Historical hollywood romances - and more
One of our favorite genres here at Two Birds is romance. And when we meet an author of historical Hollywood romances who really knows her stuff, we’re thrilled! Brianne’s stories are rooted in her knowledge of filmmaking, as well as an appreciation for zippy, sassy dialogue that would have made Kate Hepburn proud. Brianne joined us to talk about herself and her books, and here’s what she had to share.
Tell us a little about yourself — a brief bio, if you will.
I’m not only a romance author, but also a costume designer and theatre educator. I’m a lifetime lover of classic films too, especially the screwball comedies of the ‘30s and ‘40s, which I have absolutely channeled into my storytelling. Over the years, I’ve done a bit of playwriting and contributed to a few online publications centering on the art and craft of costume design, but my focus lately has been on fiction/romance.
What led you to start writing fiction? How did you end up choosing the romance genre?
I had a particular story kicking around in my head for years, and always thought I’d turn it into a play or even maybe a screenplay. But one day I realized, maybe it’d be better off as a novel. Of course, that idea got shelved when the idea for my first book, Difficult, popped into my head, almost fully-formed, and then my series was born!
And I came to romance as a reader first—I’ve always loved the genre and it was a completely natural fit. I love reading, and writing, about people finding love and hope.
What’s your most recent published book about?
Single Indemnity just released in May, and is the second book in my Phoenix Pictures series, set in 1940s Hollywood. It centers around costume designer Natalie “Nate” Reynolds, who is keeping a whopper of a secret from almost everyone in her life—her “husband” is entirely imaginary. When she meets British screenwriter Colin Canfield, and they start to fall hard for each other, her charade begins to unravel pretty spectacularly. And lots of screwball comedy-inspired shenanigans ensue!
What has been the most challenging part of being an indie author?
The responsibility for every aspect of publishing can be pretty daunting at times, especially when it comes to marketing. I always need to remind myself to set aside time for not just writing, but everything else that comes with it. But at the same time, it’s also really nice to be the one who gets to make the final decision on everything.
What has been the most fulfilling part of being an author?
Sharing my books, while a bit scary, has been mostly exciting. I absolutely love hearing from people who are connecting with and falling for my characters!
Tell us about your process. Do you write every day? Where do you write?
I don’t necessarily write every day, in part because it’s not my only job, but also because sometimes my mind needs to step back and let things sit.
But I do have a nice setup in a corner of my bedroom where I work, with my mint green desk and a pink desk chair that’s both comfy and cute! And it’s next to a bookshelf that houses both my own books and some of my favorite authors, that I can look over at for inspiration.
Do you have a favorite review, and if so, what do you love about it?
One of my critique partners once told me my dialogue sounded right out of a classic movie, while simultaneously being too racy for a code-era film, and that was honestly one of the best compliments I have ever gotten!
What tips do you have for other authors working on their books?
Critique partners are super helpful. I know sometimes it’s tricky to find the right ones, and I’ve been serendipitously lucky with my group. But finding a few people you trust to read your work and give you honest feedback, both positive and critical, has been one of the best things for me, as well as getting to read their work and not exist in a solitary bubble. Having that support for not just the writing itself, but also everything about the writing/publishing journey is great.
What was it like working with Two Birds?
I’ve loved working with Michele! Her editing feedback has for sure made me a stronger writer, and given me things to look out for as I continue with my works-in-progress. And all her encouragement and support has been so helpful too.
How did you end up choosing to work with us? What is the most helpful tip you can offer to authors who, like you, want to find the right editor for their books?
I found Michele and Andrea through a referral from another author, and I’m so glad I did! One thing I’d definitely recommend to authors looking for an editor is getting a work sample if the editors offer it. It’s a great way to see if your styles match up, and it gave me a sense of how much push I really needed.
Where can authors and readers connect with you, and find your books?
I’m on Twitter and Instagram a lot, @BooksbyBrianne in both places. And a full list of all my books and where to find them can be found on my website, www.briannegillen.com. You can also sign up for my newsletter updates here.