Casey Bramble Answers the Question that Haunts all Authors

Today I’m pleased to host, Casey Bramble, author of Windows: A Broken Fairy Tale.


Title – Windows: A Broken Fairy Tale

Author – Casey Bramble

Genre – Young adult, fantasy, lesbian

Without further ado, here’s my guest:

Howdy, I’m your guest blogger Casey Bramble, author of Windows: A Broken Fairy Tale.  This blog will answer two important questions.  Number one is how I came up with the idea for Windows.  Number two is did the story change a little or a lot.

1-      Good question.

2-      A lot.

Now that is a succinct blog.  On the off chance you enjoy reading –quite the leap in logic since you’re perusing this on a book-review blog– I’ll expound a little.  Time allowing, mayhap I’ll even explicate, elucidate, educate and other verbs I found in the thesaurus.

As cliché’ and cheesy as it sounds, the original idea for Windows came from love.  One day I made a promise to a very special lady that I’d write a novel for her.  A while back I finally sat down and started writing.  Windows is the result.

That probably didn’t answer either question worth a flip.  Let’s try again.

It would be annoyingly difficult to answer questions one and two separately.  Windows changed completely as I was writing it, and a lot of the ideas came as answers to problems the characters were facing.  And problems I was facing writing the darned thing.  And mostly to answer the question, why.

You see, why is the single most important question an author can ask themselves.  Why did they fall in love?  Why did that person betray their family?  Why does she refuse to wear clothes?

Windows started out as a single, unnamed novel.  Raven was some sort of hunter, Sarah a barmaid in distress.  Yes, very much the Xena/Gabriella theme.  Ugh.  Bryson was a black horse that turned into a dragon.  Now that’s typed out I want to go back and smack me.  Fortunately those ideas got scrapped in light of their being terrible.  Honestly there’s no telling how that story would’ve ended because I’d drink myself into a coma before finishing it.

So I started over from scratch with a redhead, a blonde, and a dragon.  (If anybody Rule34s that, I do NOT want to know.)  Trying a different tact, I began at the end.  Sitting down, I realized that the heroine had to save the day.  That’s how stories go, but why did she have to save the day?  I wrote the final chapter first, just not how things got to that point.  A whole bunch of whys got asked in the process but we’re not going over all of them because I want you to buy my novel.  It helps support my crippling pie addiction.

Even though I knew how the story would end, I still needed interesting characters.  Bisco Hatori-san made a great point in her manga Ouran High School Host Club; a person with supreme power is only likeable when they’re kind of an idiot.  Raven starts out way overpowered, and it’s just going to get worse as the series progresses.  In the denouement why doesn’t she just use magic to save the day?  Why doesn’t she just tell Sarah how she feels?  Those two questions, and the problem of idiocy are answered by one word.  Malleus.  Everything Raven does is tainted by the knowledge that she is slowly losing the battle for her soul.

Now that two questions are answered, why is Malleus stuck in Raven’s soul in the first place?  Guess I need to write a backstory for Malleus.  Once I had the backstory for a psychotic demon, another idea popped up.  That idea would become the point of the whole series.  After realizing the scope of what I was planning to write, there was no way one book would contain it all.  I need to stretch the story over multiple books or we’d have a Tolstoy-vian sized tome on our hands.  Kindles would weep binary tears if forced to contain the literary leviathan let loose upon the digital realm.  Alliteration is fun.

So here I sat with a mostly completed novel.  What to name it?  Malleus is stuck in Raven’s soul.  Raven’s eyes change color when the demon takes over.  Why are Raven’s eyes changing color?  Eyes are the windows to the soul.  How very profound.  I’ll name it Windows.  Why not use chapter breaks to show Raven’s struggle with the demon?




Whys aren’t answered in a vacuum, so I needed to pull ideas from somewhere.  The idea for a barrier world came from The Magic Kingdom of Landover series by Terry Brooks.  Clay Eubank, bassist for Love Brooklyn  was instrumental (heh, the musician was instrumental) in helping me answer why Raven managed to survive a fight without magic.  My cousin Paige pointed out quite a few whys I never managed to catch when she read the rough draft.  Some of the characters are loosely based on friends I made playing a MMO a while back

That’s how an unnamed novel became the Windows series.  Sat down to honor a promise and wound up answering a whole lot of whys.  Since my son suffers from Alport’s Syndrome, I decided to donate 10% of all profits from the book to kidney research.  Figure the lady the book was written for would like the idea.


Book Description:

Hush little baby don’t say a word

The Darkness hides in an ivory bird

But if that ivory bird can’t sing

That’s when the Witches’ Hammer swings.

— Nursery rhyme

A year ago Sarah Petty could not dream of the life she now lived. In those days she was one of the downtrodden masses; an unremarkable body upon which the upper caste built their castles of gold. Luckier than most, she at least had her blacksmithing skills to keep a roof over her head, though she went hungry more often than not. All of that changed with one fatal decision.

She said yes.

