Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brea Essex Author Interview

Photo Content from Brea Essex

Brea Essex was born Gilroy, California, called the “Garlic Capital of the World”. She graduated college with a degree in Medical Assisting. She lives near San Jose, California with her husband, their dog, three cats, and enough books to start a library.

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm 30, and I live in the Bay Area of California. I have three cats and a very fluffy dog.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
I changed my mind a million times. First I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I wanted to write. I actually wanted to act for a while. I obviously eventually returned to writing.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Gilroy, CA. It's called “The Garlic Capitol of the World”. They are well-known for their garlic products, and also their yearly Garlic Festival. I suppose I would call San Jose, CA “home”. I've lived in the area for a long time.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I had never finished anything. I had actually given up on the idea of writing. Then, my husband and I moved several hours away from our family and friends. I couldn't find a job, so I started writing again. Several months later, I fractured my foot and was stuck in bed. I had nothing to do but write. When I first got the idea for Foreshadow, I just knew it had to be set in Capitola, CA. It's always been one of my favorite towns.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finishing. It's usually easy to start, the middle isn't too bad, but finishing? It always seems to take me forever.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
It was Jennifer Roberson who really inspired me to write. She's a fantasy author, not YA, but she's been my favorite author for a very long time. Her writing continues to inspire me and I hope to one day write as well as she does.

For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Foreshadow, how would you introduce it?
Foreshadow is about a girl who loses her mother, and has to move to another state to live with her mother's friend and her family. Once there, she meets two boys: one who is a fallen angel—or devil, as he calls himself—and likely wants to kill her, and another who is her guardian angel.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because my characters are real and relatable.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Foreshadow?
That I could actually finish writing a full-length book! Actually, one of the most surprising things I learned was that there is an old quicksilver mine in the same town I live in. It closed down several years before I was born, and I had no idea there was anything like that here! 

If you could introduce Rae to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think I'd introduce her to Rose from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. Rose could teach Rae how to fight. Although, they both have somewhat short tempers. They might end up screaming at each other.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Andrei?
There's definitely a lot more to Andrei than he shows. He has a lot of secrets. You'll have to read book two, Overshadow, and book three, Queen of Shadows, to really understand Andrei. His motivations and actions change a lot over the series. However, surprising...Andrei says in Foreshadow that he used to play piano “all the time”. What he doesn't say is that he's classically trained. His favorite song to play is Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata”.

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
School. Not that going to school is a bad thing, but I had a hard time writing while I was trying to focus on papers and studying. I did the majority of my writing when I was on breaks.

Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
I've been saying Father Matthias, because he comes across as a little crazy. However, I just finished writing Overshadow, Foreshadow's sequel. I have to say, I'm really enjoying writing Andrei. He's so unpredictable. Even I don't know what he's going to do or say sometimes.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
When I was younger, my dad always wanted me to read books with strong female characters. I wanted to give other young women a strong female character to read about. Rae is flawed and far from perfect, but she's strong.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Don't give up on your dreams. Even if people tell you they will never come true, don't listen to them. I spent a lot of years listening to all those people who told me that I could never make it as an author, and that I needed a “real job”. I can't imagine how much further I might be today if I hadn't listened to them.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
I've never been asked why I chose to write YA books. I chose YA because when I was a teenager, there weren't many YA books. Even before the YA market started growing, I wanted to help fill that gap.

If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
That's a tough one! There are a lot of different creatures I would like to be. I suppose I'd choose a shifter. It would be amazing to be able to take on an animal form.

Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
There are a lot of authors I would love to work with. If I had to pick just one, I would say David Eddings. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, so that's now impossible.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Of course! I just finished writing Overshadow, the sequel to Foreshadow. Here's the very beginning of it (I edited it a little for spoilers):

       I woke even before my alarm went off. I sat up and stretched, as did my black cat Nuada who always slept next to me. She turned around, plopped back on the bed and promptly went to sleep again, while I climbed out of the covers and headed to the window. I pulled back my curtains and smiled when I saw how lovely the weather was. Summer had passed, and school was in session again—I was officially a senior. Despite the cooling of weather, we still had a lot of sun.

       The horrible dreams had stopped. My nightmares had given way to my usual fantasies of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. So I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Sue me. But let me just say that I would give just about anything to be Keira Knightley in those movies. Hello, she got to kiss both of them! Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

My next project (the one I'm currently writing) is a new series called The Zayin Chronicles. Here's an excerpt from the first book, called Ouroboros:

       I heard a crackling noise. “Is it getting hot in here?”

       Zac coughed. “I think I smell smoke.”

