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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Elliott

Interview with Lillian Brummet

Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media Group, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion repair services, numerous award-winning non-fiction books, a YouTube channel and 2 popular blogs.

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How did you get started in your writing career?

The pen (or keyboard) and I are very good companions and long-time friends since childhood. I've always enjoyed writing and used it as a healing tool at times... but I didn't consider it as a career until 1998. I was 28 at the time, dealing with depression while recovering from a car accident and the subsequent loss of my business. This life change left me with a desire to leave a measurable positive legacy, to have meaning and purpose in my life, to fill my days with positivity. I took some career and personality tests at the college 6 years prior, and found myself looking back at those results with renewed interest. Time and time again I saw writing genres popping up. Dave, too, was feeling the same way about his future, and so he decided to take a course about the business of writing - how to query, how to manage files, how to deal with publications, how to ... well all those behind the scenes activities. I found myself taking the course along with him. One assignment had us coming up with an article that had the potential of becoming a column. I did, and that Trash Talk column was picked up immediately, used in multiple small and medium sized publications from France and Africa to the UK, US and Canada. Today, that same column evolved into the 2-book series: Trash Talk - It's Easy To Be Green. That was the start... my first jobs were as an assignment writer (publications told me what to write) and as a staff writer for a popular citywide newsletter. Later, I did a 7-year stint as a professional book reviewer - which I no longer do, and then a few years as a product reviewer. I still do product reviews on the Brummet's Conscious Blog.

What inspires you to write?

Writing gives me the chance to create and inspire positive change in the world. As a staff writer I was able to interview alternative agriculture, conscious businesses and green energy experts, highlighting their work and learning from them at the same time. As a freelance writer I could address topics that shared do-able tips, encouraging the readers to create positive change and fulfill their goals. As a blogger I am able to cover a wide array of topics, interviews with inspiring people and organizations, share tips to help entrepreneurs create their own positive waves, help people understand the media - how to work with them, how publications or podcast are run. We highlight green businesses, celebrate people making a difference, share non-profits' information, and freely offer helpful resources for writers or musicians. As an author I share conscious living and proactive business tips on a deeper level. What genre do you write in? Do you find it hard to stick to one genre?

It is funny that you ask this... In one view, we write in several genres: poetry, green living, nutrition, marketing, memoir, short story and fiction. And from the outside view it might seem like we do indeed have trouble sticking to one genre. (She laughs) In a way, that is true - we have a lot of information, a lot of creativity too kicking around both Dave's and my head. Our Writer's Philosophy started with the idea of encouraging people to stop pointing fingers, being victims or falling into apathy due to feeling overwhelmed. We encourage our readers to roll up their sleeves and become proactive in their lives, and realize they can make a difference in the world. That is the main theme behind everything we do.

In your opinion, what makes a perfect book?

Well, to be honest - there is no "perfect" book. Even the great big authors with huge budgets and teams of helpers behind the scenes... even their books contain mistakes. Even the best known author will struggle from time to time with a scene that just doesn't work with their readers.

For non-fiction, the perfect book is well researched - the author knows the genre, what is missing in that genre and they fill that gap. My pet peeve with non-fiction books is being excited with expectations, but then discover they repeat information, use large font and lots of white space that give the illusion that the book contains more information than it actually does. However, I adore non-fiction and have read literally thousands of books in this genre.

For poetry - the perfect book is well written and has something to say. Poetry is where writers get to play. Much like painting it is good to know the discipline of poetry academics, but then go out and break all the rules if you want to. (She laughs) You can paint wildly with bright colors or subtly, whisper or color within the lines.

Fiction, now this is a difficult place. We have to write with just enough detail to create the scene, the character, the emotion - but we have to leave just enough detail out so that the reader can imagine the world the way they see it. It is a delicate balance. There are so many stories out there that it is hard to find one that does not represent something you read before. Maybe the character, or the plot is similar. Creating something unique, that also pulls that reader in - that is where the author's real talent is revealed. In fiction, the reader is looking to be pulled into another universe, another time, another realm... they are looking to escape the stress of real life, for entertainment. A "perfect" fiction book is going to embrace all of these aspects.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?

