Hi Mercy! Welcome to Under the Covers. As this is your first visit, let’s get to know you a little bit better. Who is Mercy Brown? Tell us five interesting things about yourself that readers wouldn’t know about you!
Hey there! Five things readers wouldn’t know about me (how interesting they are might be debatable…)
Thing #1: I’m a mom to twin boys (who are about to turn 7-yikes! How did that happen?) and a wife to a guy who works way too much.
Thing #2: LOUD IS HOW I LOVE YOU is my first novel and it’s very loosely based on my experience falling in love with my guitarist (the husband guy from #1 above) while fronting an indie rock band in the 90’s. It’s not an autobiography, though. Honest! The story is fiction. That said, the music scene described in it is real, though this is definitely a fantasy version of it.
Thing #3: I never started writing seriously until after my kids were born, when I started writing Twilight fanfiction in 2010. (As an aside, LOUD has nothing to do with the fanfiction I wrote.)
Thing #4: I’m a lot quieter in person than people expect when they know me from online, but I’m not shy. I’m actually a professional public speaker! I guess that makes sense for a retired indie rock front girl.
Thing #5: My husband (Alex) is also a writer and a Creative Writing professor. He reads and critiques everything I write. It’s both awesome and nerve-wracking.
Tell us about your new series, Hub City. How did this idea start to take shape and the story was born?
I was in the middle of revising a fantasy/scifi YA manuscript when Simon and Schuster ran a New Adult short story contest and I decided to enter. I didn’t really know what I was going to write about, but when I sat down at my laptop, the first line of LOUD popped out of me and then the rest of the story flew out of me in one shot. I wrote 28,000 words in 4 days (the maximum word count for the contest was 25,000). I sent it to my friend Lo (the Lauren half of Christina Lauren) and she encouraged me to revise it into a novel I could query. I did, and here we are!
Can you tell us a bit more about Emmy and Travis?
First of all, despite the fact that LOUD is loosely based on my life, Emmy is not really me and Travis is not quite Alex. Emmylou is a front girl/guitarist for a local band, and all she wants in life is to make it in music. (In reality, I’m the one who decided to go to graduate school because it was a safer bet than being a rock star). Emmy has had some tough losses early in life and is terrified of losing the people she loves, so she’s stuck and acts a little (or a lot) immature when it comes to her relationships. But she’s big-hearted and loyal and fiercely loves the people she loves. She’s confused about how to handle her feelings, but she’s also very aware of her own emotional limitations and she knows she has a lot to learn.
Travis is a shaggy-haired blond indie rocker boy from Nebraska who’s finishing up his degree in political science. He has his feet firmly on the ground about the whole band business, but he’s got big dreams, too. His friends call him “Trap” for being calm in the face of some crazy situations. That comes in handy as he confronts Emmy to embrace what’s happening between them and to grow up and face her fears. He knows her better than anybody and there’s no doubting his devotion, though his patience does have a limit, which Emmy learns the hard way.
When writing a book about musicians, do you listen to music to get inspired? If so, what was on your playlist for LOUD IS HOW I LOVE YOU?
I actually can’t listen to music while I’m writing because I get distracted by the music and stop writing! That said, I do listen to tons of music while creating the story in my head. It’s a huge part of how I write.
While writing LOUD, I listened mostly to local music from the 90s New Brunswick music scene (a lot of that can still be found here: https://powerbunny4x4.bandcamp.com). In fact, as I was drafting this I got on Facebook and asked my old music scene friends to send me tracks of their music from back in the day. That led to us putting together a weekend of reunion shows at the Court Tavern (where we all used to hang out and play, and is featured in LOUD), which was like jumping into a time machine. We packed the house and had a blast.
Aside from local music, I listened a lot to Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Jawbox, Radiohead, Girls Against Boys, Beastie Boys, Nirvana and many other bands from that era. I listened almost exclusively to music from the 90s.
For readers that haven’t heard of the book yet, if you had to summarize it in a tweet (140 characters or less) what would you say?
LOUD is an indie rock love story set in the Come As You Are, pre-Instagram, pre-Google maps, payphone era of rock ‘n roll road trips.
What is your favourite thing about writing New Adult books?
I truly love telling stories about being a young 20-something. Like for pretty much everyone, that was a huge, important period of my life. That’s when I fell in love with my husband and met the people who were to become “my people.” I had all these great band-related adventures back then, and having the chance to revisit them and turn some of that into books has been incredible for me. But aside from the personal, sentimental reasons I love writing New Adult, I’d say the coolest thing about it is that you’re challenged to tell a coming of age tale, but the characters are adults and they get to do adult things on the page. Like hot sex, for example. 😉
If we were unforgivably rude and looked in your purse right now, what would we find?
A tiny notebook filled with snippets of book ideas/dialogue and grocery lists, 3 different lip balms, tissues, a few stray legos, always my phone unless it’s already in my hand, and hopefully my keys, but those are probably still in the front door.
What’s the last book that kept you up all night reading under the covers?
Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren! Love me some Loliver.
What’s next for Mercy Brown?
There’s a follow-up to LOUD that will be out in June–STAY UNTIL WE BREAK. In BREAK, Sonia (Emmy’s best friend and housemate) and Cole (the bassist in Emmy’s band) fall in love despite having very different goals in life. The story is told from both Sonia and Cole’s points of view. I’d tell more but I don’t want to spoil what happens at the end of LOUD! But it’s the same world, same cast of characters. Emmy and Travis are both in BREAK but they take a backseat. Hopefully readers of LOUD will enjoy seeing where the crew goes next!
Thanks for stopping by today and sharing with us!
Thanks so much for having me at Under the Covers!
One girl’s heart gets rocked to the core in the first novel in this sexy New Adult series.>
Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ‘90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rule of the band: Don't sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.
When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime?
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