An Interview With Nadine Brandes

When I was making preparations for the launch tonight, I was thinking I needed to feature someone with a name for themselves. Naturally the first person I thought of was Nadine Brandes, author of the fabulous A Time to Die (BUY THE BOOK HERE: Gracefully, she agreed to let me interview her, and boy oh boy, did it turn out great! 🙂 Let’s get to it, shall we?


Thank you so much for doing this, Nadine!! I can’t tell you how much it means to me!! 🙂

Nadine: Hi Zac! I’m super happy to do this!

1) What is your writing process like? Do you have any weird quirks or tendencies during the process?

Nadine: Well, my writing process changes pretty much every few months, LOL. I thrive off of change — it inspires me, which I think probably makes me weird. 😉 BUT, I try to write in the mornings (which, for me, really means “early afternoon”) and I brainstorm at night. I love writing in different forms. Writing a draft on the computer, or on a typewriter, or by hand, or outdoors. I have a music playlist for each book I’m writing and certain drinks I enjoy while editing (tea for editing and polishing, chai latte for first drafts! 😛 )

2) Can you briefly share your publishing journey with us?

Nadine: Briefly? Like a synopsis? Don’t you know that synopses ARE LIKE A GUILLOTINE TO A WRITER?! Fine…I’ll try. My publishing journey is not common. I didn’t get 807 rejection letters, I didn’t try agent after agent, I didn’t have to ditch nine manuscript until I found “the one.” In a nutshell:

God created me to be a writer. He made me wait until I was 24 before He gave me permission to pursue it full time. It was agony to be patient that long, but then when I was finally given a green light, God opened all the doors.
A Time to Die was the first book I ever pitched. I felt God direct me toward Enclave Publishing (Marcher Lord Press, at the time.) The publisher requested my book before it was even finished. I never even had to pitch it. Then he offered me a contract for the entire series.
I feel incredibly blessed to have such an “easy road” type of story, but my trial was in the waiting. Having to wait for years and years before God said, “Okay, write.” And I see His hand in every singe step.
3) How long did it take you to complete A Time to Die?
Nadine: Three years. Phew! That seems like such a luxury now! But I started writing it the same semester I started graduate school. Imagine studying for your Master’s Degree in a medical field and trying to write a dystopian YA at the same time. Yeah…uh….no. But hey, my chemistry class is what stimulated all the awesome tech in the Out of Time Series.
4) How long does it typically take you to draft a story?
Nadine: *barf* I mean, what? Writing first drafts? I love that. *grumble grumble* I don’t really know what my norm would be for writing the first draft of a story because I’m always on deadlines. I kind of have to finish the entire story (multiple drafts and all) in 8 months. So….I guess a first draft usually takes around 5 months. I’m trying to train myself to write them in 3. Yeah….that’s not going well. 😉
5) What are your favorite genres to read in?
Nadine: YA. YA. YA. Did I mention YA? I LOVE IT. I kind of obsess over new releases and fangirl all. the. time. But aside from YA, I enjoy adult speculative fiction (more fantasy than sci-fi), I like a good dystopian, but I’ve gotten rather picky. I also like some contemporary fiction.
6) I’m really curious…do you know how many books you own?
Nadine: Actually yes, because I’ve been downsizing my library. Yes, you’re allowed to scream. It’s hard. But it’s good. I’m not a huge book hoarder. I only like owning books that I know I can recommend, pass on to kids, are my favs for life, etc. I don’t like owning books I’ll never re-read. Currently, I think I own around 500. I just boxed up 130 to…sell or get rid of. *hides*
7) I love your bookshelves! How do you decorate and organize them?

Nadine: Thank you!! 😀 Reorganizing bookshelves is my sanity therapy! 😛 Each shelf has a different purpose. My giant shelf is organized by favorites from top to bottom. So usually shelves 1 and 2 are my ALL. TIME. FAVS. FANGIRL. OBSESSIVE. SIGNED COPIES. And then there’s a shelf of “I really liked these” and then….meh.

I have an entire shelf just for Christian speculative fiction and I’ll organize the books by height. Then I have a Middle Grade shelf because I love me some Middle Grade. (Fablehaven!!!!)
8) How many books do you read annually?
Nadine: I’m really trying to up this number. Last year I read 49, which was a new record. I’d like to at least get 50 a year, but prior to last year…I think I averaged around 25.
9) Coffee or tea?
Nadine: Need you ask?! 😉 Tea of course! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-coffee. In fact, I’m a coffee snob (as in, I can make you the best tasting cup of coffee ever if you give me an espresso machine.) I was trained as a barista in England. Doesn’t that make me sound so snooty? 😛 But, sadly, coffee makes me sick. So I stick to tea and adore it. Besides, it makes me feel more like C. S. Lewis.
10) If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Nadine: YA fantasy. Easy peasy.
11) Dragons or Superheroes?
Nadine: This is tough. I’m more inclined to watch a superhero movie than a dragon movie, but I’m more inclined to pick up a dragon book than a superhero books.

