Author A L Brooks Talks Books and Emigrating on Seize the Day Podcast with Natalie Miller-Snell.
Listen to this episode here
In todays show, I am joined by the very lovely Angela Brooks, aka A L Brooks.
Angela talks to me about being an author, what writing means to her and how many pillows she sleeps with. She has many stories to tell, including how she recently emigrated to Germany.
I hope you enjoy the show!
Write Your Own Script by AL Brooks
A sizzling lesbian romance about finding out what’s important in life.
Beloved famous British actress Tamsyn Harris is in her early fifties and works hard to prove she’s still got “it”, despite her age. That means never revealing she’s a lesbian, for fear it would threaten her acclaimed career. After an on-set incident blows up, she disappears to a retreat to lay low for a while.
Maggie Cooper is a successful author with two pseudonyms and suffering from burn out. It’s hard enough trying to maintain both worlds, let alone keep them separate from real life. After checking herself into a retreat in Norfolk, the last thing she expects to find is the respected, beautiful actress she’s had a crush on her whole life.
As passion sweeps them up, they agree it can only be a holiday fling. But is that enough? Can they just return to their lives and leave each other behind?
The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley
Anna is the newest member of an elite ballet company. Her first class with her mysterious idol Victoria almost ruins her career before it starts. When she shows she might be a potential star, Victoria chooses Anna to launch a new season around.
Now Anna must face down jealousy, sabotage, and injury, not to mention navigate the circus of friends and lovers within the company. The pressure builds as she knows she must pour everything she has into opening night and prove to her rivals and herself that Victoria’s faith in her is not misplaced.
In the process, Anna discovers that she and the daring, beautiful Victoria have a lot more than a talent for ballet in common, and that not every thrilling dance can be found on stage.
Ask Me Again by E J Noyes
What do you do when the source of all your problems is the one thing you don’t know how to fix?
With Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell nothing more than an unpleasant memory, US Army surgeon Sabine Fleischer is ready to move on with her life – if she can just figure out how to move past her PTSD. Fresh from her first deployment since surviving a vehicle attack in Afghanistan, Sabine is finding the things she’s tried so hard to push aside aren’t as easy to ignore as she’d hoped.
Sabine’s girlfriend and ex-commanding officer Rebecca Keane is happily settled into her new job running a trauma department in a civilian hospital. Life with Sabine is everything Rebecca ever wanted. But when Sabine’s PTSD reappears worse than before, she’s left struggling with her own guilt.
There’s no doubt that both Sabine and Rebecca want the same thing. But how do you help the most important person in your life when they don’t want to need your help?
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
you are listening to seize the day with Natalie Miller-Snell during these podcasts we’ll be exploring all of the different opportunities that we get to seize the day on a daily basis and what tools and what changes we can make in order to grab those goals are you ready to make change podcast lovers hello hello hello how are you all it’s Thursday I’m Natalie and you are listening to seize the day now we’ve got a real treat today joining me on the show is a truly lovely woman she’s a 2017 GCLS Goldy winner and a 2017 rainbow book awards winner it’s my true delight to have on the show Angela Brooks welcome I love it how are you you can come again that’s great yes we just had a quick catch-up it feels like forever since I saw you last actually because you are now in in Germany for everyone listening where are you yeah we’re geographically and that your room what can you see I’m sitting in my living room in my apartment in Frankfurt which is towards the south of Germany it’s the business capital of Germany so it’s a very international City not too big 750,000 people but big enough for me oh yeah okay lots of nice theaters restaurants Opera House you know the usual and how’s the German oh okay it is not the easiest language to learn especially when you’re starting it this late in life it’s there it’s a tricky one and my German friends tell me that they agree it’s not an easy language to learn so I’m not insulting anybody with that it’s you’re not gonna give us any samples no I’m I’m trying very hard I I actually went to visit my the parents of my partner recently with her for the weekend and my partner’s father speaks no English and I speak very little German but I decided to give it a go managed to have three or four basic conversations with him which you know was pretty good I was quite proud of myself that’s my girlfriend he was very impressed she was like yeah and you’re just back up holiday suitably relaxed yes two weeks in France taken in some of