Hybrid! I lean more indie these days but I also work with Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined group. I have a solo short story with them and a 6 book universe co-written with K Evan Coles.Solo, I have dozens of indie titles.Working with Pride and with K Evan has been great but for my solo stuff I do enjoy being able to choose release dates, control the look of the cover/branding, etc. It’s *a lot* of work but it’s allowed me to become a full-time, self-supporting author.Both definitely have their merits and I am glad I explored both options.
I am also a bit of a hybrid for this as well. I am somewhere in between, so call me a “plantser” lol.My process has definitely evolved over time. I started out completely as a pantser, writing out of order on whatever whim I felt like. Co-writing really forced me to write in a linear way, rather than skipping around so much and I am grateful because it’s allowed me to tighten up my books and shorten the amount of time it takes to write them.These days, I usually create a rough outline at the beginning of a story. I have a general idea of who the characters are, what they want/where they’re going, and where I want the story to ultimately end up.Sometimes I need a few chapters to really get a feel for who the characters are (they kind of reveal themselves to me as they go!) and then I lay down a plan for about 3-5 chapters at a time and work on the outline as I go.It seems to be working pretty well so I am going to stick with that until I feel like I need to change something.I do use a program to keep track of the book/character info. I’ve only been doing that for the past year or two though so my PA is currently working on a series bible for all of the books that came before that time, which will be fun bonus content for readers and really useful for me so I don’t accidentally repeat names. lol.
If I hadn’t become an author, I probably would have been either a therapist or a photographer. I majored in psychology and minored in studio art.I find human behavior really fascinating and I think paying attention to that has really added depth to my characters, so it was a surprisingly good background for the career I ended up with!
I still love photography. I used to do paid gigs (modeling, senior pictures, a handful of weddings, etc.) These days, I do it for free. Mostly family events and for friends. My best friend is a clothing designer and recently asked me to take photos of her modeling the pieces for her website.Since we spent most of college running around in the woods with her dressed weirdly while I took photos of her … it was nice to get back to our roots. Lol. It’s been a great time and a really fun way for me to get a break from writing while still doing something creative.
I write at home and I have a pretty decent desk/bookcase setup for all of my writing needs, and a laptop docking station/dual monitors I use. Although I have no trouble writing on my laptop if I’m traveling or house sitting either. A nice office space is a bonus but not required.I do have a routine. I’m constantly refining it but right now, I get up at about 7, do some stretching/meditation. I aim to go for a walk/jog three times a week, and do yoga twice a week. I write from about 9-12:30ish, then work on admin/social media/business stuff until about 3:30. I am trying something new and blocking off a couple of hours in the afternoon for either editing, reviewing audio files, or writing some bonus content. A couple of days a week I try to fit in some professional development time (reading books about writing, taking courses, etc.).Thursdays, I wrap up at 12:30 and drive about 45 minutes to hang out with my best friend and her family. Lately, we’ve been doing the photoshoots, having dinner, and trying to fit in an evening walk when we can. It’s a great way to connect to the people I care about, and give myself some time to recharge.And I work maybe half days on the weekends if I need it to get caught up or do some more professional development stuff.
I have numerous people! My parents have been hugely supportive (even letting me live at home while I gave this writing full-time thing a try).Allison Hickman and Helena Stone have been amazing friends and hugely helpful in my author journey. They’ve been with me since very early on and typically beta read my books and offer super helpful feedback and encouragement.As far as other authors, (in addition to Helena Stone), DJ Jamison and Jacki James have been amazing in this past year. Really helping me expand and grow as an author and always there to help if I have a question, provide feedback and encouragement.My best friend is always there when I need to vent about the frustrations or brag about how things are going.And I have a friend in Ireland who is just kind of my go to person when I am feeling discouraged. He’s great at pep talks and knows how to light a fire under my butt or encourage me to keep going. I actually made one of his quotes as my laptop background. Whenever I get overwhelmed I check it and it reminds me to, “Take a breath, eat some chocolate, and stay focused.”
It’s pretty stellar general life advice, to be honest!I wouldn’t be where I am without all of these people so there was no way I could narrow it down to just one.
I truly stumbled into it. I began writing fanfiction years and years ago, and my first story was about a bisexual woman in a love triangle (if I wrote it today it would be a poly story. lol). That segued into reading gay fanfic, then writing gay fanfic, and eventually writing original LGBTQ+ fiction.Once I landed there, I knew I’d found my happy place and I have no desire to jump into any other genres. Though someday it would be super fun to step outside of contemporary romance and do a gay historical mystery!
Where don’t I find inspiration? Lol.I genuinely seem to get it from everywhere. A photograph. An overheard conversation. A news article. Almost anything can get the plot bunnies hopping and I have more ideas than I have time to write them!What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?I don’t usually have writer’s block in the traditional sense of not knowing what to write. I’m more likely to get burned out and mentally drained and have no energy to write the things I have ideas for.I’ve done a lot of work (with a therapist and on my own/with help from friends) to build a more sustainable schedule. I get lots of sleep, I exercise, I meditate, and I try to carve out time to spend with friends and do other creative things.Having a better work/life balance and doing things that support my overall wellness really has a huge impact on my writing.If I start to feel bogged down or I’m struggling to write I know it’s that I’ve gotten off on the wrong track with a story, I talk to friends/fellow writers. If that doesn’t get me going again, I know I need to take a break and recharge.
Everyone in my life is hugely supportive. As I mentioned before, my parents have been amazing about it (and have even read a few of my books!)My extended family doesn’t necessarily quite get why I chose gay romance or read it but they’re still rooting for me to succeed at it and often ask how it’s going/what I’m working on.My friends are fantastic. All super supportive and many read my work/cheer me on/show up to events I’m at.I am incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
Seeing how much it impacts people. Writing is always impactful but I think there’s something special about doing it in a genre like this. Growing up as a bisexual woman but not really seeing any good representation of that, I know how important that can be.So I try to do the same for other people in the LGBTQ+ community. Showing good, loving portrayals of gay/lesbian/bi/poly characters really feels like I’m making a difference.I tell this story ALL the time but at the MotorCity Pride Event years ago, a young guy wandered up to the booth I had set up with along with some other Michigan LGBTQ+ authors. He looked at our table and his eyes got wide as he perused the books. He was almost teary when he said, “I never knew there were books like this for people like me,” and that has stuck with me so strongly.I get paid to write books that make a difference to people and that is an amazing feeling.
My website is currently under construction but I am on most social media platforms.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrighamVaughn
Facebook Reader Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/brighamsbooknerds/
You can also find me on:
Ko-fi (Outtakes and bonus content) – https://ko-fi.com/brighamvaughn
And you can sign up for my newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/aacf2a904bb2/colesandvaughnsignup
Thank you so much for stopping by and answering our 10 questions (plus a bonus one). If you have more questions for Brigham, please check out the links above or leave a comment below. Since she didn't toot her writing horn, I will mention again that she has an audio book releasing on October 12th... I have read and loved the entire series and I'm sure that the audio will be just as amazing.