Sunday, June 7, 2015

Writers4Higher features Andrea Brunais, editor and author

Welcome, Andrea!

1. Tell me about yourself, your business, and the connection with the writing world.

As communications director for a large division at Virginia Tech, I operate as a sort of "backpack journalist," doing everything from writing communications plans to crafting news releases, shooting and editing short video stories and mentoring more junior writers. My early career was in journalism – I was a columnist and editor with Media General and, later, Knight-Ridder, and my journalism awards include a Robert Kennedy Journalism Award for investigative reporting and a first-place award from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. After daily newspapers began their decline, I also edited an alternative weekly in Sarasota with the Creative Loafing chain.

My latest novel, Mercedes Wore Black, published by Yellow Southern Pine Publishing, tells the story of a "real" backpack journalist covering the Florida governor's race. Reviews have been glowing, and my publisher has submitted it as her nominee for the best Florida adult fiction category in this year's Florida Authors and Publishers Association contest.

Meanwhile, I have discovered that I love making the work of other writers shine just as much as I like to edit and improve my own!

2. How do you work with authors?

As a book editor, I work with authors in two ways: I do general content editing, and I also do line edits. Many editors specialize in one type of editing or the other. Because of my newspaper training, I can do the character-by-character copy editing that upholds the highest standards of consistency and proper grammar. I can also take a step back from a manuscript and judge things such as: Does it sing? Is it well organized? Does it fulfill me as a reader? Are there big pieces missing?

I've been a voracious reader since childhood. My standards are high. I expect a writer to entertain and inspire me. I want character development and I also want that page-turning quality.

Also, as through the years, I've done book reviews for various publications. That has given me many opportunities to think through what makes a book work. When it doesn't, I've got to figure out a way to articulate what went wrong.

Lately I've read a couple of books where the main character doesn't pass the "who cares?" test. If I don't care about a character, I have little interest in reading about him or her – and I know legions of readers feel the same way! So that's the first hurdle for many authors. They need to find a way to make the reader love their characters or at least like them enough to want to live in their skins for a while!

3. Do you write as well as contribute through your business? Please share!

I continue to write as well as edit – and probably always will. Most recently, I edited a book of essays written by my mother during the last 20 years of her life. She co-founded a Write Focus writing group in her community in Michigan, and her fellow writers encouraged her to write more about her childhood growing up in small town in the 1930s and 1940s. I wish she had lived to see the wonderful reception the book has gotten! It's called On the Drop Side of Yonder, and it's available inexpensively via Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle. Soon I'll have a different form of the book available absolutely free (and with no ads) on YouTube. The reading will be done by my dear friend and fellow author Saundra Kelley, who's a Jonesborough-trained storyteller par excellence.


Contact info: ANDREA BRUNAIS / 540.808.0864 /

Thank you for joining us on Writers4Higher.

Rhett DeVane
author and blogmaster


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