Change the Word: What was the inspiration for This One's For You?
Brandy Jellum: In August of 2014, I lost perhaps one of the greatest people I had ever known. Her name was Mirranda and she was one of my best friends. Writing this story was my way of dealing with the loss and my way of honoring thirteen years of friendship. The main character, Brennan, reflects very much of who I am, what I dealt with as far as losing a part of me, and letting people in to help me accept and move on with everything that had occurred. She was my inspiration for This One’s For You.
BJ: Not very much to be honest. All I knew was I needed an outlet to deal with the loss and writing was the best way I knew how. A lot of the characters had physical/personality traits came from Mirranda and the kind of person she was. Some things that happened in the book, actually happened in real life, and I just elaborated on them. I just sat down one day, started to write, and let the words come out. It was all I needed for telling this story.
CTW: If you could grab lunch with one character from This One's For You, who would you choose, where would you go, and what would you talk about?
BJ: I’d go to lunch with Brennan. We’d go to McDonalds, grab cheeseburgers with only Mac sauce, and we’d talk about how wonderful and how much of an impact Mirranda/Reagan made on our lives.
CTW: How do you choose the names for your characters?
BJ: I have a funny way of choosing names. I’ll come across names I really love, ones that I’d like for future children. But since my husband and I already have four between the two of us combined, we taken steps to ensure no more surprises happen. Four is already a lot to juggle. So when I come across names that I love, they are reserved for future books!
CTW: What has been the best lesson you've learned about yourself as a writer?
BJ: My best writing comes from when I reach into myself and really pull out how I’m feeling. That if I put myself into the character’s shoes, how would I feel? How would I react to a situation? And how do I move forward? I’ve learned a great deal of what I would do if I was to come face to face with situations all my characters encounter and I’m pretty sure I have it figured out what I’d do.
CTW: What are three things you need to have in order to write?
BJ: My headphones, an endless playlist of music, and caffine.
CTW: Where is one place you would like to have a week-long writing retreat and why?
BJ: Probably just the opportunity to shut myself in my room because if I was to travel anywhere, I’d want to go out and explore, to see things, and to do things. I’m pretty sure I would get zero writing done if I went on a retreat outside of my house.
CTW: How do you stay motivated to keep writing?
BJ: This is a hard one that I’ve been struggling with. However, I just keep pushing myself forward. I’m one of those authors who hears voices in my head, so that’s been pretty motivating. If I don’t write, they keep talking, and keep driving me insane. Which is enough motivation for me to keep trucking forward.
CTW: What advice would you give to someone just starting his or her writing career?
BJ: There’s this thing called self-doubt – and it’s a real pain. IGNORE IT! That little voice in your head that’s telling you that you’ll never make it, that your story is horrible, and that you should quit while you’re ahead is a nuisance. It’ll always be there, book after book, year after year. The best thing one can do is learn to live with it. If you don’t, you won’t get anywhere. Keep pushing forward. Believe in yourself. And hire a GREAT editor!
CTW: What is up next for you and your writing career?
BJ: I’m still waiting for a book to take off. Right now, I’m fooling around with a couple of ideas I’ve got running in my head, and hoping one takes flight soon. As far as my career, I’m going to keep writing. That’s all I can do. And I love it.
About the Book
All alone in a new state, Brennan Daniels has only the memories of her best friend, Reagan, to keep her company as she starts college.
Reagan is the reason for everything Brennan does—before she died, she made Brennan promise to stay good until she found a man worth keeping. No boys, no dating, and definitely no falling in love—those were the rules for college, and Brennan carved them into the brick walls guarding her heart…
But there’s a fire burning behind those walls, and when Brennan meets Owen Scott, the (mysterious) new guy across the hall, she can’t deny the pull between them. He is everything she should never want. Everyone warns her to stay away—even Owen himself—but the heart wants what the heart wants, even if it knows that it’s going to get hurt—even if it means throwing old promises to new flames…
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