Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

An Interview with Brinley

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 11, 2012

When I decided it was time to do a little interview with Brinley it seemed to be the perfect excuse to make a trip back to the ranch and drop by for a little one-on-one. We settled out on the back porch, each with a cup of coffee. How interesting to watch Jake and Davis working in the distance. As enjoyable as that is, that’s not why I’m here so I should get down to business.

NOTE: This interview may contain some spoilers for Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One)

Raeann: Brinley, I want to thank you for having me here and taking the time to answer a few questions. I promised the readers a little “Texas girls talking” time.

Brinley: You’re always welcome here, Raeann. If it weren’t for you, none of us would be here, now would we?

Raeann: I guess that’s true. Or maybe you would but your story just wouldn’t be out there for others to see. Let’s get something out of the way right up front. In the next book, Davis, people will hear you make a statement that many may not understand. You state that you are a bitch and proud of it. Would you explain that?

Brinley: Well, first I think it was more along the lines of “Damn right I’m a bitch. And proud of it. You got something to say about it?” For most people that word has a negative connotation. It brings to mind a mean-spirited, selfish, hateful, spiteful woman. And it can mean that. That’s one of those words where it depends on the circumstance, tone of voice, etc. But any good Texas woman worth her weight in salt has a little bitch in her. And she is proud of it. That doesn’t mean that we fit into the standard definition. I’ll use myself as an example. I consider myself a lady through and through. I was raised with all the proper manners and Mama actually did teach me how to act in public. I’m seldom inconsiderate of others’ feelings… until you cross the line. Then you will see the bitch. I’ll stand right beside you and help you fight your fights. I’ll give you the shirt off my back. But hurt me or mine and you better start backing up because I will be in your face. It’s not about being hateful or spiteful. It’s about standing up for what’s right, fighting for your family, friends and beliefs. It’s about not taking crap off of anybody and not being afraid to put them in their place.

(Brinley leaned back comfortably in the chair here with a wicked little grin and I knew what was coming.)

Brinley: And if you push me far enough… it’s about payback. So, yeah… I am a bitch, or I can be when I need to be. And I am proud of that.

Raeann: You knew that would make me laugh. So… exactly how are Linda’s jaw and your hand?

Brinley: (snorts in disgust) My hand is just fine. As for her jaw… I really don’t give a good damn how that bitch’s jaw is doing… and in this case bitch means exactly what you think it means.

Raeann: (laughing because I managed to get those little sparkles in her eyes firing up so easily) I understand. So let’s talk about Southern sayings. Just like the word ‘bitch’, it’s difficult to explain how it means one thing one time and something else another time. There are so many things that come to mind that are the same way. And there are things that mean one thing when we (Southerners) say them versus somebody from up North saying them. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about that?

Brinley: That’s easy. “Bless your heart.”

Raeann: Can you elaborate on that for our readers?

Brinley: It all depends on the circumstances, the tone of voice, what type of smile accompanies it (if any), the facial expression and who it is said to or about.

If that’s said with a sad smile or a pat on the arm then it is a term of sympathy or at least empathy.

If it’s said with a little shock in the voice and maybe some raised eyebrows then it usually means “You poor thing. What can I do to help?”

If you’re talking about someone who did something really stupid, probably not for the first time, and you hear “bless her heart” with a little shake of the head, that translates to something like “that poor child has no clue.” If that’s accompanied by rolling eyes you can add “never has and never will.”

Now if it’s said with a hint of smugness or satisfaction “bless her heart”, can be correctly translated to “got what she deserved I’d say.”

But… if you’re saying it to another woman and the eyes are sort of glittering with a steady gaze and you add a condescending smile… well, if you’re saying that to another Texas woman who would understand the meaning, then everybody else probably better clear the area. There’s fixin’ to be a fight because that translates in no uncertain terms to “Bitch, I will stomp a mud puddle right in the middle of your ass.”

Raeann: That is the absolute truth! Fixin’… have you run into a lot of flak about that word?

(That got one of those huge eye rolls from her.)

Brinley: Oh my God! I don’t understand why people who aren’t from the South get so upset over one little word. I have had people practically froth at the mouth over it. What is the big deal? I’m fixin’ to get some coffee. Or… I am preparing to rise from my chair and cross the room to the coffee pot and pour a fresh cup of that dark liquid it holds. Then I’m going to turn around and proceed back across the room, bringing that cup of coffee with me and settle back into the chair once again. Now why would I say all of that when “I’m fixin’ to get some coffee” says the same thing by stating that you are preparing to do something and covers the whole trip to the coffee pot and back again? And by the way…. if you look up prepare in a thesaurus you know what you’ll find?  Fix.

(Brinley shrugs her shoulders here in a way that reads… enough said.)

So if I say that I’m fixin’ to go get something to eat and you’re hungry, then you better plant your ass in that car seat… or you’re fixin’ to get left behind.

(Once we both stopped laughing we actually did get some more coffee then continued.)

Raeann: It’s very difficult to come up with things to ask you that won’t give away too much of what’s still to come or act as a huge spoiler for those who haven’t read the first book yet, but let me get serious for a minute. A lot of people mistakenly thought they were watching a love triangle in the making between you, Jake and Davis. Tell me about your relationship with Davis.

Brinley: Seriously? They really thought that? Oh… well, yeah I guess they could have thought that for a bit. I come from a family of huggers so we do hug a lot. And we are very close. I’m just as likely to sit down in Davis’ lap as I am Jake’s. Just as likely to lie down on a blanket and use his shoulder for a pillow as I am Jake’s. But Jake is my heart. Jake is my reason for being. Davis is my best friend. He’s not just Jake’s brother. He’s my brother, but more than a brother. It’s very difficult to explain.

