Betanda Shanam’s Q&A with Willa Brand!

I am happy to announce that Willa Brand, author of the Mountain Ranch Series, has agreed to take part in my first Q&A session on Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored! I hope you enjoy it!

I reviewed Willa Brand’s novel Refuge recently and you can see my review here. I very much enjoyed reading the novel and was so pleased when Willa accepted my invitation for this Q&A.

  1. What have you been doing to keep yourself busy during the Covid pandemic? We are always busy here on the farm. The animals don’t know that there is anything else going on in the world, and the crops still need to be seeded and tended to. So farm life along with four little kids has kept me more than busy through these crazy times!
  • On your blog ( ), you say you like to be around  animals : cattle and chickens, have you always been around animals? Yes, I’ve had horses all of my life. My husband’s family has always had cattle so that was a bit of a learning curve for me when we got married, but now I think I love cattle almost more than my husband!
  • How did you find your new love of Chickens? I enjoy living on a farm, and part of that involves self sustainability, so a large garden and laying hens were always something that I wanted. When I decided to stay at home full time with our kids, it seemed a natural step to get chickens. I didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy keeping them, however.
  • Do you have a favourite chicken, If so why? My kids have chosen a couple of favourites, Snowflake and Maud are both very good natured with the kids, so I would have to say they are my favourites.
  • When did you first feel the calling to become a writer? Only in the last few years, actually. I’ve always been a reader of a variety of genres, but as a busy mom, I found that I had less time and brain power for long, more complex plot lines. I wanted shorter, light reads, but I had trouble finding ones that I enjoyed, so I started writing them instead!
  • Do you find writing comes easy to you or is it something you feel you have to work at? It is a mix of both for me, personally. The first draft comes very easily to me – If I had the time I am sure that I could write a book in a matter of days. With kids of course, that doesn’t happen right now, but someday it might! The difficult part is the editing, and waiting for manuscripts to come back from outside editors. That part is a bit more tedious, but certainly necessary to turn out a good product.
  • At what age were you when you realized that language had power? Very young, I would say! I was a very early talker,and I have enjoyed books and reading for as long as I can remember. As the youngest child by ten years, my mother always said that I had a good grasp of language from an early age.
  • What was the situation around this realization? One example would be when I broke my arm at two years old. Apparently the doctor was suspicious of the circumstances, because that specific type of fracture is often associated with child abuse. This wasn’t the case for me, obviously, and my mother said he was very surprised that at two years old I was able to tell him very clearly and in great detail exactly how I had injured myself on the slide at the park.
  • What or who inspired you to create the character in Refuge? Taylor is a combination of many different inspirations. There is no one in particular who she is fashioned after, but I was striving to create a strong, admirable character in her.
  • What motivated you to write the mountain ranch series? I have a love for ranching life, horses, and the strong characters that you often find in these settings. I think that a lot of people out there share in these interests, so I felt it was worth pursuing.
  • Do you have a favourite book, if so, what is it and why? Oh, I have so many! My bookshelves are packed full, but at the top of the list would have to be Christy by Catherine Marshall, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, anything by Nora Roberts or Julie Garwood, and Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.
  • Do you have any future writing plans? If so, what are they? Absolutely, now that I’ve started I can’t imagine not writing. Book two in the series was recently released to amazon, and I am currently about a third of the way through writing book three. I’ve also plotted out a rough story line for a fourth book, but I’m undecided as of yet if it will be included in the Mountain Ranch Series.

Look out for Willa’s new book Switchback in the Mountain Ranch Series out now on Amazon!

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