the World Cup football women’s football which was really lovely lovely fantastic yeah now thank you so much for coming on we met I think it’s gotta be over a year ago now just about a year wasn’t it GCLs last year last year yes in great Vedran sir Angela Brooks the book pimp yes yeah totally selling loads of books to everybody absolutely fantastic and you gave me that fantastic t-shirt afterwards yes no it’s lovely to catch up then and it’s great to have you on the show so let’s get to talk about you know a bit about you how did you start writing you know what does it mean to you and I suppose reverting back to the factual in in Germany now you’ve had a Caesar day moment yourself as well in terms of life change yeah absolutely me kiddo writing I mean I suppose technically I started writing when I was about 13 years old I was bullied really badly at school from the age of 13 to about 15 and writing stories at that time was like pure escapism I could you know go home from school shake off the day and just immerse myself in these teenage angsty stories you know you can just imagine what a 13 year old rights and but I loved it you know and I ended up locking up courage to show one of my English teachers and she thought they were excellent and she really encouraged me to keep it going but of course you leave school 16 you’ve got to get a job and life gets in the way and writing just got forgotten for a number of years and then back in 2014 I think it was I I had a really nasty chest infection and I was off work for three and a half weeks and Wow I couldn’t do anything cuz I could barely breathe so I literally had to just sit still all day and you know there’s only so much they time TV that you can watch in your life even never mind in a week and I just started pondering stuff I was reading some less fake and I was reading some good stuff and some bad stuff and I sat there thinking God it never occurred to me to write lesbian fiction back when I was writing and I started thinking about what kind of stories I’d like to tell and the next thing I knew I’d started writing what became one of the chapters of the club the Goldie winning book that you mentioned it in the intro and then I finished the air I finished right in that and then I thought okay so the person that so the first story was max and then the person that she interacted with was called Lou and I about a day later uh sat there thinking so what’s Lou’s story then and the next thing I know I’d written another story all about Lou and it just that’s it it just snowballed from there suddenly I was writing every day and all these story ideas just came out of nowhere it was it was quite like an epiphany almost it was quite amazing how it happened that’s amazing that really what I love about the club actually is how you do have all of the different story yeah the different characters and how they all interlink it’s a great story it’s really fabulous thank you so it’s a bit erotic oh yes a bit no no yeah and I just I mean you said you asked like what does it mean to me it’s interesting it’s not I often sit there thinking could I live without writing and as a part of my brain that goes oh yeah fine I’d find something else to do but then even a week without writing and I get antsy to get back to my characters and my stories and new ideas are popping into my head all the time and I think actually it’s a lie to say that I could live without writing I don’t think I could you know I think I want to keep writing for as long as I am able because I just get so much enjoyment out of it I love being that creative and that imaginative it just really gives me a buzz is it like a release valve then almost it’s a way of you know some folk exercise and perhaps you do that tea but it’s a way of just channeling thoughts and processing them and it comes out in a story almost I think it is and I I don’t know if this sounds like crazy I hate to use that because there’s a little bit derogatory but I’m I’ve got so many characters in my head you know that they’re just itching to come out I’ll get inspired to do a story off the silliest thing and suddenly I’ve got like a thought of one the other day and it was it was someone told me about looking after some chickens yeah that they’ve got chickens yeah I know right and the next thing I know I’ve got a character who is looking after chickens and then she meets this woman who’s gonna do X Y Zed and suddenly I’ve got a whole new book in my head and they’re all like screaming to get out and I can’t even write that quick enough sentence yeah so like I say I just feel like I’m a person that’s walking around with all these worlds and people in my head and like I need to get them out because you know they need to be told and they need to everyone needs to meet them and yeah so it’s fantastic absolutely fantastic and now how do you find the time to do it because obviously you have a different set up now yeah how do you find time to write so when I I’m officer case it’s not obvious to people I’m currently not working I’ve just moved to Germany so I’m actually taking a little break so at the