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An Interview with Brooke Stewart


Brooke Stewart is currently working on her first novel, a contemporary sports romance. When she isn’t furiously writing complex characters, and encouraging them to fall in love like she did her Barbies back in grade-school. Brooke enjoys baking, from cookies to pies to sourdough bread and everything in between, if you hear a stand mixer running late at night it’s probably Brooke baking cookies.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I have a handful of loves outside of family, from reading to baking, to dancing, to sports. One of the major leagues sports I follow religiously outside of hockey, is baseball. My hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals, are near and dear to my heart. Which somewhat inspired this book, I feel like knowing the sport of baseball and all the rules and intricacies within it I can hopefully tell a story from a different prospective. And who doesn’t love baseball pants?

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title of my book is Balk, which is a term used in baseball.

The word “balk” has two different meanings; there’s the baseball term—a balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s)—and then there’s the dictionary term: to hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking. I feel like this correlates to my character’s journey throughout their story in the fact that they are both hesitant and unwilling to fall in love, to let their guards down after being hurt by different people in their lives, and if in fact they do allow their selves to love and be loved in return it is an illegal movement against everything they have told themselves.

Describe your dream book cover.

Oh man, describing my dream book cover makes me think of that one scene in Miss Congeniality where the Miss USA contestant has to describe her perfect date, not too hot and not too cold just light enough for a jean jacket.

But, back to the point, in my mind’s eye I picture a sunset with stadium lights in the background, my main male character is standing with his back to the camera on the pitcher’s mound. With a baseball gripped in a three-finger fastball with a red heart painted on the cover of the baseball perfectly centered for the reader to see. With a caption like: “Striking out has never been harder.” Or something tongue-in-cheek like that.

Something simple, not too flashy, but will catch the reader/buyer’s attention because again, baseball pants.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“River” by Patty Griffin

“All comes back to you” by JJ Shiplet

“Precious Love” by James Morrison

“Raise Hell” by Brandi Carlile

“Cold” by Chris Stapleton

“Lover” by Noah Gundersen (Acoustic)

“Rome” by Dermot Kennedy

“Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” by John Mayer

“You’re Mine” by Cobi

“If You Keep Leaving Me” by Anderson East

“Sunday” by Dermot Kennedy

To just name a few…

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

I love Kate Canterbury’s The Walsh series—the family/sibling dynamic is what I strive for. I felt like her characters were so very real in their trauma and aspirations and love for each other.

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan is my #1 sports romance; it’s football-based but the angst, the spice, the characters are so complete, it’s truly a comfort read.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’m a vendor at my local farmers market, I sell artisan breads, cakes, cookies and other pastries. It’s hobby that has turned into a nice little side hustle. I love having returning customers from summer to summer and having new customers try my baked goods and just the look on their face when they bite into a chocolate chip cookie is an amazing feeling.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

My grandpa inspired me, along with my mother he instilled in me my love for reading from Nancy Drew to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars adventures to The Lord of the Rings, which was a favorite of my grandpa’s—he loved the adventure in The Hobbit most of all.

It wasn’t until I got to see the LOTR movies that my middle-school brain started drowning in ideas. My first book, which was written in a notebook backwards because I’m left-handed and the metal spirals hurt my hand, was a Lord of the Rings spinoff. Which, looking back, is hilarious to think of because a 12-year-old thinking she could write anywhere near the perfectionism that is Tolkien’s world is bold and delusional. But it was based off of Legolas’s sister and the adventures she had after the One Ring was destroyed.

My grandpa got a kick out of reading what he could from my chicken-scratch handwriting. But, that’s where the desire to write came from, and I haven’t looked back since.

Where is your favorite place to write?

In my bedroom, where I have a wingback chair that is perfectly comfortable and old. Add my Spotify playlist and I’m in the zone.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not that I can think of, besides needing music. I cannot have a too quiet space to write.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

When I read, I always want to be entertained. I want to feel the characters joy or pain, I want to feel like I am in their world standing beside them as everything falls apart or finally comes together. That’s what I hope my future readers take away from my book. They might not like my characters direction or actions but if they can walk away after finishing a book like “where did the time go?” And forget about the outside world they are so immersed in mine then I know I did a good job as an author. I just want to entertain. I’m not walking into this profession thinking I’m writing the next Iliad or LOTR or Twilight. I’m writing what I like and what hopefully other readers will like.

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