Hey friends! Today I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with the author of The House of Bradbury, Nicole Meier! I loved reading The House of Bradbury, in fact it’s one of my favorites so far this year (you can read my full review here). Getting to chat with Nicole over social media and reading her responses has been awesome (and there’s a little sneak peek into what she’s currently working on, EEK!) She is incredibly sweet, thoughtful, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know her. She was also kind enough to send a signed copy of her book to giveaway with this interview (see info below)! Enjoy!!
Jessi’s Library: In your own words, could you give the readers a brief overview of The House of Bradbury?
Nicole Meier: Sure! Failed novelist, Mia Gladwell is convinced her life will change when she moves into the Los Angeles home of iconic author Ray Bradbury. But what she didn’t expect was to take in a pill popping young starlet as a tenant, the ongoing needs of her movie producing ex-fiancé, and the ever watchful eye of her disapproving, older sister. On top of that, Mia starts receiving mysterious sketches left at her doorstep. Life in the Bradbury house is full of surprises.
JL: Your debut novel had me staying up way to late and waking early just to finish it. What inspired you to write The House of Bradbury?
NM: Thank you! I love hearing that. When I came across the LA Times article that read, “Ray Bradbury’s home could be yours for $1.5 Million,” I was immediately hooked. I was a fan of Bradbury’s work and curious about the house he lived in for over fifty years. Once I started doing research, I knew the charming yellow house had a story inside. And while the home has since been demolished, I wanted to imagine a world where an appreciative writer purchases and moves into the house instead.
JL: Mia Gladwell is a strong young woman who’s proved that picking yourself up in the lowest moments of life is possible with the help of family and the hope of starting over. I think readers will love connecting to her personal life and watching as she pieces her life back together. What first inspired you to create Mia’s character?
NM: I think there are too many stories out there where someone else rescues the girl. I wanted Mia to rescue herself. She suffered from a bad breakup, a disappointing writing career, and a dicey relationship with her sister. I wanted her problems to be relatable, but also circumstances that she could climb her way out of with a little determination and a willing spirit.
JL: I loved the fact that the house played a huge role in the story, but it didn’t outshine any of the characters. What type of research was required in order for you to make Ray Bradbury’s home feel so real?
NM: I did a lot of research. I pored over real estate photos online, watched video interviews of Bradbury being filmed in his home, and read dozens of articles. I made a kind of vision board, printing and pasting up images of the interior of his home. I really tried to represent each room to the best of my ability. I wanted to get the color of the wallpaper correct, the shape of the tile floor right, etc. In the end, I hope I did a decent job.
As a side note, a friend of his recently wrote me and said that yes, there really was a blue toilet as well as built-in bookshelves in the shower!
JL: If you could move into an authors house with hopes of getting your inspiration back, who’s would it be and why?
NM: Oh that’s easy, the home of the late Harper Lee. I think To Kill a Mockingbird is the greatest story of all time (and my kids love it too!).
JL: What was the greatest challenge you faced while writing The House of Bradbury?
NM: Not being able to get inside the house before it was demolished. I am familiar with the neighborhood and have driven by the lot, but never gone inside.
JL: What was your favorite scene to write?
NM: Wow, I’ve never thought of that one! Probably all the sister stuff. I have two older sisters and sometimes laughed out loud when writing about the antics between siblings.
JL: I’d be interesting in hearing a little bit about your writing process. Do you create an outline for your story or do you just start writing as it comes to mind?
NM: I’m not a plotter. I’m a “panster.” I literally write by the seat of my pants. (Okay, not literally.) I will do a rough skeleton of a synopsis and then just wing it. That’s my formula. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I like it.
JL: Are there any particular authors who have influenced you and your writing style?
NM: Sue Monk Kidd and Harper Lee are my idols. But I don’t write anything like them. Still, they are wonderful examples.
JL: What genre of books do you like to read and do you write in that same genre?
NM: Lately, I’m reading piles of women’s fiction books. I read them for pleasure, but also to study what other authors I admire are doing to make their story work. I’m always learning from others.
JL: Could you tell us a little bit about the whole experience with The House of Bradbury from the moments you were writing it, to it being accepted, and finally it being published and out in the world? For example, how did it make you feel, what was going through your mind, etc.
NM: The book took me a year to write, and another year to edit, market, and publish. That’s actually pretty fast by most standards. This is because I went with a small, indie press, called Sparkpress. After I submitted my work and was accepted, I was thrilled! It seemed like the perfect fit for my book. It’s run by a wonderfully supportive group of women. I’ve been included in so many aspects of the process, from cover design to marketing plans. It’s been an unbelievably positive experience.
JL: Now that The House of Bradbury is out, what are you working on? I’m a huge fan and can’t wait for more, so is there any chance there’s another book headed our way?
NM: Yes, I’m working on my next novel and… knock on wood… it will find a home. It’s about sisters and there are some big secrets, but that’s all I can say. Hopefully someone will love it enough to publish it!
JL: Since I adored your book, I’d love to know what’s on your summer reading list?
NM: I love Mary Kubica’s domestic thrillers and just finished her newest, Don’t You Cry. And I just started Allison Winn Scotch’s In Twenty Years.
Thank you Nicole for the amazing interview and the signed book! It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know more about you and I can’t wait to see where the next novel will take you. Also, congratulations on The House of Bradbury going for it’s second run! Readers, I cannot recommend The House of Bradbury enough for your summer reading list. It’s quick paced, enjoyable, and the writing style left me pleasantly surprised. It’s a gem! You can click the link to order your copy of The House of Bradbury from Amazon.
*GIVEAWAY* Head over to my Instagram to enter for your chance to win the signed copy of The House of Bradbury! Giveaway ends Monday, July 18th. Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Tuesday, July 19th. I’m so excited to share this book with one lucky winner!