Would You Eat a Fried Tarantula? – Author Q & A

Would you eat a fried tarantula? (Tweet this)

This was one of the questions my Facebook partiers asked me this week and I expect you to answer it in the comments. We had a blast celebrating the release of A Time to SpeakSo many questions were asked — both crazy and serious — that I thought I’d write up an author Q & A blog post answering them. I also made a few videos for the Facebook party and decided to share them here with you. I mean, I revealed the dork-monster inside me when I made my cookie apology last week (by the way, the books should be arriving at Amazon ANY DAY) so why not just keep the ball rolling?

This post will be a mixture of text and videos. I’ll be writing the answers to the questions I wasn’t able to film.

Are you ready?


What are some songs that inspired scenes in A Time to Speak? Funny you should ask. I’m in the process of putting together a chapter-by-chapter playlist on Spotify so you can know EXACTLY which songs inspired what. 😉 

If I had one superpower, what would it be? To be able to jump into storyworlds!

What are some of the special challenges/opportunities that writing Christian dystopian has presented to you as a writer? I think it’s opened up a lot of opportunities to talk with teens. Dystopian was so big because teens felt like it finally captured the hopelessness that they often feel in their own lives. Writing dystopian with hope has allowed me to speak to those readers and show them that hope is even in the darkest corners of our lives. It’s a challenge to peg the “real” side of the hopelessness without getting too dark, but God’s helped me navigate that road. 🙂

What is my favorite secular song and most hated celebrity and why? This is a really…broad question. LOL. I don’t know that I have one favorite song in the world, but I suppose right now it would be Vapor by The Liturgists. I don’t know that I have a hated celebrity. I don’t like to hate people. 😉 But it would undoubtedly be a celebrity who’s filling the minds of our youth with horrible examples and sad morals.

To break things up a bit, here is the first video I shared at the FB party.

Do you feel like speculative fiction has advantages over other genres in their ability to convey spiritual messages and/or the overall theme of redemption? My first inclination is to say yes! But the thing is, different book genres reach different readers. For example, my dystopian novel (that has very little romance) might have a great message, but a romance reader may not find it as impacting or life-changing as Francine Rivers’ historical romance novel, Redeeming Love. So, in short, I think the ability for impact has more to do with the reader’s tastes (and the author’s vision, of course) in genre.

Did writing this book change you as a person and did you grow closer to God? Did it ever! It changed my entire life and my husband’s in how we pursue Christ and life. I’ve never been so content in Christ than since I started writing this series and allowing God to change me through its questions.

Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why? The Goblet of Fire (book 4) is my favorite book mostly because of when and where I read it. When I started reading Harry Potter, only the first three books were released. When the fourth finally came out, I’d been waiting a whole year (and, for a teenager, that feels like FOREVER!) I was tagging along with my mom to her orchestra practices, so I read this fantastic fantasy book while crouching under an old fold-up table with a live orchestra surrounding me. Yup. Can’t beat that.

Would you rather…sweat peanut butter or salivate queso. Think carefully. This is possibly a more disgusting question than the eating-a-tarantula-question (see next video.) The lovely Emilie Hendryx asked this. (Yes, I’m calling you out!) And I think I’d rather sweat peanut butter. Firstly, because it’s not in my mouth. I dislike peanut butter, so it’s not like sweating it would ruin my taste for it. And most everyone else loves peanut butter, so I’d probably smell good to people. Yup.

How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a writer? I wrote stories from the moment I could hold a pen, but I didn’t decide to pursue writing seriously (aka: pursue publication) until I was a teenager, when I attended my first writers conference — the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? I’d be a freelance editor. Oh wait, I’m already doing that. 😛 Okay, I’d be an atmospherist. Not sure if that’s a job yet, but I’d make it a job. I’d be the person who goes and creates the atmosphere in the Harry Potter World theme park, or the LOTR theme park (that needs to be created.) I love the little details and setting up a place to fit the right atmosphere. Just ask my hubby what I’ve done to our house when I was in a Harry Potter mood. [grin]

Do you read reviews of your books? Yes. Only because I have some sort of magical fairy dust that somehow keeps me immune to the negative reviews. Isn’t that weird? But I love reading reviews and seeing how God has used my story to touch readers in ways that I never even planned while writing it. It’s amazing. And I’m always glad that people are honest in their reviews. I never begrudge someone for a low review. (If I start getting a lot of reviews someday, I’m sure I’ll probably stop reading ALL of them, just for time’s sake. Even now, I’m not sure I’ve read them all. *shrug*)

