Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dependent by Brenda Corey Dunne – powerful, emotional and agented

Brenda Corey Dunne, Agented Author
Brenda Corey Dunne, author - agented author – of the new novel Dependent, dropped by the Blog Mansion to undergo a series of invasive tests to determine how she got an agent where I’ve been unsuccessful so far.

Johnny: So Dependent. What’s that about?

Brenda: It’s a story of how a military spouse rediscovers her sense of self after the devastating loss of her husband and a lifetime of fear.

Johnny: Uh-huh.

Brenda: Are you listening?

J: Canada, huh? That sounds nice.

B: Weren’t we talking about my book?  You know…the strength of military spouses, the courage behind the uniform, the selfless sacrifice...

J: Moose everywhere?

B: Yes. We have moose. Especially in northern Ontario. Like this one I saw last month *hands photo*

Actual Moose Photo

J: Hold still. This sensor goes under your fingernail.

B: Under my what? *sits on hands*

J: Hand me that tack hammer.

B: No.

J: Walter, are you getting readings?

Walter: Not from the fingernail sensor.

J: Hold on. *scuffles*

B: Ouch.

J: Now?

W: Yeah, we’re good. Oh wait. The needle helmet slid a bit.

J: Temple bolt is loose. One second.

B: That hurts.

J: Working then.

B: Do you put all your interviewees through such horror?

J: A good portion of them, yes.

B: Why?

J: You, my dear Brenda Correy Dunne, have an agent. I don’t have an agent. I want an agent. By studying you I will determine your secret and with it, get me an agent and rule the world, literarily speaking.

B: You could just ask?

J: And fish through your lies! No. You have an agent, you are not to be trusted. You have sold your soul at the crossroads, you are a different species, a star-crossed phenomenon, un-earthly thing, and too lucky to be let into casinos.

B: No, there’s actually a – OUCH!!!

J: Walter?

W: Good readings from the needle helmet. The spinal leads are erratic. Put in another staple.

J: Will do. Good. Now Brenda relax while I submerge you into this sensory acid bath. Tell me about Dependent. Ellen Michaels, your heroine. What’s she going through?

B: Burble burble…What isn’t she going through? Burble…She is 45 years old, an empty nester, she has no career, no family nearby, her husband has been killed in a training accident and a dreadful secret has resurfaced to haunt her. Can we take this off?

J: No. The military life sounds hard. What experience do you have with it?

B: I spent 8 years in the Canadian Air Force as a Physiotherapy Officer, and have been married to an Air Force Pilot for 17 years. I know a bit.

J: Does the Canadian military generally genetically alter people to be more appealing to agents?

B: (sarcastically)We take agent-appealing experimental drugs every second Tuesday. And have perfected the art of agent-ensnaring cookie-baking. Sigh. Um…no. No secrets.

J: Dependent sounds heavy. How heavy is it? Will it ruffle feathers?

B: It’s raw and real. Ellen—my MC, goes through a lot. It WILL make the reader uncomfortable. There will be tears. And frustration. Some people don’t like that sort of reading, some do. Sort of like these things under my fingernails.

J: Why did you chose to write Dependent is the present tense? The use of time stamped chapters seems incongruous with that choice.

B: Military families move frequently, so wherever you are at the time becomes home…at least temporarily. It’s the reality of the moment. And when we look back on things we tend to remember milestones by where we were—what house and what year. It seemed the right choice for the story.">
J: Dependent isn’t your first book. Treasure in the Flame is. What’s that about.

B: Treasure is a historical YA set in early Atlantic Canada. There’s a bit of magic, a bit of pirate gold and a little history worked into the story. It’s much lighter and fun. Kind of like Anne of Green Gables meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

W: Readings are inconclusive.

J: Dammit! Here drink this truth serum.

B: This what?

J: Soda. Drink this soda.

B: It’s bitter.

J: Like my heart.

W: Yuck.

J: Now, Brenda, tell me about how you got your books published, What was your path from writer to author and where along your slippery path of literary accomplishment did you pick up an agent!

B: I finished my first manuscript in 2008. I submitted to a few agents and got rejections. Next I finished Treasure in the Flame. I submitted to a few more agents and got a few requests and eventual rejections. I finished another manuscript. I submitted it to 20 or more agents, and got many rejections. I decided that it was time to move forward…and I self published Treasure. While Treasure was finding it’s way in the world, I was chatting with a Twitter friend about agents and how discouraging it was to get rejection after rejection. She had read my third MS and was surprised that I hadn’t seen anything from it. So she suggested I submit to her agent. I must admit, I was pretty much done with it all, and was ready to just move on and make my self-pubbed novels as good as they could be. But I was willing to give it a try. Two weeks later I got that wonderful email, and by Christmas I had signed. It was surprising how quickly it happened. Jennifer Mishler and Fran Black at Literary Counsel are amazing. Don’t give up, Johnny. There’s an agent out there looking for a tie-dye wearing off-kilter guy like you.

J: Hrmph.

B: Not kidding. I had more or less given up. In fact, I almost didn’t submit.

J: You give me hope. Which reminds me of a great old adage: I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.  But thanks. I'll take out off the helmet now.

W: Wait, we're getting an abnormal genetic signature. A double gamma alpha tacheaon thingamajig.

B: A what?

J: We're going to need a brain sample. In case things go wrong and I accidentally wipe out your memory, where on the internet can you find clues to who you were?

B: Uhm... these....?

TWITTER: @overdunne

J: Damn. The brain scoop broke before I could use it.

B: I guess I'm lucky.

J: That's about the size of it.

B: It's okay, Johnny.

J: *Sigh* It’s always a struggle isn’t it?

B: Even with agents, publishers and fans…you need to fight for what you want in your publishing career. Now can I take these things off?

J: Why should I?

B: Look behind you.

J: Shit.... Agents.

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