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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Author Spotlight: Brenda Perlin

For August, I interviewed Brenda Perlin.

Tell us a bit about yourself (short bio). 
Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author.  Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book, Home Wrecker, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment.

Ever since Brenda was a child, she has been fascinated with writing. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume.  This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing. Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.

“There is really no creative process, I just write,” – Brenda Perlin

Brenda’s first book, Home Wrecker, was published with Master Koda Select Publishing. Within a short time, the book developed a strong fan base and is continuing to grow as it both entertains its readers and leaves them in a state of profound reflection. In the near future, Brenda would like to have Home Wrecker expanded into a trilogy in order to tell the untold stories of her characters.

Do you write under a pen name?
No....Do you think I should?

What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I remember writing short stories when I was in elementary school. I used to love putting words together like they were pieces of a puzzle. I loved building a plot and seeing how I could make the characters interact. When I was in my teens I used to write everyday in coffee shops on paper napkins. I used to keep these napkins in a box as a keepsake. When I eventually opened the box I found my stories so hard to read. It was before I used a computer. My handwriting is dreadful!

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
I hope my only job will be writing. I have worked as a fitness instructor for years. I love helping people attain their fitness and life goals.

What books have you written so far?
Home Wrecker is my first. Now I am working on the sequel for the trilogy. I have also contributed to two books. 8 Slices of Cake has recently been released on Smashwords and the other compilation called Reality Bites that should be come out shortly.

Do you plan on being a full-time writer, or do you have other career plans?
I would love for writing to be a full-time career. I love the entire process.

Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a pretty simple person. I like being out and about with my boyfriend. I love music and I love to laugh. 

What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc. 
Thus far my writing is reality oriented. I am calling my stories fiction only because I have changed, names, places and circumstances. Everything I write is real and has happened. I want my books to be open and honest. I am not sure what I will do next. I have so many stories from life to tell.

Why that particular genre/age group?
Home Wrecker is part coming of age, marriage/divorce saga, and somewhere in-between. I think a wide age range would be interested in my story. Definitely for mature audiences.

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?
Every character in the book is real and have been in my life. It is best to stay on my good side or you might end up as a villain in my next book!

How much of your books are inspired by real life events?

Who is your favorite character from your books? Why?
That is easy! Brooklyn, the main character is my favorite. Since my story is based on my life, I can relate to this character the most. After all, I have lived her story.

Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
From the minute I wake up in the morning I am thinking about writing or marketing my writing. It really is a full time job because I think about it all of the time. I cannot spend enough time working. There is just never enough hours in the day. I could see how someone like J.D. Salinger who pretty much became a hermit. That would be easy to do. With all the characters in my head, Facebook and Twitter I am extremely busy.

Where and when do you write?  
I do much of my writing with my laptop sitting on my stationary bike. I call it multi-tasking! I never really sweat but I can be seated in the same place for hours.

Do you have set times?
I tend to do my best writing in the morning when I am fresh. I can never wait to get started.

How do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
I really do have to struggle to get what I want to get done but also have enough time to spend with my boyfriend. Thankfully I don’t have children so I can be a little more selfish. I have it pretty good that I do not have many commitments.

Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.? 
As far as rituals, I like to have bottled water and sucking candies at my side.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I do like to listen to music when I write. Sometimes when I am working on something more intense I like complete silence. The quieter the better.

Do you have to be alone to write?
I don’t have to be alone but I do not love being asked questions or be interrupted while I am writing. I just try to ignore everything and everyone around me.

What makes your writing unique?
I think for thing, I don’t have a writing background. My writing is pretty raw. I pretty much write how I speak. Whatever it is that I write, it comes from the heart.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I do seem to have a favorite theme which is the outcast. Since I can relate to not always fitting in with my piers I tend to gravitate to stories where there is a person struggling to get her/his own voice. I do love coming of age stories. Usually the character feels misunderstood in some way.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
The obstacles the I am faced with on a daily basis. At the end of the day most things work out but there are many roadblocks along the way. I have to learn to go with the flow and not stress over the little things. This is all new for me and this is a real learning process. Rome was not built in a day, right?

What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love?
I think reading really helps as a writer. You just naturally pick up things along the way. I am new to writing dialog so it is good to read good dialog. Also, reading really helps one’s vocabulary and improves imagination.

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?
When my book was first published I did it through a very shady publisher. I was so proud to have my book accepted by a publishing company that I really didn’t listen to my inner. I should have run for the hills but instead I signed a seven year contract that was a no winning proposition.

Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published? 
I think the most profound guidance I have received has been from other authors. Friends are not always as interested where these writers can relate to the struggle of trying to get your book recognized.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members in your writing journey?
Facebook honestly has opened up a whole new world for me. Had I not gotten involved I never would have met a brilliant writer, Arlene R. O’Neil who introduced my book to Kim Mutch Emerson of Master Koda Select Publishing. I do believe things happen for a reason and this has been a real blessing as far as I am concerned.

Did you learn anything from writing your books and if so what was it?
First of all I have learn a ton about myself. It has taught me that I could work hard for something as long as my heart was in it and as it so happens my heart is completely open to this journey. 

Do you design your own covers, or have someone else help?
Lucky for me I found Andrew JD Robinson, at Run Rabbit Run Films to do all my book cover. He is not only amazingly talented by wildly patient too!

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I need all the editing I can get. For a while John Emil Augustine was helping with Home Wrecker. Since he is in such great demand I am not sure what I am going to do for book two. It could use some TLC. That is for sure. Thankfully Arlene R. O’Neil edited Home Wrecker! I am in pretty good hands!

Any advice for the editing process?
You can read your stuff over with a fine tooth comb but you can always use a new set of eyes. Things get missed and also another opinion is ALWAYS helpful!

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written?
Yes, that would be my entire life. I got all the inspiration from living long enough to have a story to tell.
When I first started writing Home Wrecker I planned on it being a story about the wedding business because I was planning my wedding at the time. When I was going through a divorce I picked my story back up. The subject took a 360 turn.

What types of hero or heroine do you like best?
I am drawn to the outcast. I like characters that are okay with being different and don’t thrive on having to fit in.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?
First and foremost as a writer I have to remember that my job is to entertain first and satisfy myself last. Sometimes it is easy to do it the other way around. A book should capture the reader for the sheer purpose of entertainment. If something can be learned along the way, then that is an added bonus.

How do you go about naming characters?
It was all random and was last minute. Originally I thought I would be able to keep all of the real names. Obviously, I was not thinking clearly.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?
As I said earlier I was first published by a very nasty publishing company. I was able to fight my way out of my contract and what a blessing that was because now I have a great publisher, Master Koda Select. I can communicate with them freely and I am treated like a person, not a number.

How do you find the marketing experience? 
There is just never enough time. I could spend 24 hours a day marketing my book and there would still be things left to do. Let’s just say it is rewarding but time consuming!

When you read, what is your favorite genre?
I still love coming of age stories, old literature, and fiction.

What books have most influenced your life?
Middlesex, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Catcher in the Rye, Franny & Zoey, Prince of Tides, Of Human Bondage, The Great Gatsby, and the list goes on and on.

Who is your favorite character from any book and why?
Holden Caulfield. Somehow when I first read the book The Catcher in the Rye I really connected with him although I am not saying I lie about things for no reason.

For reading, do you prefer ebooks or physical books?
I have just started reading ebooks which I didn’t think I would like as much as I do. I thought I would never want to give up paper books but now I think I am sold. It is so convenient in so many ways!

What is your most favorite book and why? 
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. The writing is so clear and precise and the main character, Tom Wingo becomes a part of you.

What is the worst book you have ever read and why? 
I had some really bad books in my opinion but I remember hating Grapes of Wrath when I was in school.  I will always think of that book with extreme dread.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That is easy, it would be John Emil Augustine. He has helped me with my writing in so many ways. We met during an interview that we did together. We were selected to be on the same show because our books are both reality based. We had much in common and started working together helping each other with edits. He had more to offer as far as editing because he was once an English teacher. Still, we work as a good team. I hope one day we will work on something together. I think our writing compliments each other.

Are there particular writers that you admire?
Pat Conroy, Summerset Maugham, Anne Tyler, Lisa See, Jeffrey Eugenides, Judy Blume, JD Salinger, John Emil Augustine and the list goes on. Then there are all my friends...that is a very long list!

If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose?
I would love love love to meet Pat Conroy. I love his ability to convey so much vulnerability in his stories. I would love to sit down his him and hear about his life.

Who has most influenced or inspired your writing? 
That would be John Emil Augustine. He has really pushed me to go a little further in my story.

