Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star QB, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—but his brother does.
Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares, probably because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.
But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.
They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.
Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.
Can love really exist if it’s all built on a lie?
Author Interview: Brandy Woods Snow, author of MEANT TO BE BROKEN (a Carolina Clay novel) released July 2018 from Filles Vertes Publishing
What was the inspiration for Meant to be Broken?
I originally wrote a prologue for MEANT TO BE BROKEN more than 12 years ago while sitting in a tiny, blue cubicle on my lunch break from a corporate job. I sent the file to my email where I let it sit until 2015 when I finally began writing the actual story. (Ironically that terrible prologue didn’t make the cut!) I guess my inspiration really came from something as simple as wanting to write a small-town love story. It was when I actually started writing that some of the underlying themes began to come out—the love/hate relationship with a small town; Southern culture and how it affects expectations of behavior; the thin line between truth and lies; and even religious undercurrents. Growing up in a place where everyone knows your name can be both comforting and constricting. I found my characters doing exactly what I was doing at the time of writing—stepping out of “my box” and embracing my true self. Some people support that, and some people don’t.
Do you have a favorite character in your book? Who and why?
Of course, I love both Rayne and Gage. They are so special to me (see how I talk about them like actual people?). If I have to choose, though, I’d say Rayne, for the simple fact that she reminds me so much of myself. She tries to be confident but the insecurities creep in; She has strong opinions but she’s afraid to voice them all the time; She says she doesn’t care what people think of her but she spends her life worrying what everyone will say. I like to think that while I was writing this, she and I grew up together and finally found our true selves.
Do you usually outline or just go with it?
The first draft of MEANT TO BE BROKEN was completely pantsted. I had an overall idea of what I wanted the main turning points to be, but that was pretty much it. After that first draft “wasn’t working” though, I took it back to basics and plotted out some new scenes and put it all into a very formulaic pattern. The flow and pacing improved significantly. It was a learning curve. As I write now, I plot most scenes and turning points with the plot and character advancement goals for each, but I can honestly say I’m not tied to anything. If I begin writing and a character begins pulling me in their own direction, I go. It’s more important to be true to the character and story than some random notecard I put together in the beginning.
Without me giving spoilers, did you always know who Rayne would end up with or did you question yourself at time?
I always knew it would be HIM. I’m a bleeding heart romantic who fully believes that the decision your heart (not your head) makes is the right one—you know, that whole “love” versus “in love” thing. The guy Rayne chooses in the end is the one who knew her—all of her—and still wanted more. He wasn’t the popular choice, but he was her choice. Rayne had to learn to get herself and other people out of her own way to become the person she was meant to be in order for it to finally work. Sounds easy enough, right? But try growing up in a small town where everyone has an opinion. Sometimes it becomes a matter of “do I live their version of life?” or “do I live mine?” When Rayne finally makes that decision, the choice is clear.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Since age 4 when I read THE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY. It was the first book I ever read by myself, and I was sold on the wonder of books. At age 6, I begin typing out stories on a typewriter and illustrating them. I dabbled in poetry a bit in elementary school and wrote several emotionally-charged pieces about navigating bullies in high school. I majored in English and Writing at Clemson, though I pursued a journalism focus since everyone warned me that you can’t expect to make a living writing books. I’ve worked in corporate communications, marketing, and magazine writing/editorial for nearly 18 years now but the desire to write a novel never left me. In 2015, I moved that dream off the back burner, and here we are today.
What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year? And what’s your favorite book ever?
My favorite book I’ve read this year has to be WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley because it deals with true love finding its way back after so many emotional hurdles. And who doesn’t adore love letters?
I have two favorite books of all time: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (obviously) and THE GRAPES OF WRATH. I’ve always adored these books and now, looking back, I can guess why. One deals with finding love and one deals with emotional suffering and finding your way as a family through various trials. Both are right up my alley.
What future books do you have planned next?
I’m currently writing Book 2 in the Carolina Clay series, which will focus on the rejected brother and his HEA/HFN.
I’m also querying another completed YA contemporary romance as we speak and have put down extensive notes and a rough first chapter on “the book of my heart” that deals heavily with an issue close/dear to me. I’m being intentionally vague here because right now, I’m keeping it under wraps.
If you could live in any year or another fantasy world, what would it be?
I’ve always thought it would be so much fun to live in the 1950s and 60s with all the big hair-dos and drive-ins and rock and roll music. Maybe that’s from listening to a crap-ton of oldies growing up? LOL
I know you’re a Southern girl, what’s your favorite part about it?
The lifestyle. I feel like I have the best of all worlds here. From big city to rural backroads, you can go from one extreme to the other in a matter of miles. The food. The weather. The fact that strangers still wave to each other and say hello. The unique places. My biggest dream is to drive cross-country and see everything America has to offer, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the South (and more specifically, South Carolina) is my home and my heart.
What’s your favorite color?
I have two, blue (any hue) and orange (Clemson Tiger orange, to be specific!).
If you were trapped on an island with one person, one object, and one food, what would they be?
This is so easy—my husband, notebooks (and pens!), and macaroni and cheese (not the box variety but the good Southern kind in a casserole dish).
Do you have any advice for other writers out there?
There are four points of advice I always tell writers, and I don’t foresee this ever changing.
1. Find your tribe
Critique partners are the bee’s knees, y’all! Don’t trust yourself to see all the mistakes and plot holes in your own work because it’s not going to happen. The book you’re writing is already in your brain but you cannot see if you’re translating it to the paper efficiently. Fresh eyes make all the difference. Find a core group of honest, talented CP’s and your writing life will change for the better!
2. Read in your genre
Please do this. You want to learn how to show and not tell? Read. You want to know how to develop character voice? Read. You want more information on building character motivation? Read. See what other authors are doing. See what publishers are looking for. Gather all this great information while also taking in a great story, and then use that to hone your own craft. Gold mine!
3. Throw away limitations
You know that whole quote about “dance like no one’s looking”? Well, modify that to “write like no one’s looking.” I can’t tell you how many times in the beginning I found myself censoring my own words because someone I knew might not like what I was saying. For real, y’all. There goes those weight of expectations again, thrown all over your shoulders. Brush that junk off and write what’s in your heart. Quit caring if Aunt “sew and sew” will banish you to Hell or tell the Ladies League about your “free-wheeling” style. WRITE.WHAT.YOU.WANT.
You’re going to want to give up. You’re going to feel defeated, rejected, worn out, and sometimes unloved. It’s a part of the whole experience. But this is your dream. Remember that when the sucky stuff happens. And just like I tell my kids, “Any dream worth having is worth fighting for.” It’s not going to be easy…it’s not supposed to be. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You are not “everyone.” You’re an author, so get back up and see this through!
Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has always been her first love, the media has been her home for more than 17 years, during which time she has built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Raleigh). She has also worked in corporate communications, public relations and business development for international and regional companies. Her first novel Meant To Be Broken, the first book in the Carolina Clay series, was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in July 2018.
When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her military husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.