Interview with Romance Author Bronwyn Storm, author of ETHAN'S CHASE

There was only one thing Bronwyn wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills. So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero. She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

Bronwyn’s latest book is Ethan’s Chase.

You can visit her website at www.bronwynstorm.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Bronwyn. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your book, Ethan’s Chase?

My journey to writing began over fifty years ago, when my grandmothers and grandfathers got married and gave birth to my—sorry, what? Oh, you don’t want me to go that far back in my journey. Okay…so no adventurous tales of my zygote life? Are you sure? I’ve got a cracking story about chili peppers and almost-formed vertebrae…**nods** okay, gotcha, last five years.

I had just finished my degree in psychology and was contemplating going into counseling (er, being a counselor, not signing up for therapy—for some reason, people always think it’s the latter). Anyway, I thought about signing up for my master’s, but some of the classes had me wondering if they had been designed by a sadist with a sense of humor.

(Instructor: “Bronwyn, we want you to take on a patient, but it’s important that people realize their personal truths, so we want you to reiterate their last statement in a way that makes them see their thoughts in a new way.”
Bronwyn: “Um, so basically, you want me to repeat their last statement in a calmer, quieter voice?”
Instructor: “Yes, but start with ‘I hear you saying,’ and add in ‘how does that make you feel’ in a wise, comforting tone. It really helps.”

Bronwyn: “That’s totally asinine.”
Instructor: “I hear you saying the instructions sound totally asinine…how does that make you feel?”

Then I thought maybe working for the government might be a great way to influence societal change and help make a better world…then I got stuck in a three hour meeting…about…

…wait for it…

…what color binder we should use to hold the meeting’s minutes.

I kid you not.

Three hours.

One hundred and eighty minutes.

And there was no—I repeat—NO resolution on the binder color (that took another three hour meeting).

And it was at that point I heard myself saying, “Self, I hear you saying life is too short to argue over whether it should be canary yellow binders or sunshine yellow binders. How does that make you feel?”

And I discovered it made me feel like finding a shovel and an alibi, but I dug deeper (no pun intended) and realized it made me feel like I wanted to spend my life wearing pajamas (and calling it a uniform), watching copious amounts of television and movies (and calling it research), surfing the internet for the latest fashion trends (and calling it research), talking about sex (and calling it research), and eating disgusting, grotesque amounts of chocolate (and claiming it as a deduction on my taxes).
But I wasn’t sure if the desire alone meant I had what it took to be a writer.

Then I realized the torture of sitting through those government meetings and psychology classes had given me (and really, anyone else who has ever taken university-level classes, or worked for a large corporation) an ability to sit for long, mind-numbing periods of time without accomplishing anything of worth, and I thought, “huh, well…maybe I do have what it takes.”

But I still wasn’t sure.

So I met a friend downtown for lunch. And I was like (and ladies maybe you’ll know what I mean), “Whoa. Spending that extra time in front of the mirror really made a difference. Everyone’s checking me out. Wow. I must look really good today.”

Then I got home, walked through my door, looked in the mirror, and realized the buttons on my shirt had popped, and I had walked through downtown Edmonton in the middle of the lunch-hour crush, flashing everyone in creation.

And it was in that moment of knowing my total mortification and embarrassment of risking an indecency charge wasn’t enough to stop me from going back into downtown that I knew I had what it took to go into the writing industry, face rejection, and keep trying.

Ethan’s Chase was borne of a similar experience. I am a genius at making a total ass out of myself (yeah, like you haven’t realized that). If embarrassing yourself was an Olympic event, I’d take home the gold, silver, and bronze, because that’s how good I’d be. I’ve dropped suitcases on people, tripped on buses and landed in unfortunate positions. I mean, we’re talking a seriously long list. And I thought (well, I hoped) hey, I can’t be the only one who has odd things happen...right?

Um, right?

Guys?

Uh, Guys?

Whoa…okay…so, um anyway, I thought of doing a story based on a horrendous first impression…so, take a girl, make her turn a corner, slam into a boy. Have her think “wow, this guy is yummy.” Then have her try to pick the guy up. And, just to make it fun, have him politely (but completely) reject her. Oh, and to make it so much like the horror stories I share with my girlfriends, let’s have the girl meet the boy all over again…because he’s her new boss. Then, have her try to reclaim her dignity and have it go wrong. Every. Time.

