Writer Wednesday – Brenda Pandos

In August, I hosted the awesome and lovely Brenda Pandos for her EVERBLUE tour. Today, I have the honor of welcoming her back for my first Writer Wednesday post. Every Wednesday, I’ll be featuring a writer, hopefully introducing you to some new authors and books that I know you’ll love.

Brenda allowed me to interview her, but first, a little about her:

Brenda Pandos is mommy/computer whisperer by day and writer by night who lives in California with her husband and two energetic children. Shortly after the birth of her second son, Brenda’s oldest was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder that turned her world upside-down. Her life became round the clock feedings with a newborn and a daily stream of tutors working to help her son. She craved a meaningful escape.
The main concepts of THE TALISMAN SERIES came to her in the wee hours of the morning as she reminisced the good old days when she lived with her best friend in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As a young girl, Brenda was a hopeless romantic, constantly lost in a fantasy world in her backyard of knights on white horses, mermaids and evil villains. As a teen, shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Interview with a Vampire intrigued her. With the encouragement of a friend after writing one chapter, she continued on to complete her first manuscript.
Brenda has three novels published and is currently working on the third book in the series, The Onyx Talisman. You can follow her journey at http://brendapandos.blogspot.com
And about her most recent release, EVERBLUE: 
Best friends share everything with each other. Or do they? Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Frances Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Spending time with her best friend Tatiana, dreaming about kissing Tatiana’s twin brother Fin, and swimming competitively are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college. But when Tatchi fails to return home after a family emergency, and no one knows where the family has gone, Ash chooses to do something drastic to find them. 

Ashlyn is about to discover what she’d thought to be true her whole life, wasn’t, and the truth, too fantastical to imagine. Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, secrets that will change Ashlyn’s life forever.

Now onto our interview!

KC: Tell us about you in 10 words.

BP: Fun-loving wife, mother, kamikaze writer, computer whisperer, chocolate addict.
KC: “Computer whisperer” – I love that! Now, if you tweeted about your latest release, what would it say (140 characters or less)?

BP: She wanted her life to change. He wanted everything to stay the same. Get lost in #Everblue where secrets lurk in Lake Tahoe. #tessielives
(This was hard.)
KC: And you did that tweet perfectly! Did you go tweet it yet? I would have! LOL Okay, if you could spend the day with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

BP: I’d spend the evening with Phil [from The Talisman Series] and have him fly me around so I could see all the places I’ve never been from a bird’s eye view, like the Eiffel tower, the Parthenon, the Pyramids, Coliseum in Rome, the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, Leaning Tower of Pisa … I don’t think we could see everything in one night, but it would be a great excuse to be cradled in his arms … oh, I didn’t actually admit that, did I?
KC: Hahaha! Um, yeah, you did. But that’s okay. We’re all good at keeping secrets here. Right, lovely readers? Now onto more about you as a writer. What’s your favorite part?

BP: Sharing the joys, sorrows, and journeys of my characters with my readers where they care and can imagine them into reality as I have, and interacting in such a great community of authors. I had no clue how cool all of this would be and have made some wonderful friends in the process (like you, Kristie).
KC: Aw, thanks! And I certainly agree. So, what’s the hardest part of being a writer?

BP: Piracy and mean reviews. I don’t expect everyone to like my story, but there’s a difference between an objective review and someone taking the liberty to berate me as a writer. I do take note the general consensus of lower starred reviews and work to improve issues they’ve brought up as a whole, but just being plain mean and condescending isn’t cool. I have to stop, read between the lines, and take a glimpse into the heart and soul of the person to truly understand where they are coming from. Only then can I let the comments roll off my back because usually, I’m not the only one they’ve ripped apart. Piracy, though, makes my blood boil. How people can completely disregard the copyrights of an author and freely share e-books is beyond me. I’ve even read the excuse “You shouldn’t get paid to write because it’s something fun for you.” or “The copyright law is outdated and should accommodate the internet.” It’s not that I’m a stingy person and don’t share, I do. I rarely turn down reviewers and give away free copies all the time. It’s just that these “sharing” sites are doing it against my wishes, against my copyright and completely disrespecting hundreds of authors in the process. And it’s very much illegal. Hopefully, like Napster, someone will be criminally prosecuted for this type of piracy and the laws will hold the site holders liable because if something doesn’t change, it’s going to destroy the business and make it even harder for authors to “make it”, like it has to the music business.
KC: Amen! They’re not only disrespecting authors, but also readers who have obtained their copies legitimately. It comes down to the fact that sharing a file is not their decision to make, regardless of all their justifications. Oops. Sorry. We’re both so fired up about piracy, we could go on endless rants. But back to the interview. What do you wish you would have known before you became a writer?

