Rochelle Bradley is a local Dayton area author whose novels combine humor with romantic encounters. She involves herself in community events, mentoring beginning writers and sharing her expertise with readers of all ages. I’m delighted to welcome her to the September author feature.
One of my favorite things to read is an author’s bio in their own words. Here’s Rochelle’s, and it is delightful!
“Rochelle puts an artistic spin on everything she does but there are two things she fails at miserably:
1. Cooking (seriously, she can burn water)
2. Sewing (buttons immediately fall back off)
She loves baking though and makes a mean BTS (Better than Sex) cake. When in observation mode she is quiet, however, her mouth is usually open with an encouraging glass-is-half-full pun or, quite possibly, her foot.
She is a Bearcat, a Buckeye, an interior decorator, and fluent in sarcasm.
In 2008, when her youngest entered Kindergarten, she decided to get the stories out of her head. Midway through her first novel, hurricane Ike (yes, a hurricane in Ohio) rendered the laptop useless with a nine-day power outage. She didn’t give up, but continued to pursue her dream. Every November Rochelle takes on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org) where she endeavors to write 50,000 words in thirty days. You can often hear her cheering the Dayton area Wrimos (those who join her in this crazy pursuit).
Rochelle shares her home with a big black cat, a bitty orange tiger kitty, her daughter, her son, and her Prince.”
Rochelle’s books are very much like her bio, fun, funny, thoughtful, and passionate.
Rochelle Bradley: I have what I call “epic” dreams. They play like movies in my head. In 2008, when my son started kindergarten, I decided to write one of these dreams. I wrote my first novel Blood & Tears Tattoos. I was introduced to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) then as well. For NaNoWriMo the goal is to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. This November will be my thirteenth attempt at NaNo. I have written (started or completed) a novel each year.
J.E.: That’s impressive! Can you share your process with us?
R.B.: Day time: Coffee, coffee, coffee. Night time: Wine, wine, wine. Ha! I’m what they call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I create a mockup of a cover and sometimes make a board on Pinterest to help inspire me. Because I usually write a dream, I have a vague outline and ending, but I let my characters take over. My golden time to write is in the afternoon.
J.E.: You inject a fair sense of humor in your stories. Does this come naturally for you?
R.B.: Yes. I grew up in a Christian home filled with love, giggles, and a fair bit of sarcasm (never mean spirited) and I’m an eternal optimist. I believe the world needs more laughter and love.
J.E.: I agree. Tell us, what events or incidents in your life have influenced your writing?
R.B.: In Plumb Twisted book 2 of the Fortuna, Texas series, the heroine Piper has a stalker. In college, I had a stalker and based the baddie loosely on my experience. I also have found my Prince Charming, he was worth the wait. If I can find true love then everyone can. I try to offer that hope in my tales.
J.E.: I know you are connected to the larger writing community. Which national organizations do you belong to, writing-wise? How do these groups help a writer?
R.B.: I belong to Romance Writers of America (RWA), Central Ohio Fiction Writers (RWA branch), Online International RWA (another branch), Ohio Fiction Writers, and NaNoWriMo. I joined these groups to hone my craft by attending conferences, classes, pitch sessions, finding plotting or critique partners, also to network and meet like-minded individuals. Some of the people I’ve met through local groups (especially NaNoWriMo) are now my best friends. It’s nice to be able to meet for lunch and stay to write.
J.E.: I so miss that getting-together time. Now, I know you participate in a book/writing group in Lebanon. How did that get started? What does a typical meeting comprise?
R.B.: Before COVID, our Thursday night group met at Panera on Wilmington Pike (Centerville, Bellbrook). This group started during November for NaNo but we liked meeting together to write so we began again after the beginning of the year. We’ve been together for a few years. Sometimes it’s just two of us and sometimes it’s fifteen. We write. It’s odd to see a group of people with their headphones on typing away ignoring each other while we work but all grouped together. Writing is solitary so it’s nice to be alone together. It’s also nice when you need a suggestion for a name or choice of murder weapon.
In Lebanon, Mulberry St Books used books store is a friend to the local indie authors. Owner Angela offers a wide section of used books, coffee and teas, many book events, and has a wall of new books from indie authors. In February, Mulberry St. Books graciously hosted the release party of Municipal Liaisons Book 4 in the Fortuna, Texas series.
