Today on Paws4Thought we continue our Shades of Fear series with the author of The Nominee, BB Raven. Tell us a little bit about yourself, BB.
I am very stubborn and independent. I have a big heart and I love children. One of the reasons why I chose to contribute to the Shades of Fear Anthology is because it was for a charity that would help children with cancer. I had a very unstable childhood; my father was an alcoholic and my mother abandoned me. Thank goodness for my grandparents. My grandfather, who is now 78, is still a big part of my life. My son and I help take care of him. We are simple southern folk who enjoy collard greens and fried chicken on Sundays.
How did you choose your pen name?
I was 12 years old when my grandmother died. She wasn’t just any grandmother, she raised me. The loss was so deep and painful, it helped for me to write through my feelings. I wrote dark poetry mostly. I wanted to be someone else, and I remembered that they said they were going to name me Raven, but changed it to Brandi instead. I liked Raven better. Poe did have some influence over my pen-name, but his raven said “Nevermore”. I didn’t want to be that raven, I wanted to be the raven that would say anything.
Who are your favorite authors?
I mostly read non-fiction for research. Hemingway, Faulkner, and King are the authors that I admire. I have so many plotlines and stories inside my own head that I try to focus on getting them out. I am the worst at reading for leisure.
Tell us a bit about your story The Nominee?
Ah yes, the rise and fall of Frankie Juarez. Frankie is a typical Hollywood starlet who was nominated for an Academy Award. She was also nominated to join a chameleon program ran by a secret agency called “The Republic”. She was abducted against her will and taken from her famous lifestyle. Frankie’s biggest fear is being a “nobody”. She is also afraid of the unknown. Facing her fears was her biggest performance yet! My biggest challenge about this story was using real celebrity names and brands. We had a snag right before it was published but was able to work it all out.
What are your own greatest fears and how do you deal with them?
Don’t laugh, but lightning. Central Florida is the lightning capital of the world, I try to avoid going anywhere if there is lightning outside. On a more personal note, I try not to let my fears get the best of me, like the fear of failure, or the fear of having people say negative things. I have endured a lot of personal hardships, I lean towards my writing and my imagination to save me from the darkest days. I hope to inspire others to accomplish their dreams, and look fear in the face and win!
If you were invited to the Oscars, who would you be most excited to meet?
Hmmmm… there are a lot of people on that list. But I said if I ever went to the Academy Awards, I would want to talk to Joan Rivers. The first thing I would do is touch her and say “You don’t feel like plastic at all.” J Oh you thought I was going to get all star-struck and swoon over Brad Pitt? No, I want to work with Brad Pitt. Quentin Tarantino, and David O’Russell. Seriously, if I was at the Oscars, it means I made it as a screenwriter and it means I’m one step closer to my dream.
Are you planning to continue your story? What happens next?
My editor is encouraging me to continue the story, so I think we will start off with Frankie in the chameleon training and then her first assignment.Think Swamp People meets Full Metal Jacket. That’s all I can say.
What do you like to do to relax?
I live in Florida, the best thing about Florida is all the water. I love to ride the boat in the lake, sun on the beach, or saltwater fish. I also work on songwriting and channeling my inner “Jimmy Buffett”. So to relax for me would be to grab my acoustic guitar “Jubilee” and pick her to death. If I want to get my mind off of writing altogether, I head to the race track. I am a sucker for octane and fast cars.
What are you currently working on?
A great epic action/adventure historical piece. It is about an orphaned girl, a gambler, and a bloodhound detective who is tracking them all. J This story has a working title of Abilene, it is set in the 1920’s in Mississippi. It is a little Tom Sawyer, Macbeth, and Sherlock Holmes all wrapped up into one package. I am writing it into two different mediums as narrative format which will be available this summer in print and online and a script format that I am submitting to the Sundance Screenwriter’s Workshop.
Thank you for talking to us BB. We look forward to reading more from you in the future and watching you make your acceptance speech at the Oscars!
Pick up your copy of Shades of Fear today to read BB Raven’s story, The Nominee. All proceeds go to pediatric cancer research and treatment.