BP: How much I love it and how I’m actually pretty good at it. I would have taken classes to strengthen my knowledge on the craft of writing and I would have written so much more in my free time. I had SO much time before I had kids. Why, oh, why didn’t I tap into that way back when???
KC: Haha! Yes, I know what you mean. Now let’s talk about your publishing journey. What made you decide to go indie?

BP: A combination of success from ABNA [Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award] and author Abra Ebner. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would buy my vampire novel and I had just enough knowledge and tenacity to be dangerous. Abra held my hand in the beginning, God brought more people into my life to help me out, like Kristie, and the rest became history.
KC: Thank God for the people He brings to us! What would we do without each other? I don’t even want to think about it. So what do you like most about being indie?

BP: Freedom to decide when and what’s published, immediate rewards, 100% of the profit, and control over the cost of my novels.
KC: Oh yeah! Exactly. If a writer came to you asking advice about going indie, what’s the most important thing you would tell them?

BP: There are no guarantees. If your story has been polished under the scrutiny of a crit partner (who’s good), beta readers (who will tell you the truth), edited and proofed sparkling clean (which even mine aren’t totally), and you’ve got a eye-catching cover and are ready to put in the time needed to promote your stuff, willing to give away lots of free copies, and price your ebook under $2.99, then I say go for it. If you want to try landing an agent first or pitch to publishers yourself, then by all means go that route too. Just give it a timeline and don’t stop writing. Typically authors don’t “make it” from one book. And in the indie world, lots of books are what draw fans. Your focus can’t be about the money. It’s about getting your book into as many hands as possible. Just know though, if it’s not ready for the public, reviewers will not be as kind as your friend, which will put a stumbling block in the road on your way to success.
KC: Excellent advice! What’s the last book you read and what’s next?

BP: Read in entirety? That’s a good question. I start so many books. The last one I finished was a craft book, Painless Grammar. For fun, I’d say Shiver. Now (I’m embarrassed to say) I’m in the middle of Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby, Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire, How I sold 200,000 e-books by HP Mallory, my own books: The Emerald Talisman and The Sapphire Talisman for help with wrapping up the loose ends, and Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb and a few more I can’t remember. I just don’t have time to read all that I want, seriously.
KC: Oh, I get it. I think all my readers do, too. Is there a book or author you can read over and over again?

BP: Chantain’s Guardian (Annuals of Lystra) by Robin Hardy. I love that entire series and have since I was a teen. It’s romantic and sweet. Also, Harry Potter series. It’s just so brilliantly written.
KC: I’ll have to check out Hardy’s books and I agree on HP. Writers need to read them many times because there is so much to learn. Okay, one more question. Ebooks or Dead Tree Books? Why?

BP: My success has been in e-books, so it gets my vote (and cheap books as a buyer can’t be beat). But for those of you who love real books, I’ve got those too and I can’t express the excitement of tearing into the box of brand new books and holding the finished product in my hands. It’s so awesome!
KC: Oops! One important one. Where can we connect with you?
BP: Facebook: Brenda Pandos – Author
Twitter: @brendapandos
Blog: brendapandos.blogspot.com
Become a street team member and get in on cool contests, info of new releases, chapters not released yet, and fun stuff. Link is on my blog at http://brendapandos.blogspot.com
Thank you so much, Brenda, for spending time with us today! Lovely readers, if you haven’t checked out Brenda’s books yet, you ought to. I fell in love with EVERBLUE immediately and I think you will, too.

Have questions for Brenda? Go ahead and ask!

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