J.E.: Who has been your best supporter during your writing career? mentor?
R.B.: My biggest supporter and fan was my grandma Elaine. I dedicated The Double D Ranch to her (and all grandmas). My mom, husband, kids are my best supporters now. One person who shooed me out of the nest was Lillian Zoller. She loved my writing voice and encouraged me to attend conferences and classes. Three others who trekked the indie author lifestyle before me are authors Beth M. Honeycutt, C.J. Baty, and Dawn M. Paul. I shadowed them, watching them learn to format, design covers, find editors, betas… basically their whole process. What I learned is everyone has similar a journey but we don’t all take the same steps.
J.E.: What’s on your future writing calendar? A new book(s)? A different genre?
R.B.: This year has been the year for anthologies. A first for me, I was involved in two charity anthologies with 100% of the profits going to the charity. For these, I wrote stories for the Fortuna, Texas world. They released in July, and in late fall or the beginning of next year, I plan to release the Fortuna stories individually.
On October 20, 2020, Who’s the Fairest? A Sisters Grimm anthology releases. It’s Grimm fairy tale retellings. I thought Dragonfly Wishes would be out of my wheelhouse but I love the characters. It’s a contemporary fantasy where Kyan the dragon shifter enters our world when he sees a crying young woman. He exits into our world as an itty bitty dragonfly and gets caught in a spider web. Arianna rescues him and he offers to grant her wishes. February 14, 2021, I’ll have another story in an anthology Kaleidoscope Hearts 3. That story is a stand-alone called Sweeter Than Chocolate. It’s a sweet (ha!) romance about a candy shop owner who gets set up on a double-blind date only to find out both men were her dates and well… shenanigans.
I just started a new thing: I’m interviewing authors on for YouTube channel. I have interviewed paranormal, children’s, YA, romance, science fiction, published, and unpublished authors. I have several authors lined up, as well as a book reviewer and a book store owner.
J.E.: You have such a wealth of experience now. How can a new romance writer best connect with readers?
R.B.: Before you even think about publishing set up your social media platforms. Start following authors and bloggers you admire. Use hashtags like #writingcommunity and #writerslife. Don’t always post about how many words you’ve written. Take a snap of your pet or favorite beverage and let others know you are real. Another thing to do is to attend author events as a reader. Go from table to table and take notes and meet friends. Talk to authors and see what works for them. Something might help spur ideas and get your creative side going.
A third point is to write a blog. Finally, if you want to make that commitment, Join NaNoWriMo to find writer friends in your community, attend write-ins (maybe next year?), and network.
J.E.: Sometimes, writers, especially beginners, complain about staying the course. What is it about writing that keeps you going?
R.B.: I think this holds true for most creatives… Sometimes I feel like I’ll go crazy if I don’t get the stories out of my head. I’ve just got to write. When I don’t feel like writing, there’s always editing, marketing, or more writing. Yep, writer’s block is a myth.
J.E.: Let’s end, as usual, with a few questions, just for fun. When we’re not in a pandemic, what is your favorite way to celebrate the weekend?
R.B.: I love hanging out with my parents, friends, or having a date night with my prince. Luckily, restaurants are open and as the saying goes, I’ve been able to kill two birds with one stone. My prince and I double date with friends. Great conversation and food while social distancing. My prince and I are always on the search for the best peanut butter sundae (this is a lifelong pursuit I feel).
R.B.: Oh Lordy… I have a reading problem. 1. I’m a serial reader 2. If I start it, I need to finish it. I love to read but when I do… I check out. Don’t talk to me until the book is done. I will read until 5 am to finish it. I try to ignore the siren call of ALL the unread books because if I start… well you know. It can seriously eat into writing and editing time. In July we take a family vacation and I start piling up the books waiting until July. Last year I read five books in seven days. This year my goal was at least six. I did it. Here is 2020’s list:
Smoky Mist (The Legend of the Ghost Train) by CJ Baty, Fallen Cross Pack Series (5 book series) by Aliya Dalrae, Sweet Destiny (The Jessica Sweet Trilogy Book 3) by Aliya Dalrae, After Terra: In the Baron’s Shadow by Daniel Coldspring (These are all Dayton, OH authors) and I picked up Empyrean (The Leron Series Book 1) by Nicole L Bates while on vacation. As an extra bonus, I met with her and interviewed her for my YouTube channel while on vacation.