#RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight: Nadine Brandes

#RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight: Nadine Brandes

Ah, we have reached the end of our Faculty Spotlight trail. Who did we save for last? Why, one of the best, of course! After missing her immensely last year, we are excited to welcome back Nadine Brandes!

From our Faculty page:

 Carol Award winner and two-time Christy Award finalist Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She’s been known to eat an entire package of Oreos by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living and other worlds soaked in imagination. When she’s not taste-testing a new chai, she and her hubby are rockin’ shalom, dorkiness, and board games with college students in the midwest.


On to the interview…

Welcome to the Realm Makers blog. Tell us a little about you and how you got into the publishing world.

Woohoo! Hello! I got into the publishing world via dragon, obviously. 😉 Or, at least, it felt like entering a dragon’s lair. But really, it all started with a writing conference when I was 17. This conference showed me that storytelling could be a career. It didn’t just have to be a hobby.

So I spent the next several years writing terrible books (a rite of passage for every writer.) It was never a question of genre for me—I knew I’d always write science fiction or fantasy or something speculative because that’s what I’d craved reading when I was growing up. Eventually I landed on the idea for my Out of Time Series and it got picked up by what is now Enclave Publishing, my dream publisher at the time. (And for good reason because they’re amazing!)

When A Time to Die (book 1) won the ACFW Carol Award, that opened the door for me to sign with Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, for whom I now write YA historical fantasy. It’s been a wild ride, but two things I’ve noticed over my author journey are this:

  • No matter what, God’s timing makes for the best journey—whether that’s waiting or writing or publishing. None of these publishing doors would have opened without Him. And writing without Him is a hollow journey.
  • Conferences make a difference! I connected with both of my publishers via conferences, and it was also at a conference that I met my agent. The connections made at conferences can change your writing career, so to all those attending Realm Makers this year (or in future years) I say… BRAVO!


What makes you most passionate about writing/publishing?

Being able to connect with people through story. I love connecting with readers and seeing how powerful a story can be. It brings people together, it changes thought patterns, it opens doors to adventure and friendship. Stories change lives. I love the bond between people and stories…and being an author is being someone who helps create that bond. It’s an incredible honor.


What is one very important piece of advice for writers these days?

PRACTICAL: Learn your limits. Are you a fast writer? A slow writer? Can you write every day or only twice a week? Are your books typically 150k or 60k? Do you edit as you go or tackle all the editing later? Learn these about yourself and it will help you navigate the publishing world so much better—whether you’re indie publishing or going traditional. You will then know what sort of deadlines you can handle, when to take breaks, what sort of rhythm of writing to set up for yourself. And when you understand your own rhythms and limits, it will help you ignore the pressures of the world. (“But she can write 50k in four days! And it takes me three months!” If you understand your own rhythms, you will easily be able to respond, “That’s okay.” And that will change your writing life, my friend.)

PERSONAL/SPIRITUAL: Don’t forget your love of storytelling. The publishing world is loud, and it’s easy to get distracted by marketing or trends or reviews or pitching pitching pitching. Those are all important things to tackle, but they can also make it a lot harder to write. So always remember why you write. Remember that it’s not about the published book (though that’s always a glorious moment.) It’s about the adventure of writing. The true reward is using your imagination and creating with God. (See Allen Arnold’s book, The Story of With)


If you weren’t a writer or involved in the publishing world, what would you do?

I would be a LOTR or Harry Potter party planner for hire. 😛 (But seriously…)


What are you teaching at Realm Makers this year and why should attendees check it out?

I’m so excited to teach this year! First off, I’ll be teaching HOW TO PITCH YOUR BOOK WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE A ROBOT. This class is for everyone whether you are indie publishing or going traditional, whether you’re on your first draft of your first book or your 10th manuscript. Not only does it prep you for pitching, but also for talking about your book in an interesting manner no matter who you’re chatting with!

Next up, the lovely Mary Weber and I will be co-teaching EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YA and the title pretty much says it all. Young Adult fiction is a huge market that affects writers of all genres and target audiences. Mary and I spend hours each week studying the YA market (which is heavily tied to the spec-fic genre) and we hope that everyone will attend to be more in the know about how the market has developed and changed to what it is today.


What are YOU most looking forward to about Realm Makers?

COSTUMES! I love seeing everyone’s nerd come out at the costume banquet. The last time I was at Realm Makers, I got to accept an award while dressed as a pirate. (And the award was handed to me by an elf…so there’s really no topping that.)

Aside from costumes, I’m looking forward to connecting!! I love how welcoming the Realm Makers conference is and I can’t wait to connect with other attendees, writers, readers, etc. and talk all the writing things. I really only get to talk writing things at conferences (because my friends and family at home are great at tolerating it, but I’m pretty sure I bore them to death.)

[see pirate photo Photo credit: Emilie Hendryx]


Oh, yes! The costumes are definitely a highlight for us as well. I can’t wait to see what people come up with this year. Tomorrow is the last day to register before the price goes up again. Register now!

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