If you could write a book with any current author, who would it be and why? 
I think John Emil Augustine could write a very good story. He is able to ask me a question about my story and inspires me.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Only three you ask? Darn....I would love to meet Kim Mutch Emerson, Arlene R. O’Neil and Mark Barry but I think John Emil Augustine, Paige Bleu,  and Lisa Day would have to join us. What fun that would be for me!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
John Emil Augustine, K.D. Emerson, Arlene R. O’Neil, Mark Barry, Paige Bleu, Lisa Day, Jessica Kong, Susan Francis, Sarah Buchynski, Sarah Denier, Jane Carroll, and DeEtte Beckstead Anderton

Please share a bit about your newest release without giving away any spoilers.
This is from my new release Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)

When Brooklyn meets Bo, their lives are instantly turned upside down. 
Brooklyn and Bo, each unhappily married to someone else, have to decide whether to stay with their spouses or give up everything for each other. Find out what Brooklyn's husband and Bo's soon-to-be ex-wife do to break them up.

Home Wrecker is the first book in a three part series that follows the main character, Brooklyn throughout her childhood, adult life and then what seems like an “endless” journey towards redemption.

What genre does your book fit into?
Well I am calling it fiction to protect myself from lawsuits.

What are your current projects?
Home Wrecker, Home Wrecker: The Brooklyn Chronicles and Home Wrecker: The Bo Chronicles.

Do you have any ideas that you plan to work on in the future?
I really want to write a children’s book. I have a feeling I need to do it. I am so connected with people who are misunderstood, don’t blend in with the crowd, and are unfairly judged. Also, I hate bullies!

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?
I am certainly still a work in progress but many of my dreams have come true. I have met the love of my life and have had my book published by such a wonderful company. Life is darn good!

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
Yes, homewreckertheblog.com. Most of my posts pertain to my book Home Wrecker. Most of my blogging is from real life. I write from my personal experience and I am not very good at keeping secrets so I share probably more than I should.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
I am just that I am walking and doing what I love to do. Being on a Bestseller list with my writing or on Oprah would be pretty darn awesome!

In the movie of your {most recent} book who would play your characters? {Please give us the name of the book and the name of the character each actor would play} 
Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)
Sandra Bullock would play the main character  Brooklyn 
Kevin Costner or Richard Gere would play Brooklyn’s love interest for Bo
John Travolta would play Brooklyn’s ex-husband Gerard
Susan Sarandon would play Bo’s soon-to-be ex -wife of Bo.

What is the best review of your work you've received to date? 
I have received some beautiful reviews but a wonderful reviewer named Natalie Walker Idrogo wrote something with such heart.
From the moment I started reading this book I knew I was going to like it. Little did I know by the end of the book I would fall in love with it.
Brooklyn's life from the beginning sucks you in.
She struggles to find herself in her relationships, her family and even in her marriage.
Brooklyn loses people she loves and looks for love in all the wrong places.
In the second part of the book (my favorite), there is something so compelling that Brooklyn has to face. It tugged at my heart strings and I couldn't help but shed a few tears.
As if Brooklyn hasn't endured enough on her wild ride of a journey, yet again she is hit with another mind boggling circumstance that is out of her control, nor is it any where near her fault!
This part of the book made my admiration for Brooklyn shoot up to a ten. Talk about an inspiring and strong woman. Let's just put it this way, I was wishing I could morph into the book and help Brooklyn with the hot mess she had come to have to deal with on a daily basis. UGH is an understatement but, I will keep it clean!

The one thing that inspired me the most was Brooklyn's FIRE, COURAGE, and HEART!
Brooklyn believes in what she is fighting for and never gives up.
As much as I would love Brenda to write a "Home Wrecker Part Two." I have to say not at the expense of this beautiful person I fell in love with.
"Home Wrecker" is a MUST read and I give it a five star rating.”

What format(s) are your books available in? 
Ebook for now but shortly you can get a paperback as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share or tell us?
Thank you so much Cody for taking the time to interview me. I really appreciate your support and generosity!
Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)

8 Slices of Cake


I'd like to thanks Brenda for her time and effort in doing this interview. Remember, to support independent authors, visit their pages, read their books, and leave reviews. I hope you enjoyed this month's Author Spotlight and look forward to next month's installment. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. This page looks so awesome Cody. I really appreciate your kindness!!!! I love the interview!!!! :-) Thank you!!!

  2. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, especially since it was so long!

  3. Great interview...really good questions and thoughtful answers. And...thanks for the mention!

  4. Brenda is one of the best around. She not only writes a flaming hot novel, she also helps her fellow authors!