If you were a Jane Austen character, who would you be? Hm…I’ve watched quite a few Jane Austen movies, but I really don’t know those characters too well. I like to think I’d be Elizabeth Bennet. But maybe that’s just because she’s my favorite. 😉


If one of your books was made into a movie, which book would it be and what famous actor/actress would play the leads? Well, seeing as how I have only one series out so far…it’d be A Time to Die and I have no idea who’d play the leads! My favorite actress is Emma Watson, but she’s too old to be Parvin. I suppose I’d hope for someone I’d never seen in a movie before. A new face, so I wouldn’t already have different emotions attached to the actors. But I’m afraid that Tom Felton would have to play Solomon Hawke. That’s a must, no matter how hold he gets. 😉

Who was your favorite author growing up? J. K. Rowling. Easy. 🙂 And Francine Rivers.

How do you write about the pain Parvin goes through with such clarity and not cringe yourself? Well, I do a lot of research. One of my best friends from college is now a doctor (and one of the most brilliant people I know.) But I’ve also gone through quite a bit of…discomfort myself. I’ve had stitches multiple times. Both my hubby and I have had multiple concussions. I also studied in a therapy-medical field for seven years. I guess when I’m writing the scenes I try to think of all the factors and then weave those in. Oh…and I totally cringe while writing them. 😉

How much time do you devote to writing vs. thinking about the plot and characters? I brainstorm every single night when writing a book. I’ll plan out the next scene as I’m falling asleep, which may not sound very reliable, but it’s become a habit so my brain adapted. 🙂 But when I’m plotting out a new book, usually I’ve been chewing on the idea for a few years and have plotted the thing in my mind.

Are you a morning person or late night owl? I’m…and afternoon crow. LOL. I don’t rise early and I don’t stay up too late.

If you could be a character in a book, which would you be? Some Hogwarts student. [grin] I don’t care who, but as long as I’m not in Slytherin. 😛


YOUR TURN! Pick one of the questions above, and share YOUR answer in the comments. I love learning about you!

MORE QUESTIONS? Just ask me in the comments! Maybe I’ll do another post like this. 🙂




About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Yeah!
    Thanks for answering two of my questions! Although looking back, I realize I should have reworded that one. Oh well.
    Sounds like you know personally all about pain, and that’s probably why you do it so amazingly well in your book. (Plus being a fabulous writer doesn’t hurt!) That’s one of my problems, that I’ve never felt much physical pain, so trying to convey that in my stories is difficult.
    So be blessed you’ve been in pain! ;p

    • Eh, no worries! 🙂
      Even when you haven’t experienced something, like pain, you can always try to find someone or a story of someone who /has/ endured such pain. They can usually help with accurate descriptions, too. 🙂

  2. I would only eat a tarantula if my life absolutely drepended on it. I am such a picky eater it’s not funny. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it… *shudder* oh and thanks for answering my question 🙂

  3. Hmmm. Do I have to know it’s a fried tarantula? If you gave me one without telling me and I thought it was delicious, I’d probably keep eating after you told me what it was. 😀

  4. Ew. Yuck. xP I would not eat a fried tarantula… Maybe if I was starving and that was the only food (if it can be called that…). I’m not a big fan of eating any kind of insect… Blech. 😛
    I love your Q&A videos. They’re so wonderful. xD

  5. I’d eat a tarantula as long as it did not look like one anymore and no one told me what it was one, it was really well cooked, and I was really hungry or did not wish to offend someone bu not eating it….. But it would be better if I did not have to eat one at all….

  6. Aaaah I had to miss part of the party because of a date, so I missed all the question videos. So good to see them all here ^_^
    In answer to the question: Absolutely positively not. Probably only if I would die if I didn’t, or if one of my people was going to die or have something awful happen to them unless I did. Even then, I would gag and probably throw up. (And for the record, spiders and throwing up are my two biggest fears. So it’s just a not good situation all the way around for me 😛 )

  7. Can you script my answers in all future interviews so I can be as polite and gracious as you are answering them?
    I tend to be too candid and put my foot in my mouth. 😀

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