Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Brea Behn!
Brea Behn is very passionate about reading and writing in all genres. She started writing at the age of fifteen, when she wrote a memoir for her twin brother. Currently, she writes dystopian, children’s fiction of several genres, nonfiction, and is building her career as an author and public speaker. Brea speaks on topics ranging from social medial, being a published author, and on more personal topics of grieving as a teen and living with PTSD.
When Brea is not writing, she is reading, usually several books at the same time. She also volunteers at her local humane society, gardens, and loves movies.
Brea lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their two children.
I love reading author bios. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I guess I always was a writer. Before I could write, I would draw cartoon stories for my twin brother. My mom saved many stories I had written in elementary school. I didn’t attempt my first book though until I was fifteen. Which took me ten years to finish.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I started writing a nonfiction book after a tragedy struck my family. There wasn’t a book out there at the time to help twins who had lost their twin. So I wrote one. When I finished that book, I wanted to write something more fun. Ironically, I was drawn to dystopian. My loss felt like my worst case scenario, which fits the dystopian genre in a lot of ways.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? I like to push my imagination. I have written short stories on everything from falling angels to a girl born genetically similar to a plant. For non-fiction, my agent is currently pitching a book on a rare condition I have, called Chiari malformation. My brain does not fit correctly in my skull. The condition, treatment and results are pretty strange and often sound like science fiction.
What are you currently working on?I am almost done with a zombie apocalypse book called Vaxxers. It is a unique play on the zombie concept. I also have an outline written for the final book in my dystopian Wolves series. My agent is pitching both a middle grade fantasy and a series of non-fiction self-help books. Finally, I have several short stories that I am submitting to various anthologies.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? Vaxxers came from a writing prompt on a Facebook page called Band of Dystopian. Here is the writing prompt: Could this withered man really be who I’d been searching for all this time? What could he possibly offer me? I loved it so much, I came up with an entire book idea from it. It was super fun to write, because I had never even considered writing a zombie book before I came up with it. So it was very outside my normal. In fact, I had never even read a zombie book before joining Band of Dystopian! [I just love writing prompts from BOD. It’s where I came up with my zombie short story, using a different prompt.]
What was the hardest story for you to write? Emotionally, my nonfiction about the death of my twin brother for sure! My writing was very much tied into the healing process. So it was writing through a lot of tears, grief, depression and battling PTSD. Writing truly saved me.
What process do you use to plan your novels? I have written several different ways. Most of my fiction, I have no written outline at all and only a rough one in my head. I just sit down and it pours out of me. Then I go through the whole thing at the end to make sure it flows well. The exception of that being the fourth book in my dystopian series. Just because there is so much to keep track of now! For my nonfiction I write out a very detailed chapter by chapter outline and keep tons of research notes before I begin writing. So it varies greatly!
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I bring a new character and a new perspective in the third book of my Wolves series. Asena is the daughter of the main characters in the first two books. I love her. She is super smart and tough. Yet secretly vulnerable and emotional.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Yes! For months. I sat down and wrote out a writing chart for the next month. So I could visually see when I wrote and how many words. It definitely helped! I went from zero words one month to almost 4000 to almost 12,000 the next month! So I think setting goals and visually seeing how much I was writing helped me the most.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? If any of them do, it would be Braelin, the main character in Wolves in the Woods. She lost her twin and family to the virus C47. Her pain and the decisions she makes through that filter is definitely a reflection of my own.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Why? Well… I have written books in nonfiction self-help, memoir, dystopian, YA fantasy, middle grade fantasy and a children’s book so far. I would love to write a contemporary romance with some laughter in it. My writing tends to be very intense. So it would be fun to challenge myself to be funny for once!
Which authors inspire you? My biggest inspiration growing up was Stephen King. His writing was unlike anything I had ever read. Very intense, raw and exciting. I wanted to be that. Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum I adore Janet Evanovich. Man can she write funny!
What novel would you read multiple times? I have read Stephen King’s The Stand and his Dark Tower Series many times. There is also many self-help or inspirational books I have read multiple times such as Rhonda Byrnes The Secret and Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) I know I sound like a broken record, but I would love to meet Stephen King. I can guess he is as rough and blunt as I think he is, but it would be fun to hear what he has to say.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I love animals. I actually have a degree as a veterinary technician. I currently have six cats, one dog, thirteen chickens, fish and two pet rats. However, my favorite animal is cats. I have always loved them. I spent a big part of my life on a farm, so cats have always been a part of my life.
What is your favorite color? Blue! I’m obsessed. I especially love blue glass. Even my dishes are blue glass!
What do you do when you’re not writing? That’s kind of a hard question. I have been a stay at home mom and homeschooled my kids for the past ten years. They are in public school for the first time this fall, though. So for the first time, writing will be full time. I will have hours of quiet uninterrupted writing. I’m not going to lie, I’m excited about that!
Catch up with Brea online at:
It was a pleasure getting to know you, Brea!
Join me next week when Jenn Windrow will be my guest.