Ask the Author: Martha Brockenbrough

Photo credit: Emerald England

What would you like readers to know about you? 

I like to write books for the kind of kid I was: interested in lots of stuff. Entranced by fantasy, magic, and mystery. Kind of extremely nerdy. Ambitious. So, if any of those things apply to you, you might like my books. 

What is your book about for those who haven’t read it? 

I’ll talk about a couple of books that are out and one that’s coming.  

The Game of Love and Death is a historical fantasy about two young jazz musicians who fall in love without realizing they’re pawns being played in a game by Love and Death, who are immortal shapeshifters with often-bad motives. Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary, is a bio for people who want an accessible and comprehensive account of his life. Unpresidented is a biography of Donald Trump, and it sets the record straight on what kind of businessman he was and how long he aspired to be the ruler of the free world. Into the Bloodred Woods is a novel that comes out in November. It’s a subversive fairytale mashup with lesbian werebears in love, an angry musician, a woman who traded her womb for gold, and a gentle werewolf.  

What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

In writing Into the Bloodred Woods, I wanted to deconstruct fairytales, which tend to uphold the patriarchy, concentration of power in the hands of a few, and violence as a solution to the world’s problems. This book burns all of that down. 

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s say it involves a sharp knife, a lot of blood, and ends in an extraordinary transformation. 

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 
So many. Really, every book I ever loved made me want to write: Lloyd Alexander, Ellen Raskin, Judy Blume, and Virginia Hamilton when I was a kid. Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Nelle Larsen… the list is endless. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

Read a lot, and not just to find out what happens, but HOW the author made you feel the way you feel when you read. When you get to a part of the book that grabs your emotions, study it closely. Think about what the author did to make you feel the way you do. And then find ways to do that with your own voice and the stories you want to tell.

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