If you live in Boston, you are probably familiar with Cambria Brockman and her popular Instagram account. Before becoming a writer, Cambria was a wedding photographer and has captured so many beautiful heartfelt moments.
Growing up, she always wanted to be a writer. She constantly had stories in her head, but never wrote them out in full. Until one day, with the encouragement of her husband, Ross, she kept writing… and we’re so glad she did! Next month, on July 16, Cambria’s debut novel Tell Me Everything will be released. You can pre-order it here or here!
In anticipation of her book release, we caught up with Cambria to learn how she balances it all and what has surprised her about becoming a published author.
Have you always had the idea for Tell Me Everything in your head? How did you come up with the plot for your book?
I came up with the idea about four years ago. I had just graduated from Bates, and everything from college was still fresh on my mind: the academic pressures, relationship anxieties, and everyone’s varying personalities. I imagined one specific scene (it’s at the end of the book, so no spoilers!) and wrote the book around that.
Are there any surprising things that you’ve come across writing a book that no one told you about?
SO MANY REVISIONS. I swear I have re-written Tell Me Everything maybe 20 times. Hopefully as I move forward there will be less drafts?! Probably not though, haha.
I can tell you that some of the clichés are true. I wrote most of Tell Me Everything on my laptop in coffee shops! Mostly at Tatte Bakery & Cafe in Beacon Hill.
How did you go about finding your publisher? Was that a super daunting process?
One of my friends, Charlotte Wilder, knew a literary agent in Boston and she connected us. Luckily Lori (my agent) loved the book, which was only a few chapters at that point, and really helped it become what is now. She was the one who submitted the finished novel to publishers. There was an auction, which was crazy!! I will never forget that day – I was so sweaty/anxious, waiting to get calls from Lori and Lane (another agent who has done amazing things for the book) about offers from editors. Warren was around five weeks old and I remember wearing him in his Solly wrap, going to a ‘new mom’ get together in Charlestown, and having to leave because I couldn’t focus on anything and I kept thinking, these mothers are going to think I’m some sweaty crazy person, I need to get out of here! LOL. Kara, my editor at Ballantine, won the auction. I still can’t believe I get to work with her because she is the nicest and is so good at her job. She’s just amazing. That night after the auction, when my husband, Ross, got home, he picked me up in a huge hug all teary-eyed and kept saying how proud he was. It was a DAY!
That is so incredible! What do you do when you have a creative block?
I usually read a book or Google author interviews. I read this Danielle Steel interview once. She’s written 179 novels AND HAS NINE CHILDREN. If that doesn’t inspire me to keep going, to finish whatever I’m working on, I don’t know what will.
How has motherhood changed your writing routine?
I write best in the mornings. I don’t know why my body works that way but I’m toast in the afternoons. Before Warren, I used to wake up, make coffee, sit down and write for hours and then edit weddings in the afternoon. Now our schedule works so that we have a part-time nanny in the mornings three days a week, and then my husband gets up with Warren the other two days, so that I can write from 6-8:30am. I definitely power-write more now. There is no time for procrastination!
Has motherhood been as you expected? Warren is the cutest! 🙂
THANK YOU!! I love him so much! I didn’t know what to expect, at all. I knew nothing about babies, I just loved snuggling them (like Milo ;)) Motherhood is crazy! I’m not sure anything can prepare you for it – the love, the responsibility. You really learn how strong you can be, mostly because there is no other option, you have to be strong. Sometimes when we’re on a walk and we pass other moms, I’m just like, look at all these impressive, badass women. You can guarantee they have been up all night countless times, they’ve taken care of a sick kid while being sick themselves, they’ve gone through all the ups and downs, smiles and frowns. That’s what my husband and I sing when things are challenging. And then, of course, moms love fiercely. It is a crazy thing.
What are a few of your favorite books?
When I was in middle school, it was Bloomability by Sharon Creech (she also wrote Walk Two Moons, which was popular when we were kids). It inspired me to go to boarding school, which was a huge decision, and one I am really glad I made. I still have the book in my bedside drawer, it’s like my security blanket! Others: The Nightingale (remains my #1 at the moment), Gone Girl, You, Big Little Lies…Just realized most of those are now shows/movies. For good reason! They’re super captivating!
Are there any up and coming authors that we should keep our eyes out for?
I just read Kate Hope Day’s If, Then literary novel about life choices and paths not taken and LOVED it. I’ve also heard good things about the ‘summer in Montauk’ memoir Out East by John Glynn. And then another debut author, Samantha Downing just published a thriller (best seller!!) called My Lovely Wife. Excited to read both of those soon!
How do you read so much? Do you enjoy reading, or is it just a part of your job?
I have always been a reader. I also read very fast. I try to read a book a week, and I take time out my ‘work day’ because yes, it is a part of my job now, which is really cool. I consider any sort of ‘story consumption’ as research – whether it’s a book, podcast, TV show or movie. I used to give myself a hard time for watching TV and movies, but now I’m just like, well, this is my job – to know what people are watching, what keeps them interested. And it’s a great way to study dialogue, which is one of my favorite things to write.
Did you know that you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, always. It was my dream job since I was a kid, I just never thought it would be a real possibility.
Do you miss photography? You are so talented! Were you self-taught as a photographer? How did you find your style?
I miss it sometimes. I miss the act of taking photos, and editing, and hanging out with fun couples. But I don’t miss the pressure of weddings, or leaving my family on the weekend. That was always really hard for me, the leaving part – I am a homebody. And yes I am self-taught – I took a lot of workshops with other photographers, second shot for people whose work I admired.. and read a lot of online tutorials. Thank you, