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Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Brenda Lowder!

Today we’re welcoming another Persister from the 2018 class of Golden Heart Finalists. Brenda Lowder has been nominated for Best Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance for her manuscript KEEPING THE PIECE.

Brenda lives in Atlanta and writes romantic comedy novels. She loves international travel, fine dining, and air conditioning. She’s obsessed with fiction in all its forms—books, films, television, and the lies we tell ourselves. Her smart and sexy husband and two princess scientist daughters love her enough to insist she’s still twenty-nine.

Here’s a blurb for KEEPING THE PIECE:

Emma Hayworth has loved Cameron Rushton ever since their freshman year of college. He’s always seen her as a friend, but she knows the last twelve years of devotion are going to pay off today, at his 30th birthday party on his parents’ yacht, because last night he kissed her for the very first time.

Instead, he announces to everyone assembled that he’s proposed to his on-again-off-again glamazon girlfriend, Honey Covington, and she’s accepted.

Emma is devastated, but as she looks across the crowded room, she sees handsome loner Derek Chase as upset by the news as she is, except he’s not looking at Cam—he’s looking at Honey.

Emma and Derek join forces to break up Cam and Honey and keep the pieces for themselves. As they scheme, they discover an unexpected attraction to each other. When Cam and Honey’s relationship gets rocky and they turn toward their long-suffering admirers, Emma and Derek must ask themselves if they really still want the pieces, or if—with each other—they’ve already found the person who makes them whole.

This sounds like it would make another fun beach read! C’mon, Persisters, and get these books out to the public ASAP!! I need this!

Okay, friends—grab a chaise lounge here under this palm tree Brenda’s found for us, while handsome cabana boys bring us iced teas and delicious beach-friendly canapés. Brenda and I have some fun things to chat about, and we’d love to have you join us!

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Welcome, Brenda!! You’re a first time Golden Heart finalist, so I’m going to start with my traditional favorite question: What was it like when you got that phone call?

I was ecstatic! This was my first time entering the Golden Heart, and I couldn’t believe that I was a finalist! NYT bestselling author Shirley Jump called me with the news, and I was so excited to be talking to her in addition to learning I finaled. The best thing about being a finalist is being able to connect with so many talented writers and find camaraderie in our shared experiences.

Oh, wow! First entry, first final!! That’s an accomplishment! As is being called by a NYT Bestseller!! So…entering the Golden Heart was new for you. Are you a newbie to writing, or has the habit had its hooks in you awhile?

I’ve been writing all my life. I started thinking I could be good at it when I was six and wrote a pivotal poem about a melting snowman that made my teacher and parents laugh.

I completed my first novel four and a half years ago and have been writing seriously since then. I’ve written five novels now. Three are romantic comedies, one is a category romance that helped me realize category romance is not my genre, and the other is my current work-in-progress, which is a romantic dramedy with a couple of supernatural elements.

Oh, fabulous!! (Maybe you can share that melting snowman poem in the comments!!) So…snowman. Was that from personal experience? Did you grow up in a wintry climate?

I’ve been lucky to have lived all over the U.S. I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and then my parents moved us to NJ—about a half-hour outside of Philadelphia—then to Memphis, TN, and then to Houston, TX, which is where I went to high school. I attended college in UT, which is where I met my husband. Then he and I moved back to Los Angeles, and then to Albuquerque, NM for two years, and now we’re in Atlanta, GA, hopefully for good. Living in so many different parts of the country has been an amazing education. I think it gives me a lot of different perspectives from which to write.

Oh, wow—that really is a lot of different perspectives (and sub-cultures, and sub-climates!) You can write pretty much anything about anywhere now. The snowman poem aside, though, have you always been interested in writing Romance?

Everything I write turns into romance! (And I’m not complaining. 😉 ) It’s kind of funny because I’ll try to write in other genres and things just tend to get…romantic. I recently finaled in the 2018 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, and for the final round I wanted to write an important story involving an active shooter since that’s something that terrifies me, and yup, even that story turned into a romance.

But one of my deepest held beliefs is that the world needs more love so that’s bound to leak out, right?

Absolutely! (Though I’d love to know how you managed to turn a shooter scenario into romance!!) Does the love of romance guide your reading and other media choices as well?

My favorite books to read are romantic comedies—which is why I love to write them, too, because I feel like there aren’t enough of them out there!

My favorite movies are Pride and Prejudice—both the Keira Knightley one and the Colin Firth one, Die Hard, Sense and Sensibility, Speed, Emma—the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam one, The Matrix, and the Lord of the Rings movies. And Fight Club. And Working Girl. These are old favorites I watch over and over again. My newest favorite movie is The Greatest Showman. It makes me so happy.

My favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Westworld, Arrested Development, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Downton Abbey, Extras, Lost, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I feel like television, especially, is tribe-building. I became friends with one of my best friends in the world because we found out we had a mutual love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and we were both Team Spike) while bonding over a huge copy job at the Xerox machine at work one day. Right away, we recognized each other as “our people.”

I think fiction—both the stories we absorb in books, movies, and television, and the stories we tell ourselves—cements us to the world and to other people in a way that nothing else quite does. It’s a shared experience that’s larger and deeper than could be communicated in any other way.

Okay, so your story interests go way beyond traditional romance. You’ve got some pretty serious paranormal / sci fi geekdom material in there, plus comedy, plus highbrow drama, plus historical romance! (My kind of person!!) And I totally agree that TV is tribe-building in our culture today. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I spend on Tumblr, but it just makes my day to geek out about Game of Thrones or Sherlock or Marvel superheroes or Harry Potter with other fans. Stories are great, no matter what genre they’re in! So, what’s your biggest source of inspiration? Where do your own story ideas come from?

My best story ideas come to me in the shower like a normal person.

And the ideas come about because of hot men. Um, thank you, Alexander Skarsgard. It’s okay. My husband understands that it’s all just in my head.

LOL! Alexander Skarsgard has no doubt inspired many, many women in many, many ways! Any other, uh, celebrity inspirations? Who’s your biggest celebrity crush?

It’s so hard to choose one. I’ve loved Keanu Reeves since I was little and first saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, so I guess I’d say he’s my celebrity crush of longest duration, though I very much admire Ryan Gosling’s abs, Tom Hiddleston’s forearms, Chris Hemsworth’s eyes, Josh Holloway’s everything, David Tennant, Alexander Skarsgard (worth mentioning again), James McAvoy, Charlie Hunnam, Orlando Bloom, Taylor Kitsch, Kit Harrington. Should I go on? I mean, I totally could. I don’t want to leave anyone out…

Sigh! Love that list!! Speaking of inspirations, do you have a new Work-In-Progress? Care to share what it’s about?

My current work-in-progress is a dramedy with supernatural elements I’m calling Body Jumping. It’s about a woman who experiences a catastrophic car crash and finds that her spirit is thrown clear of her body. Her body goes into a coma, and her spirit jumps into other bodies against her will. Eventually she ends up with a super-hot physique and feels emboldened to pursue the man she’s long admired, but as dangerous events threaten both her life and her host’s body, she must find a way to return to her own life if she’s to save them both.

What a cool concept!! Yup, I knew that sci-fi geekdom thing was lurking in there somewhere!! I’d love to read that! You’ve completed a few novels already. Are making plans to get them out in to the world?

I’m pursuing traditional publication and signed with an agent in December, Mike Hoogland of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. I think persistence is the number one thing I’ve needed to learn. I think it’s very fitting the Golden Heart Class of 2018 chose the name “Persisters.” I have to keep reminding myself that if you quit, you’re sure to fail. The only way you’ll ever succeed is to keep trying.

Amen to that! And congrats on finding an agent!! You can do this!! What’s the best tip you can give other writers as they travel their own writing journeys?

Keep writing! When you finish one book, write another. And another.

What question would you like to ask our readers to get the conversation going today?

I lose myself in fiction all the time. How about you? What book (or movie or television show) would you live in (or vacation in), if you could, and why?

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Connect with Brenda Lowder on social media:

Website: www.brendalowder.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BrendaLowderAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/brenda_lowder

 

51 responses to “Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Brenda Lowder!”

  1. Hi, Brenda! Congrats on your final. I hope to meet you in Denver! That’s a great question! Sometimes I already feel as if I live in an episode of This is Us, and it’s definitely one of my favorite shows right now. But if I could vacation in a movie, it might have to be Footloose. Maybe I’d finally learn how to dance! 🙂

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Alicia! I’ll be in Denver, too. I can’t wait! And I’m excited to meet you! I LOVE This is Us and it’s so full of heart, so that’s probably a good show to live in. Also Justin Hartley, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown. 🙂 Footloose would be awesome. I can’t watch it without dancing!

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  2. Welcome to our blog, Brenda. I love your story concept, Quantum Leap meets Mr. Right. Loved Quantum Leap TV series and love, love romantic suspense, so I’m hooked. Get it published, girl. I’m waiting.

    What story line would I live in? Hmmm Love suspense but ….. Today I’d stay with Frankie and Grace and enjoy that beach house and laugh all day.