moment I’m treating it like a full-time job so I’m getting up in the morning I’m doing all my chores and then I’m sitting down as near to 9 o’clock as I can and I’m writing all morning and then do you get dressed yes not necessarily in clothes that could be seen out in public but yes I had this conversation with somebody the other day in terms of my mental state I have to almost shower and get dressed in order to I think be more productive yeah because I think if I say my pyjamas which you can’t do now and again I don’t get as much done yeah no I’m not like that I do I can happily sit around in my pajamas all day and still be creative I’m lucky like that yeah so yeah and so I write all morning and then I go to the gym and then I either write again in the afternoon or I do some German Studies or do some social media stuff because I’ve lost see I do a blog and I’ve got a Twitter account and etc etc and I try and do things around writing for a good four five hours every day which I know is not full-time work but that’s I figure that’s enough for me I get too tired otherwise my brain just like I’m one of these people that write really fast in very speedy bursts I can knock out 3,000 words in a couple of hours and be really happy with that but by then I’ve thought I’ve typed so fast and thought so fast that my brain is fried after that kind of obsession so I mean so how long does it take for you to write a book on average I mean compared to when you were working versus being able to yeah I mean time now when I was working I was only writing obviously in the evenings or at weekends and to be honest with the kind of job I was doing I wasn’t getting home at a decent time in the evenings to do much writing Monday to Friday so I would do most of my writing at the weekends in huge sessions of six or seven hours both days so it’s quite lovely having the luxury now of being able to have like regulate it during the day you know do it in much smaller chunks but do it every day that’s so when I was writing full-time when I was working full-time I would probably take five or six months to write a book but now I’m very close to finishing think it’s book number eight and that’s only taken me two and a half months because I’m writing Wow full-time yeah because I’m you know I’m you think most books are around let’s say 80,000 words 75,000 words I’m writing 15 to 20 thousand words a week at the moment so it’s not taking that long which is a lovely luxury position to be in and I’m making the most of it I mean I’m churning out I’ve finished one book written nearly written another one and started a third one in the six months that I’ve been living in Germany [Music] absolutely fantastic but I decided I’d wet I’d make the most of this time because I do plan on going back into full-time work so I decided that the trade-off for having a little break after moving to Germany was that I didn’t waste the time and that I actually use it for writing marillion and your stack of those release dates then I see absolutely although everyone would love it if you if you think about the one that’s already written and is coming out in August the long shot I’ve got four books coming out in the next 18 months yeah people will be sick of me just be like oh my god it’s another Brooks it was as many as eight so six are published seven seven is out in August 8 is written nine is the one I’m working through and I’ve got ten started as well so by the end of next year I’ll have ten books published which is staggering that’s absolutely incredible well done you I never I never would have imagined that when I first got my here my first-ever ilver contract for the club back in 2015 if you’d have told me four years later I’d be sitting here talking about book number 10 I’d have just laughed at you because there’s just no way I thought phenomenal yeah it’s I’m feel really privileged and very blessed so very good at what you do that’s incredible so now is Angela a pen name I was actually your real name so Angela Brooks is my real name oh no but I write as al Braille books yeah because I don’t like the name Angela and never have Oh but by the time I realized in my 20s that you could do something about that like change it by deed poll you know and have a new name of course I was so used to being called Angela by people that the idea of actually having a new name just didn’t work in my head so yeah I’ve start with it and just a lovely name okay I had the same conversation with Wendy Hudson that she said the symbol of thing did she you know it’s my name it’s never liked it I mean you know I don’t think my mum’s going to listen to this noise don’t think she’ll be offended but yeah so I I made the decision early on that I would not want to see the name Angela on the front of the book so okay I kept it as al Brooks which apparently is its own pitfall cuz I’ve had quite a few people over the years say that they always assumed that people who wrote with initials were doing it to hide their identity in particular to hide their gender really no and I’m like no I just don’t like my first name there’s no conspiracy