I think….dragons win. (One word: SMAUG.)
12) What’s some of books you’ve read recently that you’ve enjoyed?
Nadine: The Lunar Chronicles, An Ember in the Ashes (Sabaa Tahir), Illuminae ( Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff), Storm Siren (Mary Weber), & Bloodheart (Steve Rzasa)
13) Favorite writing snack?
Nadine: Tea. 😛 I don’t snack when I write. I know…I’m weird. But I just can’t handle the messy keyboard!
14) What’s some of your favorite movies/TV shows?
Nadine: You had to ask. 😉 My top 5 favorite movies are:

Fiddler on the Roof
The Greatest Game Ever Played
LOTR (duh)
Harry Potter
Castle in the Sky
And my favorite TV shows are:
Downton Abbey
You wouldn’t think I was a YA author by looking at these, would you? But I love movies and TV shows that capture culture.
15) Can you share what’s coming up next from you after the Out of Time series? Anything juicy?
Nadine: I have so many juicy tidbits I could open a smoothie store, my friend. But I must time them well, so I’m afraid all I can say for now is…..YA fantasy. It may or may not include a labyrinth. (Just so you know, this information can be found NOWHERE ELSE. Use this gold nugget well.) Oh, and I’m writing the book on a vintage 1936 typewriter.
WASN’T THAT THE FUNNEST? 😀 And isn’t Nadine the lovliest? I’m giving away a Kindle copy of her debut novel, A Time to Die! And she’s offered some swag to send with it (she’ll need an address).
To win the eCopy, comment and/or share this blog post! I’ll choose a winner next week. 🙂 Thanks again Nadine!
Nadine Brandes - Head Shot
Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures.
You can find Nadine over at

35 thoughts on “An Interview With Nadine Brandes

  1. Clare says:

    Nadine, using a typewriter that is rather cool! and a labyrinth…. but then you could be being as nasty as I am to my sisters. Like when I told her (also telling her that she probably should not believe me) that her present was in pieces…… and the next day that it was round…. and then that it was purple with spots…. it was in pieces and not particularly round and in no way purple 😀 I am so bad at getting rid of books…. I just can’t even if I probably won’t read them again…..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Raechel says:

    Fantastic interview! Very fun too. 🙂
    I am so badly desiring to read her books. Where’s my money when I need it?! 😉
    Thank you for the chance to win an ecopy!!
    And congrats, Zac, on your new blog! Looks great 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. stitchesoffreedom says:

    Yes! A fellow tea drinker! Coffee smells amazing, but I’ve tried it several times and . . . it just tastes like burnt beans (which is what it is, so . . . ).
    I’ve been wanting to read A Time to Die for countless months. But I’ve been to hoarderish with my mollah to buy it. Maybe if I don’t win I’ll buy it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. authorswilliams says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that takes forever to write the first MS. I think it has been 2 years before I said I’m finished! And even now, I have to go back and change a character name, (gah!) but that’s the ONLY thing I’m doing (unless an editor tells me to do something else…which is quite possible. Unless I indie publish, which Idk yet. Great interview. 🙂 I also do not eat while I write. Too distracting. I do love a cup of hot something (coffee…hot chocolate) and I much prefer a sunny room, but I’ve written in so many different spaces b/c I do not have the luxury to choose if I want to get any writing done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Erika says:

    I relate to only keeping books you love. Digital books take up less space, but sill, downsizing is tough.

    Thanks for the chance to win! This book has been on my to-read list for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Schuyler M. says:

    Nadine, I think you are one of the funnest authors out there! I love this interview and your newsletters, because they showcase your bright personality. It always puts a smile on my face. 🙂

    I was really touched by the story of your writing journey–how God said to wait on the dream, and you waited, and now He’s allowing that dream to come true. That is so, so special.

    Your new book sounds exciting! All the best with the writing process. 🙂


    Liked by 2 people

  7. carylkane says:

    Great interview with Nadine! I enjoy sipping a cuppa tea while reading. Nadine, do you own the Downton Abbey series? Good for you on cleaning out your books. One does have to make room for new ones at some point. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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