Good afternoon friends and welcome. Today author Breanna Hughes is here to talk about her new book, A Fine Mess. For those of you who missed it, you can click on the link for my review. Come on in and join us.
What is A Fine Mess about?
While picking up the pieces after a family tragedy, 24-year-old singer/songwriter Harper Foley tries to fix her relationship with her estranged sister, Emily, get closure on her relationship with her ex-fiancé, Finn, and sort through her confusing feelings for her best friend, Kiley, all while trying to come to terms with who she is. A twist on the traditional coming of age story, A Fine Mess is a story about navigating through the chaos and finding yourself among the wreckage.
What was your inspiration behind the book cover for A Fine Mess?
I wanted to keep it simple. A girl and her guitar. The plot is obviously more complicated than that, but Harper's one constant in her life is her music.
Was there anyone or anything in your life who encouraged you to write? If so, what did they do?
When I was ten years old, my grandmother wrote me a letter on my birthday telling me what a great writer I was and that maybe that's what I should be when I grew up. She had read a few things I had written for school, along with a letter I wrote to her and I guess she was impressed. I kept that letter close to me all these years. I lost her just a few years after she gave me that letter, but I still keep it with me and keep her in my heart. I ended up dedicating my book to her.
Can you elaborate on what has assisted you with your creativity?
What assisted me with this particular book was the fact that I wanted something that young LGBT women could read and relate to, especially those who are just coming out and figuring out who they are.
How has your own music influenced your writing?
I started writing this book when I was travelling around different clubs in different cities trying to make it as a songwriter. It helped put me in the mindset of the lead character, Harper. I ended up including several of my own songs in the book. The lyrics to those songs really helped me form the story.
Did you name your book after your song, A Fine Mess, and why?
Actually, I named the song after my book. I wanted to include some original lyrics in the book, so I wrote the song based on Harper's relationship with her sister. I didn't think I would turn it into an actual song, but I was really excited about the lyrics, so I created a melody for it. I kind of love that my novel-writing inspired my own song-writing.
Me: click on the link below to see Breanna perform her song.
Let’s give a shout out to TriPub books. What would you like to say to them?
Without Triplicity, not only would I still be struggling to get this book published, but I definitely wouldn't have the confidence in my writing that I have now. The fact that someone saw something special enough in A Fine Mess to publish it is a great feeling.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? The least favorite?
The answer is the same for both questions: The reviews. I've had people say that the book is very relatable and that they had been through similar experiences. I love reading and hearing things like that. And then there's the other side when people write what they hate about the book. That's never fun to read. But in the end, all reviews help me to become a better writer.
Me: Everyone please leave a review when you finish a book. Authors really appreciate it.
On your FB page you liked Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. How did you like it? Which one is your favorite movie?
The first one will always be the best. My fiancee was actually the one who got me into those films and I'm glad she did. I love the character of Alice and how badass she is. The Final Chapter was a great way to end the franchise, but there were a lot of very glaring plot holes and changes from earlier films. It took me out of the film a bit, but it was still pretty awesome. It's hard to complain about a film with a strong female lead.
What video games are you into?
Honestly, I'm not a gamer. I used to have Super Nintendo and loved Mario Kart. That's the extent of my video gaming experience.
Being a SoCal girl, what is your favorite attraction and tell us a bit about it?
Pierce Brothers Cemetery in Westwood. My two favorite actresses are buried there: Dominique Dunne and Natalie Wood. A lot of other famous people are buried there. I'm really into old Hollywood, so I love visiting that place. Sometimes I go there to write, as well. It's a beautiful, rather small cemetery surrounded by huge buildings and it's really hard to find unless you know exactly where it is.
Who is your favorite Anaheim Angel? Have you ever been to an Angels-Dodger’s baseball preseason rival game? If so, how was it?
Current: Mike Trout. All Time: Toss-up between Wally Joyner, Tim Salmon, and Garret Anderson. I've definitely seen a few freeway series games. I will always root for the Angels first and foremost, but the Dodgers are a close second.
What is next in the works for you?
I'm working on a new book featuring a lesbian lead character. It takes place in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war, in a hidden away bunker. It has the lead character trying to find answers to what happened and solving the mystery behind the bunker and why she, along with everyone else there, happened to survive. There will be a featured romance in the book. It'll be somewhat of a love triangle.
I have included two excerpts from A Fine Mess:
Sinking lower into the couch, Harper hesitated briefly before she picked up the phone and called the one person she had been avoiding. It only rang once before a voice answered on the other end.
“Oh, so NOW you wanna talk. I’ve called, left you messages, been waiting by the phone…but when it’s convenient for YOU, ‘Miss 2:30 in the morning’, then you suddenly wanna talk.” Kiley was still slightly hurt at Harper’s reluctance to speak to her, but she was trying to lighten the situation by gloating a bit.
Harper knew she was joking, but wasn’t exactly in the mood to play along.
“No, no. It’s fine,” Kiley dramatically interrupted. “It’s not like I have a life, or anything. I don’t need to spend my time thinking about how you’re mad at me and…”
There was nothing but silence on Kiley’s end until she could muster up one word.
“Emily. She came back.” Harper waited while the news sunk in for Kiley, then heard the words that pretty much could have gone without saying.
“I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
Kiley contemplated for a moment. “So…where do you think she was all this time? I mean, what could she have been doing? How did she make money?”
Harper shook her head emphatically. “I don’t know. I don’t wanna know. I don’t wanna think about it.”
“I can’t even imagine what she’s been through. When you’re young, you never really have that goal of ‘I want to be a runaway and live life day to day not knowing when or if I’m going to eat again.’”
“Yeah, I guess that’s not really one of the options when people ask you what you want to be when you grow up.”
“What did you want to be?”
“Me?” Harper chuckled to herself. “Oh man, I don’t think I wanna share that with you.”
“Why not,” asked Kiley.
“Because you make fun of me enough as it is.”
“Okay, now you have to tell me.”
“I know I do. I was just hoping to prolong it. Ugh, fine. There was a time when I was eight years old, for about three weeks, when I wanted to be a hooker.”
Kiley looked over at Harper. “Okay, are you taking notice of my blank stare? Details please, before I start laughing so hard, I can’t hear your explanation.”
"Hey, it was before I knew what it actually entailed. My parents had rented ‘Pretty Woman’ and I just so happened to watch it while they were away and my babysitter cared more about talking to her boyfriend on the phone than actually watching Emily and me. So I watched it and I just loved how glamorous Julia Roberts was and wanted Richard Gere to pay me to hang out with him and…I really had no idea. My friend Amy was much more mature than me, and her older sister told her everything. So she set me straight on what exactly a hooker was. I really had no clue. So after that, I just decided I wanted to be an astronaut. I knew what that meant.”
Kiley sat staring at Harper, awestruck.
“Shut up,” said Harper.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Well, you were going to, so just don’t. There’s a reason eight-year-olds shouldn’t watch R-rated movies.”
“That’s for damn sure.”
A sudden flash of fear washed over Harper. It had been in the back of her mind ever since Emily left, but she never brought herself to actually consider the option. “You don’t think Emily ever…I mean. I know she needed money but she would never have…you know…”
Before you go, make sure you check out Breanna’s links and friend her on social media.
Until next time,
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Printed with Permission.