Brianna Joy Crump grew up on the outskirts of Raleigh, North Carolina. While attending Gardner-Webb University, she fell in love with small-town college life and telling stories. After a year of teaching middle school and being a barista in Raleigh, Brianna moved back to GWU to continue her education and work as a residence hall director (a job that she accidentally fell in love with). Brianna currently lives in North Carolina where she spends her days writing books and attending far too many zoom meetings. She has her BA and MA in English, two cats named Jinx and Salem, and an obnoxious number of plants. Of Cages and Crowns is her debut novel.
Want to keep up on all things Brianna, then check out her website or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
What does your writing space look like?
My writing space changes constantly, and, in truth, I wrote a majority of OC&C at my parents' kitchen table but that's no fun so let me tell you about the writing space I have right now. It is an antique sewing table (sans the sewing machine) shoved in the corner of my childhood bedroom. I have a tiny craft cart next to it that sometimes holds books and other times holds a cat bed for whichever one of my cats is the most needy that day. Directly in front of my desk are windows facing out onto the street--perfect for me to get distracted by. And to the left side of the window is a cork board filled with (and surrounded by) various OC&C items such as bookmarks, Wattpad covers, fanart, maps, badges from conferences I've attended, a few postcards from fellow writer friends, and a banner with enamel pins (which I lazily collect). I try to keep the top of my desk relatively clutter free, since I tend to like to space out as I work, so the only things that stay on the top of my desk consistently are a coffee cup warmer that I got on Amazon (I'll link it here because if you don't have it, you need it), a timer that is an hour long for writing sprints, a constellation mug filled with pens, and my laptop.
If you could spend a day with another popular author (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I feel like I should probably say someone really famous or influential, but instead I'm going to be honest: Over the summer I read The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand (book one is Furyborn). At no point in those books did I have any idea what was going to happen next. I was both horrified and overjoyed and blown away. I know when I got done reading the last one I literally tried to explain the plot to anyone who would sit still long enough. I have been begging someone else to read those books so I can have someone to discuss them with because... if you know, you know. I have questions for Claire. Writer questions. Reader questions. The books are a wild ride. I need at least a coffee date with Claire so she can explain her rationale for every decision in that series because I have thoughts.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I will usually reward myself by not thinking about the book for a little while (if there is time). When I'm heavily drafting or writing, I don't usually let myself read or watch a lot of TV -- I know myself and I'm more likely to want to binge someone else's story than I am to want to finish working on my own. After I finish writing a book is when I get to "refill the creative well." It's a time for reading, watching shows I've gotten behind on, discovering new podcasts, and doing things outside of the book I was previously working on. This is also when I might start thinking about a future project if I'm not working on a series.
Is there something you do/have while writing that helps your process? (Music, snacks, etc.)
I had a creative writing professor in college who always told us that we needed to have a consistent way that we write. That didn't mean using the same software or the same pencil (although I guess it could)--what he meant was that we needed to set ourselves up for success before we even started to write. I do this by lighting a candle, turning on the white Christmas lights that hang around my room, turning off the overhead light, making myself a cup of coffee, getting out my writing notebook (or opening whatever software I might be using instead--sometimes I prefer Scrivener or Milanote), turning on my writing playlist, and starting my one-hour sprint timer. I make the space feel like it does when I have my most successful writing sessions. This doesn't always guarantee success, but it helps me to be less distracted and gets my mind ready to write.
What book are you currently reading?
I'm currently rereading Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin on audiobook and I also just started A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker.