Q&A with Jamie Brenner

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Q&A With Jamie Brenner 

Today author Jamie Brenner emailed me after I sent her a message on Instagram inquiring about a Q&A. Jamie Brenner writes beach reads with women as the lead characters. Some of Jamie’s novels are “Gilt,” “The Wedding Sisters,” “Drawing Home,” “Blush,” and “The Husband Hour”. 

Q: So when in your life did you realize that your calling was to be a writer? 

A: I was in elementary school when I realized that I made sense of the world through books. I loved Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, Norma Klein, and Paula Danziger. I never actually imagined that I could ever be an author, but I knew books and authors were the most important thing to me.

Q: What made you want to write beach reads specifically? 

A: My happiest memories of growing up are mostly of times at the beach with my parents and grandparents. For years, I think about those days at the beach whenever I hit a rough patch, and when I began writing full-time, I wanted to write in a space that I personally wanted to spend time. And I like the contrast between a bucolic beach setting and personal family drama. I always enjoyed reading those stories, whether by Anne Rivers Siddons or Elin Hilderbrand, so I wanted to try my own version of them.

Q: What advice do you have for those who want to pursue writing as a career? What advice do you have for those who struggle with writers block?

A:For anyone who wants to pursue a writing career, I’d suggest making sure the book you’re writing is a book you’d want to read. If you read mystery nonstop, that’s probably a good place to start writing. Also, you have to be willing to write badly at first, you can’t get discouraged by early rejection (How many agents passed on Harry Potter? MANY!). And above all keep reading: Read books like the one you’re hoping to publish, read books that are popular that you might not ordinarily choose, and if there’s an author you admire, read or watch interviews to understand their writing journey. Even if someone seems like an overnight success, they’re usually not. This helps keep things in perspective.

As for writer’s block, there’s a wonderful nonfiction book I always recommend called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. 

Q: If you were to collaborate with another writer, who would it be and why?

A:I’m not great at collaborating, and that’s why I prefer writing novels to other forms of creative writing like TV or film. I prefer wrestling with the story and the page just myself. It’s simply the way my creativity works.

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?

A:I’ve published seven novels and at any given day, one or the other is involved in some dramatic rights adaptation, at various stages. I’ve written one script myself, an adaptation of my first novel The Wedding Sisters. I’m in discussion right now with a network about my Provincetown trilogy. We’ll see!

Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit about it? 

A: My next novel is a about a woman named Tabitha who’s a perfumer spending her summers on Shelter Island. On the eve of her first celebrity scent collaboration, she loses her sense of smell. At the same time, her grown daughter brings her new boyfriend to the beach house and he seems to have a connection to Tabitha’s long-buried past…

Q: Where do you get your ideas to write all of your beach reads? 

A: Ideas come in different ways, usually when I’m not looking for them. It could be a newspaper article, a trip I take to a new place, a story a friend tells me, a challenge one of my daughter’s is dealing with, or even a memory I want to revisit with a different outcome. The ideas are honestly the easiest part.