The Writing Life with Dawn Brotherton, Author of 'Trish’s Team'

The recipient of the Global eBook Bronze Award, Dawn Brotherton is the creator of Softball Scoresheet, a book used for keeping score during games. She is also the author of two Jackie Austin mysteries, Wind the Clock and It’s the Right Thing to Do, and a contributing author to A-10s Over Kosovo, a compilation of stories about being deployed for Operation ALLIED FORCE.  Dawn currently serves at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. as a colonel in the United States Air Force. She enjoys coaching softball, working with the Girl Scouts, and traveling.  Dawn and her fighter-pilot-retired husband live in Virginia with their two beautiful daughters.

What’s inside the mind of a youth fiction author? I have written adult fiction also, but I really prefer youth fiction. I like trying to see things with my 12-year-old softball players’ eyes. Things don’t always make sense for them in the same way it does for an adult. I have to think of another way to explain it. It helps that I have 13- and 15-year old daughters.

What is so great about being an author? Pink fuzzy slippers. That’s what my husband and I always joke about. When I can work from home wearing my slippers, I am happy.

When do you hate it? When I have to make corrections from the editor. You reach a point that you just want to be done with a story and go on to the next great idea. But there is always more work to be done, and you have to look at it ONE MORE TIME.

What is a regular writing day like for you? There is no regular for me. I am in the Air Force stationed at the Pentagon. I have an apartment in Arlington, but my family is at home in Williamsburg, Va. I drive home every weekend to spend time with them. I try to get my writing done on weeknight evenings, but life gets in the way. Right now it’s a fundraising project for my daughter’s school.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you? Not when it comes to writing. Sure, I can tell you the things I’m good at and that I have confidence in, but that mostly pertains to the Air Force. Editors have a way of keeping a writer humble.

How do you handle negative reviews? Defensively at first. I think that’s natural. Then I have to walk away and come back to it later. Then I try to dig out the nuggets that will help me, and let the other stuff go. For example, after my first murder mystery that has an Air Force setting, I had a reader say that the military would never send someone to an assignment for only one year…since I have spent a year in Korea, the rest of his comments rolled off my back. But it did make me go back and rewrite the sections about the military that I took for granted to give them a little more explanation for someone that has no military background.

How do you handle positive reviews?  They put me on top of the world. Seriously! I walk around with a smile on my face all day long, and I can’t wait to call my sister and tell her.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author? People want to know how I got published. I understand because it was one of my first questions when I met authors. Still is sometimes, but now it’s more about sharing lessons learned with peers.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break? Take a break. I have too many other things going on in my life that distractions are never a problem. It’s making time for writing that is a problem for me. I spent a weekend in a monastery to finish my first Jackie Austin book.

Any writing quirks? No. I’m more of a night person than a morning person, but I can sit anywhere and write. I find white wine goes well with softball stories.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby? I think the only one that didn’t take my writing seriously was my husband. No one else even questioned my desire to be a writer. Now, after my fifth book, I think my husband is finally coming around.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?  Not really. I love it. But even too much of a good thing can get old. Sometimes I get really tired of a storyline and tend to rush through to get it over with. Then I have to make myself go back over it several times to get it right. I should just do it right the first time. That’s one reason I think the kids’ books are working better for me. They are a length I can stay focused throughout.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money? No.  Easy for me to say because I’m not famous yet. I track my expenses carefully and I know exactly how many books I need to sell to break even.  Then I consider it a success, because at least I haven’t lost money. But I think that’s different than being a successful author. Just to be recognized as an author is success for me.

What had writing taught you? That there is always more to learn. I am continually finding things I can do better, that I want to try, or that I can teach someone else.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Don’t be afraid to try new things.  You don’t know what you are capable of unless you try.


Title:  Trish’s Team (Book 1, Lady Tigers’ Series)
Genre: Youth Fiction
Author: Dawn Brotherton
Publisher: Blue Dragon Publishing

About the Book: Trish learns what that really means when she tries to pull a fast one to get what she wants without thinking through the consequences. Her decision could affect the game, but more importantly—her friends. Trish has to learn the hard way that lying to get what she wants isn’t the way to go. She finds out that being part of a team isn’t just about what happens on the field

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