So, let’s see, she takes a chance on love? Check.
Risks total humiliation? Check.
Is totally shot down? Double check.
Then, to further make her life hell, she has to see the guy every single day AND he has the keys to her professional reputation and pay stubs? Check and check.

Excellent. Let’s see her live through that.


Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Simple enough. His name is Ethan. Her name is Chase. It was late, I was tired, out of chocolate, and the cat had beaten me up and taken my computer seat. Ethan’s Chase seemed like a good way to check a “to do” off my list and reward myself with a midnight run to the candy aisle of the grocery store…

Seriously, though, in the story, while Chase is contemplating all the ways she can reclaim her professionalism (and completely failing at every point), Ethan’s grappling with whether to step away from the hurt of his past relationship (nothing like almost marrying a con artist to really make a guy question if he can trust his heart) and take a chance on love.

He decides to try once more…of course, by the time he’s made that decision, Chase has decided to stay as far away from him as possible. And now, he’s got to give chase if he’s going to find his happy ever after. Ethan’s Chase is both a literal and figurative explanation of the story.


Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

I had gone through ten drafts and about a thousand pages of paper. The Society for Arboreal Preservation (S.A.P) showed up at my house. They’re led by a very old, very mean Elm tree who said (in a rustling kind of voice) if I didn’t publish then all the trees that had been sacrificed in my drafts would have died in vain. Then he gave me a very meaningful look and “suggested” I seek publication. Let me tell you, if you ever wanted motivation to believe your book should be published, have a three hundred year old tree, full of knots, whorls, and chipmunks that like to hurl nuts, show up at your door and threaten to “give you a personal tour of the wood chipper.”

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

The Wild Rose Press is a lovely publisher to work with—not for the least of which is that they’ve never made me seek therapy after hearing some of my story pitches. They have reader loops, author loops, reviewers they send books to, ad co-ops, use social networks, and have a newsletter.

As for what I’ve done, let’s see. I go on reader loops, have a blog and website, use Good Reads, Pump Up My Book…I drove around advertising my website on the side of my car, I’ve been to conferences and hosted workshops…I did try walking around with a place card, but writing “If he’s not careful, he’s going to catch it” leads to a lot of misunderstandings about what I’m advertising…on the bright side, I learned all the locations of the medical clinics in Edmonton. And I did try going up to random people with bookmarks and asking, “Hey, looking for some fun?” But did you know if you say that to an undercover cop, his first thought isn’t that you’re trying to sell your novel?


Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Oh, it’s incomparable. Snicker.

It’s very chic lit in its sense of humor and suspense/mystery elements. If you like unusual characters and oddball situations, and if you like the writings of authors like Vicki Lewis Thompson, Nancy Bartholomew, Janet Evanovich, and Maya Jax, then this might be the kind of book you like. In terms of what makes it unique, most romances tend to have the declarations of love at the end of the story. Mine’s in the middle, because (I think) most of us know when we care about somebody. The issues tend to arise after the relationship stars and the problems created by our previous relationships rear up. That’s when we really start to find out about ourselves and our partners, and that’s what I wanted to explore in this book.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Page 43: Chase, mortified after another embarrassing encounter with Ethan, retreats to her office, packaged brownie in hand, and ready to drown her shame in chocolate, nuts and frosting...only, she can’t get the plastic open, and she can’t find any scissors.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and she resorts to chewing on the package…and it’s just about that time that Ethan walks into her office, looking for his V.P…nothing like your fantasy man catching you chewing on a brownie package like a chipmunk on cocaine to really make a girl feel sophisticated and professional…


Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. Right now, Wild Rose has two stories—What Happened in Vegas (Romancing the Stone meets The Nutty Professor) and Love in Miami (Golden Girls meets Driving Miss Daisy).

In the meantime, readers can head to my website (www.bronwynstorm.com) for free stories like The Genie’s Curse (Big meets Doctor Doolittle) and Shoe-In for Love, (Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Devil Wears Prada).


Q: Thank you for your interview, Bronwyn. Do you have any final words?

Well, I don’t mean to frighten anyone, but I’ve just looked at my cupboards and I’m out of chocolate…
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