Q&A: H.L. Brooks

H.L. Brooks


H.L. Brooks is a writer of fiction and is a longtime lover of fairy tales. She enjoys exploring classic fairy tales and re-telling them in modern settings.

She also writes on such topics as art, music, feminism, body acceptance and beauty standards.

She has had a presence on the internet since the late 1990s, first publishing an arts-related homepage that eventually gave way to a blog in 2002. In 2004 she founded a website dedicated to the local art scene in parts of Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia, writing features and reviews on music, theatre, and art shows. Later, she served as a staff journalist for an online news source in Southern Maryland.


Red August


If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead?


Brooks: I have always been an artist.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve had artistic impulses.  Writing has been among those, but I was primarily a visual artist until I wrote Red August.  I had been focusing on photography and altered clothing and jewelry before I started writing Red August in earnest.  However, I moved from my home in the suburbs, where I had a photo studio on my property, to a tiny apartment near D.C. It was then that I decided that I wanted to focus more on writing. Other careers of interest would be set decoration and props for theatre or film.  I also think in another lifetime or a parallel dimension I am either a nurse or a forensic scientist.

Had you always wanted to be an author?


Brooks: I’ve always wanted to write.  I have journaled and then blogged and told my personal stories and advocated for body positivity for years.  I’ve long been a fan of fairy tales, so it’s been a dream of mine to write a good fairy tale.


  What’s your favorite genre to write about and why?



Brooks: Fairy tales are my favorite genre because you can explore humanness through tales that aren’t about humans.  Ideally it gives people permission to allow for things that they might not connect with in “reality.”

Do you like reading as well as writing?


Brooks: Yes, I love reading.


 What inspired you to write your book?


Brooks: I wanted to move away from photography to writing.  I had heard a podcast saying that there was good money in erotic short stories.  Writers, like anybody else, need to make money, and like with art, it’s hard.  For those reasons I was seeking out something that could be self-supporting and erotica seemed to fit that bill.  I also wanted to write a fairy tale, so I thought maybe an erotic tale based on a classic fairy tale.  It turned out that I couldn’t stick to the erotica genre, which would have meant keeping to mostly sex as the central topic of the story. Nor could I keep it short, because I wanted to know more about the characters and I also kept seeing more than the main couple in my head, so I had to write about them.  As I got rolling on the story I realized I also had a lot of things I wanted to say about who society tells us we should and shouldn’t love.  I had some feminist perspectives I wanted to include while paying homage to the classic fairy tale that the story is born from. I explain why I kept the sexual element in the story in this blog entry:  Sexy Stuff

Sexy Stuff

I have received an interesting review from book blogger Reading is Better With Cupcakes.  It’s a thoughtful review – click on over to her site and see it and the ot…

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What urged you to become an author?


Brooks: The timing was right to give it a try.

  How do you write?


Brooks: Once inspiration strikes and I can’t keep the story from wanting to come out, I do a general outline and collect information in a notebook.  I make family trees and collect photos and imagine characters–how old they are, what they look like–and slowly flesh them out.  I imagine how they will interact, then write it all down as it comes to me.  Some days I wake up in  the morning and I go, “Can’t wait to write!  I want to see what’s going to happen today!”  I like watching the story unfold and sometimes things happen that actually surprise me.


 Do you have future projects or plans regarding bookish stuffs? If ever, can you give me one?


Brooks: Yes indeed.  I am working on book two of the Red August series.  I plan on at least a couple more books in this series, and I will probably move on from Red Riding Hood to another fairy tale once the Red August series exhausts itself.

 Do you do lots of research for your book?


Brooks: I do a great deal of research.  I do research on everything from history and Scottish traditions–including words, slang and holidays–to lore and fairy tale interpretations.  If I am including a food, beer, plant or flower, there has usually been some measure of research done to assure it’s in season and regional.  I like things to feel authentic.  Some of my theatre background and interest in set decoration and props helped hone my research skills about those sorts of things.


 What’s the hardest thing about writing?


Brooks: Being allowed to have time to just write.  So much of your time is taken up in the business side, from making graphics and building a website to trying to find people who want to read the book.  You know they’re out there, but how do you find them?



 What’s the easiest thing about writing?


Brooks: Finding inspiration.  I’m a sensualist, so inspiration is everywhere.



 What can you say about @abookwithbea’s blog?


Brooks: People who take their time to read books and share what they’ve learned are important to keeping the book world rolling. It doesn’t matter what’s inside a book if nobody ever sees it.  That’s kind of a sad thought.  It’s important work.  Plus the website looks great.  Which is always an added bonus.

Do you aim for the same word counts every time you write?


Brooks: I don’t aim for word counts, I aim for telling the story until it’s done.  But I am aware that in order to be considered a novel, it needs to meet certain word counts.  I don’t worry about hitting those because I know I have at least that many words to share.


If you already have published a book, how does it take to get your books published?


Brooks: Do you mean how long?  It took me about two years from inception to publishing for Red August.


Is your book somewhat related to what you went through in life?


Brooks: Everything I write has to come from somewhere for it to be authentic.  So, was I ever a hormonal teen girl?  Yes.  Am I part supernatural being?  No.  There are some elements of my life experiences in the story, mostly in terms of feelings, not actual events.  Of course things like loving books, bleeding onto my mattress, loving ale and pizza, and pink frosting roses, those are real.



How did writing this book changed you as a person and your life?


Brooks: It made me realize I could write a fairy tale that included all of the kinds of layers I wanted to include.  It will be nice if the book does well enough that I can continue writing as a career, because that might be life changing. 


Where can we find you? [SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT – LINKS]

I’m on Instagram and Twitter as @hlbrookswrites and I’m on Tumblr HL Brooks  I have a blog H.L. Brooks and I have a website H.L. Brooks

HL Brooks

Writer, lover of fairy tales, chocolate, wine and books.  Author of Red August–a modern-day…

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H.L. Brooks

Romance, Erotica & Fairytales

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H.L. Brooks

Goodreads is a book rating website.  You can see the ratings and reviews of readers.  You can join and add books you’d like to read, books you’ve read, and keep tra…

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