#ATime2Die

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Interview with Dystopian Author Nadine Brandes

Published October 26, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Just answer as many as you find applicable, or feel you want to answer
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself that we won’t find in your bio?

exploreHm..well, I’m an adventurer determined to experience as many sides of life as possible. Some odd facts about myself are: I was once a professional drummer, I’ve scuba dived in a sunken ship, and I tried to make it to the Olympics by snowboard racing. The Olympic thing was a dream much bigger than I understood when I started. In the process, I learned I’m not a competitive person. I was actually relieved when the journey ended at Nationals. 

I live in Idaho, my heart is in Missouri, but hubby and I hope to move to Russia someday. How’s that for “a little bit” about myself? [grin]

What inspired you to become an author?

Birth, really. I was born needing to write, needing to process via words. I turned everything into a story – both verbally and on paper. I created comic books as soon as I could draw with “paper pals” I’d sketch and send on adventures through little time machines.

It wasn’t until I was seventeen that I realized I wanted to do it for life and pursue writing as a career.

How did you come up with the idea for “A Time to Die”?

It came upon me, really. Quite forcefully. I was in the middle of grad school and an acquaintance of mine passed away. He was my age and it got me thinking about how short life could be. I wondered if I’d live differently if I knew I had a year left. That’s when the idea of A Time to Die hit me – what if a culture existed where everyone knew the day they would die? Would we live differently?

Tell us about your main characters. Do you have a favorite?

Parvin is my main character and easily my favorite. She asks a lot of questions I once asked in my lifetime so her journey feels very close to home. I like trying to delve into a teenager’s mind without supporting the common stereotypes we hold regarding teenages — angsty, irrational, selfish, etc. Just because that’s common with some teenagers doesn’t mean that’s how they all are. I wanted to capture the inner struggle. In doing so, I grew to love Parvin even more.

parvin

Reid is Parvin’s twin brother. He’s a traveler in love with adventures and always looking out for his family. Then there’s Jude – the mysterious inventor. He was a challenge to write. I went from not liking it at all to liking him too much (which made certain story elements harder.) Eventually I found a balance.

As for the other characters? I’ll just have to let you meet them on your own! 😉

What was your favorite scene(s) to write and why?

Strangely, the sad or intense scenes were the most fun to write. I thrive off of writing emotions, that’s when I’m at my best, I think. So whenever there needed to be a tragedy or a hard character decision, that’s when I got glued to my computer.

What do you do in your spare time when you aren’t writing?

readin 1Spare time? What’s that? [wink] Actually, I’m a freelance editor and all my spare time goes to editing. If I have true spare time – where I don’t have to edit or write – I’ll either read or spend time with family. Or do something artsy. 

If you could live inside the pages of any book (or series), what would it be and why?

My gut instinct is Harry Potter because that series inspired me and impacted my life in very positive ways. Not to mention that, I’m so nerdy about the whole series, I’d do quite well in a wand battle. But I’d have to be able to bring my hubby with me. 😀

You’re trapped on a desert island and can only save one book—using the rest for firewood (I just gagged at the thought)—to read until you’re saved months later, what would it be? Your answer must be a title other than the Bible—that’s a given.

Cruel! You are so cruel! Well, providing that I had food and provisions to keep me alive (without needing a survival book), I’d probably pick the dictionary…or a giant book of Systematic Theology. Or a huge encyclopedia.

I know, that is so boring. A million fiction books ran through my mind, but I can’t in good conscience devote several months to only entertainment. Must. Expand. Vocabulary!

(Side note: After I read Nadine’s response–bahahahahaha! And this is why I love this author, people! She’s got her priorities straight)

imaginationWhere do you get your ideas? Is anything in your book based on your own experiences, or is it purely from your imagination?

Mostly from imagination, dreams, or Scripture. A lot of times, my stories draw from a “what if” question. “What if” everyone knew the day they’d die? “What if” every wish came true? “What if”…

 Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Nope. There are scenes that are harder to write than others, but I rarely go into a story without knowing where it’s supposed to go. I don’t have time for writer’s block. 😉 In this, I count myself very lucky because I know a lot of writers who struggle with it.

Can you tell us about your challenges (if any) in getting your first book published?

Frankly, I had my “publishing story” handed to me on a silver platter. The only rejection letter I received came the same day I received the offer of a contract from my top publisher.

The hardest challenge was continuing to write and better my craft, really. It’s crucial that we apply what we learn as we receive edits or read craft books. Writing is hard! But worth it. [grin]

What stories are you currently working on?

I’m writing book two in the Out of Time Series and the first rough draft is done! After this series, I have some pretty cool ideas (I think.) A portal fantasy, another dystopian, an apocalyptic-type of idea. I need to learn to write faster.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! This is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to grow in his or her writing craft. I know a lot of writers are introverts and that writing conferences can seem expensive or intimidating, but it’s the next step. Take it. Be brave!

How can we discover more about your book?

