When’s the last time you read a post-apocalyptic thriller featuring a 70+ year-old plucky grandma as the protagonist? I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this book, and today’s author definitely put a fresh spin on it. A confirmed night owl, you might find her binge-watching Ancient Aliens while editing her next project. Welcome Brenda Marie Smith!
Would you rather boogie down to Monster Mash or get your groove on to Thriller?
I’m showing my age here, but I’d have to go with Monster Mash. I’m one of the only people I know who remembers how to dance the Mashed Potato. And the Monster Mash is just the Mashed Potato with scary monster hands. So, I’d have to play to my strengths, lol.
Would you rather be locked in a haunted insane asylum or lost in the woods with a killer on the loose?
Until a few weeks ago, I would have said I’d prefer the woods so that I’d have more chances of escape and more places to hide. But then I read Marisa Noelle’s The Shadow Keepers, a great YA thriller about troubled teen girls trapped in a haunted asylum. If I could be trapped with those plucky girls, I’d feel a lot safer and I’d know they would have my back. And maybe I could also get some mental health treatment at the same time.
Would you rather be part of the X-Files team or Ghostbusters?
Being a Ghostbuster with a crew of comedians would be a lot of fun. But I’d have to go with X-Files, especially if I could work with the younger Fox Mulder. I need to know what truths are out there, and working on finding them as a full-time job would be very emotionally satisfying to me. It would be worth the danger and the ridicule.
What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers?
I am an extreme night owl, and I like to stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. reading, editing, posting on social media, playing computer games, and watching TV, usually doing several of these things at once. My fave things to watch are Rachel Maddow, true-crime shows, and Ancient Aliens (yes, I’m weird, haha). My son and I have binge-watched every apocalypse and dystopia we can get our hands on. And I often go to bed at the same time my husband is getting up for work, the poor guy.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
I think men are much more sensitive than women often realize. They have such different ways of showing their worries and fears than we do. It’s harder to capture men’s emotions in the subtext because it’s subtle. And it’s difficult to make their dialogue sound like a man. It’s very rewarding when I get it right, though it usually takes me tons of rewriting to get there.
What are you working on now?
I’m polishing up the sequel to If Darkness Takes Us. It’s called If the Light Should Come (though that title could change a bit), and it’s from grandson Keno’s point of view. Who knew I had an eighteen-year-old young man living inside me? I can’t believe how fast that kid’s voice spewed out of my head. I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with him. I’m hoping that I sell enough copies of If Darkness that my publisher will pick up If the Light. Fingers crossed!
I’m also working on a project set in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas in the 1970’s, but I have to keep the plot hush-hush for now. Let’s just say that hippies are involved.
2018 SOUTHERN FRIED KARMA NOVEL CONTEST WINNER
IN SUBURBAN AUSTIN, TEXAS, BEA CRENSHAW SECRETLY PREPARES FOR THE APOCALYPSE. But when a solar pulse destroys modern life, she’s left alone with four grandkids whose parents do not return home. She must teach these kids to survive without power, cars, phones, running water, or doctors in a world fraught with increasing danger.
If Darkness Takes Us is realistic post-apocalyptic fiction with a focus on a family in peril, led by a no-nonsense grandmother who is at once funny, controlling, and heroic in her struggle to hold her family together with civility and heart.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1117598618442240/ (For my book launch event at BookPeople in Austin, November 16th, 5 p.m.)
Brenda Marie Smith studied fiction in the UCLA Writers Program. Born and raisedin Oklahoma City, she was part of the back-to-the-land movement, living off the grid in the Ozark Mountains, and then joining the Farm—an off-grid, vegan hippie community, based in Tennessee—where her sons were delivered by midwives.
In Austin, Texas, Brenda managed student housing co-ops near the University of Texas for fifteen years. If Darkness Takes Us is her second novel. Her first, Something Radiates, is a paranormal thriller. Brenda and her husband own and reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin. They have five grown sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandkids, and a self-assured kitty cat.
Blog: https://brendamariesmith.tumblr.com/ (where I’m running a series, What NOT to Stock for An Apocalypse, followed by What TO Stock…)
Facebook: Books by Brenda Marie Smith