10 QUESTIONS FOR…Fleur Bradley, YA thriller writer

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Author interview with Fleur Bradley

Dozens of Fleur Bradley’s mystery short stories have appeared online and in print, including the Deadly Dames anthology. She’s written a YA thriller her agent is now finding a home for in New York. It’s cold over there in winter, so let’s hope this happens soon.

Fleur also writes freelance, and lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters and way too many pets.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Ground Crew, my YA thriller, is about David, who’s that guy with the bulls-eye on his back. The bully target. He just got grounded for Spring Break (for speeding in his cool new car), and has to sit out his punishment in the basement of a neighbor, since his dad has to work.

He gets to know his fellow groundees—The Ground Crew—and just as he’s making friends, someone is targeting The Ground Crew, making them pay for their sins. David has to figure out who’s out to get them, before it’s his turn.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I loved to read, and one day I thought: I can do this. So I wrote a novel, which really stunk. I mean, really, really bad.

But I caught the writing bug, and I read somewhere that short stories were a good practice. So for the next six years or so, I learned to write. I got some stories published, and eventually sunk my teeth back into novel writing. After a few more stinky novels, I wrote The Ground Crew.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I start with some coffee and email answering. Then from 9 until noon, I write on whatever work is in progress. The afternoon is for freelance work, teaching, blogging, etc. How boring, huh?

Unfortunately, boring is how the work gets done. Those hours when I work on a novel are fun, though. I get to travel in time, hunt for a bad guy, drive a car way too fast, and fall in love—all from my trusty computer chair and with a cat on my lap. Being a writer is such a sweet gig.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a desk, bookcases full of papers and folders, a futon where my dog naps, and a window overlooking my yard. My desk is usually covered in papers, notes, and candy wrappers—I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Actually, make that a huge sweet tooth.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I love Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie because of its awesome YA voice. Tedd Arnold’s Rat Life, Graham McNamee’s Acceleration, and Markus Zusak’s I Am The Messenger are perfect YA mysteries.

For those of you unfamiliar with YA, I recommend you read all of those—you’ll never want to leave the YA section of your bookstore again.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I was born in Holland and grew up there. When I’m really mad, I curse in Dutch.

2. My favorite food is French fries with mayonnaise, curry sauce and onions. It’s a Dutch thing.

3. I’ve been known to eat all of the leftover desserts at convention banquets, and not even be one bit embarrassed about it.

7. Favorite quote

Don’t really have one, because I’m not a fan of quotes. If you think hard enough, you can find profundity in a stop sign, fortune cookie fortunes, and Miley Cyrus lyrics (“It’s the climb,” anyone?).

If I live by anything though, it would be to roll with the punches. Live in the moment, and take whatever comes your way. It’s a good attitude to have, for writers especially, I think.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part: getting lost in your imagination, hands down.

Worst part: the rejection. But I’ve learned to focus on the best part when the worst part is threatening to take me down.

9. Advice for other writers

Just write. It’s easy to get caught in the business, other people opinions, the self-doubt. In the end, even Stephen King writes his novels one word at a time.

Surround yourself with other writers, encouraging friends who will bring cookies when the rejections get to be too much. I am fortunate enough to have a crew of writer friends, and they’re priceless.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

After polishing it to a shine, I sent one of my first short stories to a mystery magazine that was being published at the time called Hardboiled. My story was rejected, but the editor, Gary Lovisi, wrote a nice note on the rejection letter.

About seven years later, a writer friend referred me to an invitation-only anthology that was coming out. My story was accepted, and the editor? Gary Lovisi.

Publishing is a small world, and you should never give up.

Where can people buy your book and learn more about you?

The Ground Crew is still trying to find a publisher, but you can find lots of links to my short stories on my website: www.fleurbradley.com

Also, come check out my blog YA Sleuth: http://yasleuth.blogspot.com/ I keep you posted on all things YA, including news, book reviews, and sometimes a picture of a polar bear and a pumpkin, just because. It’s fun, so come join me!

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