Read it! Oh, I mean, you can find read about it on my website or Amazon. Most of my updates go through Facebook and my newsletter. I’m also on Goodreads for all you Goodreads fans out there.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading. I hope that, instead of escapism, my books inspire you to live more fully. Remember, life demands pursuit, and God’s given us the perfect amount of time with which to catch it.

Thanks, Nadine, for sharing your amazing journey with us and for giving the literary world such a gem as “A Time to Die.” And if Nadine were still here, I imagine she’d give a resounding “Welks!” ^_^ You’ll understand when you read the book. 

Catch up with Nadine and buy “A Time to Die” in paperback and ebook today. You will NOT be sorry!

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Die-Out-Book/dp/1621840298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414010106&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+to+die+nadine 

 

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If I Had 1 Year Left to Live…

Published September 26, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Blog-Hop-Button-3-300x300

 

Writing is obviously my life, and so creating outcomes for my characters is kind of like second nature to me. It seems only natural that I should have an “ideal” storyline plotted out for my own life. . . . Not so much, it appears.

When Nadine sent me the prompt to participate in the blog hop to support the release for her dystopian thriller “A Time to Die,” I was pretty ecstatic. Nadine is a good friend of mine (“We’ll always have dancing,” darling, which is a poor Bogart imitation), and I had the privilege of reading her book about a year ago. And let me tell you, I could NOT put it down! It was exciting and engaging, and I was in tears at the end—and you all know that if a story moves me like that, it’s a keeper and I’ll be obsessed; it’s just how I roll.

The entire idea of the book revolves around what we would do with our time if we knew our days were numbered, but more specifically, if we knew the exact moment our clocks would run out. It also challenged me personally to examine passing interests of mine and the things and places that I’m really passionate about. I am honored to be a part of Nadine’s Launch Team!

 

Sooooo…. Drum roll please….

 

If I had 1 Year Left to Live, I Would:

 

Find out what and who is really important in my life—get close to those people and experience those things that I’ve only ever dreamed about. I have one year, and that means time is precious.

Buy a lottery ticket to afford all that I must do. 😉

 

writing

Spend three weeks holed up in my room furiously penning away the final book in the Rising Shadows Trilogy, make it the best and most impacting it can be, and then send it off. I hate leaving things unfinished, and so to tie up loose ends in the series is important to me. Plus it’s guaranteed to become a best-seller after I’m gone, so step aside Nicholas Sparks! After that, though, as much as it pains me to say, I believe I would stop writing with deadlines in mind. But if some idea sparked my fancy, I definitely won’t keep myself from writing period; I can’t cut cold-turkey! 😉

Take three months to backpack around Europe, seeing history, meeting new people, enjoying foreign lands and cultures. This has been on my bucket list since I started one, and now I really want to hop on a plane and travel! I only have 12 weeks, so I would have to crack down and select the monuments and places that are a must-see.

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—The Eiffel Tower. The facts are these: I will go up to watch the sunset, stay until closing to see the amazing lights, and then come back the next morning to sip a cappuccino and eat a croissant while reading a book on the grass. It all just seems so dreamy. And then the Louvre to top it all off, of course. When in Paris… ^_^

 

nationa

 

—Every museum in London (and also Ben Franklin’s house!). The National Gallery, the Henley Museum, Queens Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, to name a few.

ire

And to complete my European tour, I would spend plenty of time in my dreamland of Ireland. I could picnic on the hills, visits castles, admire God’s green creation all around me—and meet the craziest people, I hope! I will also purchase the perfect little cottage in which to retire. There is just something so magical about Ireland and the small towns and their gorgeous rolling hills that call to me. *sighs dreamily*

Work at an orphanage for a time. A year really isn’t a lot to accomplish fun things and save the world, but I’ve always been passionate about children and helping them to see their potential and how big God’s love is for them. It would be amazing to tutor and encourage kids who have no hope and don’t believe they have a future.

 jerti

Travel to Israel. If my clock’s working properly, then I still have a couple months left to explore the land. Yippee! I’ve always been fascinated by Israel and all of the Biblical history there, and I am so passionate about going. I would see every Biblical monument that they’ve marked, and hopefully discover some new ones, absorb every sight and sound, and dive into the Word during my stay. It would definitely be an eye-opening trip.

irish

Spend my final days in my Irish cottage admiring God’s incredible handy work. What better way to spend my last hours than enjoying time with my Creator?

So, there are my answers. And that begs the questions: If you had 1 year left to live, what would you do? Hopefully read “A Time to Die”! ^_~

Read the summary for “A Time to Die” below, and don’t forget to purchase your own copy of the ebook or pre-order the paperback (to be released October 1st, 2014).

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Die-Out-Book/dp/1621840298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411703342&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+to+die+Nadine

 

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

Nadine Brandes - Head Shot

 

Don’t forget to join the Rafflecopper giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Want to hear what other people would do with their last years? Click the links below.