theory here sorry oh wow I had no idea yeah I woulda thought that no no I would never think that but yeah okay right I’ve got some some fun questions so would I give you what kind of quickfire some of them you’re gonna have to think on are you ready yep last book you read last book I read was the music and the mirror by llola Kili oh my god academically yeah so good she writes so well and the story is fantastic great ice crew yet intense yeah it’s interesting I don’t normally like ice queens but I really liked Victoria in that one I really warmed to her very quickly so yeah it’s a great book yeah it’s nice read okay I actually just finished Emily noises a second book of the awesome eeeh girl asked me again I read that a couple of weeks ago it’s so good isn’t it I cried really for the last quarter of the book quite painful but in a really like a good good in a good way yeah yeah I mean you can really identify with both of their struggles I absolutely loved it you loved it yeah okay who’s your biggest inspiration in writing or in general Oh let’s go general is my biggest inspiration um I wouldn’t say because what he did like really affected me personally but I just think his story is incredible and what an impact he had on the world Nelson Mandela mmm good answer great our that is a phenomenal story mm-hmm did you read the book yeah yeah got it here I haven’t actually gotten into it yet I should read it yeah no it’s well worth the read good going no you’re quite right actually an inspirational in terms of and so many quotes in the world as well from the yeah they’re so relevant you have so relevant day today still absolutely okay this is the fun one how many pillows do you sleep with one oh me too and it’s quite a thin one I don’t got anything too fee that’s just not gonna work for me yeah I get neck ache yeah I could almost probably sleep flat yeah I nearly could but yeah yeah love it cool okay oh these are great questions which of your books is your favorite is that like asking you to choose a favorite child you know if you’d have asked me that three months ago it would have been because I was equally proud of my first five books okay but my latest book write your own script has a real soft place in my heart because I just had such fun writing that book and I absolutely for the first time fell in love with both my characters Tamsin and Maggie yeah which hadn’t happened to me before but I was just there were so many moments for us to sit there going oh my god but I’m done writing it am I allowed to think that that’s lucky but yeah I really I really really loved that one and I’m very proud of that one it is my favorite at the moment of course that will change probably next year but you know maybe the book can you give us a quick synopsis what’s it all about it says released only in April was and it’s right yeah very new it’s a celebrity romance it’s about an actress who’s in her early 50s Tamsin Harris who is really successful but very very closeted the nobody in the world knows that she’s a lesbian and she has a bit of a bus stop on set one day with her director who’s a bit of an yes that word and she is asked to leave the set for a couple of weeks and take some time to chill out so she goes on retreat to a remote cottage in Norfolk in England and there’s another cottage on the estate and in there is a novelist called Maggie Cooper who is on burnout she’s lost writing she writes in two different genres under two different pen names and it’s all got too much so she’s also on a self-imposed retreat to see if she can get her writing mojo back mmm and she has been a massive fan of Tamsin Harris ever since she was a teenager she’s in the same age bracket she’s in her late forties and of course they meet nice that’s all I’m gonna say okay and there’s a dog in it cookies mo oh yeah have to mention gizmo because he’s awesome I can’t wait to eat that sounds really fantastic now two things on what you’ve just said yeah what’s up the book clips you recently did yes yes yes I’ve got to recommend everybody it listens to your little snippet because I thought it’s absolutely fantastic I mean certainly how you read it as well really frankly so yeah that’s shiness I think yes lesbian talk shows yeah that’s it yeah blue so definitely get it have a listen to the book and go buy it and the late 40 so the characters are late forties yeah yeah was the choice there or well why’d you go that way it’s my age bracket for starters now yeah you don’t look a day over 21 why thank you like this show I’m it’s it’s a common thing I see on social media actually a lot of the Facebook groups that people who follow less fake there’s a lot of older women who read the books bemoaning the fact that that none of the books are about their age group and it made it certainly made more sense for Tamsin’s character she’s been closeted all this time she needs to have actually had a fairly extensive career and you know been around for a long time so it made much more sense for her to be in you know around the 50 mark and I just wanted her to have a love interest that was the same age and it was