Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Brooke Burroughs Interview - The Name Curse

Photo Content from Brooke Burroughs

Brooke Burroughs is an award winning writer of fun love stories about women with a heart for adventure. Brooke lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, who she met on one of her own real life adventures living in India. When she's not writing, she conducts experiments in vegetarian cooking, performs with a Bollywood dance troupe, travels whenever she can, and is frequently seen at the dog park with her Great Dane which is often mistaken for a horse.


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Finally getting your first book published is every aspiring writer’s dream, but one thing I never anticipated was the response from readers. While I am quite familiar with the joy that sinking into a good book brings, I’ve never been one to reach out to my favorite authors and let them know. But that has definitely been one of the most rewarding parts of having a book out there. Every time someone read The Marriage Code and told me that it made them cry seeing a STEM heroine, that it resonated with their own life, or that they had to order nonstop Indian takeout while reading it—that has been the best surprise!

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
The project I just finished is a romcom inspired by the small town I grew up in. I’m originally from eastern Kentucky (AKA Appalachia) and I wanted to write something about the area because it’s gone through so many changes in the past several years. Also, it was an opportunity to highlight some of my favorite (and not so favorite parts) about growing up there. This story is about a woman who always wanted to escape the place she’s from, and when she’s brought back to stop her sister’s wedding, she gets roped into actually planning it with the groom’s son who happens to be her high school nemesis.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
People learn through stories. It’s how we’ve learned since the times of cavemen how to make decisions, what are the risks, and weighing potential outcomes from what’s happened before or what could happen. Stories are so important because not only do we learn, but can be entertained while we do it! I think we need the escapism that a good story brings (more so the past year and a half than ever!) but it’s also a chance for us to learn and grow—about places, people, and situations. What better way to do that from a good book!

Can you tell us when you started THE NAME CURSE, how that came about?
I started The Name Curse at the beginning of 2020 right before the pandemic hit, and then finished it that spring. I got inspired to write the story when my husband and I were having margaritas with our friend Marty and were talking about camping (we go camping, or I should say glamping in our Airstream, a lot). Marty told us about a week long backpacking trip he went on, in which there were two strangers who were forced to share a tent. By the end of the trip they voluntarily stayed in a hotel together. I was like, “Romance novels are real and I’m going to write this story!” The one advantage of 2020 was that I couldn’t go anywhere so I really got a lot of writing done.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I always want readers to be thinking that everyone has their love story to find. Even if it’s in the most unexpected of places, with the most unexpected pairings of people, if it’s meant to be, it will be. I’m a total romantic and believe that everyone has their someone out there.

What part of Bernie and Matthew did you enjoy writing the most?
My favorite part of writing is definitely the banter and the dialogue between characters. I love thinking about how the characters might respond to someone who challenges them. How whatever is going on in their head manifests into words, especially when it reveals the quirkiness that is inside us all that we’re sometimes afraid to let out.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is one of my favorite romcoms (as it probably is for everyone!) and I feel like Bernie and Alex would really get along well. I can see them getting up to some seriously fun trouble together, just like she does with her BFF Tabitha.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
One of my favorite events, even if I didn’t know it then, was when my parents drove me and my sister across the country for two months one summer camping. We borrowed a friend’s pop up camper and drove from Kentucky to Seattle, down through California and then back through Las Vegas and the southwest states. Sometimes I wonder if my love for adventure and travel was born from that trip because at that moment I realized how much there was of the world to see. Shortly after that, I decided to spend a summer abroad in college, then decided to live abroad teaching English after I graduated.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel to another country, and if possible, live in another country. I think it builds empathy, gets you outside your comfort zone, and allows you to be vulnerable in a very fun and different way. We live in a very globalized world these days but getting your feet on the ground somewhere else really lets you see how much is out there and can help put things in perspective.

Best date you've ever had?
I think the date wasn’t so much what we did but who I was with. When I first met my husband, we were living in Bangalore, India and he was trying to pay off his student loans so had this crappy old Bajaj scooter. You had to tilt it to the side to start it because the gas wouldn’t flow properly. He was embarrassed of it, but I have always loved scooters and had wanted a Vespa desperately. We just drove around town on it, with me having an excuse to hug onto him, and it was super fun. I think that was the night I really felt that he was the guy for me.

What was the first job you had?
When I was sixteen, I had a job working at the local greenhouse. I potted plants, trimmed geraniums, and mixed compost with dirt—truly an enviable job when you get to mix manure with soil on a regular basis! LOL. I love gardening though and it was a fun job overall because of the people I worked with. We’d crank up the oldies station and call in to request 70s songs on the weekends and have singalongs in the back. A favorite memory is when I called in to request the theme song from Shaft and the radio announcer told me on air, “Don’t you go dancing with those plants!” As if I could help it!

