I was born in La Mirada, California, but we moved around southern California a lot, so I consider the entire LA area my hometown. What I love most is the weather, the beaches, the restaurants, and that it’s not New York.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A policeman or a rockstar. I sure missed those by a mile.
Tell us about your latest book.
Win the Rings is a story with a girl heroine who is a tough fighter in the tradition of the great YA tough girls we all love. She’s stuck in a rather hellish situation she’s desperate to escape from, and when offered a deal, she jumps at it, even though she’s going to have to hurt people that don’t deserve it. If I had to invent a genre name for it, I would call it YA urban dystopia—a marginalized group of people forced to live in a frightening social setting, but within our current world.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Win the Rings is part of a three book series. Book two is done, so now I’m trying to finish book three. Also, I’m about half way through a new adult sci-fi book that takes place in America 120 years in the future, after we have fought a second civil war.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Everything. But seriously, my biggest challenge isn’t getting the first draft down on paper, it’s forcing myself to then go back and edit and revise that draft. That’s always a tough slog for me.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Start writing every day. Like exercise, you get better the more you do it. Also, read. If you’re not a good reader, you’re not going to be a good writer. Finally, don’t go it alone. Find others who will read and critique your work and inspire you to keep going.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh yes. I put in my earbuds, pull up my special writing playlist, and I take long walks. So, if you happen to be in DC and you see this guy walking for hours around the city talking and gesturing to himself, that could be me trying to work through and block out the next scene.
Who is your favorite author and why?
That’s a tough one. It’s changed over the years. Currently, I’d probably say the late Robert Jordan. His Wheel of Time series is epic. I find his world building and character development awe-inspiring.
What books have most influenced your life?
In no particular order: Lord of the Rings, Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Asimov’s the Foundation Trilogy, and the Wheel of Time series.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
Unfortunately, rejection is part of this business. When I get a rejection letter that really stings the first thing I do is remind myself that it’s not personal and I can’t take it personally. Second, I try to keep it in perspective. It’s just one person’s opinion, and often the person hasn’t actually read the work he or she is rejecting. Third, I immediately open my laptop and start writing on my current project—you know, if you get thrown off the horse, immediately get back on thing.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A good playlist, a thesaurus/dictionary, a quiet place to work, and someone to encourage you to keep at it when you want to throw your laptop across the room and give up.
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
Good question. For me, drawing the line depends on the particular scene and genre I’m writing in. I try to avoid being gratuitous. If it’s not important to the plot and advancing the story, then I’m not going to dwell on the blood and body parts. In terms of erotic content, in the YA world sex is like juggling a hand grenade. It can blow up on you if you’re not careful, but you usually have to deal with it on some level since it’s such a big part of the teenage experience. My general preference is to be suggestive, but not too descriptive; give the reader enough to bring them into the scene and then let their imagination do most of the work.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
There’s a scene in the book where a gunman stalks into a Walmart, which I was having a hard time visualizing since I don’t shop at Walmart. So, I went to the local store and stormed in with my hands formed like pistols, which I waved around the way I imagined my character doing. The Walmart greeter and I had a special bonding moment: he thought I was practicing to be a mass murderer and I thought he was about to have a coronary on the spot.
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Details about me (twitter/facebook/etc) and my book, including bonus content, can be found at www.kdvanbrunt.com.
Thanks for having me.
Win the Rings by K.D. Van Brunt
Blurb: Jace has been the property of the U.S. Army since they found out about her when she was five, and now she has become one of its most valuable weapons. But Jace is not the only one of her kind. Gray is one too, but with the help of his sister, he has spent most of his sixteen years hiding from the Army.
Now, the Army has found out about Gray and they cannot allow him to roam free. Operating on the theory that it takes one to catch one, Jace is send out with a special ops squad to hunt Gray down. But Jace is not the only one pursuing Gray, and the competition is after her too. What ensues is a desperate chase through city after city as duty and honor collide with love and sacrifice.
During the eight hours of the day when I’m not writing, reading or sleeping, I’m a lawyer in Washington, DC. I grew up in Southern California, moved to Seattle before coming east to Boston to go to school. Now, I live in the great state of Maryland with my wife, my dog—a standard poodle named Buffy (and who do you think named her?), and my hot Camaro. One of the few things I like better than pizza is driving fast. So, if you happen be in the DC area and a black Camaro with a red stripe and a rear spoiler roars by and blows your doors off…thaaat could be me.