Q & A Coffee Time — Just You and Me

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter then you know I’m currently overseas in beautiful Russia right now. So while I’m gone, I thought we’d sit down over coffee (or, in my case, chai) and have a little Q & A.

These are questions that readers (you!) have asked me either via my Facebook page or Goodreads or somewhere else.

Q: Wait…you’re in Russia right now? What’s that all about?

A: You can follow along on the journey via my Instagram page–that should explain it all. πŸ™‚ But I’ll be doing a big wrap-up blog post when I return later this month! In short, we are visiting friends and having good fellowship, hubby is taking part in baseball events there, and I am doing book research.

Q: How old were you when you first published your novel?

A: A Time to Die released when I was twenty-seven! You can read my author story here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Q:Β Any updates on your next book?

A: Actually, I’m glad you asked. IΒ do have updates and I’ll be sharing some big news in my next newsletter. So if you’re not signed up for it, then make sure you are or you might miss the big announcement and juicy goodies! πŸ˜‰ (You can sign up here–> https://nadinebrandes.com/my-newsletter)

Q: How many countries have you been to?

A: Erm….aΒ lot. At least 16.

  • Korea
  • Russia
  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Great Britain (England, Scotland, Bermuda)
  • Iceland
  • France
  • Belgium
  • The Netherlands
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Panama
  • Miscellaneous (aka, I don’t know where to put these) — British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Bahamas.


Q: Are there any genres you don’t think you could write but would be interested in doing?

A: I don’t think I could write contemporary YA, but I’d love to try it someday. I just think I’d be terrible. πŸ˜› Oh also hard sci-fi. I just don’t have the brain for it.

Q: When those first ideas of a story blossom and you start to work on it, what comes first? Character/s, world or plot?

A: Ooh, it differs a bit, but usually it’s the world or the “big question” (like “How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?) When I write it, I tackle plot first, then characters, then fill in descriptions. I actually wrote a blog post on the different types of writers out there, and that’s how I figured out what I was.

Q: How do your write a 5-6 page synopsis without rambling?Β 

A: I use the Snowflake Method! I do it one layer at a time and do it as though I’m developing the story for myself–not writing a synopsis for someone else.

Q: Do you snack while you write? Top three favorite snacks?

A: Yes! TEA (#1 and always #1), then homemade popcorn (fav!) And I can eat a giant bowl of it without feeling guilty or getting gross fingers. πŸ˜› then probably grape tomatoes. I know. I’m a weird snacker. I don’t allow myself to snack on Oreos unless it’s a VERY special day. Those are “reward foods” πŸ˜›

Q: What’s your favorite kind of tea?

A: Yorkshire tea! It’s British and I buy it online and drink it with milk and sugar. πŸ™‚ This is the only way to drink it. Come to my house and I will make you a proper brew. πŸ˜‰

Q: What’s your favorite thing about writing?

A: Oh goodness, I fall more and more in love with all of it! I love long days of giant word counts, I love the creative process of brainstorming a new story, I love trying to outline and realizing I never stick to my outline, I love how I can be discouraged one moment and then on top of the world by evening after a scene works, I love editing and tweaking all the little things until I feel the story shine….I could go on. There’s very little I dislike about writing. πŸ˜€

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

A: Ahh! This question is so hard! I think Russia will always be the answer because God imprinted it on my heart. But closely following Russia would be France–the countryside, not the city. 😊

Me writing in a castle/manor in France (2015)

Q: What genre do you see yourself NEVER writing?

A: Horror. I can’t go that dark.

Q: Favorite Lunar Chronicles book? And also girl?

A: ALL OF THEM! No, actually I will always love Cinder. But I think Cress is my favorite main character.


What would you like to know about me? Ask in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!

Questions for you:

  • How many countries have you visited?
  • Favorite snack food?
  • Current music/band/soundtrack obsession?




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: β€œhubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

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  1. Can’t wait to see what your new book is going to be about!! I’ve heard great things about your trilogy, but… *cough cough* I’m waiting for a paperback.

    Hmm, the only time I’ve been into another country was when we went to Niagara Falls and crossed the border into Canada. We didn’t get off the bridge, though. Not sure if that counts.

    Favorite snack food…. CHOCOLATE. Dark, please.

    Current music obsession: I’ve really been liking For King and Country and some Shane and Shane lately.

    Great post and enjoy your time in Russia!


    • I can’t wait to share about my new book!

      As for the paperbacks for the Out of Time Series–they’ll be returning by the end of summer! πŸ™‚

      Niagra Falls totally counts. πŸ˜‰ Even though it was just on a bridge. Airports count, too.

      I adore For King and Country! They’ll be doing a concert near me soon and I’m going to try and go. EEP!

  2. It’s so awesome that you’re Russia right now. I’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t had a chance yet.

    Question for you: Do you enjoy Russian music? Any favorites songs?

    Outside the US, I’ve visited 5 countries: Canada, Brazil, France, Switzerland, and Italy. And I hope to add many more to my list.

    Favorite snack food? It probably changes depending on what I feel like. But I really enjoy dried cranberries. And tea…always tea.

    Currently, the music playing in my head is all the French songs we learned in worship and chorus practice during my most recent visit.

    I’ll be looking forward to more reports from Russia, wishing I was there too.

    • I can’t say I know much (if any) Russian music. Any recommendations?

