Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Brooke Fossey Interview - The Big Finish

Photo Credit: Chemenn Photography

Brooke Fossey was once an aerospace engineer with a secret clearance before she traded it all in for motherhood and writing. She’s a past president and an honorary lifetime member of DFW Writers’ Workshop. Her work can be found in numerous publications, including Ruminate Magazine and SmokeLong Quarterly. Her debut novel, THE BIG FINISH is forthcoming in 2020 from Penguin/Berkley (US), and Piper/Pendo (DE). When she’s not writing, you can find her in Dallas, Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog Rufus. She still occasionally does math.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I penned my first novel long before THE BIG FINISH. Almost a decade before. Flashback sequence: I’d quit engineering to stay home with my kids and I was knee deep in diapers and toddlers. I wasn’t reading much at that time—I did well to grab a shower—but my neighbor Diane Houston-Floyd (I’ll never forget her) left a book series on my stoop one day and insisted I read it. So I did, and after finishing the last book, I thought to myself, I could write a novel. Just like that. I opened a blank document in the next breath and started writing during the kids’ naptime. It amounted to fan fiction, really. But I LOVED writing, and kept doing it. I wrote a few more books, got better at it, and ten years later, voila, here we are.

Tell us your latest news.
My latest news. Hm. I recently had a sneak peek at my Kirkus and Booklist reviews, and they’re both super complimentary, so that’s really exciting. I also heard a sample from the voice actor who is narrating THE BIG FINISH audio book, and he’s going to be fantastic. Since this is my first rodeo, every time my agent or someone from Penguin connects with me, it’s like Christmas morning. Giveaways, speaking opportunities, blurbs from authors I love. Mostly, I’m trying to write my next book without becoming distracted by the sparkly things happening with THE BIG FINISH. It’s harder than you’d think.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
If we’re talking about authors who have influenced my writing, it’s basically anyone I’ve ever read. Dave Eggers, Leif Enger, Tana French, David Foster Wallace, etc. The list is long. I have never taken a proper writing course, yet I don’t consider myself self-taught because my favorite authors tutored me without knowing it. Other than all of them, I owe untold amounts of gratitude to DFW Writers’ Workshop.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I think the most rewarding thing about being published is holding that book in your hand and knowing someone else is going to do the same. They’ll read it, and hopefully when they’re done, be better for it. So, I guess the real reward lies in the opportunity to make the world a better place. I know that sounds like a lame pageant show answer, but it’s true, and I’m sticking with it.

What do you hope for reader to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope, like me, they see the movie playing in their head. That’s how things come to me as I write, very visually. I aim to make the world feel tactile and emotionally real. Outside of that, I hope that my readers appreciate the writing—because I spend a lot of time on each sentence. What’s that saying? Easy reading is hard writing. It’s so true.

In your new book, THE BIG FINISH, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
THE BIG FINISH is the story of an 88-year-old man named Duffy Sinclair who is determined to button up his hard-lived life in peace at Centennial Assisted Living—but it’s disrupted when his roommate’s granddaughter climbs through their window with booze on her breath and a black eye. Before Duffy knows it, he’s running a covert operation to get her clean and back on her feet, risking home, health and harmony. The upside to the chaos: he has a chance to rewrite his legacy.

What part of Duffy did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing an old man who tells it like it is. Duffy doesn’t have time to sugarcoat, nor is it his nature. I also loved channeling a bit of my late grandfather, who was occasionally combustible, extremely loving, and very, very funny.

If you could introduce one of your character to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think it would be fun to get Duffy and Miss Marple together to solve a crime. Or perhaps we should have him babysit Ramona Quimby for a few hours. That’d be interesting. I’m also fairly certain if he had a run in with Romeo and Juliet mid play, he could have saved both of their lives with his straight talk.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
I know a lot of ridiculous facts. It’s sort of my thing, and it drives my family crazy. Like: Did you know the Wright brothers never got married? They were, in essence, married to solving the problem of flight. Which reminds me, there are no married people on the Andy Griffith Show except for Otis, the town drunk. Is this why Mayberry is such a happy place? I don’t know, but welcome to my brain.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes, often. I’m not scared of voicing my opinions, and I have a lot of them. But I’ve stood down to people I hardly know too, which I think is an overlooked skill these days.

Best date you’ve ever had?
The best date I’ve ever had was with my now-husband, Matt. We met each other while working at Camp Greylock, the oldest sports camp in the United States. Look it up. It’s located in The Berkshires, so our courtship was rather idyllic. Our first date was happenstance. On a day off, we went into town to do our laundry, he bought us ice cream, and we ate it while sitting on the steps of the church with the tallest wooden steeple in the country. The entire evening belongs in a book.

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around?
I cleaned out my wallet to answer this question, and must honestly report that the contents are wholly unoriginal. Except maybe my printed eye prescription. Without glasses or contacts, my vision is 20/1000. Also, I found a little card that says: In case of emergency, please call my Orthodox priest. I’ve filled it out now, thank you. One never knows.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I don’t know if anything in my life is worthy of a movie. However, I do think that our family’s day-to-day would make an excellent reality show. We will soon have four teenagers under our roof. Pray for us.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Find an artistic hobby. It changes you, it keeps you company when you’re lonely, and it allows you to see more beauty in the world. (“Art” is very broad to me. It’s not just painting or writing or movie making. It’s simple stuff. Landscaping, hair cutting, cake decorating, drink mixing, soap carving, etc. Once you start something, you’ll see art in everything.)

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Just before I had kids, I went to the doctor because my leg kept falling asleep at work. Off I went for an MRI to locate a probable pinched nerve, and instead came back with a probable multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. Over the next few weeks, as I waited for the results of more testing to verify the doctor’s hunch, I drove myself crazy with WebMD and rewrote my future. Then the next round of tests came back all clear, and I suddenly returned to the road I’d come from, but it didn’t look the same at all. Ode to new perspectives.

Meet Duffy, an old curmudgeon who lives in an assisted living home.

Meet Josie, a desperate young woman who climbs through his window.

Together, they’re going to learn it’s never too late—or too early—to change your ways.

For Duffy Sinclair, life boils down to one simple thing: maintaining his residence at the idyllic Centennial Assisted Living. Without it, he’s destined for the roach-infested nursing home down the road—and after wasting the first eighty-eight years of his life, he refuses to waste away for the rest. So, he keeps his shenanigans to the bare minimum with the help of his straight-laced best friend and roommate, Carl Upton.

But when Carl’s granddaughter Josie climbs through their bedroom window with booze on her breath and a black eye, Duffy’s faced with trouble that’s sticking around and hard to hide—from Centennial’s management and Josie’s toxic boyfriend. Before he knows it, he’s running a covert operation that includes hitchhiking and barhopping.

He might as well write himself a one-way ticket to the nursing home…or the morgue. Yet Duffy’s all in. Because thanks to an unlikely friendship that becomes fast family—his life doesn’t boil down the same anymore. Not when he finally has a chance to leave a legacy.

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

You can purchase The Big Finish at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BROOKE FOSSEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey.


  1. I am off every day. I read, watch TV, play on the computer, have appointments, cook if I have to, whatever needs to be done.

  2. When I get a day off, I would either read a novel or catch up on some of my movies.

  3. I tend to catch up on everything on my day off including, grocery shopping and sleep.

  4. I am retired. So every day is a day off!