I never lose at Scrabble. Everyone has their game, and Scrabble is mine. When I saw the cover of Brandi Megan Granett’s Triple Love Score—a Scrabble board!—I was hooked. I reached out to Granett for an interview
I hear you are hosting an event called River Reads. Can you tell us more about that?
Why did you take that project on? River Reads is a book festival in Stockton, NJ on October 23 at Prallsville Mills. We have over 40 authors coming to give readings and sign books.
Founder of the Tall Poppy Writers, Ann Garvin, preaches that a rising tide lifts all boats. When planning the publicity of Triple Love Score, I decided I wanted to give back and help other local authors promote their work. Thus River Reads was born. I found the space, asked other authors to join me, and found a community partner in The Book Garden bookstore in Frenchtown, NJ.
Rumor has it your husband helps you to write this book. Given some of the steamy scenes, what exactly does that “help” entail?
I’d love to lie and say he helped me test out some of the racy scenes, but instead I’ll be coy about this. I wrote Triple Love Score shortly after we started dating and during our engagement. I challenged myself to write 500 words a day, and he suggested I email him my daily progress for accountability. When he started reading the daily submission, I found myself trying to write something to get him to react—laugh, cry, get mad at the characters--and with some of the racier scenes, to get him to come home early!
Your book is set in a university. You seem to know the ins and outs of academia. Were you ever a professor? Are you still? Tell us more.
I am an online English professor. I teach Composition for Kaplan University, Fiction Writing at National University, and Professional Writing for the Nursing Department at Thomas Edison State University. As much as writing lights me up, I love teaching the beginning writing classes. Composition instructors get to see students from all backgrounds and educational paths; I love helping people reach their educational dreams.
The heroine of your novel is a poet. Do you write poetry in addition to fiction?
Poetry escapes me—I think I have only written about two or three poems in my entire life. The poetry bug, however, seems to have skipped a generation—my daughter recently attended a slam poetry camp and had a poem published in Rookie online. So it looks like I get to be a fan of poetry after all!
In addition to telling a love story, your novel tackles a thorny issue for writers: the idea of “selling out.” Tell us more about that.
Selling out! Yes! This is something I struggle with as a teacher as well as a writer. The world of publishing changed so much since my first novel, My Intended, came out in 2000. So many people write books because they hope they will sell a million copies; they try to get in on the latest vampire/zombie/psycho female protagonist trend. I’ve never been very good and writing what I think is popular like that, but I’ll confess that when planning Triple Love Score, I thought a lot about the marketplace. I have another novel, Tarnished, near and dear to my heart that I struggle to find a publishing home for because it is a book for adults with a child narrator. Few publishers want to take a chance on something that doesn’t fit into a ready-made mold. I didn’t want Triple Love Score to meet a similar fate, so I decided to try my hand at writing a romantic storyline despite my literary fiction leanings. And luckily, I found an amazing publishing home in Wyatt-Mackenzie.
As a writing teacher, I always want my students to write the best books possible or the ones that they most want to see in the world, but as a realist, I wonder about the challenges some projects will later face trying to find a publisher or a market. Miranda, in Triple Love Score, stumbles upon her selling out—she writes her Scrabble poems and posts them online for the joy of doing so—and then the fame happens organically. I guess that is what I believe to be the ideal way, and it is certainly something I would welcome in my own career!
Who was your favorite character to write in Triple Love Score? Why?
Lynn was my favorite character; there’s something very freeing about writing from a child’s point of view. They call things like they see it, and they let their emotions bubble over to the surface without reserve. You don’t have to mince words when trying to explain how a child feels about something!