I’m so excited! I have a little hero-worship thing going on because one of my new favorite authors is a guest today, so you’re going to have to excuse me if I get a little loopy, ok?
So, as you all know by now, I recently read a book called Rhythm in Blue by tfc Parks, and fell completely in love with it, vowing to read more of this author’s work. Well, shortly after I posted my review of said book on this blog and on Goodreads, I was contacted by the author and we struck up a budding friendship. Parks, who is actually better known for her wonderful string of erotic short stories written under the name Brandie Buckwine, agreed to spend some time chatting with me today. And did I mention, I’m really excited about it?! Ok, here we go…
LC: Welcome, Brandie! And thank you so much for joining me today.
BB: Thanks for having me, Lashell!
LC: So, tell me, how long have you been writing?
BB: This is a tricky question. For me, writing is all about the stories you build in your head. I started building those as a young child. Even then, they were romances – most involving my slightly older self and Ringo Starr (I always go for the underdog). I wrote a few short stories in grade school, but didn’t actually start writing these stories down until about five years ago.
LC: And were you one of those people who always knew you wanted to be an author?
BB: No. I actually fought it for a long time. It sounded like a lot of work. My dad is a writer and I grew up around writers, so it was definitely something I didn’t want to be. Over the years, I’ve had a number of people tell me I should write, but I always blew them off. A lengthy bout of unemployment and boredom, as well as a sudden burst of inspiration, made me cave.
LC: Did you always know you wanted to write erotica?
BB: Erotica wasn’t even within my frame of reference. After I finished my first novel and submitted it to my agent, I just sort of sat back and waited for fame and fortune. During that time, I stumbled across a site that published naughty books. I read a sample and was astounded, bought it, and couldn’t get through it or buy the next one quickly enough. My inflated ego (after all, fame and fortune were just around the corner) thought most of the stories I read weren’t all that well written, and it became a challenge for me to prove I could do better.
Since many most all of the stories I thought up were ultimately very naughty and I’d resigned myself to the notion I’d have to clean them up if I wanted to write them, erotica (once I discovered it) seemed a perfect fit. I just needed to find the balls to actually put them on paper.
LC: Your erotic short stories are so much fun to read. Wildly entertaining is the phrase that comes to mind! I’ve read several of them and I think my favorite, so far, is The Sturgis Diaries, only because my husband rides a Harley and we’ve always talked about going to Sturgis. But have you ever thought about writing a full length erotic novel?
BB: I have. All of the stories I write as Brandie end up pretty short, but I’m trying to find the patience and gumption to write something full length. I’m working on a book now called In Trance that will be my longest Brandie Buckwine story. I’m not sure how long it will end up being, but I’m hoping to make it a full length novel. I guess we’ll see where the story ends.
LC: Can you tell us a little about In Trance?
BB: In Trance is about a woman who moves in with three guys — friends from her college days — because she needs to cut expenses. Back in school, she had an unrequited love for her new roommate, Nico, but swears she’s moved beyond it when she agrees to live with him. When she moves in with the guys, they discover she’s a sleepwalker who moves furniture and strips in the wee hours. They figure her sleepwalking is harmless, until Nico finds himself in an unexpected but passionate relationship with Vera — one she’s not aware of.
I’m loving this story and I’m so excited about it. I just wish life wasn’t so chaotic right now so I had more time to work on it.
LC: Well, it sounds like an awesome storyline and I can’t wait to read it! But you have written a full novel before under the name tfc Parks. Rhythm in Blue is a truly wonderful story that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through one rock star’s life, and his journey to true love. Can we talk about that book for a moment? Where did the inspiration for that story come from?
BB: When I create a story (technical term – daydream), most go through fifteen or more incarnations. Over the last ten years or so, I’d considered writing one of them, but they all seemed so personal, and I didn’t know if I could come up with something that others would find interesting. The idea for Rhythm In Blue went through just as many, if not more, versions. When I hit upon the current version, I knew I finally had a story I wanted to write. But that doesn’t answer the question, now, does it?
I cycle through heroes over time. Some I take from real life, and some I take from the media. Rick I found watching The Last Waltz. As soon as I saw the movie, I knew Rick Danko was hero material. I learned all I could about him and The Band, and decided to use him as my jumping off point. Now, Rick Rowland, my MC in Rhythm In Blue, is very different from the real Rick, but he’s where I started. You can give me crap for not changing his name – I intended to. The plan was to use the name Rick as a placeholder until I came up with something better, but as the story developed, the character was so strong as Rick, I couldn’t make myself change his name.
