Debut Author Series: Brooke Burroughs
- By: The Scribbler Team
Welcome to Scribbler’s new blog series, where we interview debut indie- and traditionally-published authors regarding their novel and writing processes.
We’re very excited to feature Brooke Burroughs, the author of “The Marriage Code” in our debut author series. For Scribbler box subscribers, you’ll probably remember her book from it’s inclusion in one of our past boxes. If you haven’t heard about Brooke’s debut novel — which is reviewed as a “Thoroughly charming, modern romance for people who love to laugh” by Penny Reid, New York Times bestselling author — we’ve included the description below:
Emma has always lived her life according to a plan. But after turning down her boyfriend’s proposal, everything starts to crumble. In an effort to save the one thing she cares about―her job―she must recruit her colleague, Rishi, to be on her development team…only she may or may not have received the position he was promised. (She did.)
Rishi cannot believe that he got passed over for promotion. To make matters worse, not only does his job require him to return home to Bangalore with his nemesis, Emma, but his parents now expect him to choose a bride and get married. So, when Emma makes him an offer―join her team, and she’ll write an algorithm to find him the perfect bride―he reluctantly accepts.
Neither of them expect her marriage code to work so well―or to fall for one another―which leads Emma and Rishi to wonder if leaving fate up to formulas is really an equation for lasting love.Sourced from Amazon
Thank you so much for participating, Brooke! So, how did the story of THE MARRIAGE CODE come to you?
The Marriage Code started out as a memoir of my experience moving to Bangalore, India and meeting my husband. Everyone kept saying, “Your story would make a great movie!” and because I’d always been a writer (and didn’t have the aspiration to be a Hollywood producer) I wanted to try and write about it. But at one point I read my “memoir” and thought, “This is like reading someone’s 100,000 word fairly boring diary.” Ha!
Real life often doesn’t have the drama and high stakes that fiction does, and I wanted to develop characters that had their own challenges and journeys to take that weren’t mine or my husband’s. That’s how it took a somewhat circuitous route to becoming a novel.
What was a moment during the writing or publishing process for THE MARRIAGE CODE you’ll never forget?
The most exciting moment of working on THE MARRIAGE CODE was when I was accepted into Pitchwars and found my agent through the Pitchwars process. I had been working on the manuscript through various iterations and had received several rejections from agents and groaning to myself, was wondering if I should move on from THE MARRIAGE CODE and work on something else. I think most authors find themselves in that path when they’re pursuing traditional publishing. When one of the author mentors, Melissa Marino, was excited about helping me polish up the manuscript I was ecstatic! Then when I found my agent, Kimberly Brower, during the author/agent showcase with my revised manuscript I was beyond excited! Backflips may have been involved. We made several more changes to the story after that, but in a lot of ways, I felt like I had finally leaped over the most challenging hurdle.
When did you decide traditional publishing was right for you?
I have some friends who have done indie publishing, and thought it was tempting (especially after the rejection letters!). But also knew that if you want to do it well, it’s like running your own business. You have to be responsible for not just the writing, but the cover, editing, publishing, and marketing. Coordinating all of that seemed overwhelming, especially when I was juggling a day job and trying to write a book. I also wanted to make sure my book was the best it could be before being published, and wanted someone to help me navigate the business side of publishing–that’s where having an agent can really help.
Can you share three tools you feel are essential to your writing process?
- Microsoft OneNote: I’m kind of addicted to it. I organize all my thoughts and ideas and plot points into OneNote. I don’t use pen and paper, so having a place where I can organize images of my characters, the timeline, and key points I don’t want to forget is essential. I’m also a pantser so keeping things organized somewhere for me to look back through is critical so I don’t mix things up!
- Headspace app: Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the edits I have to make, or something with my day job, or just life in general, and meditation has been really helpful for me in clearing my head when I need to solve a writing problem or sometimes just write. I love the Headspace app for this. There is a particular series on creativity that I will use when I’m getting ready to shift gears and write, or when I need to solve a particular problem. It always helps unblock me!
- Dedicated writing space: I have a desk I use for working from home, but I can’t write there. I have a “writing nook” I use to write my fiction. It is separate from anything else I do, and when I’m sitting in it, I feel like I have entered the creative zone! It really helps me to have a dedicated space in my house that feels like it’s mine and blocks out distractions so I can focus on my writing and not think about work, laundry, or feeding the dogs!
Is there any writing or publishing advice you wish you knew five years ago?
Yes! I wish I had taken more time to build an online community of writers. Social media has never been my preferred way to keep in touch and communicate, but I wish I had spent more time engaging with the writing communities online. There are a lot of great supportive groups, whether it’s Booktok on Tiktok, various groups on Facebook, or Twitter, and I think if you are into social media, it is never too early to start building those relationships! As you start out in publishing it is critical to have other authors and writers to help you out and support you along the way.
Has there been an author or piece of work that inspired you to write this book — or to become an author?
I was never a romance reader growing up, and about seven years ago, when I was trying to figure out what to do with THE MARRIAGE CODE manuscript, a workshop teacher told me I was writing romance. I was somehow surprised at this piece of news (which is hilarious—TMC is a love story after all!). I started devouring romance after romance, staring with Christina Lauren. Their writing was so different than the historical romances of the nineties that my friend had let me borrow in high school, and I loved this new take on the genre. So I think their early series really helped me open my eyes to the wide and wonderful world of contemporary romance as it is today, and now it’s hard for me to read any other genre!
Lightning Round: This or That?
Would you rather read fiction or nonfiction? Fiction! It’s really hard for me to read something without some hint of a love story in it.
Coffee, tea, or water? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and water all day long!
Has a book ever made you cry? Yes, I’m a sappy, emotional kinda gal! Most tears: my uncle is a Holocaust survivor and wrote a memoir of his experiences which made me sob repeatedly. It’s called One Step Ahead of Hitler (by Fred Gross). And my most recent cry-worthy read was Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. Get the tissue box out.
Writing to music or silence? Silence. I love music and get distracted even when there aren’t lyrics.
“Pantser” or “plotter?” Panster! I started out as a plotter and figured out the hard way that plotting doesn’t work for me. It’s like creative jail for my brain. I admire anyone who can plot out their entire story before writing.
Would you rather handwrite or type your books? Type. I’m not sure the muscles in my hands can actually write out more than a paragraph or two. Yikes!
A bit about Brooke…
Brooke is an award-winning writer of fun love stories about women with a heart for adventure. Her most recent book, THE NAME CURSE, published on August 31, 2021. The book follows is a flirty wilderness adventure that follows two hikers who drive each other crazy — and also discover they might have a lot to learn from one another about navigating life, love, and living up to family expectations.
You can find Brooke all around the interwebs! Check out her platforms here:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Brooke-Burroughs/e/B08C5K5L1B
Meet The Scribbler Team
Victoria Scott and Lindsay Cummings started Scribbler in 2017, after traditionally publishing a combined seventeen books with companies like HarperCollins, Harlequin, Scholastic, and Macmillan. Victoria is an Uber-hailing city girl, and Lindsay is a horseback-riding country girl, but on one thing they agree - writing, and helping other writers, is in their blood.
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