Special interview with novelist Shelly Brimley

I have a special interview with novelist Shelly
she does a virtual book tour for her new historical fiction, Take Me to the Willow, Shelly will be
awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a
lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your
chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour
stops and enter there, too!
Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until
moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer
work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent
drug treatment center. After acquiring her master’s degree, she worked as a
counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and
trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also
taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly
wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in
her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or
A little bit about the
defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently
had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his
familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep
herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its
startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity.
An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly
aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal,
Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his
mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of
learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at
the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in
those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the
journal has been realized – to show his kin how he became the man he is. He
will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but
someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life
had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

Tell us about your
main character and who inspired him/her.
Will is his
own man, but he took on some characteristics of a few different people in my
own life. The innate and abiding goodness in him as well as his work ethic
makes him very similar to my husband in that way. His absolute loyalty to
family and loved ones is a trait that I see in my father and grandfather. I
didn’t intentionally create Will in the likeness of someone else, but there are
some similarities.
Excerpt from Take Me to the Willow:
“Men and women are different,” Will, he said.
“I know that,” I said.
“Now don’t interrupt me, son!,” he said, his voice
rather abrupt and a bit on the nervous side. “Just let me say what I got
to say.”
“Sorry, I said,” feelin’ startled.
Daddy scratched the back of his head and started again.
“Men and women are different,” he said.
We’ve already covered that, I thought to myself but didn’t
dare share that with him.
“And when they come together as husband and wife for
the first time, it’s real important for the man to be sensitive to the woman so
she feels comfortable… because the woman might feel uncomfortable if the man
ain’t sensitive,” he said.
I just sat and listened, not sure where he was goin’ with
it. He didn’t seem to be goin’ anywhere except around in circles. All I could
seem to grasp was that I’m supposed to be sensitive — about what… I had no
clue. And Hannah is gonna end up feelin’ comfortable or uncomfortable – I’m not
sure which. And speakin’ of bein’ uncomfortable, Daddy looked like a lone
rabbit in a coyote’s den. I don’t believe he looked at me the whole time he was
talkin’, just fidgeted and looked at the ground.
“You understand?” he asked.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I had no idea what in
tarnation he was talkin’ about. So I just nodded instead.
“Uh huh,” I said.
“Good,” said Daddy as he put his hat back on and
stood up to leave.
“Thank you, sir,” I said. “This was real
Daddy stood there for a minute, not sure what to do next. He
nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and at one point, I
thought he might shake my hand, but then he just said, “Alright then”, and went
back in the house.
Have you ever had an
imaginary friend?
Not that I can remember.
Do you have any
The only
thing that comes to mind is being confined in really tight spaces for any
length of time. It takes my breath away just a bit when I imagine it or if I
see it on a movie. I watched a trailer once about spelunking and couldn’t
believe that people actually enjoy that!
Do you listen to music
when you’re writing?
Sometimes I listen to classical music before I write, but I
always prefer to write in quiet.
Do you ever read your
stories out loud?
Always. I
frequently read passages to my husband, and I will read to my writer’s group
for critique.

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18 thoughts on “Special interview with novelist Shelly Brimley

  1. Unknown says:

    Good morning, Mai T! I write part-time. My kids are still small and require most of my time. I'll shift from part-time to full-time as they grow and are in school. Thanks for following the tour, and good luck with the give away!

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