Brandy’s love of reading and writing started from a young age. Brandy Greeley entered her short stories and poems into several writing competitions and county fairs, and though she knew her dream was to be an author, she didn’t seriously consider it until she graduated university. After Midnight is her first published novel. Brandy Greeley

City Lights Press: You started writing with short stories and poems, are these things you still write?

Brandy Greeley: I try to as much as I can. I’ve always loved the freedom creating poems gives me; the breadth of emotion and abundance of life experiences available for me to shape into something uniquely mine is a wonderful feeling, so I attempt to push myself daily to get a poem or two down on paper, even if they’re short. It’s flexing the poetry muscle, so to speak. Same applies with short stories. My parents love to tell me that I’m a wonderful story starter, but I sometimes have issues with the endings and because of this, I’ve written quite a few short stories over the past couple of years, all centered around things happening in my life, with friends of mine and even a couple related to my pet sitting business! I don’t see myself slowing down with either genre anytime soon.

CLP: Have you always loved Fantasy?

BG: Yes, I have! I’m not ashamed to admit that when I was younger, I had a couple of imaginary friends that I’d go on fantastic adventures with. My cats became my sidekicks, and I’d build blanket forts and pretend that I’m hiding from monsters or dragons. As an adult I still do that only now, it’s called ‘research’ for characters and worlds in future novels. There’s something liberating about fantasy because it allows you to escape everyday life to something more magical, youthful and hopeful, and I think that’s crucial, especially considering what’s happening in the world right now. A single fantasy novel lifts my spirits tremendously.

CLP: What’s your favorite book?

BG: I have a couple in mind, but the one that sticks out the most is A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. I probably read it once or twice a week at least.

CLP: What are you currently reading?

BG: I bounce around between A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas, Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead and Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. Which one I choose really depends on my mood at the end of the day.

CLP: Does anyone in your family read what you write? How do they feel about it?

BG: I’ve given my parents snippets of my work over the years, but I’m picky and selective because I know that what I produce typically isn’t in their genre of choice. Having said that, they always have both positive and constructive feedback to give me, which helps me grow as an author. After Midnight was the first finished book I’ve ever let them read, and the results were both happy and surprising, because I didn’t think they’d care for it, but they did! I thought they’d read it and then be like ‘that’s nice’ because I’m their daughter, but they both devoured it. My husband, Todd, is one of my at-home editors, but even he doesn’t see much of what I write. I’m a private person when it comes to my stories because they’re a part of me, so if someone in my family is reading it, it means I’ve done all I can to it, and are happy with the result.

CLP: What inspired After Midnight and the character Persephone?

BG: My inspiration for After Midnight actually came from another novel I was writing at the time about a demon named Gabriel who kidnaps a woman, convinced that she’s his long-lost love. I honestly didn’t have enough material to keep the story going in a way that would make sense to readers until I realized that my story closely matched that of the Greek myth of Hades & Persephone. I immediately went to the nearest bookstore and picked up Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods guide, which I read front to back and back again. I’d always been fascinated by that particular myth, and it’s possible that’s what my mind was trying to direct me towards all along, but once I fit together the pieces of what I already had written with the myth itself, something truly magical emerged. I jumped into Persephone’s shoes as I was planning the outline and tried to create a more fleshed-out version of the goddess herself. How did she feel about marrying her uncle? Did she have a backstory with him before they were married, and if so, what would that look like? How could I interpret her story in modern times? Over the course of answering these questions, I found Persephone’s voice, which closely matched my own thoughts and feelings. My husband says ‘well, she’s YOU’ and I don’t think that’s very far off the mark.

CLP: Did you have a “moment” where you realized you HAD to write After Midnight?

BG: When I couldn’t get the story of Hades & Persephone out of my head, that was the first sign that I needed to write it, but my own version of it, one that didn’t yet exist. I started to have dreams about the characters with full dialogue and scenes, so after the most vivid one, I woke up that morning and began work on the novel.

CLP: Do you think as a writer you see the world differently because you’re always thinking about how situations could play out in stories?

BG: There’s a great quote I read recently: “Never piss off an author. They’ll write you into their stories and then kill you off.” Truth is, I’m constantly talking to my characters, even when I’m in public spaces, and continually listening in to other people’s conversations for dialogue inspiration so, for those reasons, I do think I tend to see the world through a different lens than most people around me. Every conversation, situation and experience is inspiration and potential plot for me.

CLP: Most importantly, I know you have two small dogs, what breeds are they?

BG: Winnie (8 years old) is a Yorkie Maltese mix and Bailey (6 years old) is a…ready for it? Yorkie-Poodle-Chihuahua-Cocker-Spaniel-Weiner!

CLP: What can we expect from you next?

BG: I’m currently working on a sequel to After Midnight, a book of poems, a Dracula re-telling and a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, to name a few, so there’s a lot of nifty stuff coming in the future, and I’m so excited to be working on all of it! My first kid is due late August, so I have this sort of self-imposed time crunch to get as much under my belt and headed towards potential publication as I can before my world becomes all about diapers and half-awake writing sessions between cat naps.

Look for After Midnight coming soon!