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Posted By Susan Bernhardt
Today I am interviewing Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Brainerd. Welcome!

Author Bios:

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology,she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. Unfortunately, it was. Fortunately, a few years later, she met the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focuson her writing. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

David Fraser was born on March 25, 1973. March 25, incidentally, is International WaffleDay (Varfudagn in Sweden) and Tolkien Reading Day (The Ring was destroyed on March 25). Elton John shares his birthday. So next March 25, you should eat a waffle while reading Lord of the Rings and listening to Rocket Man. I know Dave will. Before deciding to become an internationally-famous author, Dave held a number of different jobs. He processed small business insurance policy changes, tested software on digital copier/printers, put out little orange flags in pick-your-own strawberry fields, installed internet cable in schools, shelved books in a library, taught college calculus, and handed out raffle tickets at a Barry Manilow concert. Granted, this last job was a one day temp job, but it was awesome. He currently does little fix-up jobs around his house and chauffeurs his kids while trying to find time to write.

* * * *

Heather and David, I recently read your first José Picada book, José Picada, P.I.: Deception Al Dente and thought it was terrific. What inspired you to write your first book?

Heather: Well, thank you! Let’s see… I was walking my crazy rescue dog when I spotted a “For Sale” sign up ahead. The realtor’s name: José Picada. It caught my attention, since it was a rather exotic name for our little town. As I drew closer to the sign, I saw that my middle-aged eyes had played a trick on me, and that the name was something much more common for our neck of the woods. I had a chuckle, my mind filling with the comic potential of such a mix-up. I went home, called Dave and told him about it, and the next day received the opening scene of Deception Al Dente in my inbox. It was awesome.

Dave: And at that point, the plan wasn't to write a series of books. It wasn't even to write one book. It was just to play around, sending this silly story back and forth, like the pass-a-story we used to do when we were kids. Several thousand words into it, it sort of dawned on me. Maybe we could do something with this once it was finished. It wasn't too terrible.

Your books have a paranormal aspect in them. What kind of research did you do for your book?

Heather: I loooove research. Dave hates it. Any time there’s a chance to google something that fascinates me, I jump right on it. Dave is happy to let me. Also, a couple of trips to New Orleans helped to set the voodoo vibe.

Dave:The main reason I hate research is because I end up wasting too much time thanks to a short attention span. I easily get sidetracked. For example, I might hop over to Wikipedia to look up how tall the George Washington Bridge is. The next thing I know, it's an hour later and I'm looking up Battlestar Galactica parodies on YouTube. So, yeah, I'd say that most of my research for the book consisted of watching Battlestar Galactica.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Are any of the experiences of your protagonist or characters based on someone you know? Did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

Heather:Well, the main character, Josie, has a degree in Video Art and had a career handling Workers’ Compensation claims before striking it out on her own as a Private Investigator. Dave has a degree in Video Art (along with one in Math – he’s very complex). I had a career handling Workers’ Comp claims. So, yeah, we both drew on our experiences for Josie’s history. She’s a lot more stubborn and slovenly than either of us, though. But we like that about her.

Dave: Apparently Heather fails to recall my rather messy living conditions prior to getting married. I would not say that Josie is more slovenly than me, or at least the bachelor version of me. I try to avoid basing characters on real people, just to make sure some friend or relative doesn't take my good-humored jibe the wrong way and come after me with a baseball bat. That's a shame, too. We know plenty of good characters. Uncle Barbara, I'm looking in your direction.

You are a brother sister team. Besides the distance that you live from each other, what is the hardest part of writing your books?

Heather: Nothing, really. We’re very in synch. Or maybe we’re more like the Backstreet Boys. Either way, we really get each other. And if one of us is having writer’s block, they just kick it over to the other for a bit. If we’re both blocked, a nice long phone call gets things sorted out.

Dave:There have been plenty of calls that were supposed to be ten minutes, but end after an hour and a half. So maybe the hardest part is the phone bill. And then there's the whole DUCK tape vs. DUCT tape issue. Oh, the heated arguments we've had over that one.

