. I think of the question (“What if everyone had a Clock showing them how long they had to live?”) and then write the story. That’s how almost all of my ideas have formed.

I have seen slackline pictures on Facebook. Is that just research, or…?

*laughs* I’m an adventurer. I call it research as an excuse to do something semi-dangerous. Actually, I’d written the tightrope scenes in A Time to Die before ever trying slacklining. Then, during a college-friend reunion, someone pulled out a slackline and hubby and I were addicted. We now have our own and I’ve been able to beef up those tightrope/slackline scenes in the book a lot from the experience.

I was on your launch team for A Time to Die, and it was great. What will you change for the launch of A Time to Speak?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. I think that the launch for book two will be a little less…crazy. I loved all the hype around book one and having a big launch, but I’m thinking of taking a softer route with book two. A smattering of really in-depth blog posts, a smaller blog tour, and probably a Facebook party. Still thinking this one through (can you tell?) 😉

Give us a brief spiritual biography. And how does your spiritual journey relate to Parvin’s?

I was Parvin’s age (17) when I got serious about my walk for Christ. Unlike Parvin, however, I was raised in a Christian home, so the set-up was a little different. But I wrestled with a lot of the same questions Parvin does and I wanted to capture that in her character because I figured a lot of people could relate to her struggles. Parvin’s inner journey is reflective of my own path as a young believer.

What are your future goals?

I’d like to write full time and surround my children with the beauty of story. As much as I love editing, I hope that will be more of a “side job” someday instead of my main one.

Any thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

Remember that life demands pursuit, and God’s given you the perfect amount of time with which to catch it. Be bringers of shalom!


author nadine brandesNadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released fall 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com or on Facebook.


About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

4 comments on “Cover Reveal and Q&A with Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Speak

  1. Love the new insight into your thoughts, Nadine.

    I totally get you with the deadlines, and feeling burned out and opting for a softer approach with book 2.

    I also hear you on making it a side job. With two kids 4 and under, I had to face reality that their lives were flying by while I wrote. As brain-wonderful as it is for me, they always have to come force.

    Enjoy it now while you can (and squeeze it in in smaller chunks later when you have to)!

  2. Loved getting this peek into your routine, Nadine. I’m always struggling in that regard. Super excited for book 2 and hope to participate in the hoopla!

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