T.L. Brown Interview Published on: 03, Apr 2023

What do you love most about your hometown? Do you still live there or have you since moved?

I grew up in Western New York, and I have many fond memories. My family lived about 70 miles south of Buffalo, and winters were long, but communities were close-knit. Now I live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and love it.

When did you first start picking up a book to read? What was it about?

My mother read to me constantly when I was very young. I owned a library of Little Golden Books before I went to kindergarten. I also had a bunch of Read Along Books. Each one came with a 45 RPM vinyl record that you played as you read. As I grew older, I dove into books by Beverly Cleary, Deborah and James Howe, and Judy Blume. My favorite childhood book is E.L. Konigsburg’s “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth.”

Have you ever thought about learning some magic tricks? Why or why not?

Not really. I’m more into illusionists. But I admit to loving legendary magicians Penn and Teller – especially their TV show, “Fool Us.”

What makes you believe in magic?

A desire for it, probably. But in all seriousness, I think magic is just the unknown – the things our eyes aren’t ready to see and the realities our brains aren’t ready to accept. I also think “magic” is just what science hasn’t discovered (or understood) yet.

How was the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series started?

I’d kicked around the idea of sudden portal travel and magical realism for quite some time, but it was during a drive from Long Island to Rochester, NY, that main character Emily Swift’s story began to take shape. My husband asked me to tell him a story to pass the time. He kept asking: And then what happened? When we returned home, I started to write book one in the series, “Door to Door.”

Why did you decide to pen under the name T.L. Brown?

Brown is my maiden name, and I decided to use it instead of my full legal married name. My first name is Tracy – which I use in social media. My initials really are T.L.

As an author, what are some difficulties you face on a daily that most other people wouldn't?

Always wanting to “live in my world” – where my characters exist. This means I’m frequently living in my head, which my husband has learned to accept. While I don’t want the drama and chaos I put my characters through, I want to hang out with them more. When I’m not writing their stories, I feel like I’m neglecting them. It’s a weird feeling.

How will book writing evolve? Has book writing habit reduced nowadays?

There is chatter online about A.I. writing books instead of humans. Will that happen? Maybe. But just because something exists – or is produced – doesn’t mean people will want it. People seek out “homemade,” “homegrown,” and whatnot all the time. A.I.-generated books won’t replace what humans dream up and put on paper. Humans are wildly creative – writers are tremendously driven. Authors will keep writing. Styles and genres will morph and change as they always do.

Do you write your books or do your books write themselves?

I plot out my stories before I start writing. I need to have an outline. This doesn’t mean I must strictly follow it, of course. But I work better with a plan. However, I’d say my characters have influenced me in ways I never could have imagined as their stories unfolded. Rabbit, a particularly popular character, is a good example. First intended as a secondary character to advance the plot, he became one of the most important characters in two different series. I daresay he’s slipped into the role of deuteragonist.

What's the longest it's taken you to write a book?

Technically “Door to Door” because I started it years before I picked it back up and rewrote it. However, since I’ve started to publish my books, the one I’m working on now (“Walking a Fine Witchline,” book 3 in the Bellerose Witchline Series) is taking me the longest. I started writing it in early November 2022, and I’m still working on the first draft. That’s unusual for me.

What process did you use to write and finish your book, Through the Door?

Momentum. Publishing “Door to Door” was exhilarating and I couldn’t wait to bring “Through the Door” (book 2 in the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series) to readers. When I started writing it, I worked full-time as a Senior Application Support Manager but made the decision to leave my job and write full-time instead. I was lucky to be in that position. It allowed me to finish and publish both “Through the Door” AND “Doors Wide Open” (book 3) in 2021.

What did you cook for dinner today with your husband?

Tonight we’ll make homemade pizza. It’s a Friday night tradition. We change up the toppings frequently, and today we’ll go with pepperoni, sauteed mushrooms, and onions. And cheese.

What's the most magical thing about life?

Art. Humans are incredibly creative. Whether it’s writing, painting, sculpting, composing music, photography, acting (theater/film), design, architecture, and so on, artistic expression is where the magic starts. It builds and releases when the art is viewed or experienced. Magic happens between the artist and the appreciator. Art is necessary for life.

Is there anything new that you're working on? When can we expect the next book to come out?

Yes! I’m writing book 3 in the adult dark fantasy Bellerose Witchline Series, “Walking a Fine Witchline.” I’m aiming for a September 2023 publishing date. The Bellerose Witchline Series has many characters crossing over from the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series. The protagonist switches to Lucie Bellerose, a strong but complicated natural witch.

Also, I’m working with a talented voice actor to create audiobooks for all three books in the Door to Door Mystery Series. These books will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes in 2023. I’m over the moon about it!

What got you interested in AllAuthor? When did you eventually sign up and what has your experience been so far?

I first heard of AllAuthor when fantasy author Jessica Cantwell announced her book was in a monthly book cover contest on the website. It was exciting, and I loved voting for her cover. I joined and entered two of my own book covers in contests – in fact, my “Crossing the Witchline” cover made it into the top 24 one month. Woohoo!

I also realized that to gain the full benefits of AllAuthor, switching to a paid Pro level membership was necessary. I’m glad I did in November 2022. I love the weekly mockups AllAuthor sends to my email. The “magic” tool and the seasonal mockup banner sections are great. I’ve used them to create compelling images featuring my books, then I share them in social media.

There are a lot of “author sites” you can join. In my experience, AllAuthor offers the most value. It’s not expensive, and there are many perks. Having a book featured and participating in author interviews like this one are examples. I’d definitely recommend joining and choosing the Pro membership level. It’s completely worth it!

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