Monday, June 28, 2010

Author Interview ~ Brianna Martini

Good Monday morning to you all. I know, how can one be so chipper so early in the morning? Well… my secret… Cabana Boys… lots and lots of Cabana Boys, bearing vast amounts of… caffeine! Get your minds out of the gutter.

Anyway, today is Author Interview Monday, and we have with us on our couch XOXO Publishing author, Brianna Martini. Let’s all give Brianna a nice warm Menagerie welcome (yes, the Cabana Boys have already crowded around her hoping she’ll pick one of them).

Welcome to The Menagerie, Brianna. Megan and I are both so glad to have you here with us today. Make yourself comfy, grab a CB and some caffeine (we have lots of it) and I’ll let Megan take us away!

Since we’re nosy here at the Menagerie, can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m working on a series of children picture books, which teaches children about abuse, inspirational thoughts and prayers. It is a departure from my usual writing genres.

We like departures... sometimes you gotta shake things up.

Absolutely, we shake lots up as much as we can. Departures are good, and if that’s where you need to go, then that’s where you go. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author is Bertrice Small. I love the way she writes it is so passionate and realistic. She brings her characters to life and you feel their emotions deeply. Of course I love historical romances. I love being transported through time to live in that era if it is only for a few hours of pleasurable reading. It’s my escape…

I think that’s the best part of reading, escaping the noisy chaotic mess of our lives if for only a few hours… or until the monkeys overrun your defenses… er… I meant until the kids knock on the bedroom door. Same thing.

Escapism is fun and passion is the spice of life. Probably says a lot about us here at The Menagerie. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Yes it made me come to terms with my own emotions. To face my own fears and move forward while I was in a former abusive marriage it made me face reality.

Isn’t it amazing how writing can be an eye-opener. Maybe you can channel it into your next book.

I’m sure we’ll see something like that, eventually. Writing is very cathartic too. Good for you! Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes write and continue to write even when you get a bad rating or rejection(s). Both come hand in hand and are a part of a writer’s life.

Learn from that negative input rather than let it make you stop writing, depressed or strike back in anger. There is no need for this type of destructive behavior.

Great advice, it doesn’t do you any good to dwell on the negative. Grab some chocolate, cry with your crit partners… and get back to it. :-D

Learning from your life is always good, but dealing with rejection with the occasional chocolate and THEN writing is good, too. Speaking of writing, what is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I wake up at 5 am and prepare the whole day schedule from breakfast to lunch to dinner, setup appointments, and writing throughout the day.

In between I bring and pick up children from school, help them with their homework and of make dinner. I love my slow cooker and GFG (George Forman Grill).

Oh, I LOVE my GFG! I cook kielbasa on ours all the time! And my slow cooker is one of my best friends… in fact I have two. LOL As for your day… I commend you on your early morning and scheduling. At least as far as the writing… I have a hard time making myself schedule the writing time along with everything else. :::shrugs:::

You’re a scheduler... I so am not. Fly by the seat of my pants. Maybe I should get some tips. Nah, if I scheduled anything and was on time, people’d talk. Speaking of tips, when did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book when I was three; it was a poetry book about Spring. I still have my original manuscript printed on in a printing book which has turned yellow and I wrote in red crayon. Not sure why but I still write in red ink.

Red is one of my favorite, black...silver. No crime in going with what works.

Hey, I like to write with superfine sharpies… purple is my favorite. :::shrugs::: We do what works for us and our muses. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing I enjoy developing healthy recipes, and working on various fund raising projects. I read whenever I can and spend time with my family.

Family is definitely important, it’s good that you remember to spend time with them when you can.

I love to spend time with my loved ones...all of them. It’s a treat. Since you brought them up, what does your family think of your writing?

They are all very supportive of me and understanding when I have a deadline. I love writing and it is my passion.

OH, you have a wonderful support system, then! Nothing beats that, that’s for sure. Especially when they take care of the minor details we’re too busy to do when writing… you know, dishes, dinner, laundry… monkey wrangling… :-D. And now for our “Absolutely-Nothing-To-Do-Writing” questions. Megan’s got this one:

You all have an idea of what I was doing last night—the boys were all awake—, but we really want to know what were you doing at midnight last night?

I was writing a love letter to my long lost pirate at sea. My final installment of La Pirata, The Lady Pirate.

Ooh, I’m channeling a vision of Johnny Depp. Er.. excuse me. Letting Kealie take over now. Be right back.

And there she goes… a love letter to a pirate… that sounds very interesting. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I was in Acapulco on vacation with my family, when we decided to take a cruise to a local island. They had a buffet and nothing was labeled, I decided to try some meat which smelled heavenly. I took a few slices, and it was delicious it tasted almost like chicken (I thought it was chicken) when I asked the Chef what it was he told me I had Iguana meat. I sort off squirmed but then decided this is what they eat here. It was delicious so no more comments. I’m the type to taste anything and during my travels I have tasted a few local specialties.

