Today on Day 4 of Self-published Authors Appreciation Week, I am pleased to be welcoming Brittany M. Willows to the Indie Spotlight!
Brittany M. Willows is a bisexual/asexual author and digital artist living in rural Ontario, Canada. Inspired initially by video games and the stories they told, she began building her own fictional universes and has no plans of stopping any time soon. When she’s not writing about post-apocalyptic lands, wild magic, or people gallivanting through the stars, she can be found hunched over a tablet drawing the very same things.
To keep up with the latest news regarding both current and future stories, and to find out more about Brittany or to delve deeper into the worlds she has created, check out the links below! She can also be contacted directly via these platforms:
Bloody Spade is your debut novel, what made you decide to publish your book independently? What was your path to publication?
So, my path to publication started pretty early. I always knew I wanted to be a storyteller, but I was sixteen and working on the first draft for the book that would eventually become my debut when I made the decision to become an author (after previously toying with the ideas of being video game designer and making a comics/manga).
The decision to self-publish came down to my desire for control over my story. Some people get lucky and just zoom through the traditional publishing process, but I knew for me, more likely than not, it would be a long road of querying and being on sub and so on with no actual guarantee that my stories would ever see the light of day. I’d also heard some horror stories about traditionally-published authors being pressured into changing certain elements of their stories to conform to the market, losing the rights to their stories, or simply not getting to continue their stories because book #1 didn’t perform well enough.
I wasn’t willing to take those risks or give up my control, so I braved the self-publishing route instead.
It’s been tough, I’m not going to lie. I’ve had to learn a lot about marketing and editing and formatting and all that jazz in order to create the best book I can without going broke. But it’s also been well worth it to tell my stories the way I want to tell them, and without worrying about rights or having to cut a story short because it didn’t reach a certain level of popularity. I’m fine continuing my series for a small audience, because I’m not doing this for the popularity. I’m doing it because I want to share these worlds and characters that live in my head with other people!
What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?
I have written in other genres! Fantasy, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic are my big three, and I have a tendency to combine them. My debut space opera duology was primarily science fiction with space magic, but it’s got post-apocalyptic elements that take center stage in the prequel I’m planning to write. Likewise, my next project is also going to be a mashup of the three. Bloody Spade fell pretty naturally into the urban fantasy genre, but includes some vaguely post-apocalyptic elements as well (it’ll be my first in the YA category, though).
These are the genres I tend to favor in consuming media. I’ve been surrounded by scifi/fantasy stories since I was a kid and always had a love for the otherworldly and extraordinary. My interest in post-apocalyptic settings came in a bit later, and I haven’t quite pinpointed my draw to that. Something about humanity persevering in a decaying world or a world that’s being overtaken by nature after a period of desolation just fascinates me.
I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything outside those genres, but we shall see!
Do you only read the genre that you write?
Nope! I do mainly read fantasy/scifi/post-apocalyptic stories, but I also enjoy contemporaries and steampunk a lot. There’s a few genres I haven’t read yet and some that don’t typically interest me, but I’m open to most things!
What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?
I am currently reading Cute Mutants by SJ Whitby (along with A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab and a slew of other books because I am apparently incapable of reading one book at a time). I’ve got a bunch of shows on the go at the moment, too—anime, mostly. My current favorites are Fruits Basket, My Hero Academia, Castlevania, and To Your Eternity.
As for music? For Bloody Spade it’s been a lot of anime soundtracks, piano covers, Mother Mother, The Oh Hellos, Mrs. GREEN APPLE, LiSA, and Eve. For The Calypsis Project series, it’s mainly video game and movie soundtracks (the Halo OST, Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, etc), Breaking Benjamin, and Imagine Dragons. So, yeah, nothing too specific. Depends on the project!
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Before anyone else, write for yourself. Write the story you want to tell and don’t worry about pleasing other people, because it is impossible to please everyone. Your story will find its audience. Plus, if you’re writing for you, then everyone else whose interest you grab is a bonus, and it takes a little bit of the sting out of your book potentially not performing as well as you would’ve hoped, haha
What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Currently, I am putting the final touches on Bloody Spade! I also recently finished the zero draft for the sequel, Bleeding Heart, and will be jumping into revisions on that sometime over the summer. After that duology is done, I’m hoping to return to the long-overdue rewrite of my debut that got sidelined when Bloody Spade stole my attention. I’m also very much looking forward to delving into a brand new project that’s been brewing for just over a year now—a scifi/fantasy/post-apoc mashup about two werewolf brothers on the run after escaping a military space station. It’s a story of brotherhood, resilience, and the ragtag rebels banding together to overthrow a corrupt government.
It’ll likely be a long time before that one is actually in book form, but you better believe I’ll be drawing a lot of content for it in the meantime!
Thank you for taking part in my Indie Spotlight feature, Brittany, good luck with your future projects!
A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil
The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.
But the Reemergence was only the beginning.
When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed.
Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?
Bloody Spade is the first installment in an urban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a spirited girl as they try to navigate his wild magic, her hotheaded brother, a sinister plot, and the feelings they’re developing for each other.
Preorder/buy Bloody Spade here:
Add Bloody Spade to your goodreads To Be Read list here:
Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?
Gabrielle Gagne-Cyr, author of The Theurgy of the Gods series, is a French Canadian who studied Digital Video Production and Psychology at Concordia University in Montreal.
After working a few years as a counsellor at a youth centre, she somehow decided that writing on the sidelines would be as good a career (though her dream job would be sky pirate—a nice one obviously).