       Glancing around, I noticed a light in one corner of the library that hadn’t been there a moment ago. As we watched in horror, an entire bookcase burst into flames. One by one, the fire began to encroach on the other bookcases—and it was heading for us.

       I stumbled to the side, shoved by Zac’s hand. “Run,” he ordered.

       He looked horrified. The flames were reflected in his pupils, the dancing of the fire making his eyes look as if they were alive in and of themselves. They had dilated almost completely, engulfing his irises in a sea of black. I could barely make out a thin line of blue rimming the edge.

       “Rhiannon,” his voice broke into my thoughts. I glanced down, noticing that one of his hands was pulling at my upper arm. “We have to go.”

What book are you reading now?
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I read pretty fast, though. By the time people are reading this, I might be done with it. I'm also re-reading Shapechangers by Jennifer Roberson. I re-read that series about once a year.

List 3 of your all time favorite books?
Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings, Daughter of the Lion by Jennifer Roberson, and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. There are a lot more, though.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
There have been a lot of times! I have really bad nightmares, so I get scared easily. I can't really think of a specific instance. However, I was really scared (nervous-scared) when I began submitting Foreshadow. After spending so much time writing it, the prospect of someone turning it down (which it was, before it found a home with Astraea Press) was terrifying.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I've been pretty disappointed in both movies and TV shows recently. “Once Upon a Time” is pretty good. I watched “Red Riding Hood” (the one with Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman) not too long ago. I enjoyed that one.

Imagine discovering that your boyfriend was out to kill you—and that the annoying boy from school was your guardian angel.

Rae Davenport has already lost her mother. The only thing keeping her sane is her new boyfriend, Andrei—that is, until she finds out that he wants to kill her. Andrei is a devil, and he wants to use Rae as a sacrifice to get back into Heaven. The only one who can save her is Logan, her guardian angel. He’s only annoyed her in the past, but now he will be her savior. 

You can purchase Foreshadow at these following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BREA ESSEX for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive an e-book of Foreshadow by Brea Essex.


  1. I would trade places with an werewolf in a book so that I can turn into a wolf!

  2. Great interview, Brea. And considering I'm currently reading your book I kinda have to admit I'm intrigued by your admission that Andrei is your favourite character ... Though not finished yet, I look forward to the sequel to learn more about him!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview/giveaway :) If I were to trade places with someone I would probably trade places with a woman on a ranch in the middle of nowhere sometime during the 1700-1800's. I have always wanted to see what it would be like to live that way of life "back then" so would find it interesting :)

  4. Enjoyed the review and the interview.
    In my own writing, I can usually nail the beginning, already have an idea of how it will end, but struggle with all the stuff in the middle. Ha.
    My heroines are also strong & resourceful females ... who are quite courageous when the situation calls for it. But they don't go looking for trouble. Trouble seems to find them.

  5. Thanks everyone for stopping by! Sorry, it's not letting me reply to individual comments.

    Sarah, being a wolf would be fun! I always used to wish I could turn into a wolf or a mountain lion.

    Iris, a lot more about Andrei comes out in the sequel. He's really fun to write.

    Brittany, that's a great time period. It would be interesting to see what it was really like. Do you read much historical fiction?

    Jeff, I pretty much write the same way you do. I usually know where it's going, but it takes me a while to figure out how to get there. And thank you for writing strong females. A lot of people don't.

  6. First, I adore the cover! Second, thanks for the giveaway.

    As for who I would trade places with, I don't want to trade places with anyone. Not because my life is perfect, it's just I don't see anyone fictional or real that I would love to have their life for a week.

    I like to imagine it though while reading or watching a good romantic movie. Like when I read Twilight and Harry Potter I wanted to be Bella to be kissed by Edward and I wanted to be Harry Potter though his life sucked.

    But after reading Ink Heart I wouldn't want any book to come to life ;)

  7. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    if i could trade places with anyone for a week i think i would trade places with Rose from the Vampire Academy but it would have to be a week when nothing is going wrong lol. im probably only choosing that one bc its my most recent read though :)

  8. Thanks for the giveaway!!!
    I would want to be either Clary from The Mortal Instruments, who wouldn't want a piece of Jace for a day? ;)
    Orrr Calla from Nightshade series, turning into a wolf would be pretty freaking awesome :)

  9. Now this one is not so hard. It would have to be Isis Martin from Creatura by Nely Cab. Why? Well that would be because I want some David Chios action!!! I would be absolutely content for a very long time if that were possible. Or Alexis Ames from the Soul Savers series by Kristie Cook. If I could get me some Tristain Knight....I would be content for life lmao