Author Spotlight: Brittany Cournoyer & Beth Bolden
March 16, 2021 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
BC: I’ve always loved to read since I learned how to in first grade. It just seemed like the natural transition to create my own books since I loved reading ones written by others. I was first published about 5 years ago through a vanity press, and those were young adult books. The company went bankrupt, and I lost the rights to those books. Then I discovered M/M and after reading them for a few years an author encouraged me to write my own, and here we are.
BB: I feel like I’ve always been a writer. My mom often brags that she has my first manuscript in her possession, which was titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings. I wrote that when I was six, and I feel like since then, I’ve been driven by the need to tell stories.
CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
BC: The most rewarding thing is when I have people reach out to me telling me they enjoy my work. I love seeing something I put my heart and soul into on kindles or holding a paperback in my hand. And the biggest hurdle for me is acceptance for what I do. I didn’t use a pen name, and some of my family members don’t agree with what I write, but at the end of the day it’s my life, and not theirs.
BB: Is it weird to say that sometimes writing the books is the easy part? I definitely think the most challenging part of being an author is the marketing component of this job. But definitely the most rewarding is when a book finds the perfect reader and they let you know just how enjoyable reading it was.
For a long time, I was writing full time and working full time. That was really tough. I would come from a long day and have to sit down at the computer and write for a few hours every night. Every weekend I would write. There wasn’t a lot of time for things that I wanted to do, and I could only write books so fast—and I could only do that if I was super vigilant about meeting my word counts every day.
Since then, I’ve been really lucky to be able to write full time, going on two years now. But that foundation really instilled in me a strong work ethic.
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
BC: Sinister Shadows. It by far isn’t one of my best sellers, but it pushed me in ways my other books haven’t. I had to make a villain seem like a nice guy, and confuse my readers until a pivotal moment where all is revealed.
BB: That is a really tough question! I always like to say that every book I’m working on at the moment is my favorite, but the truth is, I really love writing enemies to lovers. All Screwed Up, which I wrote with Brittany, is that trope, and also one of my favorites, which is about two guys who end up with the same food truck name and can’t stop fighting about it. On a Roll, the third of my Food Truck Warriors series will be out May 6th.
CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?
BC: Play with Me. It’s the start of a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone, and it’s another book that challenged me as an author.
BB: I would recommend either the first book in my Kitchen Gods series, Bite Me (also enemies to lovers!) or The Rivalry, which is about two quarterbacks and ex-lovers who end up playing for the same NFL team, and who both want the starting spot (you may be sensing a trend here . . .LOL).
CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?
BC: This is such a hard question! But again I’ll go with Play with Me. And as for the star? There could only be one person…the cover model Kevin Creekman.
BB: I would probably pick my first Food Truck Warriors novel, Drive Me Crazy, because there are so many hilarious scenes in it that I think would be great to watch. I think Kit Harrington would be a great Tony, and because he’s got dark, curly hair, and let’s pick Zac Efron for Lucas.
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
BC: Keep writing. Even if you think it’s absolutely terrible, just keep going. You were chosen to tell that particular story in your mind, and it won’t get told until you write it.
BB: Write! Literally, sit your butt in the chair and write. I think writing is like a muscle, and you’ve got to work on it and practice and not let it atrophy.
CJC: How did the opportunity to co-author with one another come about?
BC: I’m a huge fan of Beth’s work, and I begged her to write with me until she finally gave in haha.
BB: We’ve known each other for a few years, and I’ve always been a big fan of Brittany’s style. Then she told me she wanted to write a book about a guy who buys a disaster of a house but didn’t know much about the construction industry. I used to work for a construction subcontractor as an office manager and accountant so I know a lot about contractors. I volunteered and the rest is history!
CJC: Favorite motto?
BC: Keep going. Even when you want to quit, keep going.
BB: “Stop making excuses and write. Stop whining and write. Stop fucking around and write.” That is the great Nora Roberts, and I bet you that Brittany has the exact same quote.
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
BC: Take my dog for a walk, soak in the tub, read a book.
BB: Well, to be honest, I don’t really get writer’s block? At least I haven’t yet, and I’m twenty-five books in so . . .I hope this paragraph does not come back to haunt me!
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
BB: I like writing compelling characters in deeply emotional stories, with a fun dash of snark and humor. Also, I tend to write about professional athletes, chefs, and rock stars. Anyone who needs their ego taken down a peg (or two).
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
BC: The blurb! I always find the cover first, then write my characters based off the photo. The blurb is the worst!
BB: They can both be really tough, honestly. But the blurb is my ultimate nemesis. It’s so hard to condense a story down to a few paragraphs—and make it sound like it’s something you really want to read!
I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve worked with some fabulous cover designers and we always end up collaborating on something wonderful that I feel like fits the story really well.
CJC: Which author inspires you the most and why?
BC: Aimee Nicole Walker. She is such a hardworking, tenacious, diligent woman man who works her butt off. And I admire her for it.
BB: Truthfully, our entire community inspires me.
I see so much cooperation and encouragement daily. Our whole community is full of just plain warm, friendly, and welcoming people. It makes me want to stick around for a very long time.
CJC: What is your writing process like?
BC: I wake up early, take Delilah out to do her business and let her run around until she’s satisfied, then I make coffee and set a daily word count goal for myself. I start small, then attempt to double, then triple it. Some days I succeed, and some days I’m lucky to get a few paragraphs. But as long as words are written, right?
BB: I am a pretty quick writer, usually because I know what I want to say and where I want to go. I always, always write in order. I very often have a loose plan, sometimes an outline, but I’m never very specific about it. It takes me about a month and a half to write a first draft, then I do an editing pass myself, sometimes with some changes I know I want to make in mind (as I rarely go back and change things during the drafting process). After that, it goes off to my trusted beta readers, who give me edits and also content changes they’d like to see. Then finally, it goes off to a professional editor and proofreader who cleans up all the mistakes that are left. From start to finish, I usually write a book every three-ish months.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
BC: I’m working on book 3 in my Play with Me series, and I hope to have a few more books written before the year is out! I have a particular stand-alone I’ve been dying to work on, so I can’t wait to get to it!
BB: I’m really excited because the second, third and fourth Food Truck Warriors books are coming out this spring, staring April 8. These are books set around a food truck community in Los Angeles, and have a fun range of tropes, from enemies to lovers, to fake boyfriends. Plus, so much food porn!
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
BC: Just thank you, Christopher, for letting us do this, and if any of your readers happen to check out any of my work, I hope you enjoy it 🙂
BB: Thank you so much for having us and thanks for taking great photos 😊
CJC: A special thank you to Brittany and Beth for taking the time to answer all my questions.