Heather:Ah, yes. The great duck/duct tape debate.

What books have most influenced your writing style? Your life?

Heather: I absolutely love the Blue Rose trilogy by Peter Straub. He’s a very visual writer, which has influenced me greatly. As far as what books have influenced my life, I’d have to say Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life, no contest.

Dave: I'd say that the book that most influenced my writing would be José Picada, P.I.: Deception Al Dente, by Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser. It taught me the value of endearing characters, hilarious dialogue, surprise endings, and shameless self-promotion. You should all buy a copy, as well as its sequel, The Sound of Sirens. My answer to part two of the question is: José Picada, P.I.: Deception Al Dente, by Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser.

Please tell us what your current projects are.

Heather: We are currently putting the finishing touches on the third installment of José Picada, while simultaneously starting the fourth (and final) book. We’ve had our first Middle Grade novel, Shadows of New York, accepted for publication, so we’re awaiting the first round of edits on that. It’s humor/paranormal, like most of our stuff.

Heather and David's books:

Deception Al Dente by Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser(Book One in the José Picada, P.I. Series)MuseItUp Publishing: releases/series/jos-picada-p-i-deception-al-dente-detail

The Sound of Sirens by Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser(Book Two in the José Picada, P.I. Series)MuseItUp Publishing: soon/the-sound-of-sirens-detail

Dream Shade by Heather Fraser BrainerdMuseItUp Publishing: soon/pre-order-specials/dream-shade-detail

The First Last Robot by David FraserGreyhart Press: first-last-robot-ya-scifi-short-story/

Posted By Susan Bernhardt
For Valentine's Day Deirdre, Kay Driscoll's best friend, wanted to make a special evening for herself and her husband, Mike. She was all about Feng Shui. Kay often teased Deirdre that she made all of her decisions so that they were Feng Shui worthy, but why wouldn't she?
Deirdre knew that Feng Shui ignited that special spark in a relationship. She had faith in its principles and she understood that one's home environment put the right vibe in one's love life. Deirdre's home was already Feng Shui compliant but she decided that she'd make a few tweaks to raise her love life to even greater heights.
She incorporated additional reds and purples and golds in her room accessories to ignite passionate energy. She added fresh flowers throughout her living areas and bedroom along with scented candles. She made a CD mix of romantic music to flow from their whole house music system.
* * * *
On Valentine's evening, while Deirdre gathered the fresh ingredients for their dinner, Mike left to make "a quick call to a client." When he returned to the kitchen, he and Deirdre made a stir-fry using bell peppers of every color, tomatoes, pink shrimp, and eggplant. They raised their wine glasses making toasts to their love in between stirring the vegetables.
After dinner Mike told Deirdre he would clean up if she would pick out some music to listen to. Perfect! She had the special CD mix she had made for this evening.
When Deirdre left to retrieve it from upstairs, she saw and followed a trail of rose petals leading up to their bedroom. Warm flickering candles were lit that she had, only yesterday, placed around the room. A white orchid sat on the bedside table and on the bed, lay a crimson wrapped gift with a white bow and an envelope on her pillow. When Deirdre opened the envelope to retrieve a love poem that Mike had written for her, a small folded paper fell out of it.
She heard footsteps and glanced up from reading the poem with tears building up in her eyes. She saw Mike standing in the doorway watching her.
"Mike, this is beautiful. I love you!" She placed the poem over her heart. "I didn't think it was possible to love you more than I already did."
Mike walked over and sat down next to her on the bed. The dim light from the crystal chandelier that hung from the ceiling cast a positive energy into the room. "I know what you mean. Sometimes it hurts, I love you that much, Deirdre."
Deirdre looked down at the folded paper that had fallen out of the envelope and opened it. It was a gift certificate for Mike to give her a massage that she instantly redeemed.
Feng Shui love.



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Susan Bernhardt


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