July 27, 2014

Interview: Brenda Corey Dunne author of Dependent @overdunne #RLFblog #amreading


About the Book

Title: Dependent: A Novel
Genre: Fiction/ Literary
Author Name: Brenda Corey Dunne
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R for violence, sexual themes.

Interview with Brenda Corey Dunne

Why did you write this book?
About nine years ago, I took a look in the mirror, and—like many military spouses—faced one of the things that scared me the most. What would happen if I got that soul-destroying knock on the door? I was in my mid-thirties, not working, and in danger of losing my hard-earned physiotherapy license. What would I do if I was left alone, like so many military spouses are, to raise three children with no career? It was an eye-opener, for sure. I sat down that day, and wrote it out—in fictional form—and then put it away. It was too hard, too emotionally draining to think about. I couldn't write it. But I knew, deep down inside, that Ellen's story was one that had to be written. It stayed in the back of my mind as I watched friends, colleagues, and neighbors deal with that very knock. Finally, in 2012, I forced myself to push through and finish it. It's not an easy story to read, nor is it an easy story to write. But I wanted to make it real.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Just about anything YA, especially urban fantasy, and some pre-dystopian. I read for entertainment. Life is real enough as it is!
What is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
Depends on which book I'm reading at the time. I'm fickle, and switch regularly. If I had to choose I'd say Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I love her wit.
Do you enjoy films and/or TV shows? Which are your favorites?
I love to escape in a good movie, and like books my favorites change regularly. I loved Super 8—Aliens, coming of age and some really good lines: "Drugs are so bad!". I also loved the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice. Could watch that movie a hundred times. But for pure wit, intelligence and brilliant screenwriting I'd have to choose the TV show Sherlock. Every episode is like a mini-movie in itself.
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
Right now I'm in the middle of a cross-continental move, so my laptop is a little lonely. I have two projects on the go: a sequel to Treasure in the Flame (my self-pubbed historical fiction), and also a contemporary story about the meaning of 'home' for a military child. Both are at the 20k mark or so, so lots of work to come!
Please tell us about your latest book.
As I mentioned above, Dependent is not an easy book. It's the story of how a widowed military spouse (a 'dependent') re-discovers her self-identity. Married young, and the victim of sexual assault, she is riddled with guilt and self-doubt when the love of her life is killed in a military training accident. She drifts in a grey, anchorless fog, haunted by memories. Only when she meets up with an old friend from her past can she deal with her demons and move on.
The story is raw, emotional and sometimes uncomfortable. But it's also heartwarming and romantic. Get out your tissues.
When 45-year-old Ellen Michaels loses her husband to a tragic military accident, she is left in a world of gray. For 25 years her life has been dictated by the ubiquitous They—the military establishment that has included her like chattel with John's worldly goods—his Dependents, Furniture, and Effects. They—who have stolen her hopes, her dreams and her innocence, and now in mere months will take away the roof over her head. Ellen is left with nothing to hold on to but memories and guilt and an awful secret that has held her in its grip since she was 19. John's untimely death takes away her anchor, and now, without the military, there is no one to tell her where to go, what to do—no one to dictate who she is. Dependent deals with issues ever-present in today's service families—early marriage, frequent long absences, the culture of rank, and posttraumatic stress, as well as harassment and abuse of power by higher-ranking officials. It presents a raw and realistic view of life for the lives of the invisible support behind the uniform.


There is no more conversation. Young men with close-clipped haircuts straighten up and square their shoulders. Mothers wipe their eyes with soggy tissues. One by one, their sons grasp their duffels and walk forward.
"Michaels, John! Board now!" The man screams.
John turns to face me, a determined gleam in his eyes. "Don't wait up," he says.
I grin half-heartedly and finish our little saying. "Don't be late," I say. He leans forward and kisses me, then nods, turns and walks forward, as if this were the easiest thing in the world, his legs swinging in more of a saunter than a walk. He pops his bag in the compartment and hops up the stairs. Only when he is seated by the window does he look back. He waves to his parents and then his eyes find mine.
I breathe in quickly, caught off guard by what his eyes are saying. My cheeks burn at the dangerous grin he gives me, not much different than that of five weeks ago in the flashing red glow. His gaze flicks down to the neckline of my blouse and below. It's as if he's having sex with me in his mind, as if we are alone and together, not separated by a crowd of sniffling parents and twenty-five feet of soggy paved space. I feel my body respond—my breath quickens and something flutters behind my breastbone. The rush of need shocks away my unshed tears.
I hear the sound of marching feet, slamming doors, and revving engines, but I don't look away. The corners of John's mouth twitch, and the bus moves forward. Parents wave frantically as it pulls away, calling their goodbyes and well wishes to the stench of exhaust and flying water.
I am left alone, standing in a puddle of need and lost dreams as John drives away in search of his own.

Buy This Book

Author Bio
Brenda Corey Dunne

Brenda Corey Dunne grew up in rural New Brunswick, Canada. She originally trained as a physiotherapist and worked several years as a Physiotherapy Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force before meeting the love of her life and taking her release. Since that time she has had frequent moves with her Air Force husband and family, living in such places as Nova Scotia (Canada), Watchfield (England) and Elizabeth City, (NC). She currently resides on the Pacific Coast, in British Columbia, Canada.
Brenda spent several years volunteering on the Board of Directors at a Military Family Resource Centre in Nova Scotia, culminating in a year term as Chairperson of the Board. She completed her first full-length manuscript in 2008 as a bucket-list item and caught the writing bug. Since then she has self-published a work of YA historical fiction (Treasure in the Flame), and has several other manuscripts in various stages of completion. Dependent is her first traditionally published work. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler and Frances Black of Literary Counsel.

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