really lovely writing that age bracket because you know at that age you have lived a little you’ve got a few experiences that someone who’s 20 won’t know about and it was nice to kind of make some references to that and give it a bit of realism as a result you know I can imagine you can have a bit of fun with it as well oh yes we do all get a little bit there’s a few creaky knees and stuff you know don’t move too quickly I’m stuck you know I tell you what I mean I’m back at the gym again I had a couple of weeks off with everything that’s been going on honestly I said to Sam he’s my personal trainer you know go easy with me I haven’t been doing this for a while he went straight back in the same know that you love him and I’m grateful I’m grateful he did it because it’s good to push yourself I would never do it yeah but I couldn’t move yeah everything is fantastic farmers have taken lots more supplements now ceiling repair okay oh that’s wonderful now everyone get out and uh pop the reference to the book in there show notes cool definitely go buy that sounds fabulous excellent you’re listening to the news bein talk show the lesbian to choke on your herb of podcast information okay what’s the last photo you took on your phone what’s in your photo stream the last photo I took was of La Habra where we were on holiday as we walked back from the England Argentina match on Friday night we walked back through the center of town and it was all lit up beautiful monuments and stuff and I took a photo of that that’s the last yeah and then finally what is your most used emoji the grinning one when you look like a Cheshire Cat oh nice night when I do a grin at someone I do it obviously but listeners can’t see this but you can see it it’s a wallace and gromit style exactly I might have to screenshot you when we’re done here and put that on the bottom is priceless yeah I use that all the time it’s kind of like my trademark emoji so I love that okay yeah yeah I think my most one is the the smiling luck cry smiling laughing yeah yeah okay so since this is a seize the day theme yeah what would you now say to any of the listeners you know you’ve got some great Caesar day moments yourself you’ve taken the you know the bull by the horns you’ve gone forward in life in areas which potentially sometimes even from the rioting to being in Germany what would you say to anybody who’s looking to start it on their own or do something out of their comfort zone even write a book for them to get out there and just do it what would you be your advice yeah I think I was thinking about this after you me obviously sent me this question in advance and I start thinking about it yesterday I think the main thing there’s kind of two or three things I’d say one is don’t be scared you know actually an awful lot of things are possible if you just give them a go yeah fear is the biggest thing that could hold you back from trying anything new whether it’s a small thing or a big thing I mean I’ve done a big thing I’ve moved to a new country but that brings me on to my second point I had a lot of help with that I had a lot of people rallying around to make sure that that transition from the UK to Germany was as seamless as possible so don’t be afraid to ask for help whatever it is that you want to do reach out to people the people in your life who really care about you will fall over themselves to help you with something that that if it’s that important to you they’ll recognise that and they will help you and so don’t be afraid to ask don’t be afraid to say you know what actually that thing I said I could do on my own I don’t think I can could you help me with that and you’ll find everybody will be like yeah what when do you need me why when how you know and that’s what I found in that in this big move everyone was really keen to help make it my new dream a reality I love that and that’s I mean that is so true as well folk often don’t feel that they should or could ask people for help actually it’s an innate thing we don’t feel that we should be able to be able to deliver and do it on our own but actually sometimes you need to you know lean on somebody a little bit or seek guidance from somebody else who’s either done it or perhaps might have more experience and it is okay to ask it’s really good to ask and people want to help yeah it’s also okay to fail this is something our society is not very good at letting us do it is totally okay to try something and it not work yeah it’s okay to just fight against that pressure from society to be perfect all the time to be sitting in some kind of mold of how that the society perceives you to be I mean let’s face it you know I’m a lesbian I came out that’s a massive seize the day moment to actually step out of the comfort zone of the heteronormative society and say no do you know what I’m actually a little bit different from that and I’m gonna live my life true to that you know I thought of a quote this morning and it’s not I don’t even know if it’s a real quote I it came from the Baz Luhrmann a film Strictly Ballroom just the one about all the dancing yeah