What have you written so far?
So far, the only thing I have published is The Masterpiece Swords: Bright Strength. However, I do already have an unpublished sequel ready to go, and I’m wrapping up the third book in the trilogy that I’ll hopefully finish over the summer. I have a few ideas for a fourth and fifth book as well, but once I finish the third novel I want to work on other ideas outside of the Masterpiece Swords universe.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Social media, social media, social media! Everyone is on Facebook and Twitter all the time, so I make sure to always stay active online. Friending fellow authors, both indie and traditionally published, creating a hashtag pertaining to my book (#swordreport) and keeping a link to my novel on my profile are some ways that I self-promote. Other ways I’ve promoted my book is by holding local book events at the public library, making stickers with my book on them and keeping business cards with my name and a link to my book with me at all times.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think both are equally great and that it’s entirely up to each individual writer to decide which route is best for his or her book. I was published by an independent publisher (McNally Jackson Books), and I’m forever grateful for being granted the chance to put my story out there for the whole world to read. I would like to get picked up by a conventional publisher one day to further expand my audience, though.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My latest book is The Masterpiece Swords: Bright Strength. It is the first in the planned Masterpiece Swords trilogy (maybe it’ll turn into a series one day, who knows??), and it focuses on Tsuyoi Inoue, a teenage Japanese girl living in 16th century Japan. After Tsuyoi’s grandfather’s death sends her tight-knit family into a deep depression, Tsuyoi vows to bring him back, her only hope being two mystical swords that are thought to open a door to the next life when brought together. She is joined by a new friend, Akira Ibuki, a well-read boy who has a relative of his own that he’d like to see again.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
Tsuyoi is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a rather rural village in eastern Japan. She is a very reckless and independent young woman who desires to forge swords for a living (needless to say, a teenage girl wanting to be a swordsmith was uncommon in Japan in the 1500s). I think what sets her apart from other YA protagonists is that she isn’t the type of character who thinks things through. She’s an adventurous person that simply doesn’t like to sit down and strategize. She is also what I would call a “scornful optimist”. She has a razor-sharp wit and often undercuts rough situations with dry humor, but she hardly ever doubts herself and doesn’t go back on the choices she makes.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I have to say it’s a tie between Tsuyoi and Akira. I think they make an excellent team since their differences balance each other out while their similarities keep them in sync. Tsuyoi thinks on her feet while Akira likes to take a step back and plan. Akira is more straightforward and pours out his feelings, while Tsuyoi is full of sarcasm. Yet both are a wealth of intelligence and bravery, something that will keep them alive in many a situation, and they both have good hearts. They’re both fiercely devoted to those they love and grow such a strong bond over the course of their adventure that they would even lay down their lives for each other. It’s really hard to choose between them.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
All that research! It’s hard enough writing a book that takes place in a distant country such as Japan, let alone during a different time period as well! Every time I found an error or inaccuracy, I would hole myself up for weeks on end, fact-checking myself and searching through online history textbooks and encyclopedias before I would write another word. I wanted to make the story as historically and culturally accurate as I possibly could. Even now, nearly a year after “Bright Strength” was first published, I still find myself making sure I didn’t make a mistake and am constantly checking out books from my university’s library and perusing educational websites to make sure there isn’t something else that needs correction.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Ask me a different day and you’ll probably get a different answer. For now, though, it’ll have to be Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. I’m currently reading the novel for the first time – little by little, as being a full-time student allows only so much reading time – and Jonathan was a very appealing character from the start. His bravery in the face of deadly situations, unwavering determination to get home to his beloved Mina and the candor in his journal entries all made me like him instantly.
What do you like to read in your free time?
It depends on my mood and how much free time I have to play with. Some days a few Pearls Before Swine comic strips or a Batman comic book does the trick when I don’t have much time (Hush is a personal favorite of mine), while other days I’ll pick up a Guinness World Records book. When I have a day off from class and work, a classic like The Count of Monte Cristo or a mystery like And Then There Were None is my book of choice.
How can you discover more about Briana?