Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions. Her work appears in The Horror Zine, Sirens Call, Schlock! Webzine, Hardened Hearts, and Strange Behaviors, among others.
Theresa Braun chats to Kendall Reviews
Theresa has been incredibly supportive of Kendall Reviews over the last year. It’s a delight to finally sit down and find out a little bit more about her.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
By day I teach high school and college students the magic of writing and literature. By night and weekend I work on crafting short stories and longer fiction, while reading as much as I possibly can. I read both Indie and traditionally published novels. Word on the street is you can’t write well if you aren’t reading.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Every chance I get, I travel. For me, that’s how I shock my senses into paying more attention to the world around me. Getting out of my routine and everyday surroundings is crucial for me. When I can’t do that, I like to relax to a good Netflix movie or series. Occasionally, I brave the theater and the annoying sounds of crunching popcorn and the interrupting whisper. I also like to delve into current events and philosophical discussions with my friends and family over dinner. Ghost hunting is another one of my things. I go on ghost tours or find spooky places, both local and otherwise.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
I really got into the Nancy Drew books. Pretty sure I read close to all of them. There were a couple of other dark young adult books, which I can’t recall the names of. When I got older, I zipped through the Flowers in the Attic series. I spent many a day perusing the bookstore shelves while my parents picked out their next reads. I’m lucky they fed my reading addiction.
KR: What are you reading now?
I’m reading S.P. Miskowski’s I Wish I Was Like You on Kindle and listening to James Herbert’s Haunted on audio. So far, I’m enjoying both of them.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
That’s a tough question to answer, as I have many albums that fit my moods. Pearl Jam’s Ten is definitely one of them. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails while writing, or M83 (which is a staple of my writing zone). Sometimes I can’t concentrate with lyrics playing, and other times it doesn’t bother me. Go figure.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
That’s a great question. There are many authors I’ve loved over the years, but not all of them have inspired me to write. The classics have always moved me to some degree—Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1984, Brave New World, The Lathe of Heaven, The Handmaid’s Tale, and on and on. But probably the writers who’ve inspired me to write have been Vonnegut, King, and Brett Easton Ellis. Their work is so varied and some of it is gutsy in its content or narrative. A recent book along those lines was The Sadist’s Bible. I really got into how that book pushed boundaries and went to places I hadn’t expected.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I’d really love it if I could write blindly and have it all come together. I’ve experimented with both techniques. Right now I’m taking something I wrote without outlining and I’m fleshing it out with some intentional plotting. Then, I’ll see if the story and characters rebel against that. I’ll be interested to see what happens.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends on the subject matter. Sometimes I can ask beta readers for their input after I’ve written something. Other times, I’ve done extensive reading of time periods and biographies, and sometimes even other fictional books on a given subject. Right now I’m exploring some issues of gender and sexuality with one of my characters. That takes some research, but also I’m going to have to rely on early readers of the draft to see if I’m getting it right. I’ve also wanted to write a story with a black main character, but that would definitely take some heavy duty research to make sure I’m not unintentionally stereotyping or misrepresenting the character in any way. Not sure I’m quite ready to take on something quite like that just yet in my writing career, but it’s in the back of my mind.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Wake up before the sun, try to avoid social media/email and all other digital distractions, hunker down with my laptop, and then get ready for work. The weekends are similar, but I don’t get up as early. My interruptions are usually social activities or some self-care things like getting a massage or acupuncture.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
So far the story I’m most attached to is “Heirloom” in Unnerving’s Hardened Hearts. It’s the most complex story I’ve written, and one that I’ve probably spent the most time on to date. The character’s plight is also something that’s really personal to me. I’ve often struggled with issues of power, wondering about how to wield it without being an asshole. I think that experience is quite different for each sex. And, I’m also attracted to the magic of mirrors and the idea of past lives. The story has many of my favorite things.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
More so lately. I have limited time to read, so if I see that a book is recommended, I tend to pay attention. However, I don’t let them sway me in regards to my own thoughts and feelings about a book. I don’t always like what everyone else likes. For example, I tried the first Twilight book. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. In fact, I only finished it because I hate giving up on a book once I start it. Needless to say, I didn’t read the rest of the series.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Don’t give up. The road is not easy. And, I think that lots of writers are tempted to throw in the towel at one point or another. Network with other authors. Learn from them. Read, read, read, and learn from that. Start to network with readers and writers on social media. And, lastly, learn from bad reviews. Everyone gets them. Don’t let it stop you from picking yourself up and writing something else. Oh, and make writing a priority. Carve out a time in the day to read and write. If you don’t, you’ll never write anything. Life always gets in the way.
KR: What scares you?
Humanity. Evil people. Probably more than the supernatural, although that’s a close second. There’s nothing scarier than what you can’t see. Except for real people, that is.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
I love the portability of digital books, but really love the feel of a paperback. It’s probably a throwback to my college days—because I love to annotate a book and mark it up. You can technically do that in a digital book, but it’s not the same. There’s also something about the smell of paper and having the novel in your hands. Hardbacks are too rigid and bulky, and less portable. So happy we have options, though.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
I’ve already spoken a bit about “Heirloom”, which is one of my latest releases. The whole collection is really fantastic. There are so many different stories, all about the complications of the heart. It has something for everyone—the supernatural, science fiction, fantasy, and genres that really can’t be easily defined.
KR: What are you working on now?
Right now my main focus is working on a novel about a haunted house. It’s loosely based on a place I lived in for a few years back in middle school. My family had moved from a big city to this little town where my parents started a publishing company. That’s a whole story in itself, which my dad wrote about. But I want to write about the house and how a haunting can effect a family. I’m really excited about this project and have a pretty good idea of where it’s headed. But, there’s always a chance that the muse will throw me a few surprises. We will have to wait and see.
KR: Fast forward ten years! Where do you see yourself?
I’d like to be retired and living somewhere in a remote cabin where I can write, if not for the entire year, a portion of it. I hope by then I will have pumped out several novels that people enjoy and can relate to in one way or another. Hopefully, readers will be able to take something positive from the stories, and at the very least have meaningful discussions about some of the issues. And, I’d love to make more connections with those readers and with other authors. This whole writing thing is such a grand adventure. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.
KR: Thank you very much Theresa. I need to find out more about Theresa the Ghost Hunter, I hope we will be able to chat again in the near future about ghosts and your upcoming Haunted House novel!
To find out more about Theresa please visit her official site www.theresabraun.com
You can follow Theresa on Twitter
Theresa’s Amazon author page is here
Theresa’s Goodreads page is here
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