By Terri Nolan
According to author Addison Brae, dark energy comes from the cosmos theory—dark matter bringing planets and stars together while dark energy pushes them apart. It’s this metaphor that’s at the heart of her latest novel.
In Becker Circle, the novel preceding DARK ENERGY, Gillian Davis was a CPA by day and bartender at night. Life took a turn for the worse that resulted in a murder investigation. Still in recovery mode, Gillian ditches accounting and agrees to manage a bar for her friend and mentor, Pinkie. This is where we find her at the opening of DARK ENERGY.
Gillian is not long on the job when Pinkie’s bar is raided by the FBI, and he is hauled off in handcuffs. In addition to managing both of Pinkie’s bars, Gillian is dealing with the emotional uncertainty of a pending trial while engaged in a new relationship.
While performing her managerial duties, she finds deposits that don’t square with receipts. Does the money have anything to do with Pinkie’s arrest? When Gillian discovers evidence of cryptojacking, she will stop at nothing to determine how and why it’s happening. She must clear Pinkie. But who can she trust? Is one of the staff behind the scheme? Just as the title implies, what she learns is dark and dangerous.
In this interview, Brae chats with The Big Thrill about her characters, special cocktails, and her writing journey.
Gillian is a strong character. How was she born?
She has a mash-up of traits I admire in women I know, a little of me, and lots of imagination. Her bad-assery is inspiring, and her flaws make her real. Gillian’s best quality: if she makes a promise, she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it.
Pinkie’s Too is a bar. Do you have a special cocktail for readers of The Big Thrill?
A cocktail of any kind is appropriate since Gillian is a bartender and bar manager. She’s also a CPA and analytical, so she gives her regulars nicknames to remember what they order, such as Creepy and Coke, Vodka Veronica, Bradweiser, and King Joey Jäger. Two cocktails readers might enjoy are book character favorites:
Gilly Bean: 1 oz. vodka, 1 oz. rum, 1 oz. orange juice, ½ oz. lime juice, ½ oz. grenadine, 2 oz. club soda. Shake with ice, pour in a martini or lowball glass, and top with a lime twist.
Pinkie’s Old Fashioned: 2 tsp. simple syrup, 3 dashes orange bitters, 1 oz. Hennessey cognac, 1 oz. bourbon. Stir in a lowball glass. Add ice. Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.
Tell us about your writing journey.
While growing up, no one encouraged me to think big. To dream. My destiny was to work, get married, have kids, then retire. Me? I don’t think so. About 10 years ago, when I took a mini work sabbatical, I realized I could do lots more than live the expected life. The extra time motivated me to clean out boxes I had lugged with me for many moves. In one was the diary I wrote when I lived in England as a teen. The diary contents sparked the idea for the first novel I ever wrote. I didn’t tell a soul until I had 30,000 words written. That’s when I realized I could finish a novel. I was selective who I told so no one could discourage me. I signed a publishing contract for that book in March, and it should be released in 2021.
There’s only one first novel and nothing comes close to that thrill, even if it is being published after several others. What is your writing routine? Do you outline or are you a pantser?
I write whenever I can, mostly on weekends or at the end of a workday when I can sip wine and relax. The plotting approach depends on the story. Before I write, there’s always a full story in my head and then a synopsis. I wrote two young adult manuscripts as a pantser starting with a strong beginning and end. Then I filled in the middle. Since Becker Circle and DARK ENERGY are first person suspense, I plotted them to keep track of clues, and when the main character discovers them. I also immerse myself in the book’s setting. Becker Circle and DARK ENERGY take place in the bar scene, so I often wrote sitting at bars around the US and talking to bartenders and patrons for inspiration.
How does your day job inform your storytelling?
Unfortunately, writing novels doesn’t pay for the shoes, vintage clothes, and travel I enjoy; therefore, I’m a public relations and marketing consultant by day. That means I write a lot of articles, video scripts, and web content. Lately, I’ve been working with artificial intelligence, which has inspired a chilling speculative thriller about how A.I. might affect our human relationships in the future.
Do you have any favorite conferences you enjoy?
I took part in an amazing ITW master class with Steven James in July. I was disappointed not to have the opportunity to attend my first live ThrillerFest. SCBWI has hosted my favorite conferences so far because they’re nurturing and very thorough—from craft to the business of publishing.
If you could tell our readers one thing, what would it be?
This is a tough one to answer right now. Becker Circle and DARK ENERGY take place in bars where smart young people party way too much. People I’ve met and things I’ve seen or experienced inspired characters and events. Since the world shut down in March 2020, some of these young people have passed away. Not from a virus, but from conditions related to mental illness and substance abuse. Each death is a reminder of how important human lives are. The situation is serious. If a friend is suffering, please encourage them to seek help. It’s never too early or too late to help save a life. If we work together, we can make it through this.
Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters, and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts, and other content as an independent marketing consultant.
When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes, and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing, and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.
Addison writes new adult and adult romantic suspense and young adult contemporary fiction. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, RWA Kiss of Death chapter, Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Writers’ League of Texas.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.