Cora Brent is a former accountant and a terrible housekeeper. She’s been writing since she was very small and possesses no less than half a dozen boxes of unfinished stories. Making the switch to writing full time has been a dream. She hopes she never has to return to accounting.
Cora Brent (CB): Of course. I’m living it. My husband and I moved in together a mere few weeks after we met. We were engaged shortly thereafter. If our story were a book it would likely be laughed at unrealistic ‘insta-love’. However, thirteen years and two kids later, here we are.
LK: Let’s talk about the Gentry Boys series. Can you talk about how you structure each book? Which is your favorite in the series?
CB: Each book is told in dual POV, centering on a particular brother. As I’ve been writing the series, my favorite tends to be whatever one I’m currently working on. For a while, as I finished Risk (Book 2), it was my undoubted favorite, however now as I’m immersed in Game (Book 3) it is the current owner of my heart.
LK: Have you always been indie? Would you consider working with a traditional publisher?
CB: Yes, I have always published as an indie. The community of readers and authors who support indie work is just phenomenal. I would consider working with a traditional publisher on future projects; however I believe I’ll always keep one foot in the indie world.
LK: Why romance? What do you get out of writing romance? What do readers get out of reading romance?
CB: Ah, what’s more appealing than love? It’s what we all hope to find and so it’s what we always root for. If you think on it for any length of time, the idea of two people finding and cherishing one another in this crowded world is breathtaking. That’s why I write romance. And why I read it as well.
LK: Do you believe that when you write, your readers should feel as if you’re writing the story just for them? How do you in particular achieve this kind of close connection with your readers through language?
CB: Writers always want readers to care for their characters, to feel emotionally invested in the world of the story. I think it’s important to show, rather than just tell, what motivates characters to behave the way they do. Reading “Jack was sad” is less impactful than reading “Jack stared at the shoreline and thought about the last time he had visited this beach. Melissa had been alive then. The day was spent getting sunburned and soaked by the salty waves. It was an enchanting memory. Jack lowered his head and cried.”
CB: Due to my infamous impatience, I hadn’t attempted to pursue traditional publishing when I dove headfirst into the indie world.
LK: What are your thoughts on Amazon reviewer trolls?
CB: Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Due to the subjective nature of what we do, sometimes that opinion is negative. And that’s fine. It’s expected. It would be a little odd if it didn’t happen. However, taking a dislike to a book is never an excuse to launch a personal attack on the author. Unfortunately, this happens sometimes too. While I’ve never felt personally targeted, I have watched it happen to other authors and it can be devastating.
LK: What’s in a title? How do you go about naming your books?
CB: I want my titles to resonate with readers in such a way that it is understood to be a vital component of the story. When I’m mulling over a prospective title I carefully consider what the major themes are and how I can somehow articulate them.
LK: Is a man that can fight more attractive than a man that can’t? What’s so hot about bad boys? Why do we run back to them on and off the page?
CB: There’s something nearly primeval about our attraction to the alpha male. I believe we are naturally drawn to strength and power. I’m sure somewhere there’s a very scientific study confirming this idea. Whether or not a man is more attractive if he can fight depends on the circumstances, and the man. Violently lashing out for no reason isn’t attractive. However, a man’s ability to physically defend himself and his loves ones can certainly be desirable.
Now I cannot speak for all readers, but for me, what makes those fabled bad boys so hot is the promise of redemption. For a man to possess all these rough qualities and yet overcome his demons shows how commanding the will of the heart can be.
LK: Do we romanticize romance as readers? What about as writers?
CB: Possibly, but who is to say what is and isn’t realistic? I think people understand that life doesn’t always wrap up as neatly as it does in fiction. In real life there are arguments over utility bills and piles of dirty laundry. We know they are there. But when we indulge in a story we’d rather not think about them for a little while.
LK: If you could write with anyone who would that be and why?
CB: While there is no shortage of extraordinarily talented authors I would dearly love to collaborate with, my top pick would actually be my husband. He is so sharp and so hilariously witty; I would love to bring a piece of that into my stories. Alas, he has no interest in writing romance. Perhaps I can still convert him…
LK: What are your thoughts on ebooks?
CB: I was actually a latecomer to ebooks. I have thousands of paper books acquired over a lifetime and threatening to overcome my small house. My husband was increasingly unamused by the sheer physical space they consumed. I knew about ebooks, but I was absolutely sure that there could be no match for the experience of holding a physical book. Then I bought my first Kindle right after the holidays and I was in love.
LK: What piece of advice would you give to writers?
CB: Always be optimistic. You will run into obstacles and negativity but don’t let it turn you away from fulfilling your passion.
LK: Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
CB: I am blissfully free of work commitments other than writing.
LK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our followers and readers?
CB: If you have a story to tell, then write it. If you read a story and find that it moves you, know that a hell of a lot of love went into creating it.