Today, we’re talking to an author who also writes for a newspaper. She’s published three novels and offers a more-than-healthy amount of writing experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy getting to know, Charmain Brackett.
You’re a writer in a world where it seems everyone is trying their hand at writing. What inspires you to write and when did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In seventh grade, I had a school project to create a newspaper. At the same time, I was working on my journalism badge in Girl Scouts. We took a field trip to the local newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle, and I think ink somehow seeped into my blood.
I had forgotten about that newspaper ink by the time I reached college. I loved to read and write so majoring in English sounded like a perfect blend, but people wrongly assumed my only career option was teaching. I minored in communications and that long forgotten newspaper ink found its way to the surface. I got a part-time job with the Chronicle in college, and I have been writing for that publication in some capacity for 25 years. I’ve also written for several magazines and the newspaper at the nearby military base over the years.
I started writing fiction because there was a story inside of me that wouldn’t go away. I felt compelled to write it down.
To me, writing is a combination of creativity and discipline. I force myself to write every day whether I feel like it or not. My newspaper editors don’t care if I’m “inspired” to write. There’s a deadline to meet, and they want their copy. I translate that into my fiction writing. I give myself a goal and go after it. I don’t have time to find a muse.
Share your favorite passage from one of your works in one paragraph or less.
“You cannot go through life with regret. Although you feel you’ve missed out on some things in life, everything you’ve gone through has prepared you for the place you are in now,” Elyon said. “The best is still ahead of you.” The Key of Elyon, page 63.
You’ve been presented with the opportunity to be a best-selling author but can never write again or write forever but never have a bestseller. Which scenario sounds more tempting?
There’s no choice for me. I have to write. It’s part of who I am. I’ve tried to “quit,” but I can’t. Words bubble up from deep inside of me and demand I write them down. The day I quit writing will probably be the day I die. While I’d love to have a book on the New York Times bestseller list, that’s not the reason I write and not making it would never stop me from writing.
If you could live on a college campus and never leave or in a small town but be able to travel, which one would you choose?
The second option. I live in a relatively small community, and I am able to travel. I love it.
Okay, how about in a zoo or in a museum?
A museum. I love learning, and the museums in my area are filled with so many fascinating facts on history, art and culture.
And what about England or New Zealand?
While I’d love to visit them both, I’d have to say England. I would love to see the moors I imagined as I met Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and visit Whitby Abbey which I saw in my mind’s eye when I first dove into the pages of Dracula. I want to see where William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen lived and created their amazing characters. Not only would I revel in the island’s history, but I’d love to experience the modern day culture and take in as many shows as possible in London’s West End. Besides, I love Dr. Who, and I have to go to the place it originated.
Who is your favorite 90’s band (I’m thinking Counting Crows, Blink 182, Hootie & the Blowfish)?
They had bands in the 90s? To me, the 90s are a blur. I had two children during that decade and raising them was at the forefront. The only music I remember from then played on Sesame Street, Barney or Teletubbies.
Is there any good band out there today that we’ll talk about in 50 years?
I’m sure we’ll be surprised because what is good and what sells aren’t necessarily the same.
And what about your favorite comedy on TV (My favorite is The Office)?
We don’t have cable so I don’t watch much television. My favorite shows are Dr. Who and BBC’s Sherlock, which I’ve seen on Netflix.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
I’m always writing. If I’m not writing about a local artist, an upcoming event or a fashion trend for the newspaper, I’ve got a work in progress elsewhere. I’m writing a romance novel, and I’ve also been researching a book on my ancestors who owned a circus around the turn of the 20th century.
That sounds interesting 🙂
Who is your favorite author and if you could ask him/her one question, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. There are so many authors I’ve loved. I can’t say I have a favorite. There are so many authors I’d love to pick their brains, and being a journalist, I can’t stop with just one question.
Ocean or mountains? Ocean
Strawberries or blueberries? Strawberries
M & M’s or Skittles? Anything chocolate!
The Daily Show or The Colbert Report? I don’t watch either of them.
Happy or sad ending to a novel? Happy. In my non-fiction day job, I’ve written too many real stories with tragic endings. I’ve cried on the job many times. I want my fiction to take me to a place where happiness lives.
Beer or wine? I don’t drink.
Flying or driving? I like to drive and see the sights.
Shakespeare or King David? I love them both.
You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take two things with you as well as two people. What and who are you bringing?
Since I’m currently in the middle of writing a new novel, I’d love to be stranded on a deserted island all by myself with just my computer and the Internet. I could get so much more writing accomplished with no interruptions.
You’re able to sit down with any leader in world history. Who would you choose, what would you talk about, and would you rather have him over to your house or meet at their place of royalty?
I would love to sit down with Queen Elizabeth I in her palace. I’ve read a lot about her and the swarm of conjecture around her. She sounds like a fascinating woman in a time when women had little value except to bear children.
You can wish for one thing and one thing only, not world peace and no more wishes. What’s it gonna be?
That all three of my children fulfill their destinies and live each day to its fullest potential.
Charmain Zimmerman Brackett grew up in a quaint Southern neighborhood filled with retirees. With no children to play with, her best friends became the characters within the pages of books she borrowed from the local library. A storyteller at heart, she has written hundreds of articles for The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta Family Magazine, Augusta Magazine and The Signal. She won several awards for a series of articles on returning wounded warriors for the Army newspaper, The Signal, including a second place at the highest level of the Keith L. Ware journalism competition. She’s published three novels, The Key of Elyon, Elyon’s Cipher and Elyon’s Light.
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