Monday, 2 January 2012

Brinda Berry's Whispering Woods

Today, I am delighted to be able to chat to Brinda whose bestselling YA Paranormal story, ‘The Waiting Booth’ (part one of the Whispering Woods series) is published by Etopia Press.
 If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a bit of background to the story:

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal...
Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High--find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...
 Catherine:  Welcome Brinda and congratulations on ‘The Waiting Booth’ which is, I believe, the first in a series called ‘Whispering Woods’. Can you tell us more about the story and why you decided to write a series?
Brinda: The Waiting Booth is really a YA adventure story with a side of romance. The main character, Mia, places a lot of importance on family and is determined to find out about her missing older brother. She’s also not a typical teen in that she’s hidden the fact that she’s a synesthete. Actually, what teen is typical? None! She has a condition that affects the way she senses our world and it’s a handy tool when it comes to portals. The Waiting Booth is the first in the series. If you look at my library, you’ll find that I love reading series. If I find a character and world I like, I’ll follow it to the end. 

Catherine:  What made you start writing and when did you begin?
Brinda: I think I’ve made up stories in my head for a very long time, but I wrote my first manuscript in my late twenties. After a disappointing round of query letters to agents and publishing houses, I put writing aside for many years. I started writing again a couple of years ago.

Catherine: You made a trailer for ‘The Waiting Booth’, which is excellent, by the way. How difficult was this to do? Do you need to be technically savvy?
Brinda: Let me first say that the final trailer was simple. I did create many other versions that were more difficult to produce. Maybe the learning experience was necessary to get to the end result.  I used online software called Animoto to produce the final one. The result seemed more professional to me. Others I tried using were Movie Maker, Splice, iMovie and Film Director. I believe I can make a trailer within an hour or less using Animoto. You don’t have to be technically savvy to use it. The most time consuming part is finding the right images to use. I purchased my images from Bigstock photo. I’ve used their site for years because the prices are reasonable. I think I paid $5 each for pictures. I also used some pictures I had taken. My niece is featured in the middle of the trailer.

Catherine: How do you work as a writer? Do you spend a long time plotting and planning, or are you more of a ‘pantser’?
Brinda: I am more of a plotter, but I believe you should be a panster during writing or your story may become stale. Let your muse have some privileges. I do plan out plotpoints and chapters.

Catherine:  Tell us more about ‘Whisper of Memory’ which is the second in the series.
Brinda:  I had a terrific time writing the second book, ‘Whisper of Memory’. In this book,  Mia knows that she has certain goals and she’s going for them. She’s also experiencing some new emotions with a boyfriend in the picture. It was fun to write about things like weapons training and winter formals—a deadly combination. 

Catherine: I’m looking forward to reading it. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get their story published?
Brinda: I think the best thing you can do is find a network of resources. You may be the best writer in the world, but you can always learn more about writing and the industry. I think the internet has opened up so much to new authors that no one has an excuse to be ignorant.

Catherine: Very true. Now, if you could be anyone at any time in history, who would you be and why?
Brinda: Would it be terribly vain if I said I like being me in this day and time? We have so much opportunity and good health. You’ve stumped me on this question, Catherine.

Catherine:  No problem, Brinda! Thank you very much for joining us today, Brinda. Where can we find out more about you and, crucially, where can we find your book? 

Here’s an excerpt to give you just a flavour of ‘The Waiting Booth’:
 Hi, Mr. Taylor. Mia here?” Austin entered without waiting to be invited in.
My dad stepped aside and looked up at me expectantly as I was taking the last few steps. I hoped that Austin wouldn’t breathe a word about what was on the pictures. I sure didn’t want my dad to be paranoid about leaving me alone during the week while he worked out of town.
“Dad, Austin’s helping me with my science project. Come on up.”
My dad had always liked Austin. If he ever found out that Austin had hit on me, that would change in a heartbeat. For crying out loud, I even thought about Austin like he was a brother. That he’d tried to kiss me sent the ick factor into the stratosphere.
We bounded up the stairs as quickly as possible without alerting my dad to some urgency in the air. I closed the door behind Austin and proceeded to move my computer mouse to bring the screen back in view.
Austin looked at the picture as he sat at my desk chair. “And this was the one at the end of your driveway?”
“Yeah,” I answered, hoping he would tell me he knew the guy, and he wasn’t some ax murderer roaming my woods.
“Pretty good pic,” Austin muttered. He clicked to zoom in on the face. “Still…it’s hard to make him out.”
“Do you recognize him or not?”
“Nope. Can’t say I know him. It’s not like I know everybody. It’s a big school. And he might not even be a college student. I can barely tell anything about the second person.” Austin clicked the forward and back buttons in the photo software program. “Why are they only in one frame?”
“I guess they’re really fast. I have the timer set to take a picture every six seconds after motion activation.”
He nodded. “Let’s go down and take a gander. Maybe they dropped something. Or maybe we can figure out why they were down there.”
Austin led the way out of my room while I covertly studied him. If I tried to forget that he was like a brother to me, I could see that he was good-looking. He was a little on the lanky side, and that made him look younger to most people. His dark hair always hung into his eyes, which made him seem a little derelict. His new sword tattoo covered about two inches of his right forearm. I had tried to talk him out of it, but he had grinned and said that I’d want one exactly like it.
He looked back at me as I stood there and smiled a I just caught you checking me out grin. I wasn’t really looking at him like that, but I felt myself blush and quickly found something else to focus on as I followed him out the door.
We left the house and took Austin’s car to the waiting booth. He drove an old black Jeep that was still minus the shell since the weather was warm enough. We jumped out to examine the area. On the same side of the drive as the wooden structure, saplings tangled with briars and brush as far as the eye could see. In the years before I was able to drive myself to school, my dad had kept the area fairly clean and bare with the aid of a tractor. Now, this area had become overgrown and weedy.
In the middle of the stalks of high grass, a circle of flattened brush marked where the people in the photo had been standing. “Holy cow, you’d really have to be dragging something heavy to make this dent in the ground.” I gasped, suspecting that the marks were new and the people in the photo had created them.
Austin walked around the flattened circle. “This is too weird. See how the grass swirls in a pattern? Maybe that dude had set something down here.”
“He wasn’t dragging anything in the picture. Maybe I need to look at it again.” I estimated the diameter of the circle to be about five feet across. I caught my breath as I felt a reverberating tickle pluck my spine like a tightly wound cello string. Avoiding the circle, I walked into the brush past it to see if I could find more evidence of the intruders. Nothing.
The weather had been fairly dry with no rain this month, but I bent to look for footprints. I started feeling silly, because even if I found footprints, I wouldn’t be able to tell anything from them. I shivered, trying to rid myself of the willies.


  1. Thank you for being my guest today Brinda!

  2. Thanks, Catherine. You have a lovely blog, and it's great to be here!

  3. Weapons training and winter formals, a deadly combo! LOL Great interview, Brinda and Cat. Thank you for sharing! : )

  4. Great interview Brinda and Catherine.I loved The Waiting Booth and I can't wait for Whisper of Memory – any release date as yet?

    Happy new year!

  5. Hi Tara and Jianne,
    It's so nice to have the support of fellow authors! You guys rock. :) Jianne- thanks for asking...Whisper of Memory has a tentative release date of March.

  6. Great interview! Your book sounds very interesting! :)

  7. Thanks everyone! Good luck with 'Whisper of Memory', Brinda.

  8. Lovely interview. Great title--it sounds really interesting.

  9. Hi Sheila, Thanks for reading. It's nice to meet you.