      Ooh! You’ve been to some neat countries! I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.

      Yes. TEAAAA! And I also enjoy dried cranberries!

  3. Thanks for the chai chat! Love it. <3

    Countries: I've been /all over/ the US, which feels like it should count, since each state could be a European country. πŸ˜‰ But /outside/ the US, I've been to Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ireland, and Austria. Wow! Is that all? I have friends and family who are missionaries all over the world and I work with refugees, so I /feel/ like I've been more places than I have.

    My current WIP started out as a Beauty and the Beast retelling that took charge of itself, but I still intend it to have flavors of its French origin. So, I *really* want to go to France for a research trip!

    Snack: Hmm, I do love chai. When I was a teacher, I had Chai Wednesday, and all my students could grab a cuppa during our discussion. I'm not far off with your cherry tomatoes, either. My favorite snack is probably chopping up cucumbers and cherry tomatoes and mixing them with olive oil, vinegar, and salt. πŸ˜€

    Music: I am currently rediscovering For King and Country. *heart eyes* Run Wild came up on Spotify, and I realized it's probably the theme song for my WIP.

    Keeping you in my prayers and can't wait to hear all about Russia!

    Your Instagram posts are delightful, by the way.


    • Aww thanks for joining me. πŸ˜‰

      Oh France is GORGEOUS! You definitely need to go there someday and hole up in a manor or castle and write…for research of course. πŸ˜‰

      Now you have me wanting to munch on cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

      Also, I adore For King and Country.

      Thank you for your prayers and for following the journeys God’s taking me on. <3

    • I only made it halfway through my response comment before putting on For King and Country as background music. LOL

    Well, I’ve never been out of the country before (BUT I’m going to be a missionary when I grow up so I will be out of the country someday…. *winkwink*) I’d love to visit Scotland someday, though! I AM IN LOVE WITH SCOTTISH ACCENTS. <333
    Fav snack food….hmm, I don't snack on stuff terribly much, but DARK CHOCOLATE IS PERFECT FOR SNACKING ON. DON'T DENY IT. xD
    Current music obsession…Christina Grimme!!!!!!!!!! I lovelovelove her voice. Pleassse tell me you've heard of her. If not–GO LISTEN TO HER. xD (cool fact: she was a Christian! ^_^)

  5. Wow, that’s a lot of countries! πŸ˜› I’ve never been outside the US… In fact, I’ve only ever been in three states.
    I know. πŸ˜› It’s pretty pathetic. Someday I’ll travel, though. πŸ˜‰

    My favorite snack food is definitely pretzels. Just normal ones. And no dipping them in weird sauces. xP Eggrolls are also good, but they’re more of a meal than a snack.

    There’s a men’s choir version of The Lonely Mountain (from the Hobbit) which I really like the sound of… xD https://youtu.be/9v_FFe3d5hI

  6. You’ve been to Finland? Don’t you just love it? My mom is from there so we visit quite often. It is so beautiful!!

    I’ve visited 7 countries -the U.S (obviously), Finland, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands.

    Hopefully in the next few years I can go on a band trip that I’ve been nominated for that visits maybe 7-9 countries in Europe!

    My current music obsessions are with the Oh Hellos and Hans Zimmer -specifically the soundtrack for the gladiator which is MARVELOUS!!!

    • Yes! I was only there for three days, but loved getting a taste of the culture. The country itself is gorgeous!

      That band trip sounds AMAZING! Oh, I hope you get to go!

  7. Love this. Love YOU! I’ve never even been on a plane. πŸ™‚ You’re inspiring me. Well, you always do. Be safe!!!

    -Blue Ninja

  8. Wow, you’ve traveled all over! I went to Germany, Austria, and The Netherlands this past May – my first time out of the U.S. besides barely over the border into Canada – and it was incredible! I’d been all over America but never overseas. If traveling and jet lag didn’t make me get sick, I would love to travel to all the places you listed. πŸ˜›

    Ooh, I’d just love to see you try contemporary! Because then you could put in shy bookworms/writers with oreo obsessions.;) But that genre is hard for me to come up with any ideas for, too, so you’re not alone in that by any means. xD

    I hope you have a just fabulous time in Russia! I love stalking your Instagram for the stunning pictures and beautiful stories behind each one. πŸ˜‰

    • How fun for you to visit so much of Europe! EEP!

      Yes, I live off of Dramamine when traveling. And the jetlag has gotten harder and harder, so I always try to leave a good solid day of recovery in my trip. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

      I haven’t completely ruled out Contemporary someday. I want to be able to mention oreos in my booooooks!

  9. Q: How many countries have you visited?
    A: Besides the U.S.,I have been to 10 countries. Unfortunately, 3 or 4 of them were just layovers πŸ™‚ Russia will always be my favorite. Hope you love Russia as much as I do!

    Q: Favorite snack food?
    A: Currently hot tamales πŸ™‚

    Q: Current music/band/soundtrack obsession?
    A: Not sure that I have one at the moment. However, Tauren Wells recently released an album that I’m enjoying πŸ™‚


  10. one of my favorite snacks is tea (we get an English breakfast tea made by members mark that’s good (also probably less expensive.) I don’t write… but I’m learning cgi (aka 3d modeling) I enjoy it. but I don’t really eat while I do this. I like the christian rock band skillet. I’ve never traveled outside the US, however I would like to get my pilots license.

I love hearing from you!