So I asked Goldie and Lammy finalists 6 questions. Despite having concussion, publishing one new book, writing a short story and renovating her house, R.E. Bradshaw answered in less than 12 hours. A-MAZ-ING.
For anyone who doesn’t know and love Decky (where HAVE you been?) here’s a short bio:
2013 Rainbow Awards First Runner-up for Best Lesbian Novel, Out on the Panhandle, and three time Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Mystery with Rainey Nights (2012), Molly: House on Fire (2013), and The Rainey Season (2014), author R. E. Bradshaw began publishing in August of 2010. Before beginning a full-time writing career, she worked in professional theatre and also taught at both the university and high school level. A native of North Carolina and a proud Tar Heel, Bradshaw now makes her home in Oklahoma. Writing in many genres, from the fun southern romantic romps of the Adventures of Decky and Charlie series to the intensely bone-chilling Rainey Bell Thrillers, R. E. Bradshaw’s books offer something for everyone.
And the 6 questions posed by the readers:
1) Who/What is your favorite book/author? Why?
I’ve been asked this question many times and probably answered it differently each time. I have a strong affection for southern writers and the stories they weave. Today, I’m leaning toward To Kill a Mockingbird as my favorite book and Tennessee Williams as my favorite author. Both Tennessee and Harper Lee were masters of the craft and have taken pieces of my heart through laughter and tears. There are books remembered for a long time and then there are characters and stories unforgotten in a lifetime. “Hey, Boo.”
2) What has been your most surprising or interesting inspiration for a book?
Living in Oklahoma, formally known as Indian Territory, it was inevitable that my experience of learning the history of the state would emerge in a novel. Out on the Panhandle was a compilation of lives imagined from the era when the Native American population of the United States was forced onto reservations.
One of the plot elements came from researching family genealogy for my wife, Deb. I stumbled across a story, which relayed a kidnapping by Comanche of a female ancestor and her subsequent rescue. While one side of Deb’s family was made up of pioneers and immigrants, she also has closely related Native American ancestors. The challenge became reconciling the existence of two very different points of view of the same historical events in one bloodline. It was an empathetic writing experience, as I laughed and cried right along with the characters. By paralleling the modern characters’ experiences amid prejudice and injustice with the struggles of the characters in the past, Out on the Panhandle explores the dynamic of living in two worlds and comprehending the positives and negatives of both.
<read the Lesbian Reading Room review of ‘Out on the Panhandle‘ here>
3) Writing is emotional and can be isolating. From where do you get your support?
I am fortunate to have met my missing piece twenty-six years ago. She is my rock and the wind beneath my wings. Deb never tires of talking me through a book plot and listening to every word I write as I read it all to her a piece at a time. She’s achieved gold medal status at hitting pause on the TV and catching up an hour later when I finally stop talking. I have other friends who don’t mind pulling me off the ceiling from time to time. While having great readers and fans, who have wonderfully supportive things to say, knowing there are people who want nothing from me but a smile or to hear my voice can sometimes be the turning point on a publishing business drama-filled day. I don’t have bad writing days, but the noise of publishing drama can become overwhelming at times. Having Deb, our son, and a few friends around to remind me what’s important is a blessing.
4) What does it mean to you to see your work in print and then up for an award?
It never gets old seeing a book in its finished physical form. Like the birth of a baby, each novel is a miracle in itself and a source of wonderment to behold. The first print copy in my hands always brings with it a sense of accomplishment. Being recognized as a finalist in the Mystery category three years in a row by the distinguished judges of the Lambda Literary Awards has been surreal. It is affirming and an honor to be acknowledged by such a prestigious literary foundation.
5) What is next on your personal bucket list to accomplish (literary or otherwise)?
We are currently in the middle of a major home renovation, so my bucket is full of plaster and lathe at the moment. All I really have on my bucket list are happy and healthy days with my family and friends. I’d like to travel to a few places, but for the most part I’m completely happy to hang out with Deb and write books. I am blessed to be able to do what I love with whom I love, I really shouldn’t wish for more. I believe finding peace and contentment in life is an accomplishment and my bucket is overflowing.
6) What are you working on now and what’s next up for publication?
The latest in the Rainey Bell Thriller series was just published, Colde & Rainey, so I have a bit of down time due. I have a short story started, which I hope to finish very soon, and several options as to what project I’ll work on next. Currently it’s a bit difficult to focus with my office packed away and the house in such disarray. I do hope to have a few projects completed and published before the end of 2014. Fingers crossed.
<Read the LRR ‘Colde & Rainy‘ review here>
HUGE thanks to Decky for taking the time. Can’t express how much it means to have the authors responding to our questions like this.
To find out more abut R.E. Bradshaw and her books click though to the Author Biog page.