I spend a lot of time marketing, networking, managing the office communications and organization, setting up for upcoming projects, taking courses to improve skills here and there, creating content for the Brummet Media Channel and 2 blogs... Not much. (ha ha) I do some dog sitting occasionally, a casual service that we offer. The gardens, harvests and processing take up at least half of my days March - October. The dogs... and housecleaning take up the rest of my time. If I do get some leisure time, I'm spending it in the hot tub, lounging on our deck with a glass of wine and music, or in the sitting area down in the yard listening to the birds and tossing the ball for the girls.

Since becoming a writer, how has your life changed? How has it stayed the same?

My life completely changed after becoming a writer. It was like entering a massive university. In the beginning I had no idea, no inkling at all as to the wide array of jobs, topics and people I would be exposed to. Writing also led me to a decade of hosting a popular talk radio show, then a couple years running a podcast, 6 years running a newsletter... years ticking by filled with an array of experiences as I slowly evolved into what I do now.

What is your writing process? Do you discover the plot or the characters first?

I have the idea, write it all out and digest it for a while. Then I'll do research in that genre, read a few books, see what reviewers are saying, who the authors are, etc. I am looking for how I can stand out in that genre, for things I can offer that others do not. Then I'll delve into the manuscript, poking my head up to sip on coffee until my back aches from sitting to long. Much of the fiction poetry and short stories that I have written so far were inspired by dreams - I have very vivid, adventurous dreams at times.

Do you have a favorite character from books you’ve written?

Yes, I have this short story on the back burner - based on a dream I had. Two of the main characters are the last blood members of a tribe - they go on a short adventure that ends with their ancestors showing the way out of a crisis by illuminating a path lined with pictographs. Looking back, it was as if the path never existed and in their bewildered haze they begin tripping on ancient remains. Those two characters represent to me the sadness of human kind's treatment of one another and our lost connections with our ancestors. The story, however is supposed to be a mystical adventure. I keep thinking about this story and where I want to take it from the draft form it is in now.

Where do you hope to be as a writer five years from now?

Great question! Dave and I do, in fact, have a current 5-year plan in place. This summer we are releasing the trilogy, one book at a time to allow for promotion activities. Behind the scenes we are working on a backyard garden guidebook (From One Small Yard) for 2024, which will act like a companion to our cookbook (From One Small Garden - Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes). Following this, we plan on updating the Purple Snowflake Marketing (PSM) book - a new edition, perhaps, by then... we are talking 2025 now. Starting in 2025, work will begin on creating on-site biodynamic gardening courses. We also intend to turn the PSM book into an online course... which takes us into 2026-27 now. By 2027 we will have an online store, with Dave's youtube channel churning out content by then. Somewhere in there we hope to publish a short-story collection, possibly using Vella or some other option.

...Other than that, there's not much going on (she laughs).

How do you handle writers block?

Writer's block usually comes from either being overwhelmed or exhausted. Finding a way to clear the cobwebs in the mind is very helpful. Mundane, meditative chores or taking a walk or sitting on the deck - no noise, no music, no devices - just letting the mind rest. This often opens up the mind, taking your writing places you didn't imagine before. Overcoming the intensity of feeling overwhelmed is actually quite easy. Start by thinking about who you are writing for. Let's say it is a magazine - take a look at their site, keywords, and ads... who is their circulation (their readers) and what are they looking for. Search previous issues (most sites have a search box) to find the genre or topic you are writing in - seeing what they published before can often give you just the right angle, just the right topic ideas to get you started.

Then, start writing - don't worry about grammar, sticking to the topic, or anything. Just start randomly chatting on paper about the topic you plan to write in. Doing this, having that on paper, helps you organize the thoughts. Drop it at this point for a half hour, go take a shower, play with the dogs, make a meal. Come back and look at it again with a fresh mindset. You'll likely have so many ideas that you'll end up writing a series of articles on the topic at hand!

I did a series addressing this issue on the Brummet Media Channel, in fact - these two links will take your readers to a couple that I feel offer the best, most helpful advice:

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?


· Understand what the publishing process is like.

· Research and create a marketing plan.

· Be patient with the process.

· Be patient with yourself - no one is 100% all the time; know you will have to update skills occasionally.

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