Thursday, January 30, 2014

Interview with Marilyn Brant author of the February Book Club Read The Road To You

Okay peeps here's the interview you've all been waiting for. Marilyn's novels Friday Mornings at Nine and A Summer in Europe were both features of my book club features previously and I'm so excited and happy that she's come back for another visit. This time I'm featuring her YA/New Adult coming of age story, The Road To You.
Marilyn Take it away!!

Remember the read starts Monday Be There!!

And the e-book is still on sale for .99 at Amazon and B&N

  • ISBN-13: 9780989316040
  • Publisher: Marilyn Brant
  • Publication date: 9/28/2013
  • Pages: 298


(Limited time $0.99 sale! Regular price $3.99.) A coming-of-age romantic mystery -- that takes place, in part, along historic Route 66 -- written by USA TODAY bestselling author Marilyn Brant! ~Sometimes the only road to the one you've never taken.~ "Until I found Gideon's journal in the tool shed -- locked in the cedar box where I'd once hidden my old diary -- I'd been led to believe my brother was dead. But the contents of his journal changed all that."

Marilyn, I’m so happy to be welcoming you back to the forum and to be featuring The Road to You as our February book club read.
Thank you, Deb!! I’m thrilled to be here and so glad you invited me over to chat with you and your readers about my latest novel :). Since The Road to You is a road trip book—and you’re already aware, from having discussed A Summer in Europe, how much I love travel stories—I know this is going to be especially fun!!

First of all congratulations on being named Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) Author of the Year for 2013. Congratulations!!!
This isn’t your only award, but is there one above all that stands out?
Is there one you still lust after?
The IATE Author of the Year Award was a really big one in my world—English teachers are like family to me—so this was a huge honor. My debut novel, According to Jane, won the RWA (Romance Writers of America) Golden Heart Award and that, too, was really exciting.
As for awards I still lust after, well, there’s really only one biggie: My fantasy is to win the Oscar for either Best Original or Best Adapted Screenplay for one of my stories, which are the only Academy Awards I even have a prayer of winning, since I’m not an actor, director, cinematographer, etc. and I know nothing about makeup, costumes or special effects. I would, of course, have to learn how to write and/or adapt a screenplay first. I expect that to be tricky.

Marilyn, tell us what led you to write this novel?
A few years ago, I had the idea to write a book where the heroine found the journal of her missing brother and embarked on a road trip to try to find him...which is exactly what happens in The Road to You. But, originally, I wrote the first chapter as set in the present day. I soon realized that kind of codes and clues that I wanted to use would work better in a prior era, one where the characters had significantly less access to computer technology and traceable forensic evidence. And I also have growing love for our country’s historic Route 66, which was in much more drivable condition back in 1978 than it is now. So, entwining a road trip on a famous American ribbon of highway with a life-n-death mystery and a burgeoning romance was, for me, such a compelling combination that I couldn’t help but keep writing it :).

Now tell us about the soundtrack.
How did you pick the songs or did they pick you?
About half and half on that! I chose the decade—the music of the 1970s—since that was the timeframe of the story. But several of the specific songs that came up in the novel, like “Pinball Wizard” by The Who, “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” by Boston, and “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen...well, they seemed to choose me. Certain lyrics or melodies just fit with what I was trying to show in various scenes. I have a long list of songs that were part of my mental musical soundtrack for the story on this page of my website here:

Now that it’s been out awhile, is there something that you would change about it if you could?
What and why?
In the Young Adult/New Adult version I released in October, the only thing I’d change is the wording of a math reference in one sentence of the story that a lovely reader (*waving to Katrina!*) pointed out to me. I made that correction in one of the ebook versions, but wasn’t able to make any changes to the print version. Aside from that, though, I’d keep the story as it is, set in 1978 and revolving around Aurora during the summer of her 18th birthday.
However, because this was a project that I’d been working on for about 3 years, I’d done some experimenting with the narration. I actually have a different version of the novel that kept the YA/NA story intact but, in between each of those 1970s chapters, there’s a short Women’s Fiction story woven in that’s a parallel tale, involving the adult Aurora in 2014. I find myself very tempted to share that expanded version with readers, too. I think the most memorable things that happen to us in the past take on great significance later in life when some present-day event triggers those recollections. That’s one of the ideas I was able to play around with in the longer version of the book.

Was it harder writing about these younger characters than your norm of more mature adults?
No, not at all. I love this “coming-of-age” time in life! The heroine of my debut novel, According to Jane, was a young adult at the start of the book, and I really enjoyed writing those scenes, too.

Will you be revisiting this genre in the future?
I really hope so. I’ve always been a mystery lover (I lost count of how many Nancy Drew Mysteries I read as a kid!), so it was an exciting challenge to write my first real mystery. I got hooked! I’ll always love romance and women’s fiction, too, though, so I plan to write more of those as well...and, hopefully, mix them together. I’m particularly drawn to stories that blur the lines between genres. They’re the most interesting to me of all.

Now for something a little personal. We’ll be reading this during Valentine’s Day. Tell the readers about your most romantic Valentine’s Day.
I really like *simple.* Aside from the very first Valentine’s Day my husband and I celebrated together, we haven’t exchanged gifts on that day over the years nor do we do anything more elaborate than pick up carryout for dinner, but we always exchange cards. My hubby has found some really funny ones, particularly with themes that a writer would find humorous. One of my favorites involves Will Shakespeare trying (and failing) to pen romantic saying on the top of candy hearts. And there’s this one that’s got a leftover piece of chocolate inside a heart-shaped box, narrating the demise of its fellow chocolates, LOL. I still laugh whenever I reread those!

Marilyn, the last time we talked you were telling us about an anthology. Is that available now?
Tell us about your story in it.
Yes! I’ve got a novella called “All About Us” in the new adult/contemporary romance anthology All I Ever Wanted, which is a project I worked on with authors Rhonda Helms, Caisey Quinn and Lexi Ryan. All four of the stories take part in a small Ohio town during their annual “Winterfest” celebration. It’s a little community, so we have a lot of crossover between the events that happen that weekend and the characters involved in the town, but each of the novellas is a complete story by itself and can be read independently from the others.
Here’s some info about mine:
Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs... 

As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled. 

“All About Us” by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is. 

What next for you?
I’m currently working on the sequel to my short contemporary romance, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match—it’s called Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet. I’m having a lot of fun with it and, since it’s a sequel that was requested by readers, it’s been exciting to get some input from them on the direction of the story! Perfect Match is a light, modern tale about two people who meet on an Internet dating site and are less than truthful with each other about their motives for “looking for love.” The two secondary characters from that story are the hero and heroine of Perfect Bet, so I knew a little bit about them before I even started writing. I’m also playing around with the idea for another travel-esque mystery, so that may be ahead, too...

Marilyn, Thanks again for answering these questions and for agreeing to be with us in February as we read and discuss The Road To You!
Chat with you soon!!!
Thank YOU, Deb!! Looking forward to getting a chance to discuss the story with you and your wonderful readers! Feel free to ask me anything ;).


Marilyn Brant’s Website:

Marilyn's Other novels


  1. Thrilled, as always, to get to be your guest, Deb ;).
    Looking forward to chatting about the story with book-club friends here!

  2. Awesome review . I love the sound of the Road to You and will snag a copy.