Wow! How cool is that! I’d like to think I’d at least try some things… but I’d have to cross that bridge if I ever get there. Megan’s back…

I like local specialties. Speaking of which, what is your favorite pizza?

I love Italian pizza, it’s not similar to what we eat here with all of the toppings. It is just tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and mozzarella cheese sliced on top.

Huh, sounds interesting, and simple. Simple can be really good if done right. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Health, I’d wish for a healthy body and health for everyone.

Health is a good thing to wish for… I’d wish for health with you. At least at this point I would, lol.

Does pale and nocturnal count towards healthy? If so, I’m soooo good. Now, since you’re into healthy stuff, do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?

I'd like to share one of my favorite recipes which is to be published in an upcoming book, I'm Sexy, I'm Big and I'm Me published by XoXo Publishing(TM). Here it is:

Maccheroni alla Chitarra di Nonna (Abruzze)


¼ cup of pure extra virgin olive oil
2 ¼ tbsp butter
½ lb porcini mushrooms, sliced
4 medium size cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of crushed chili peppers
2 sprigs of fresh oregano which is equal to 1 ½ teaspoon of dried oregano.
500 gram of pasta, one pack of pasta. Follow the instructions how to cook it which is written on the back of the pasta box.


1. Medium heat, in a medium size skillet heat the olive oil and the melted butter.

2. Add ½ of the minced garlic and stir for approx two minutes until the garlic is slightly golden brown. At this point lower the heat.

3. Add the mushroom slices. Stir constantly and saute for 8 minutes until the mushrooms are slightly brown.

4. In a large pot bring the pasta to boil as instructed on the back of the box or paper and cook al dente.

5. In a large pot pour the mushroom and oil olive adding the rest of the minced garlic, fresh or dried oregano, crushed chili pepper, and a can of tomato paste and stir. Let it simmer for approx 14 to 18 minutes. If you wish to make your maccheroni white then don’t add the sauce.

6. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the pasta and pour it in a pasta dish. Pour the tomato sauce and mix it well. Grate fresh Parmigiana cheese on top and serve hot. If your pasta is white then do not pour the sauce over it, do mix the mushroom oil sauce and grate the Parmigianino cheese on top.

Serve hot and buon appetito!

A glass of red Montepulciano D’Abruzzo wine is perfect for this pasta dish.

Wow, thank you for sharing this with us! It looks delicious, I’ll have to add it to my cooking repertoire!

Alas, we have come to the end of our interview, and it’s time to go. Okay, you don’t have to go, you can hang out with us for the rest of the day and put the CBs through their paces… they love those paces, I promise. Anyway, thank you so much, Brianna, for joining us on our couch today. It was lovely getting to know you better. Don’t be a stranger, keep us updated on all your newest news!

Thank you to all of y’all who joined us today. Hope your Monday is a good one (yes, it is possible, I promise), and that the rest of your week turns out to be fantastic… or at least not heinous. :-D

Brianna Martini hails from Toronto, Canada. Writing is her passione as much as cooking and working for a non profit organization. Brianna is a single mom of two wonderful children.

Martini on the Blues by Brianna Martini

Jade proudly placed a glass in front of Adrienne, skilfully whisking away the already empty chocolate martini glass. Adrienne was really hitting it hard tonight, harder than Jade had ever seen her.

Tears began to flow anew as Adrienne contemplated the azure blue liquor in the smoky glass in front of her. It reminded her of his eyes. Not the cheating lying louse she'd just virtually dumped, or even the eyes of her almost dearly departed husband. Looking into the glass' smokey blue depths was just like staring into the gaze of her long ago college boyfriend Justin.

“Oh gawd”...she cried silently. “Wh- what's this – a, a new drink, Jade?”

She hiccupped then squinted her eyes to focus more clearly on the drinking glass. She had a vaguely uneasy notion she should go home soon, but she found she didn't want to, not really. Something was keeping her here, something more than seeing her friend and drowning her sorrows. She had a feeling of almost impending euphoria, as though something very good was going to happen if she stayed there long enough.

"Yes it is honey. Something I've been working on for quite awhile now and it's just about perfect. It's called 'Martini on the Blues' in honour of the holiday season, and of course your birthday on Boxing Day. Tonight is the first night I'm making them and you're my very first customer to have one. Happy early birthday, babe."

Adrienne sniffed it tentatively and decided she liked the smell of it. She took a quick taste. It was to her liking – a touch of strawberries, and something else. She couldn't figure it out what it was. She took another drink, then another. As she swallowed the last drop, Adrienne was surprised to see that the glass started glowing. She figured it was some kind of glow stick or something, and she hoisted
the glass up to peer myopically at the bottom of it, then sneezed as smoke began to trickle down from the bottom of the glass, thin and reedy and scented with cedar and strawberries.


Tina said...

ohhh LOVED this interview and got some yummy recipes too!

Kealie Shay said...

Thanks for stopping in Tina! Doesn't that recipe look great? I'm glad you enjoyed the interview as much as we did doing it.