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Autumn! Thanks so much! Quantum Leap meets Mr. Right is a great summation. Quantum Leap was awesome! I haven’t seen Frankie and Grace, but I’ll have to check it out. I could use a virtual beach vacation about now!

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  3. Johnna Stein says:

    Hi Brenda,
    I loved learning more about you and your writing! I think I’d want to vacation in France and live for a week in Ever After and go to the masked ball.

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  4. Julia Day says:

    Another THIS IS US fan. Love the writing and the acting and the peeling back the layers at the perfect time. For an author, THIS IS US is a master class in story-telling.

    Congratulations on your final, and signing an agent. And thank you for joining us on the blog today!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Julia! Thanks so much! You are so right. I learn a ton from THIS IS US. It’s a step-by-step on how to tug the heartstrings, for sure!

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  5. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    What a fun interview and it’s so nice to “meet” you, Brenda.
    Being from the Houston area, I’m interested in what high school you attended. And with that list of, er, gorgeous inspirations and paranormal geekiness, I feel like we could be kindred spirits. Haha!

    Good luck with Keeping the Piece and your WIP. They sound wonderful!!! And congrats on your agent.

    Jenn!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Jenn! Thank you so much!! It’s great to meet you! And a fellow Houstonian! I like you already. 🙂 And I love that you share my love of hot men and paranormal geekiness. I went to Westfield High School in Spring I.S.D., but if you ask, I’m totally going to lie about what year I graduated. HA! What high school did you attend?

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      • Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

        I’m probably older than you. Let’s just say the 80’s ROCKED! I graduated from Klein Oak HS! We were practically neighbors!!!

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        • Brenda Lowder says:

          That’s awesome, Jenn! Totally neighbors! One of my best friends went to Klein Oak!

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          • Barbra Campbell says:

            Hi Brenda,
            I too went to HS in Houston, Dobie (southeast) in the 80’s.

            I got my competitive feet wet in the NYC Midnight screen writing competitions, a funa nd supportive environment. Congratulations on your final there.

            Your story sounds fun and I hope to see you in Denver.

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  6. Dawn Anderson says:

    Hi Brenda! This is such an exciting time for you! Great interview!

    I love me some historical fiction, but I would never want to live in that world. I need flush toilets, hot showers, and ethnic restaurants to exist happily. Maybe I’d like to spend some time in a Maeve Binchy novel. Basically everyone is happy, tries hard, and seeks out companionship. It seems like it would be an easy, comfortable life that would warm my soul. Plus, I like pub breakfasts.

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Dawn! Thank you! I get ya about historicals. I need my modern conveniences! Being in a Maeve Binchy novel would be wonderful. She has such a sense of justice–the good guys get a happy ending and the cheater/mean people/bad guys get what they deserve. And I always picture some beautiful Irish scenery. And those accents…yum!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oy, yes!! Let’s also add modern medical care, tampons, and the internet to that list!!

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  7. Oh wow! I love your book concept – I hope it sells soon so I can read and that you also sell the movie rights because it would make an amazing movie.

    For your question, can I live in a world with superpowers please? Provided I have superpowers, of course. 🙂

    Congrats on the final and good luck in Denver!

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  8. I’m in a writing group with Brenda, and I can assure you that would very much enjoy everything she’s written (that I’ve seen).

    As for the question: If a door opened in my closet and took me to Narnia, I wouldn’t even hesitate to step over the threshold and go exploring for a few days/years/lifetimes. Who wouldn’t love to go to a world where animals talk and magic works? Sign me up!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Gary! Thank you so much! You write pretty awesome stuff yourself! 🙂 Narnia would be amazing! I’d love trying on the fur coats on my way through the wardrobe. Ha! And magic and talking animals, yes, please! 🙂

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  9. Sharon Pegram says:

    I’m another of Brenda’s writing friends and I can’t wait for everyone else to get to read Keeping the Piece. It’s hilarious!

    For the question:Pern, from the Dragon Riders of Pern series. Cats are wonderful, but I need a fire lizard.

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  10. Heather Jenkins says:

    Your interview felt just like sitting down to a fun meal with you! I look forward to everything you write!
    What a great question! I am tempted to say Anne of Green Gables or Downton Abbey, but I also am a lover of air conditioning. So, I will go with Harry Potter! Love the compelling storylines and the fantasy! But, like you, I thrive on the romance and comedy of it all!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Heather! I love your rationale–completely agree! Plus, in Harry Potter I think you’d have to be younger by definition, so there’s that. 😉 Thank you muchly for the compliments, but if I ever sit down with you for a meal with no food in it, I’m going to be severely disappointed! Ha! 😉

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, yes…better add air conditioning to the list!

      And comfortable underwear.

