Character Interview with Jennifer Bramseth's Secret Blend
February 21, 2018
Welcome! I know it's been awhile, but our character interviews are back! (Graphic by the always awesome Katzilla Designs!)
Feel free to comment below, and let our featured author, Jennifer Bramseth know how excited you are to read! (AND P.S. IT'S FREE!)
First up, can you tell me a little about (story/series) so I can introduce you and the characters.
The series is called Bourbon Springs, named after a fictional town in Kentucky with—you guessed it—a bourbon distillery, Old Garnet. The series is nine books and four short stories long. It is a connected-world series to my current series, Bourbonland.
As you probably figured out, there is a lot of bourbon. But there’s A LOT more than just drinking it (although the reader does get lessons in how to sip).
Several of the books go deep into the history of bourbon, the process, and touch upon the history of Kentucky. I created a history for the town and the bourbon brand which weaves into real history (Revolutionary War, Civil War, Prohibition).
Q1: Thank you for visiting The Dragon Lair! So tell me a little bit about Secret Blend and characters.
Thank you so much for having me here!
Secret Blend is the first book in the Bourbon Springs Series. The book title is a reference to couple’s secret relationship, but tied into something bourbon-related. There is a scene in the book where they discuss whether they can keep the secret, and heroine says absolutely. She states that she once saw the Old Garnet mash bill (the secret “recipe” for the bourbon) and has never told a soul what she saw, so she’s good to keep her mouth shut.
Q2: Where did the story come from?
Well, I live smack in the middle of bourbon country. Live ten minutes from a major distillery (Woodford Reserve) and work in a town with two others (Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam in Frankfort). I’m also an attorney, and since the characters here are judges and lawyers, those two things—bourbon and the law—just seemed to come together naturally. The series took off from there. Lots of lawyers and judges show up in the books. And bourbon.
Q3: Can you tell me a little about the characters?
The characters here are Rachel Richards and Brady Craft. They’ve known each other since high school and have had periods of flirtation. At the time the book opens, she’s a public defender and he’s a prosecutor. Brady is uptight, thinking he’s on his way to being a judge, hyperfocused on that goal. Rachel is sad/angry because Brady rather turned into a jerk on her, but she just muddles on, secretly nursing a big crush.
Then the local judge retires and much to everyone’s surprise Rachel gets the judicial appointment, not Brady. He announces he’s going to run against her, but then another judgeship is created and he gets that appointment.
But the courthouse is small and they have to share chambers. Things happen.
And to make matters more complicated, Rachel’s best friend, Hannah Davenport, decides to run against Brady. Hannah is part owner of Old Garnet.
It’s a small town, so they decide to keep the relationship secret until after the election. That doesn’t work out as planned.
Q4: What about these characters fascinated you, and made you want to tell their story?
I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a story with two judges falling in love, so that was the main thing.
Q5: Can I meet them?
Q6: So…Brady…While remembering to keep this PG-13 in case my mother reads this, what’s your favorite thing about (female character)?
Brady: For the sake of decency, I’m going to say Rachel’s hair. It’s gorgeous—long, brown, shiny. I knew I was in trouble when she asked me to brush it out for her once when part of the ceiling fell during courthouse renovations. Got all dusty, and she couldn’t handle the thought of bugs—
Rachel: No, you didn’t like the bugs.
Brady: Not true. I brushed your hair, didn’t I?
Rachel: Only after I threatened to do it myself, Judge Craft...
Brady: (stares hard, then whispers) I thought we agreed you wouldn’t call me Judge Craft in public.
Rachel: Gotcha (grins evilly).
Brady: (eyes his wife greedily and swallows hard)…. Anyway, that was it for me.
(Eden note: Dear God, eyeing his wife greedily? *swwoooon**)
Q7: Rachel, same question. What was it about Brady that drew you in, and made you decide HIM. I want HIM? Other than his manly bits, of course.
Rachel: I’ve always had a thing for him, even since high school. Yeah, it goes back that far. Oh, and then there was that time when he changed my flat tire and had to take off his shirt on a blisteringly hot day.
Brady: Oh, that was a good day.
Rachel: The night was better.
(Brady stares at wife again while she grins at him)
Q8: What do you think is the best part of the story?
Brady: Don’t say it.
Rachel: But you know it’s true.
Brady: It’s embarrassing.
Rachel: It’s wonderful.
Brady: (sighs) Okay, tell it.
Rachel: Well, without giving too much away, Brady got into a bad, dangerous spot and very publicly confessed he loved me. It was recorded, got on the internet—
Brady: (cringes) Apparently we trended on Twitter after that.
Rachel: Yep. Had our own hashtag.
Brady: You did.
Rachel: But you said it. #rachelinaninstant
Q9: So, now that the book is over, how are you all behaving?
Rachel: We are perfectly good public servants raising our son, Jacob Elijah.
Brady: After how we got together and considering the whackadoodle circumstances of Jacob’s birth, I’m perfectly happy being boring.
Rachel: Well, there was that time you almost got shot…
Brady: (gently takes wife’s hand) Let’s not go there.
Q10: How do you feel about your love story being out in the world, for everyone to read?
Brady: After everything that’s happened to us, I guess I’m used to scrutiny.
Rachel: But we are pretty boring now. And that is just the way I want it.
Q11: So, how do you drink your bourbon? And what’s your pour?
Brady: Neat. And Old Garnet, of course.
Rachel: Usually over ice. Old Garnet. And I’m not just saying that because Hannah’s my best friend. After that, though, I’d say Maker’s Mark. Nice wheated bourbon.
Brady: Four Roses Single Barrel is my runner-up bourbon. So smooth.
Q12: What’s the best part about being a judge?
Rachel: I get to perform weddings!
Brady: Agree. We’ve both performed ceremonies for very close friends in Bourbon Springs.
Rachel: That ceremony for CiCi and Walker…
Brady: That was the best.
Rachel: Jon and Pepper was fun, too.
Brady: You’re only saying that because you got to do that one.
Rachel: Jealous much?
Rachel: At least you finally admit it!
Q13: You have been awesome. Thank you so much for visiting me. Is there anything else you’d like to add about Secret Blend before I let you get back to your lives?
Rachel: Come visit us in Bourbon Springs! Kentucky Bourbon Country is so beautiful. There’s a Kentucky Bourbon Trail that takes you to major, legendary distilleries. It’s not all about bourbon—there is a lot of history too! Many of the major distilleries are National Historic Landmarks. You can find more information on the Kentucky Distillers’ Association website, http://kybourbon.com/
Q14: Jennifer, they are so much fun. Thank you so much for visiting me, and allowing me to drag these characters out to play! Is there anything else you want to add before I let you get back to your life?
The Bourbon Springs Series is nine books long. My current series is Bourbonland, a connected world to Bourbon Springs. Book 3, Where the Fire is Hottest, released in December; a lengthy novella, Bottled in Bond, releases in late April.