A Thought-Provoking and Cliff-Jumping Journey: An Interview with Nadine Brandes

Hi Nadine! Welcome to Venturing to Other Worlds. I’m really excited to share with my readers the storyworld you’ve created in your debut novel, A Time to Die. So let’s take a running jump off the cliff (read Nadine’s book to fully understand this reference) and begin today’s short journey. Tell me a bit about your road to publication.

Frankly, I’ve been handed the “author life” on a golden platter. It took me several years to write the book, but I always knew God intended for me to be a writer. It’s been a heart’s desire all my life. When I discovered Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press) I knew that’s where I’d end up. Sure enough, Jeff Gerke—the founder—requested my full manuscript (despite my protests that it wasn’t even finished!) and then offered me a contract only a few weeks after I finally sent it to him.

I’ve been floored by God’s hand in my publishing process — it’s a constant reminder that this is His story and His road I’m traveling.

What do you consider the most impactful: the beginning or end of your book? Why?

Emotionally, I would say the ending, but relationally, I think the beginning. Parvin asks questions that I believe are core to who we are, like “What is my purpose in life?” or “What does it mean to follow God?” I think those questions impact the reader on a stronger level because we all ask them at some point in our lives, and Parvin is like a friend who’s coming up and saying, “I’m asking those questions, too.” In that way, it makes the reader (and even me!) want to take a journey with her to find out the answers.

How’s that for a round-about-response? 😉

Great response, actually. In my opinion, Parvin’s challenges throughout the story lend to both the emotional and relational impact of the book, as if you put an exclamation point at the beginning and the end of your novel. Gee, I hope I’m making sense. LOL! Okay, what message do you hope your readers will take away after reading your novel?

I hope that people realize life demands pursuit. Often times we let it pass us by, but God has given us the perfect amount of time with which to catch it. I want this book to inspire us to live intentionally and pursue God with all we have.

Inspiring—life absolutely demands pursuit, even in the small things. Now, as I read A Time to Die, I imagined Parvin’s story on the big screen. And you’ve recently posted a couple of posts on your website about movies based on books. So, if you had to choose one…what is your favorite film adaptation of a book? Why?

The Lord of the Rings movies. I know there are many mixed views regarding these movies, but I’d read the books twice prior to the movies releasing and never really grasped the depth of the story until I saw it on screen. Those movies are the very definition of epic.

Yay! I feel the same way, and am now no longer embarrassed to tell people the movies helped me grasp the full depth of the stories. Whether movies or books, people seem to love an ongoing story. So…are you planning a sequel?

Absolutely! The first rough draft of the sequel is finished and I’m cleaning up the rough patches. It should be released late next year. I can’t tell you too much about it because it might give some spoilers to book one. 😉 But, it’s been an adventure to write and hopefully it will be an even bigger adventure to read.

I can hardly wait to read it! Now, as many of my readers know, you are a very dear friend to me. In addition you’re my prayer partner and critique partner. Throughout the time we’ve know one another, you’ve shared a tremendous amount of great advice. What advice do you have for fellow writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! That’s always my main piece of advice — you will always learn something new from a writer’s conference that you can’t learn in a book. And it’s the best way to pitch yourself to professionals. Face-to-face does wonders.

Advice I believe to be just as crucial is this: Don’t write as an escape from reality, write to inspire a better reality.

As we close, share your favorite Bible verse and the ways in which it impacts your writing.

“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” – Isaiah 42:6-7

This was God’s original purpose for the Israelites and, when they didn’t live it out He finally sent Jesus to do it for them. I think the calling is still just as applicable to our lives—to be a light for the nations. To open blind eyes, to free prisoners, to follow God while holding His hand. That is my vision for my writing and my life.

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How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Released September 23, 2014 and available for purchase on Amazon.

Nadine Brandes Head Shot

Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel.

Follow her…

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Angie’s Review: 5 STARS

A Time to Die is a gentle and thought-provoking, cliff-jumping and tightrope-walking journey. (No spoilers from me, for the journey simply would not be as exciting!)How would you live if you knew the day you’d die? With only one year to live, Parvin Blackwater makes a last-ditch effort to overcome her own weaknesses and strive to save those who’ve been labeled insignificant—in a world where such insignificance means certain death. Along with Parvin, you’ll feel helpless, uncomfortable, and angry. You’ll feel courageous. You’ll learn to fight. You’ll grow to believe.Read A Time to Die and you’ll find yourself reflecting on what truly matters. In the end, when faced with ultimate tragedy, will you give up or will you fight? Will you trust? Will you cling to hope, the hope found only in God?

A Time to Die is so well written, I remain amazed the story is Nadine Brandes’s debut effort. Great character development. Unique plot. Read it. You won’t be disappointed. But you will anxiously await Parvin Blackwater’s next adventure.


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