Sunday, August 12, 2012

BCM Author Spotlight: Brenda Pandos - Interview

Welcome to our first installment of BCM Author Spotlight! Every month we'll select an author to feature for our BCM Spotlight, so be sure to stop by each Sunday to learn more about the authors we've chosen. With book bloggers constantly creating wonderful and exciting new memes, we'd like to thank the lovely ladies at Page Turners Blog and Portrait of a Book for the inspiration behind our BCM Author Spotlight.
About Brenda: Mommy warrior, comma-kazi, wife, computer whisperer, chocolate enthusiast, vampire slayer, merman magnet, and lover of all things pure and right.Well... maybe after a cup of coffee or two.

But really, my life is surrounded by the loves in my life--my husband and our incredible smart boys. Besides writing, I have a web-design business but previously worked for the State of California. After my son's autism diagnosis, my life turned upside-down and I had to quit. Being pregnant with #2 and giving birth right before we embarked on a 35 hour a week therapy schedule was grueling to say the least. Overnight my home turned into a train station with very little privacy. Although I was thankful for the specialized learning the tutors gave my son, I craved a meaningful escape.

So why vampires? I've always had an affinity for them, starting with Lost Boys, then Brad Pitt on the silver screen as Louis, the ever-beautiful anguishing vampire, in Interview with a Vampire and who doesn't adore Angel. Buffy the vampire slayer was an all time favorite as well. So I tried writing my own story. Yeah... it's a little more difficult than I imagined and my respect for authors everywhere has astounded. But since you seem to like what I write and want me to keep going, I now have invoked on a journey in the ever mysterious deep waters and what lurks underneath... beautiful? or dangerous?

Before the ever glamorous life of pajamas pants and clacking on my lap top at odd times of the day, I was an IT geek and didn't aspire to pen my stories. But once I finally did take the leap, I found I had a ton to learn (and am still learning), but I discovered a new love to put on paper what I see in my minds eye--stories with romance, danger, and super powers. My characters continue to give me something exciting to think about when I wake up in the morning and originally rescued me during a very depressing time--and a paycheck too. That's always nice.

Here's where you can find Brenda on the web:
Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Website / Blog

BCM: Your first series, The Talisman series, was vampire themed.  How did you go from writing about vampires to writing about mermaids?

Brenda: When I started writing, it was more for an escape than anything else. At the time the vampire craze had just begun (or so I’d thought), and I wondered what my story would be. Although I would have loved to write a mermaid themed story, the vampire story bumped her out of the way and took over. The Emerald Talisman was my learning book. When I wrote it, I thought it was awesome. Now, five books later, I think it could have been delivered better, scenes tightened up, more action added, less whininess of Julia, but like I said, it was my first book and the subsequent books were much better. After The Sapphire Talisman, my mermaid novel wouldn’t stay quiet any longer, so I wrote Everblue (hoping to get it done super quickly) before Onyx. I wanted to see if I could do a two person perspective book in first person. So… to answer your question, I enjoy both mermaid and vampire lore, so naturally they’d become my characters.

BCM: What kind of research was involved with writing Everblue and Evergreen?

Brenda: Quite more that I thought. Tahoe isn’t far from me (1 ½ hrs drive) and my husband and I go there on our anniversary each year because we fell in love there, but I still needed to research. Tahoe Tessie, the depth, temperature, and creatures that lived in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island (Google maps is my friend), South Lake Tahoe High, just for starters. I stumbled over some interesting stories about the underwater graveyard of those who crossed mobsters (cement boots anyone?) and Jacques Cousteau’s supposed underwater exploration of Tahoe, who actually never explored there but was coined to say “The world is not ready for what I’ve seen.” For Evergreen, I plotted a cross country trip which was very difficult with time zone changes and the fact the mer people needed to be by water before sunset. I also watched underwater documentaries of sea beds to see what lives down there. Plus fish… lots of fish names, sea terms, and fish anatomy. I’d get all excited when I’d accidentally use a fishy term, like “son of a biscuit eater”. That’s actually a pirate saying!

BCM: I love how creative you were in describing the fins, as well as the birthmark.  What gave you those ideas? 

Brenda: The movie Splash changed everything for me. I actually made my own tail from a nightgown at fourteen and swam in the pool with it. Today, there are actually professional mermaids with very gorgeous tails that are super colorful. That’d had always been my vision if I were a mermaid (which I desperately wanted to be one). For the mermen though, I wanted something functional and masculine. I researched drawings of mermen and settled on a tail that looked more like a knife blade than a fin (perpendicular like a shark’s tail), and large spikes protruding from the sides (thigh height). I don’t remember the inspiration for the birthmark. I think I needed something as a clue to lead to a certain person’s heritage (hint hint), and the birthmark fit.

Here’s my ideal mermaid house: Big Sur on the coast of California.
BCM: If you were to bottle Fin’s scent, what would it be called, and do you know if there’s a company that makes it now?  (I wouldn’t mind some of him!)

Brenda: Hmmmm… I’m not sure. I’m not a perfume type of girl, so … cean is actually a wonderful scent. He wouldn’t be fishy. Earthy? Like Redwood trees and a rainstorm mixed together.

BCM: How come Fin’s family could only grab so many containers of essence? 

Brenda: Since they technically swim in essence tinged water all the time, there’s no need to bottle it up. The only reason the girls have some is because it’s trendy to wear. So once the need to leave became apparent, that wasn’t on the forefront of their minds to take extra until it was too late.

BCM: Did you design the jewelry that Ash is wearing on the cover of Evergreen?  And where/what was the idea behind it?

Brenda: I didn’t design the jewelry. It was actually cropped off another model’s forehead and overlayed on this model (the wonders of photoshop), and where the foreshadowing idea birthed. Actually, just to give an idea, here’s the before and after shot.

BCM: How many books will be in the Mer Tales series?  (I hope a few more!! ;) )

Brenda: Everlost is scheduled to release in February of 2013 and depending on the storyline (because it isn’t finished yet), that will determine if there’s another book in the series or not. I’m hoping there will be another afterward.

BCM: Are you working on any other books/stories right now, that we can look forward to?

Brenda: I have an idea for a dystopian book I’m super excited about which will come after Everlost. It’s premise is on: “What if you knew the day you’d die?”

BCM: What’s your ideal weather like?

Brenda: Sunny in the 70’s to 80’s with a slight breeze and big fluffy clouds in the sky, or a chilly snowy day where I’m inside by the fire with a large cup of hot chocolate and hubby next to me.

Thanks Brenda for letting me pick your brain!! 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway, winners will be drawn on September 1.


  1. Oh this was a fantastic interview! Brenda is my favorite author! I have read ALL of her books. I can`t wait for Everlost to come out!

  2. I loved the movie Splash, grew up watching it and thus my fascination with mermaids was born :)

  3. This was a fun review! Brenda's book Everblue got me totally into the whole mermaid scene last year :D

  4. I so enjoy this interviews because it gives you such a great connection to the author and the characters!! And I still love the Emerald Talisman! It got me so hooked that I had to find the others to read right then!



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