LC: I love the fact that Rick Danko was your starting point for Rick Rowland! And Rhythm in Blue is actually the first of your books that I ever read. So, now that I know the inspiration for that story came from The Last Waltz and The Band – and having just finished your story Fighting Faith, which centers around another fictional rock band – I’m guessing that you’re probably as big a music fan as I am. Do you have a special affinity for writing about musicians?
BB: I do indeed. In fact, 90% of the stories I think up involve musicians. It’s almost a challenge to come up with something without a rock and roll backdrop. If I had known how popular rock star books were going to become, maybe I would have written more titles about the scene instead of trying to get away from it.
When I was in kindergarten, I had this little plastic, orange and white record player, and I’d alternate between listening to Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf, and the White Album. As I mentioned, Ringo Starr was my first romantic hero, but over the years, many musicians followed in his footsteps, depending on what I was listening to at the time.
LC: Now, if I understand correctly, Rhythm in Blue is actually the first thing you ever published, and then you began writing erotica under the name Brandie Buckwine. But you just recently re-released Rhythm in Blue again, is that right?
BB: Yes, I did rerelease it. I felt the writing was weak in the earlier version and there were parts that dragged, so I tried to tighten it up. The story underwent a major change as well (major in my mind, anyway). In the earlier version, Shelby remains fifteen during her friendship with Rick, and he is a few years older. I caved to my mother’s insistence I make Shelby older so it didn’t seem as creepy. That is a choice I will likely always second guess.
LC: So the original version was probably much more taboo then. Are you second guessing because you feel as though you compromised your art in order to make the story more reader friendly?
BB: Yes. It’s crazy, really. Just the matter of a birth date. I had a few people react strongly to Shelby’s age, and a few more who said it didn’t completely turn them off, but they couldn’t get over the creep factor. As I was writing the book, my mother begged me to make her sixteen, but I felt it would lose its edge. Ultimately, it’s probably not that big a deal.
LC: You’re no stranger to taboo, controversial storylines, as anyone who’s ever read your story, The Boathouse could attest to. So, I have to ask … do you regret changing RIB? And I’m asking because I never read the original version so, as a reader, I can tell you, I thought the storyline – as it is now – was perfect.
BB: Thank you, Lashell. I suppose I do in a way. I mean, I made her fifteen for a reason. It was supposed to be shocking, and I wanted my audience to struggle to support the relationship and question that support. Otherwise, I would have made her eighteen. When we first meet Rick, he’s in bed with a very young woman, and even though it wasn’t intentional, it’s nothing he’s going to lose any sleep over. It’s all part of the lifestyle. But when he meets Shelby, he has to think a little harder about those choices because now it’s personal and he can see her as both a child and as a woman. Maybe he never thought he was perfect, but suddenly his weaknesses and flaws smack him upside the head, and rather than deal with it, he kind of goes into denial until he can no longer downplay the situation.
LC: Well, it really is a wonderful story and I fell in love it. And when I’m recommending it, I tell people, it’s unlike any romance novel you’ve ever read before. So will we ever see another novel from tfc Parks?
BB: Yes! I have a New Adult novel I started a few months ago that I’m anxious to write. It’s taken a backseat to In Trance at the moment. I made the mistake of publicly stating last winter that I was taking a break from Brandie Buckwine, that I was bored with writing erotica. Famous last words. Since then, I’ve had an abundance of story ideas for Brandie.
LC: Well, that’s a good thing, ’cause my Kindle’s getting lonely and I need some new stuff to read! Ok, quickie lightning round…
-People person or loner?
– Cake or pie?
– Wine or beer?
– Hard & fast or slow & sweet?
Beggars can’t be choosers
– George Clooney or Jason Statham?
I had to Google Jason. Very hot. But now that I’ve seen him, I’m afraid I’m going to have to go with both. Not sure they could handle me, though.
LC: I want to thank Brandie once again for visiting with me today. You can read a sneak peek of her upcoming novel In Trance, right here. And you can check out her erotic short stories by visiting her website, or check out her tfc Parks site, here.