I’ve done if you’ve seen it before anybody seen it there’s a quote that’s quoted in there by the character who has Spanish descent or Latin Latino descent and it’s it’s something like a life half lived is half for life okay yeah you’ve only got one shot at this unfortunately we only get one go so why would you live your life doing what everybody else thinks you should do and trying to conform to a whole load of stuff that society places on you if you really want to do something do whatever you can to try and make it happen because it’s your only chance yeah you should fill your life with things that you really want to do as far as possible I know there are some limits on that for a lot of people but just try don’t sit there going oh well I can’t because the dirt yeah you probably can and certainly you can if you start asking around yeah and this goes back to your other point as well and I’ve touched on it in some of my other shows it’s the fear factor we often disguise the fear in other excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something to you know give ourselves blocker so we don’t have to actually go into that uncomfortable place and go into it and you know what on the one hand sometimes that’s fine that if that’s if you need to survive cope be happy then great there’s nothing wrong with that but if you’ve got a burning ambition to try something don’t sit there going oh well I’ll do it in five years or ten years or you know you could get run over by a bus tomorrow so there’s never the right time just get on and do it yeah you just now it’s media is that yeah and yeah some things some things we’ll need some planning some things we’ll need some money some things we’ll need some support but yes if you if you actually decide I’m going to go for it and you start putting out the feelers for that and you start asking all the right questions you’ll be amazed what falls in your lap and what sudden breaks you’ll get you know like the universe will listen to you that sounds really kind of like out there but oh no I love it Angela I love it really well it really will you know if you if you set things in motion you’ll be amazed at how quickly they can progress I did it I went on a workshop last year and in fact one of the things that the lady was hosting the workshop Sam Collin said and touching on your point if we have had this protection around ourselves to prevent ourselves from moving forward for whatever reason we need to acknowledge it much like you said say thanks to ourselves and thanks to that protection at that time for why it was there yeah and why we’ve but then kind of I don’t need you anymore I can now move forward and get on and just make that step exactly because it’s there for a reason you’ve protected yourself for whatever’s gone on in the past perhaps maybe or even and it’s now time you can you know go for it yeah completely which is lovely not this has been delicious it has thank you very much don’t my absolutely my pleasure where can everybody find you Angela new looking website yeah I get around I’ve just revamped my website so you can find me w w8 l Brooks writer calm I spend a lot of time on Twitter I love interacting with people on Twitter so if you want to find me there it’s al Brooks writer one the number one I’m on Facebook I have a Facebook page al Brooks I’m on Instagram if you want to see a bit more from my kind of that’s more about my life in Germany now I’m posting stuff from you know photos from Frankfurt and travels that I’ve done and new experiences I’m having in Germany on Instagram yeah so I do a little bit of book stuff there but it’s more personal that’s Angela Brooks underscore 15 as in 1-5 and I’m also on bookbub now if you want to follow me there to get all the news about my latest releases and stuff like that so look for al Brooks on bookbub oh sorry forgive me what I know oh no I’m not a hundred percent sure myself don’t tell anybody but it’s a big it’s a big website with lots of authors and all their books and if you follow me over you get note locations of their releases any giveaways they might be doing on bookbub yeah it’s a great way and you I use it I’m doing a weekly recommendation of a book to anybody who follows me so get an idea about what I’m reading and what I think is a good book so it’s a way to interact nice like it luck thank you so much again Angela it’s been an absolute pleasure it’s been a real pleasure thank you so much for having me you’re welcome and thanks everybody for listening take care look after yourself keep well you have been listening to seize the day with Natalie Venice now all contact information can be found in the show notes together with any links to websites or may have referred to in the show if you’ve enjoyed this podcast then come talk to us at a lesbian talk show chat group on Facebook email us on podcast at the lesbian talk show comm or follow us on Twitter at lesbian talk show you can also join our community of patrons and gay exclusive content go to patreon.com/scishow the link is in the show notes thank you thank you thank you you English (auto-generated)