      And, you know, rights for women.

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  11. Selena D Darter says:

    What a wonderful interview Brenda!

    I agree with Gary that Narnia would be a lovely place to live, but the main characters always have to leave, which is heart breaking. I think I’d like to be a Dr. Who companion!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Selena! Thank you so much! I can totally see you as a Doctor Who companion! The science! The time travel! The smoldering romantic tension! Though, with which doctor? Hmmm? 😉

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  12. “Everything I write turns into romance.” YEP!!! Right there with ya.

    Great interview, Brenda, and welcome! I love the premise of your ms, especially how cleverly you used Pieces. Nice job!

    Glad you got to hang in New Mexico for a couple of years.

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Darynda! Thank you so much for your comment and kind words! I have to admit to being a bit starstruck. I’m a big fan! I loved living in Albuquerque. Before I moved there, I worked at an Art College in L.A. and artistically inclined people told me that I was going to love “the quality of light in NM” because it was unlike anywhere else in the world. So true! The most gorgeous sunsets on earth are in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That is such a beautiful area. Was there for a wedding once.

      Unfortunately, the dominant physical sensation that sticks with me from that visit is that that was the one and only place I’ve ever been genuinely drunk and hungover. Tequila and dehydration (from hot-tubbing and dancing, natch) DO NOT MIX with high altitudes.

      Lesson learned, baby.

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  13. Tracy Brody says:

    Congrats on your final, Brenda! Love the sound of your book and am already rooting for Emma & Derek to get together. I look forward to meeting you in Denver.

    I also get caught up in fiction – think that’s why I became a writer. I was going to be the new paramedic on Emergency and win Johnny Gage’s heart. Or Luke Skywalker’s heart as the last (& female) Jedi. Or I could go on like you did with all my muses. 😉

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Tracy! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to meet you in Denver! Congrats on your final, too! Thanks for facilitating so much for the group and keeping us all so well-informed!

      You’re right about getting caught up in fiction leading to becoming a writer. I think it’s actually useful to nurturing one’s creativity for the streams of fantasy and reality to cross. 😉

      I haven’t seen or heard of Emergency (which is terrible, sorry! I’m usually so good at being on top of the shows!) but I’d love to hear your whole list of muses any time you’d like to spill it! Ha!

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        I remember Emergency!! Though my hearthrob from those days was Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky in Starsky and Hutch! (And I do remember having a massive crush on Luke Skywalker….from the days when I was young enough that I didn’t yet fully appreciate Harrison Ford!!)

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  14. Elisa Beatty says:

    Lovely to have you with us today, Brenda! And what a fun question!!

    I’d be a little nervous to actually enter most of the fictional realms I love…mostly because I’d likely get killed within the first few minutes.

    But if I could have complete invulnerability, I’d say Game of Thrones. Or if I could have serious magical powers, I’d say Harry Potter.

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Thank you so much, Elisa! I had a blast!

      And I’m with you—invulnerability is the way to go. In that case I’ll take them all!

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  15. Hi Brenda,
    It’s nice to learn more about you. Your book sounds like a fun read – I can’t wait until it’s published. Congratulations on your final. I’m looking forward to meeting you in Denver.

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Leslie! Thanks so much! Congratulations on your final, too! I can’t wait to meet you in Denver! I’m counting down to it. It’s going to be so fun!

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  16. Janet Raye Stevens says:

    Hi Brenda! Terrific interview. It’s great you got to move around so much and see so much of the US, but I don’t envy you all that packing and unpacking! If I were to “vacation” with a fictional character it would be with The Doctor, because his phone box/time machine can go anywhere, anytime I want. Looking forward to meeting you in Denver!

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Janet! Thanks so much! I can’t wait to meet you in Denver! Traveling with The Doctor would be amazing! Isn’t it always the guys with the best transportation who get the girl? Ha!

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  17. Hi Brenda,

    Your book sounds hilarious! And now you’re writing a dramedy with supernatural elements? Wow – sign me up! I have room for on my bookshelves for all such delights.

    We share a lot of the same fandoms. I’ve been a Whovian since I first toddled behind the sofa to hide when the Daleks appeared!

    If I could live in any SFF realm, it would be Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Or the Star Wars universe. Or maybe Harry Potter’s England . . . hmmm, I guess I’ll borrow the TARDIS to travel between all of these worlds. Allons-y!

    Elizabeth

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    • Brenda Lowder says:

      Hi, Elizabeth! Thanks so much! I’m thrilled you’re a fellow Whovian. I can’t wait to meet you in Denver! Middle Earth would rock—if I were an elf. And I’m with you—the TARDIS solves a lot of problems! 🙂

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