Today's spotlight shines on Brandi Willis Schreiber!
It is so awesome to be in SECOND CHANCES: A ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA COLLECTION with you. Congratulations! Your story, "The Family Tree," has received great reviews. Please tell us about your story.
Brandi: “The Family Tree” is my FIRST PUBLISHED ROMANCE STORY! Writing it was very emotional! Bea, my heroine, experiences terrible tragedy and travels to Scotland to find a relative who might give her the sense of family she’s lost. While there, she meets Cairn, a handsome solicitor. Cairn agrees to help Bea and ends up reviving something in Bea. But it’s not until Bea learns that she can give Cairn’s family the ultimate gift that everything changes in her quest for a second chance.
Ariella: I heard we were both in Scotland this past summer. I was doing some research for my Young Adult fantasy series, The Two Realms Trilogy. It was my second trip to the isle, but your first.
Brandi: It’s hard to write about a place you’ve never been! I wrote “The Family Tree” almost 3 years ago, but I’d never been to Scotland (thank you, Google images). But this summer I finally got to see the real setting for my story!
Ariella: I can't believe we were both in Edinburgh! Let's share an excerpt from "The Family Tree."
* * *
A family tree is a glorious set of blueprints. Like a plan for a home, it illustrates every detail and turn through the doorways that make up life until the present moment: Who was born. Who fell in love and had children. Who lived long, and who died young. The branches stretch out like rooms, each one housing a life and its story. When you flip through the pages, you should feel a sense of completeness, of place. This is the house of my life, a good family tree says. This is where I belong.
Only I didn’t belong anywhere anymore.
Instead of a well-organized tree with branches telling every story, I had a diagram full of starts and stops, jagged and incomplete lines, some branches stretching into nothing at all.
But when I walked through Eleanor Brightwell’s door that frigid February evening, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a very long time: home.
Her walls were painted lemony yellow, and gilt-framed photos hung in a cluster near the entryway: a sepia wedding couple, a dark-haired family poised at the base of an ancient castle, a handsome young man in graduation regalia smiling with the sun behind him.
In the corner of the room, a log popped in a fireplace next to overstuffed floral chairs and couches, a spot where people obviously gathered. Indistinct jazz played from an unknown location and mixed with the sounds of clinking dishes and two teenagers – a boy and a girl – who shouted and chased each other around the room. Despite the cold outside, this sight warmed me, and I stood transfixed at the threshold, absorbing all the color, life, and energy of this Scottish family home.
I jumped at the firm voice next to me. So mesmerized by the scene, I hadn’t noticed the figure to my right.
“Brian! Ansley! Please don’t try to kill each other just yet. We have company.” He turned to me, and I felt the open space of the room narrow.
The man was tall with a powerful build. He either worked labor or worked out, as evidenced by firm biceps under his navy tee shirt. Thick black hair fell without direction across his forehead into his eyes, which were a hard-to-miss sapphire, as blue as the Texas sky before sunrise. Those eyes immediately reminded me of the past, and I felt a pain blossom in my chest.
“You came at a fine time. My wee brother and sister have decided to kill each other right before dinner, a usual occurrence in this zoo.” The tenor of his voice and roll of R’s sent a current down my spine. He must have been a few years older than me, maybe thirty-seven or thirty-eight, because then he chuckled, and little furrows of laugh lines appeared around those penetrating eyes.
* * *
© Brandi Willis Schreiber
“The Family Tree” in SECOND CHANCES Buy Links
Barnes & Noble:
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2wkIz4H
More About Brandi
Brandi Willis Schreiber has imagined romance stories her entire life in her head but only recently started writing them down. A graduate of Texas Tech University, she has an M.A. in English, and uses her love for nature, travel, poetry, and everything beautiful to fuel her fiction, which will always have a happy ending. Her work has appeared in All Things Dickinson: An Encyclopedia of Emily Dickinson’s World, The Texas Review, Red River Review, and elsewhere. Now she writes sensual, southern romance that reflects the endless landscape in which she lives. Most recently, her contemporary romance short story, “The Family Tree,” was published by Romance Writers of America in the anthology, SECOND CHANCES: A ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA COLLECTION. Brandi lives with her husband, rescue dog, rabbits, and countless other wild creatures in her beloved West Texas. She loves to connect with readers and writers, and you can find her at:
Amazon Author Page:
Sign up for my newsletter! http://bit.ly/2f0og6Q
Blog on the writing life: http://www.brandiwillisschreiber.com/desertpastoral/