A D.C. native, K.L. Brady spent much of her growing up years in the Ohio Valley. An alumnus of the University of the District of Columbia and University of Maryland University College, Ms. Brady earned a B.A. in Economics as well as a M.B.A. K.L. Brady is an analyst for a major government contracting firm and is also an active real estate agent with Exit Realty by day. She does manage to squeeze in writing during the night, thus creating short sleeping hours.
Ms. Brady resides outside of D.C. in Cheltenham, Maryland, with her son. Her additional deep loves include eating chocolate, shopping, reading and writing.
K.L. Brady’s newest release, The Bum Magnet, was the winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Multicultural Fiction, as well as the Third Place Grand Prize Winner for Best Fiction of 2010. She was also named 2011 Female Author of the Year by the African Americans on the Move Book Club.
Please tell us a bit about your book, The Bum Magnet, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
My hilarious debut romantic comedy is about Charisse Tyson, a woman approaching a major life milestone — her fortieth birthday. She has just broken up with boyfriend number “too many” and reads an article that makes her realize it’s time to assess why she keeps picking players over and over and over again.
But, as it always happens when you make a plan, life happens! And she makes a hilarious but really bad decision that takes her COMPLETELY off course. No sooner than she decides she’ll have nothing more to do with men, they start coming out of the woodwork — a sexy new businessman, ex-boyfriends, and a strange stalker-type that she feels drawn to for some yet unknown reason.
So, she goes against her better instinct and puts herself in the position where she’s got to navigate this minefield of men while trying to work on herself at the same time. The story follows her along this journey. But along the way, she finds out the answer to her problem goes a lot deeper than an appetite for good-looking men and great sex. It’s that realization that helps her shift her life to a new level.
While this story is full of laugh-out-loud funny moments, it also has the kind of page-turning twists and turns that will make it almost impossible to put down once you get into to it. This book has been blamed for many sleepless nights, missed subway and bus stop, and late stays at the office because the people couldn’t move until they finished it.
I never set out to convey a message when I wrote this book. I wanted to tell a entertaining story that would keep readers glued to the pages. However, I would have to say that there are definitely several life lessons that all people — both men and women — can take from Charisse’s story.
The first is that when you see yourself repeating the same bad patterns in relationships over and over again, at some point you’ve really got to stop pointing the finger at the people you choose, and start pointing your finger at the one who is doing the choosing — YOU! Sometimes, we’re so wrapped up in the drama of relationships that we don’t see that we’re standing in our own way, and blocking our own blessing, because we’re not dealing with some past hurt or pain. We can’t just sweep our dirt under a beautiful rug, sit some furniture on it, and pretend like it’s not still a hot mess underneath.
And while this is not Christian fiction, this character (despite her occasionally colorful language) is very spiritual and learns a few lessons about leaning on her faith, trusting in herself, honoring her friends and family, and the new “F” You word — forgiveness.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
Charisse and Mama Tyson are by far my favorite characters. Charisse because she is so real and self deprecating. She’s able to maintain her sense of humor and faith through her misery and I think that is ultimately her greatest strength.
Mama Tyson because she is so blunt and matter-of-fact when she communicates with her daughter. She’s not afraid of saying the things mothers aren’t supposed to say. This comes out more in the sequel, but she lays down solid groundwork in The Bum Magnet.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
The following is one of my favorite excerpts. I really like this because this except more than any other in the beginning of the book really captures Charisse’s state of mind in the story and why she’s in the predicament.
”My heart became a revolving door, men in and out, in and out, because I couldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them. You know how most women have ‘a type’? Well, I did, too. They were usually the cheating type, every single one of them. All mouth-watering handsome, charming to a fault, and bedded more women than Sealy Posturepedic — before, during, and after our relationship.”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Admittedly, the first person that came to mind to play the part of Charisse was Queen Latifah. She’s full-figured, but she’s really become a standard of beauty despite her weight, not just within the black community but worldwide — hence, her CoverGirl endorsements. I saw someone spunky like Taraji P. Henson playing her best friend, Denise, because she’s all personality and the perfect counterbalance to Charisse’s character.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
What’s not to love? I spend my entire day with people who love to talk to me, tell me their dreams, fears, aspirations, interests, love lives, etc. Mostly, I get to write happy endings. I haven’t had a lot of happy endings in my own life, with the exceptions being my writing career and my son. I love having my characters go through turmoil but finding happiness, in whatever form that may take, at the end of the story. Why would you end a story any other way.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
My least favorite aspect of writing is editing. No question. Once I write the story, I want to hand it off and let someone else to the grunt work. I want to see it when it’s all pretty and shiny. Unfortunately, that’s a dream world reserved for crazy people and seven-figure earning NY Times bestsellers.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
I am a chick lit lover from way back, and I’m one of the few people who have not shunned the term, even though now it’s more politically correct to say “Romantic Comedy.” Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale, Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X, and so so so many other books are among my favorites. I could sooner pick my favorite star in the sky. There are so many incredible authors, it’s hard to name them all.
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m trying to finish Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan. I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to read as much as I’d like but I’d really like to know how things end for those characters. I really loved them in Waiting to Exhale.
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?
Jane Austen. Cold ham and salad…tea and crumpets. The English like crumpets, don’t they? Alex Haley, Terry McMillan, and James Baldwin. Barbeque ribs, macaroni and cheese, and greens. I know they’d like them, even though I’m sure they stepped up their menus once their writing careers took off. Mario Puzo. How much do I LOVE The Godfather? I can’t even tell you. A nice pot of spaghetti and meatballs, bread, and a nice red wine.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
Harry Potter. All of them. Can you imagine how rich I’d be? Maybe then I could actually book a signing in a bookstore.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
I’ve received many bits of advice over the years, but I think the most important is just sit your butt in a chair and write. So often, authors are so busy getting caught up in what deal they might get or the publisher that may be interested in their story when they don’t even have chapter one written. It’s so important to write the story. Let it flow. Let the characters lead the way. Edit after the first draft is done.