Lady Raven Chandlish, a sorceress with a smile that lit up the night and enough magical power to level a city, asked Sarah to open a shop with her in a different duchy. After moving things felt like they were on a definite upswing. There was food in the cupboard, money in the bank, and someone she might be falling in love with. Sarah didn’t dare pinch herself just in case it was all a dream. Like all dreams, this sunlit world was a feeble defense against the encroaching darkness.

Buried deep within Raven’s soul was Malleus Maleficarum, an ancient demon that nearly destroyed the world twice before. Drawing on feelings stronger than the weapons she forged, Sarah learned to trust Raven could contain the demon. Malleus had other plans.

When enemies of the Chandlish family attacked, Malleus used a momentary distraction to take over Raven’s body. While hundreds of soldiers battled for the fate of cities, a terrified blacksmith battled for the fate of a world. With no hope of rescue, Sarah whispered into the leering face of madness, praying love would save her.

Author Bio:  

I graduated from the University of North Alabama with degrees in English and Psychology.  I live in Florence with my husband and five year old son. Our son suffers from Alport’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the kidneys, so 10% of all book sales go towards kidney research.  My two passions are football and reading.  Although I’ve recently started reading more fiction, most of the time I read historical non-fiction, particularly Gaelic and English history.  Which is why all my bios start out with how boring I am.

If you or a loved one suffer from a kidney disorder, please check out .

For those with Alport’s Syndrome, go here .

Links:               Facebook             Goodreads                Purchase Link

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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23 Responses to Casey Bramble Answers the Question that Haunts all Authors

  1. bulldog says:

    Interesting reading… great post… wow but a lot of big words there, thesaurus overload…..

  2. It’s good to ask why and I like the title of this book.

  3. Have to say those red eyes caught my attention … 😉

    Starting from the end is often an interesting premise. I know what I want to say, just how did I get there? You can apply it to essays, stories, pretty much most things. There’s no one way to write fiction.

  4. I think that title will haunt me until I read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this and yes I read every word – even the difficult ones!

  5. I really enjoyed hearing about the thought process for the writing of this book and how it was written starting with the ending. As TBM will attest, I love reading fantasy, so I will definitely have to look this one up :).

  6. T.F.Walsh says:

    What a great post and I really like the sound of your book Casey. Best of luck.

  7. Casey Bramble says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting it T.B.M.

    A while back I wrote a blog arguing that Goodreads was recreating the Olds and Milner experiments because indie authors are cheaper than monkeys. Occasionally cleaner too. This is much better since the refresh button isn’t getting worn out. I get to chat with folks about my novel, the coolest thing about me. Unless y’all want to discuss Sir Snugglewump the Puffy-Cheeked?

    There’s been some topics that have really surprised me on this blog-tour. One was why I named Malleus what I did. Another was about the cover, which is a slightly entertaining story. And now we’re talking about how it was written.

    The best thing about writing backwards is you get to leave hints along the way. There’s foreshadowing in A Broken Fairy Tale that won’t be answered until the end of the fourth book. If you want a hint, capitalization. Along with foreshadowing you get to build metaphors. And holy cow do I love metaphors. Seriously, A Tale of Two Cities is my Fifty Shades of Gray.

    Raven, the character, is a metaphor for Freud’s hierarchy. Malleus as a metaphor is fully realized in the third book. My big sister smells funny. That’s not related to the book in anyway, just needed to be pointed out.

    Plus I want to brag that I got 124 ounces of M&Ms for Christmas and tonight my mother-in-law brought me another 50 ounces. Which is good, cause I was running low.

    • TBM says:

      You may be the first person I’ve met that has compared A Tale of Two Cities to Fifty Shades 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing your thought process about the writing. I really enjoyed learning about it and I wish you the best of luck with the book. And I admire that you are already foreshadowing for the fourth book. Wow! You are organized! How many books do you have planned for the series?

      Does your sister follow your blog tour? And yeah for more M&Ms. You can never have too much.

      • Casey Bramble says:

        Windows is a five part series. The next is Windows: The Ivory Tower.

        I’m not so sure about organized, but I know what’s gonna happen in the books. They’re all planned out with regards to relationships and plot. Just have to put finger to keyboard and tie up a few loose ends. I’ve gone over the last scene of the series so many times it’ll likely be a let down to finally write it.

        There’s no doubt in my mind she’s following this, and plans to do bad things in retaliation when we get to hang out again.

      • TBM says:

        Five parts. I better get going on part one so I don’t get too far behind!

        And good luck dealing with your sister 😉 Revenge can be sweet and never ending.

  8. Dana Kinzer says:

    That’s also how I started mine; from the end. As I was writing though, I recognized that the end was actually the lead in to the second book in the series.

  9. I love it when writer’s write the last chapter first. I would love to try that sometime. Thanks for the introduction to Casey’s book!

    • TBM says:

      I can’t remember the author’s name right now, but I heard one say that he didn’t plot out his novels but he always knew the last line of the novel before he started.

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