Raeann: Believe me, I know firsthand how difficult it is to explain. So… Texas girl moves north and west. Do you miss Texas?

Brinley: Sometimes. I miss what was, more than what’s there. What I mean is I miss Mom and Dad. I miss Carl. I miss those times more than I miss living there. Home is where the heart is and a tiny piece of my spirit will always be in Atlanta with me and Casey riding everywhere on the back of Carl and Tommy’s motorcycles or fishing with Daddy along the bank of some little creek. But my heart is right here in Nevada. My heart is wherever Jake is. This is where I belong. It’s where I was meant to be.

Raeann: You went through a lot to get where you are right now. Would you change anything?

(That brought a deep frown and a long period of silence before she finally spoke.)

Brinley: No. No, I wouldn’t. I wish I’d had more time with Carl. I wish Mama and Daddy could have stayed with us longer. I wish Warren had not turned out to be who he was. I wish all of the things that happened after he first got out of prison hadn’t happened. I wish I could give Jake back what Warren took from him. But at the same time, I can’t say that I would change anything. If any of those things changed… if there was a single change to any one second in time during my life… I might not be here. I might not be the person I am. I might not have Jake. And that’s not a chance I would be willing to take to change anything regardless of how difficult or how painful those events were. The love we have, the family we’ve made… that’s everything.

Raeann: Complete this sentence. The thing I miss most about living in Texas is…?

Brinley: Sweet tea.

Raeann: You can’t get sweet tea in Nevada?

Brinley: There is only one place I have found around here that serves real sweet tea. I hate being served a glass of unsweetened tea and having to put sugar in it at the table. Yuck! It’s not the same and anybody from the South will agree with me on that. Or even worse, bring me something you call sweet tea but in reality it’s been polluted with some kind of artificial sweetener. Double yuck!!! Our favorite steak place in Elko is the only place I can order sweet tea and get the real thing. You can bet your boots when you come here and ask for some tea that you will get a big glass of honest to God sweetened with real sugar iced tea.

Raeann: Who would play your role if The Seven Brothers of Elko was turned into a movie?

(Wow… that got an immediate scowl and something that sounded almost like a growl.)

Brinley: Please tell me that you are not going to let them turn our lives into a cheesy movie with the story and dialogue so chopped up that it won’t even be recognizable. And then they’ll hire some actors from God knows where that couldn’t even pull off a half-decent Southern accent if you held a gun to their heads.

Raeann: Ummmm….o-kay. Moving on. Any regrets?

Brinley: About?

Raeann: Anything.

Brinley: Sure. Lots of things. Some of them we’ve already touched on. I regret that I didn’t meet Jake sooner. And all the bad things that happened after we did meet. I regret some choices that I made. Lot of things. Who doesn’t have regrets?

Oh… and I regret that I didn’t pop Shelley Jean McCallister right on that perky little nose back in the 10th grade.

(Wanting to let her change the subject and end on a lighter note, I played along.)

Raeann: And what did Shelley Jean McCallister do?

(One shoulder went up in response and what could only be described as a mischievous grin graced Brinley’s face.)

Brinley: She had just moved to Atlanta that year from New York City. And it didn’t take her long to make the rounds of pretty much every boy in class. Then one day she snootily informed me that her name was Shelley and she would prefer that I not call her Shelley Jean like she was some common member of our “backward hillbilly Southern clan”.

Raeann: Go ahead. I know there’s more.

Brinley: Well… what was I supposed to say? I told her, “Why bless your heart. Honey, don’t you worry about drowning when it rains with your nose stuck that high up in the air? And we’re really not backwards you know. At least we’re not doing the whole sacrificing a blonde virgin on the altar anymore. Of course you wouldn’t have needed to worry. I mean they were using virgins. And they did require natural blondes. By the way… your roots are showing. And I’m not talking about just your hair… Shelley Jean.”

(Brinley mumbles under her breath here, but I caught it. The words didn’t go with the super sweet, innocent smile.)

Brinley: I should have punched that little bleached blonde Wicked Witch of the North wannabe right in that stuck-up nose.

Reann: Now I thought Glinda was the Good Witch of the North in the Wizard of Oz.

(That got dismissed with a wave of the hand.)

Brinley: Whatever… Wicked Witch of the East then.

At this point we’re both practically rolling in the floor when a commotion across the yard drew our attention and we turned just in time to see a bare-chested Jake dive across the top of the fence, hit the ground and roll then glare back at the rambunctious horse that still had Jake’s ripped shirt clamped firmly in his teeth. When he started brushing off his chest and turned for the porch, I quickly gathered my supplies. The last thing I needed to do was sit there and openly drool over that sculpted chest. The next thing you know I’ll be hearing “Bless your heart”.

Raeann: I believe that’s my cue. Time for me to go.

Brinley: Chicken.

Raeann: Not chicken. Smart. See ya, Brinley. Bye, Jake.

So now I’m back in Texas. It was a nice visit and it was really great to be back at the ranch again. I certainly can’t complain about the unexpected view towards the end either. Shhhh… don’t tell Brinley.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, you can find Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One)here.

If you want to know more about Brinley and Jake plus the stories of each of the other brothers, watch for the release of Davis (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Two) late 2012 to early 2013.

2 Responses to “An Interview with Brinley”

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