This is what it will look like:

9.03.14 – Nadine Brandes

9.08.14 – Ashlee Willis

9.11.14 – Caitlin Schesser

9.15.14 – Jennette Mbewe

9.17.14 – Heather Fitzgerald

9.19.14 – Kristen Stieffel

9.22.14 – Rebekah Gyger

9.25.14 – Lydia Thomas

9.26.14 – Ashley Olson

9.27.14 – Angel Roman

9.28.14 – Rosalie Valentine

9.29.14 – Aubrei Crooke-Adams

9.30.14 – Sarah Grimm

10.01.14 – Jon Del Arroz

10.02.14 – Amy Brandes

10.04.14 – Kathrese McKee

10.07.14 – Karen DeBlieck

10.09.14 – Bethany Jennings

10.10.14 – Angie Brashear

10.13.14 – Adam Collings

10.15.14 – Bree Courtney

10.20.14 – Gretchen Engel

10.24.14 – JC Morrows

10.30.14 – Lisa Gedfries

A Time to Die Giveaway and Blog Hop

Published September 3, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Hey all! My author friend and dance buddy Nadine Brandes is kicking off a blog hop in celebration of being one day closer to the upcoming release of her fantastic dystopian thriller “A Time to Die.” *cue the flurry of applause and dead-faints of excitement* The blog hop where I answer Nadine’s prompt “If you had one year left to live” will be live on my blog on September 26th, so put it on your calendars! But for now, Nadine has her own answers and an Amazon giveaway on her blog to whet your bookish appetites.

To enter the giveaway, you’re going to have to put in a little effort and follow the link below to Nadine’s original post at http://nadinebrandes.com/2014/09/03/if-i-had-one-year-left-to-live-a-time-to-die-blog-tour/

 

If I had one year left to live…

…I might stop writing.

*Gasp*

My heart shreds into confetti at the very idea, but one year isn’t very long. I’ve thought quite hard over this concept. Let me explain, for a moment, why I’m even blogging on it.

Today I’m kicking off the blog hop to promote my book, A Time to Die. Over twenty bloggers will be joining this hop to answer the prompt, “If I Had One Year Left to Live, I Would…” Hopefully this also prompts you to think about what you’d do with one year left to live.

Once the question enters your mind, it gets pretty sticky. Trust me, I know. I think about it all the time.

You Have One Year

In order to answer this question, I need to step back and examine what’s important, get to the nitty-gritty. Yes, writing is important because it’s my passion, but what is even more worthy of my complete devotion and sacrifice of time? Of course, it’s my Savior, Jesus Christ and I would fill my last year with things, actions, and choices that I believe He calls me to. But, since I’m playing crystal ball and trying to predict my future actions,  here are some things I would do with one year left:

Either stop writing, or speed-write. 

Don’t take this the wrong way. I do not want to stop writing. Writing is my passion. BUT, if I knew for sure that I would die one year from today, I would really ask myself how much time I could devote to writing without sacrificing time better spent elsewhere.

Another thought that crossed my mind is committing some hard-core writing months (about three or four) to completing the Out of Time series. For the sake of my readers (yes, for you!) If I couldn’t finish it in that time, I’d start looking for authors who could finish it/polish it for me.

I would go to Russia.

Going to Russia and interacting with the people there has been a long-term passion God has placed on both my and my husband’s heart. It’s a long story that I won’t get into now, but we would travel there to live for the majority of my last year. Hey, maybe I could keep writing while there! ;)

I would write intentional letters.

Words are my passion. I would make sure I had a stack of letters to be given to each person I love after I passed on, hopefully encouraging them to pursue life and God full-speed and to REJOICE at my joining Christ in heaven.

I would visit my relatives.

I grew up away from most of my relatives so I didn’t build the relationships with some of them that I would have liked. I would take at least two weeks to a month and road trip (with the hubby, of course!) around America, visiting them, having intentional quality time with them, and — with some — trying one last time to share the importance of Christ.

I would pray and fast more.

This is one of those things I already try to do, but I’m a spiritual wimp. Praying is the more tough side of relationship with Christ for me. I would love to devote hours — and I mean carpetburns-on-the-knees hours — to praying, fasting, and communing with God. The one time I intentionally fasted and pushed myself past my human desires, it completely changed me. And that was just one time.

Some little things:

I would go skydiving, sleep on an overnight train (preferably the Trans-Siberian Rail, which — if I go to Russia — would be very doable.), ride a tandem bike, and send up a desperate plea to J K Rowling (who probably won’t even see it) asking her to let me treat her to a cup of tea.

But, these are little things. Inconsequential things. Not big enough to be labeled as dreams, they’re just desires that would provide me with temporary happiness and then a good story.

 

My real goal in my last year would be to live as passionately as my weak, shy, cowardly human body allows for God’s glory. The point of this blog post is not just to dig into my dreams and last-minute pursuits. It is to show me (and you) my deepest desires — the things that are most important to me — and hopefully inspire me to pursue them as best I can right now, whether I have one year or ten years left.

 

So how about you? What would you do/change/think/stop doing if you had one year left to live?

 

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