Brittany Ziegler was born in California and currently resides on the beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii. She studied marine sciences and biology at the University of Hawaii, as well as dabbled in creative writing and photography. She’s married to the most patient man in the world and spends her days herding her two daughters on sunny beaches, kayaking with humpback whales, photographing sharks, and writing about impossible circumstances. Make Me Exist is her first fiction novel.
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Make Me Exist
Where are you from?
All over the place, seriously. Born in California but raised in Hawaii… oh, and there was that brief stint in Nebraska, and even New Hampshire for a while. As of right now, I am a Maui girl. We are thinking about taking off to the Caribbean here soon though!
Why do you write?
Probably because I read a ton, and have way too many real life adventures. I’m either ten hours deep into reading some crazy novel, or out on a kayak photographing Humpback whales. Life paired with a love of fiction, has made me an unexpected writer.
What do you write about?
Currently, I am writing an entire series (there are even sub-novels!) that is a mix between science fiction and fantasy with romance sprinkled in. I really wanting to create a world with extreme sci-fi paired with total fantasy, and blend those together seamlessly. I also like a bit of spice, so there are good looking characters living their best adult lives.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been a full-blown author for about two years now! My first novel was published in October of 2020, and my fourth novel comes out on Thursday December 30th!
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I was in the middle of getting my marine biology degree at the University of Hawaii, bogged down with math and science courses- for some relief, I took a creative writing class. Covid hit a couple of weeks into that semester, and most of my classes were moved to online. Thanks to all the extra time I had from Covid shutdowns and my creative writing class, I decided to try my hand at writing a *drum roll* sci-fi (I blame all my biology courses)
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
Mom and underwater photographer by day, thrilling sci-fi/fantasy author by night. I generally wake up and hit the water while visibility is clear, to look for sharks or whales. Do my mom thing the rest of the day (plus nap) and write late at night… sometimes until two or three in the morning.
What do you think makes a good story?
Taking a concept that has been used before and creating something new. It’s been amazing to write about aliens in a totally new way with a fantasy twist.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer for my entire life. I found a thirty page typed short story I wrote when I was nine years old, a spin-off of Jurassic park. (because yes, I was a totally normal nine year old reading Michael Crichton)
Describe yourself in five words
quirky, brave, dumb, generous, unicorn.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I kayak with humpback whales daily.
What scares you the most?
Not having enough time for all of life’s adventures
What makes you happiest?
Watching my children discover adventure and happiness, humpback whales and sharks, and a cold coke on a hot hawaii day.
What books did you love growing up?
When I was younger (pre-teen) I was obsessed with Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and James Patterson. As I grew up, I discovered Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Margarat Atwood, and the usuals like Stephanie Meyers.
How did you develop your writing?
I always wrote short stories based off books I had read and loved, but my true passion was always poetry. I think even in my action packed sci-fi I write now, my love of poetry really shines through. I will think for days over a single sentence in a 180k word manuscript.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
The writing was easy, I swear. I’m self-published, so that was a piece of cake and a personal choice. I am so attached to my characters, I couldn’t imagine someone else owning the rights to them. Marketing? Oh gosh, I am terrible at that. Still managed to make it into the amazon top 100 books though!!
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family is the most supportive people in my life. I can’t tell you how many late nights I’ve stayed up finishing a scene, to have my mother-in-law text me and ask how it went, or my husband will let me sleep in and I’ll wake up to coffee. My ohana is always the first to read my books, and give me the best feedback. It’s seriously a blessing.
What else do you do, other than write?
I am a mom to two girls, who are five and seven years old. They are avid surfers and bloggers, it’s crazy. I spent my days underwater with a giant Nikon camera, or in a kayak chasing whales 10-15 miles a day. It’s a crazy life for sure.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’ve dabbled in a few different majors. I did creative writing and English majors, marine biology, and even business for a small stint. If I could go back and do it all again? Maybe a few more English courses to work on my grammar.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Everywhere. All over the world, forever traveling and never in one place; as long as I’m by an ocean and it’s warm! Which is what my near future is looking like.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write my ideas in a notebook, all of my outlines for novels are handwritten. Then I go at it on a computer. I also always have Alexa on command to jot down random lines for dialogue I come up with, or things that just sound pretty.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Like, none. I never sleep. It’s a problem. My schedule is usually wake up at 7am and get the kiddos to school. Take a nap at some point during the day. And go to bed at two or three in the morning. It’s tons of fun (sarcastic remark)
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My family, always. Most especially my husband, who has been with me every step of the way and is my ultimate support. Also, my fans. All the random people that have read my novel and take the time to contact me, some of them even becoming some of my best friends (shout out to you Sandy!)
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Keep writing, oh, and it’d be cool to have some people read my books. That’s a nice feeling to.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
With crazy loud music (Usually imagine dragons, movie soundtracks, or Lindsey Stirling.) Loads of funions and chocolate, and a giant leather couch I can sprawl out on.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I want readers to feel a sense of something new. I want readers to be excited and be surprised with every twist and turn. I write so each line is important, and every paragraph has an easter egg. I live for those ‘ah ha’ moments, and hope my readers find joy with that as well!