I know Brina Brady from online writers’ groups, and was impressed by her commitment during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last November. Not only did she write a complete novella For Me, she’s already published it, too!
For Me is part of the Rent Me series, which focuses on Russian mobster Dmitri Dubrovsky, who falls in love with his rent boy Brennen, and how they negotiate a relationship across two very different cultures.
I love reading and writing about cross-cultural relationships, and Brina was kind enough to talk with me a bit about her writing process.
But first, a summary:
In For Me, the fourth story in the series, the entire Dubrovsky family heads to snowy Russia for a family Christmas. Instead of being greeted with hugs and kisses, Dmitri and Brennen are left alone on the porch with Dmitri’s homophobic father. Can they stay if it means abiding by his archaic rules?
When did you start writing? How did you get into writing romance, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I have always written novels, but never published them. I began reading m/m novels to the tune of 300 of them, and I decided I could write one. I knew what I wanted to read, so why not write what I like. I write what I want to read. I love creating new characters and giving them a background. I also like to do extensive research on my stories.
What made you want to write a Christmas story for this series?
I saw the cover posted for sale by Sid Love. I had to have it. I wanted to just buy it, but I needed a title. I decided I could write a Christmas story with my favorite men from Rent Me.
How did you get interested in Russian culture? Have you been to Russia?
I suppose I was always fascinated with rent boys and Russian mobsters. I had to amp it down because I like to write taboo topics, but I had to restrain myself as not to be banned on arrival. I read about Putin’s stand against gays in Russia and that disturbed me greatly. There goes my trip to Russia. I wanted to show how difficult it could be for a gay man to fight his desires and his culture. Dmitri loved Brennen, but he had many cultural forces against his lifestyle with Brennen. I wanted to show that Dmitri, like any repressed person could grow and accept who they are regardless of the cost. In his case, Dmitri lost friends and family’s respect.
Was there a lot of research for Dmitri Dubrovsky?
Yes, there was a lot of research for Dmitri Dubrovsky. First, I had to research Russian names, pet names and some swear words. I googled Russian food, too. But what was interesting was going to E.R.I.C. to read a comparative study of American culture and Russian culture. This is where I learned the most. I did a study on Russian mobsters in California. So, with him, there was a lot of research.
If you could have one (or two) of your Rent Me characters over for the holidays, which one would you invite? Who *wouldn’t* you want to have over?
I want Dmitri, Brennen and Mischa. I’m sorry, but I need Mischa too. I wouldn’t invite Nika [Dmitri’s ex-wife]. The books in the series are available at
The books in the series are available on Amazon.
Note from Dale: If you like Brina’s books, remember one of the nicest things you can do for an author is leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. The more reviews a book gets, the more visible it becomes on these websites, and the more readers who share your tastes are likely to find it. Thanks for sharing the love!