Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writers' Wednesday Welcomes Brenda Brinkley

It's great to have Brenda Brinkley here this week. Brenda serves as treasurer of Ozarks Writers League (OWL), is a member of Ozarks Romance Authors (ORA) and Sleuth’s Inc. She not only writes both fiction and non-fiction, she’s an award-winning photographer, as well.

Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us, Brenda. Your current publication, CLEVELAND THE GREEN CAMEL, is a children’s book, as was your first. What draws you to this genre?

To be honest, I’m drawn to several different genres. But my desire to write a children’s book surfaced while I was doing volunteer work over 12 years ago at a local kindergarten. I also have five wonderful grandchildren who inspire me. I have written many magazine and newspaper articles since my first publication in 1983.

My short stories have appeared in ECHOES OF THE OZARKS Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, VOICES Volumes 1, 2 and 3, WRITING ON WALLS Volumes 2 and 3, and CUIVRE RIVER Volume V. My photography has graced magazine and anthology covers. The latest is MYSTERIES OF THE OZARKS Volume III. I also have an article in the latest OZARKS MOUNTAINEER magazine.

What’s your next project?

I actually have several. I am working on some fictional short stories, and I write regularly for OZARKS FARM AND NEIGHBOR. I love interviewing the fascinating people of the Ozarks. I am in the editing stage of my women’s fiction novel, and I am also working on my third children’s book. But the next ‘big’ project is our Vacation Bible School at church. I am in charge of organizing that.

Children's books present a whole other challenge--the artwork. Do you do your own illustrations for the books?

Sadly, I cannot draw a decent stick man. Sean Turner has done a very good job with the illustrations for both my children's books.

Photography is a different horse altogether. I had to learn to take decent pictures to accompany my non-fiction articles.

One of my photos was on the cover of an issue of OZARKS MOUNTAINEER. Actually it won the cover contest that year. I have also had a photo on the cover of the STORYTELLER MAGAZINE and on the winter issue of the OZARKS ROMANCE AUTHORS Magazine.

I have had the cover on OZARKS FARM AND NEIGHBOR ten times. The editor of that publication told me that I would never have a cover until I went digital. I had been holding out, but that sent me straight to the store. True to his word, I have had several covers since.

My photos have also been used for the covers of ECHOES OF THE OZARKS Volumes IV, V, and VI and MYSTERIES OF THE OZARKS Volume III.
I’ve seen some of your pictures and they are lovely. One of my favorites is of the Cardinals (the birds, of course) in the snow.

Thanks. My photography will be on display, and for sale, at the Library Station on North Kansas Expressway, Springfield, in June and July. I hope everyone will stop by and take a look.

What one tip would you offer writers,fiction or non-fiction?

Develop a thick skin and hone your listening skills. You don’t have to take every bit of advice that’s offered, but you must be open to improvement. Just like many parents think they have perfect kids, many writers think their work is perfect. Critique sessions are very helpful, but only if the writer is willing to listen and learn.

Both of those points are so important, Brenda. Thanks, again, for joining us today.

Thank you for inviting me. It has been an honor.

Brenda’s books ALBERT'S HAPPY THANKSGIVING and CLEVELAND THE GREEN CAMEL, are available from Brenda, and they can be found at


  1. Excellent interview, Barbara! And Brenda, that was a great analogy about us writers believing our "babies" are perfect. I often have to remind myself to be open for critique. :) Thank you both!

  2. Enjoyed the interview :) Brenda, I look forwrad to seeing your photography. That's one of my passions, too!

  3. Hi Jan,
    Welcome. You'll enjoy Brenda's work. She has a way with children's stories, for sure, but you should read some of her adult stories. She has quite a way with plots.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  4. Hello Madison,
    Glad you dropped by. Brenda's photography is excellent. She has a great eye for composititon as well as lighting. Hope you get a chance to view some of her work.

    Thanks for being here,

  5. Hi Barbara and Brenda
    Good interview. I didn't get to see Brenda's new Photography Trophy last Saturday. Wow you have had it almost a week!
    Hope this posts I tried earlier and couldn't get it to go through.

  6. Great interview--questions and answers.
    I love Brenda's photographs. The one on Mysteries of the Ozarks is hauntingly beautiful.
    Brenda's advice about developing a thick skin and being open to suggestions is spot on.
    Thanks for this informative post.
    Donna Volkenannt

  7. Sorry I'm just gettting on here. I'm in party planning mode like crazy since the surprise party is in two days!

    Great interview, Barbara. Brenda, I knew you were busy but not quite this busy! What kind of vitamins do you take?!!!

    I love both of your picutre books and have read a few of your well-written short stories. I've also bought some of your photography. You're very talented. Now, when did you start a women's fiction novel? I did not know about that! You know I have one of those too--forever editing it.

    Congrats on your photography award last week. I could tell you were touched. Well done.

  8. Brenda's photography skills leave us in awe.

    The photo we used on the cover of ORA's first magazine is one of my favorites. Here is a link to that gorgeous photo:

    Keep up the fabulous work!