1. Tell us about your newest release.
Rally of a Purple Heart is the story of a woman who, after finding disillusionment in her first marriage, travels out to post-WWII California with her small son to start a new life. She meets a man who has experienced his own challenges in love, and who is wrestling with demons from his time in a German P.O.W. camp during the war. They find within each other an opportunity for a second chance at love and happiness. It's about finding love, but it's also about learning to trust and hope when you didn't think you could do so anymore.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I based the story partially on what I knew about my paternal grandmother, who came out to California with my dad when he was just 5 years old. What struck me, even though I do not have a similar life experience per se, was how much I related to her once I got inside her head, so to speak. How much I sympathize with women who have been challenged by a perceived failure at convention's expectations. I think society sometimes confuses us as to how we're supposed to rate our own successes in life and love; when really as women our lives are multi-faceted and anything but conventional. We play different (sometimes competing) roles, and make choices as a result. It takes a strong woman to do the thing that society frowns upon but that ultimately makes her stronger--like my grandmother coming out to California as a divorced single mother to make a better life for her and her son.
3. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or rituals?
I write whenever I have the chance, between mothering and working my day job and giving time to my relationship with my husband. There's no time for quirks or rituals: I have to spring into action whenever I can!
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Charlotte Bronte and her connection with her sisters inspired my writing--I always thought it was such a magical thing that they bounced their ideas for these great novels off of each other! When it came to finding the motivation to write my first novel, A Time Apart, I received the greatest inspiration from a eulogy my own sister gave at my grandfather's funeral. It convinced me of the power of words to be a source of healing, and I view both of my novels as such.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
They are very proud! My dad was especially moved by Rally of a Purple Heart, and was touched that I was able to put into words some of the experiences of his parents.
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I am a ham and I love to perform! I used to participate in local theatre productions, but now (given the lack of time) find an outlet through performing in fundraising talent shows or at my UU congregation. I also had a chance to give a sermon at my congregation, and found that a gratifying way to blend my love of writing and performing.
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
I am writing a short Christmas story and considering my next novel. It will either be another historical romance or a complete departure, a foray into more daring territory.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
They can visit my Chances Press author's webpage at http://chancespress.com/BrittanyBatong.html or my Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/Brittany-Batong/e/B009BFR73I/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0. I'd also love to hear feedback about the books! I can be found on Facebook and Google Plus.