Let's start off with a few interesting details about yourself, hm?
I'm a life-long denizen of sunny SoCali, though at heart I'd love to live in Portland, Seattle, or Alaska. I guess I've enjoyed sun enough that I'm ready for rain, snow and cozy fires in the fireplace!
I'm the oldest of five siblings and the only girl. I'm also the shortest of them, so... there's that. I've been married five years and my only children are covered in fur and love tuna.
I have an extra vertebrae in my spine.
How do you pronounce that name of yours?
Well, I pronounce it, "bronch-VYN". The actual Dutch pronunciation of it is a bit stronger, but I'm consistently falling back into my softer habit. So I guess, since it's my name, that's how its pronounced.
And how long have you been writing?
All my life. The first story I remember writing, I wrote in first grade. We were learning to draw three woodland critters—I think they were an owl, a fox and frog, maybe—and then we were supposed to write a story about them. My teacher sort of opened my eyes when she mentioned my story used actual literary techniques, though I didn't know that they were techniques at the time, or what they were... I'd just written the story the way stories I read were written. It stuck with me, though, all these years.
Where did the idea for Lotus Petals come from?
There were two major elements that brought about Lotus Petals as an erotic novel. The first was the two lead characters, Rhiannon and Aijyn. I already had them in mind, I knew they'd met in Japan and I knew Aijyn was something very, very special. I hadn't found the real guts of their story, though. Then, when I saw Memoirs of a Geisha in theaters, I fell in love with the time period and the culture of geisha, and thought that might be where Aijyn and Rhiannon's story began.
Sometime around then, when I was looking more into geisha culture and stories, I found an erotic novel centering on the subject. I won't give the title here, but there was a whole prologue about how the author was some kind of expert on geisha, and how her insight into their world had produced this amazing and sultry work. And the book was terrible! I mean really, really terrible! Not only was its representation of geisha just incredibly shallow and lukewarm and, in my opinion, completely reinforced the misconception that they were just prostitutes, but the writing itself was simpering and weak! I was so incredibly disappointed!
So those two things sort of combined in my mind, and the idea to write a better erotic novel, set in Japan and featuring my two characters who had been looking for a home, all came together. Since then, Lotus Petals evolved away from that original intent—Aijyn is no longer a geisha, but an oiran, sort of a forerunner to the geisha, and the novel is set in the Edo period, during isolationism, rather than 1800's—but those were the seeds of it, at least!
Do you have a favorite character?
Oh, that hardly seems like a fair question, but I have to say Aijyn. She's just this beautiful, beautiful dear heart of a girl. It's kind of hard for me not to absolutely love her.
Any character you really didn't like?
If we're talking about a character I hate because she's just plain despicable, then it's Sölva, Rhiannon's sadist of a bodyguard. I designed her to be the one readers should love to hate.
If you mean my least favorite in the sense they never really stood out to me as much as the others, then its Kazuo, the captain of the Temple guard. He came to me when blue-ring octopus venom became a plot point, and he served his purpose well as the belligerent captain unwilling to see his men disciplined for the sake of a lower-class character. He never really meant much to me, though.
How do you feel when it comes to editing your work?
I am obsessive compulsive about the presentation of anything I'm working on (and I mean that quite seriously. I do have OCD, and one of the things that triggers me is disorganization, inconsistency, or sloppiness in presentation). So, it comes naturally to me to proofread and edit. Sometimes I'll get writer's block because of it: I know I should go on, but something about the last segment just isn't right and I really, really can't go on without fixing it. It's terrible during National Novel Writing Month. You're supposed to silence your inner editor; there is just no way for me to do that. You're not supposed to delete or edit what's already done—save all that stuff for after the month is over, they say. It's almost become a tradition of mine to make it to day 24 or so of the event and delete the last 3-5000 words because something about them just didn't work, and then I have to make that word loss back up. It's just the way I am.
That being said, I really value the perspective of my editor. Even though the manuscript I send her is as clean and polished as I think I can possibly make it, I know she'll still find errors and, if not actual errors, at least points where something can be improved. And I appreciate that. I try to give every note an honest consideration, even if it's one I don't initially agree with. The fact is, it's her job to do this, and she sees things I don't and she has worthy ideas. So even though I edit the crap out of everything I do, I would never turn down the help of my editor.
What does your "writing space" look like?
I'll write in lots of places. I even wrote a few parts of my new project at a mini-golf park, on my Kindle, between holes! I suppose I'm most comfortable writing in bed, though, with a cat sitting on me. I only added that last part because they will sit on me, whether I like it or not.
How do you take a break from writing?
I'm also an artist, so I like to draw, paint and work with Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. You can see some of my racier work on my blog. That's what you'll most commonly find me doing, but I also customize My Little Pony figures (if you don't know what that is, Google "Custom MLP" in Images), and I've recently developed an interest in sewing and embroidering plushies. So I do a lot of artistic dabbling.
Rhiannon Donovan, daughter to the vampire Queen, would rather die than be made a bride to a demon Lord. Aijyn, courtesan to the undead Daimyo of Kansai, can think of nothing more horrifying than his promise of eternal life. In the halls of the Blood Lotus Temple, the two women struggle against the chains of their fate, and find a solace in each other that could mean freedom for them both... or might cost each of them their lives.
Social and buy links
Buy link on Breathless Press: http://tinyurl.com/lm5qk7d Brantwijn Serrah's page on Breathless Press: http://tinyurl.com/p4bl55r
Brantwijn's Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk
Foreplay and Fangs blog: http://brantwijn.blogspot.com/?zx=6ba3380c7201b326
Foreplay and Fangs on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep
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When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.