As seen in the September issue of Uncaged Book Reviews
Uncaged: Your debut novel, Becker Circle is quite a beginning! Can you tell readers more about the book and what inspired you to start writing?
After getting out of a really bad marriage, I moved into an apartment community where lots of us were in various stages of fresh starts for many different reasons. Meeting so many smart, successful, flawed people made me realize that no matter the situation, fresh starts are all very similar. We experiment. Screw up. Each mistake takes us to where we’re supposed to be. This is exactly what happened with Gillian when she moved to Becker Circle.
The inspiration to start writing came nine years ago when I took a mini work sabbatical. Extra times tends to motivate me to tidy up, so I cleaned out boxes I had lugged with me for years. In one was the diary I wrote when I lived in England as a teen. The diary contents sparked the idea for my first manuscript that I hope to revise and publish someday.
Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about?
My day job has me writing about how businesses can use artificial intelligence, which has started a fascinating romantic suspense brewing in my head. Based on reader feedback, I’m also toying with the idea of creating more adventures for Gillian in Becker Circle. Watch for one or both in 2019.
Uncaged: What are some of your favorite genres to read?
My taste varies, but I especially enjoy thrillers, mysteries, young adult, and a good biography.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you feel you can take away from them?
Reviews are very important, and I do read and appreciate them. Typically it’s clear whether the reader picked a book that wasn’t their thing, and that’s okay. Novels are like dating. Just because someone doesn’t love it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the book. If I see a recurring comment, I certainly take it to heart.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
As soon as the doors opened at my first book festival, a lovely woman made a beeline to me and told me she just read Becker Circle and loved it. A few weeks later, we were having dinner at House of Blues. Our lovely server walked and worked while reading Becker Circle. She told us chapter one was her life a year ago. These moments will stick with me always.
Uncaged: You are attending a book festival in September. How exciting is that?
Yes! To wrap up 2018, I’ll be at the McKinney Book Festival September 22 (and also speaking at the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, North Texas Chapter), and the Fort Worth Bookfest October 20—both in the Dallas, Texas area. Book festivals are excellent places to connect with readers. I enjoy meeting people who are passionate about books. They inspire me.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
There’s nothing better than spending time with my amazing and creative other half. I also have a passion for jogging, vintage clothing, shoes, entertaining, spending quality time with good friends, and travel. My favorite place on the planet is the town of Oia on Santorini in Greece where you see unforgettable sunsets.
Uncaged: What can you tell us that is very unique about you?
This question stumped me so I had to ask for help from my amazing other half. He reminded me I’m a planner. I have plan A and B and C for almost everything I do—working with clients or planning a party, vacation, or dinner. But I don’t plan my novels. Those come much more organically.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Please always remember we’re never too old—or too anything—to start over. Also, I challenge everyone to pick a time during your day to read something you appreciate. Let books take you places. Finally, talk to the authors you enjoy. Tell us what you like and don’t like. We write for you, and we do listen!
[symple_box color=”black” fade_in=”false” float=”center” text_align=”left” width=””]Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant.
When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.[/symple_box]
My first and only boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. My name’s Gillian, and I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub smack in drama central where most every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me—at a huge price.
A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and I intend to prove it. We dig deeper, grow closer, and make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer. Watch the trailer.
A portion of the author proceeds go to Hope’s Door New Beginning Center to help fight domestic abuse.
I’ve got to say something. Stop this. Get back to the plan.
“Sir, can we talk about this? I have an idea that might work better.”
Silence except for the water.
Finally I find the nerve to look back.
Absolutely no one is there. Every living soul in the park vanished along with my sanity like animals do when they smell danger.
Jon’s going to kill me if I don’t get arrested or murdered like Bobby first.
I look around at the empty stretch of grass frantic. Do I go home? Back to the pub? Talk to Pinkie? Call Jon? Are they watching me? Nothing seems safe. I’m not sure how to fix this—if anyone even can. What fuck am I going to do?
My feet pound on the pavement. Out of habit I head toward the pub. The waiters at the Italian restaurant whistle and wave from across the street. What used to upset me is reassuring. I stop and turn in the direction of Pinkie’s, and then home. Instead I lean against the building and look up to the sky.
I don’t talk to her often anymore. Not like I used to. I can always count on Mom to help me find my strength. It was during long conversations with her staring at the sky when I plotted slipping out of Boston during the holidays while Connor was gone. She inspired doubling up on classes so I could finish early. Mom gave me the courage to leave him.
“I can’t pack up and disappear this time.” I look for her in the stars again. Facing it is the only option. I can’t run. I have to figure this out for Bobby. For you and Dad. For me. But how?
People walk out of the George & Dragon. Laughing. Carefree. Think, Gillian. Think.
Maybe I was the one who found my courage all along. The only way I ever made it through anything big is one step at a time. Follow their instructions. I can’t screw up.
I jump at the vibration in my pocket. It’s Jon. “Talk to me…you ok?”
My fingers fight to find the letters. “Meeting fine…headed home. Brunch?”
“Thank God. Yes see you in morning.”
I inventory the people on the sidewalks and turn toward my building. Step one, figure out how to tell Jon he’s out of the deal. Or maybe I don’t. Postpone so there’s time to get myself out of taking this on alone. Why didn’t I wear quieter shoes? My heels click on the brick sidewalk announcing myself like an old clunker car with no muffler.
When a car approaches from behind I walk faster, my heels echoing even louder. I glance back but don’t even know what to look for since the guy in the park didn’t show his face. A girl about my age sits behind the wheel of a taxi-yellow compact. The tension in my body eases but I’m still a wreck. I constantly look around thinking someone’s about to pounce out of every shadow. Everyone looks normal walking dogs or strolling between bars. But what does normal look like?
Seeing my stairs is a relief. Keys in hand, I break my one-step-at-a-time in heels rule to get home faster. To hell with rules. I’ve followed them all my life.
Rule sixteen of my new life—Break more rules.
My sofa is the happiest thing I’ve seen all day. I drop my coat and purse at the door and slip my shoes off on the way. The day’s stresses and lack of sleep roll over me like the densest fog. All I want to do is sleep. And forget.
This is a debut novel, and it sure doesn’t read like one. Addison Brae is already proving to be a great storyteller with a nicely moving plot. I’m not a heavy reader in the mystery/suspense genre, but this book kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. After the half way point, it is non-stop. It is first person narrative, which is not my favorite, but again, the author did a good job with it, although I still think it would have been even better if it wasn’t.
The characters, especially Gillian who leaves her horrible boyfriend behind and moves to Texas. As she works two jobs, one of those jobs is bartending a few nights a week. When a person she knows jumps from a high rise balcony, she knows it wasn’t an accident. But she starts getting a bit too close to the truth with Jon’s help, and then the tension ramps up.
It’s a promising debut from an author and this book has put her on my radar and is one to watch. Reviewed by Cyrene