What did you do for your last birthday?
We had just got our vaccines and I needed some childlike joy after the past year of holing up in our house, so we went to Disney World for a few days. I have to say, it was just what I needed. The first ride I went on made me cry I think because I just needed some fun!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have travelled quite a lot, but one place that I imagine is a little challenging to get to is Papau New Guinea. I’m minorly obsessed with birds of paradise and would love to go on some kind of bird safari to see them. They generally live really high up in the trees there so I’m not sure how you can really sit around and watch them, but I’d love to do that. To me, they are some of the most fantastic animals on earth.

First Heartbreak?
Definitely my college freshman year boyfriend. I think that first year you’re away on your own and feel like you’re living your own life makes you vulnerable. I thought this guy was my everything and when we broke up I was devastated. He kissed another friend of ours while I was back in my hometown and I thought my world was over But in retrospect, he was definitely not my person, and I’m not even sure I was wholly myself with him. I think my twenty year old hormones would have disagreed though!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Oh my god, that is such a hard question. I think true love though, every time. I remember when my husband and I were dating and he was getting a lot of family pressure to get married to someone who was “appropriate” in his family’s cultural terms, I was worried about our relationship. I remember having coffee with a friend and telling her, “Even if it doesn’t work out, at least I know that love is real and that I was able to have this feeling at least once in my life.” Very dramatic, I know! But I guess that feeling is also what also got me to write my first book, The Marriage Code!

  • 1. You love the wilderness
  • 2. You are a fan of enemies to lovers and the one bed (er…one tent) trope
  • 3. You think camping is hard and can empathize with someone who also doesn’t know how to pack a week of belongings in a backpack
  • 4. You are a camping pro and enjoy making snarky commentary at people who struggle with tent poles
  • 5. You like reading quirky characters who are made for each other
  • 6. You replay your high school antics with your BFF on a regular basis
  • 7. You need some serious armchair travel after the past year and a half
  • 8. You have rediscovered a love of the outdoors because it feels like the only place you can be alone and free
  • 9. You’re thinking about taking your first hike and need some encouragement. Or possibly discouragement LOL
  • 10. You believe that love conquers all
Writing Behind the Scenes
I am a OneNote junkie and use it for organizing all my story components, character facts, timeline, plot points, etc. In my OneNote for each book I work on, the first place I begin is by figuring out who these characters are.

I am a super visual person so I start by thinking about who I would cast in the roles if the book was a movie and grab some fun photos online to couple with my story facts. I come back to the character page a lot as I’m writing to either generate descriptions or be struck by how perfect the characters are for each other. For The Name Curse, I cast Claudia O’Doherty for Bernie’s character (who plays the character Bertie on Hulu’s Love) and Josh Radnor (best known as Ted on How I Met Your Mother) for Matthew.

When I came up with the idea of Bernie/Bernice, Claudia’s character on Hulu popped up in my mind. Possibly because she also plays a character with a similar name, but I always loved her adorable, quirky character on the show. I felt that she was always underappreciated by those around her. For Matthew, I wanted a brooding, bitter guy on the surface and Radnor was perfect because of his snark and undercurrent of irritation. He also has those tall, dark looks I had pictured for Matthew as well.

In this flirty wilderness adventure by the author of The Marriage Code, two hikers who drive each other crazy discover they might have a lot to learn from one another about navigating life, love, and living up to family expectations.

Ever since her father died, Bernie’s life has been stagnant. When concerned friends and family suggest she join a hike through Alaska to gain new perspective, Bernie reluctantly agrees to go, even though she’s never been the adventurous type, unlike her namesake, Great-Aunt Bernice.

Matthew is a struggling screenwriter who needs a week off the grid to gain some inspiration for a new project and to process the reappearance of his absent father.

When the two meet at the trailhead, it’s annoyance at first sight. He’s dismayed to discover that he’ll have to share a tent with Bernie, who doesn’t know the first thing about camping, while she finds he’s a little too into “roughing it” to be a reasonable human being. But as they’re forced to hike through the wilderness together, their relationship becomes a surprising source of empathy and inspiration…and maybe other feelings too. Can the two adversaries find the path to breaking the curse of family expectations—and each other?

You can purchase The Name Curse at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BROOKE BURROUGHS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Name Curse by Brooke Burroughs.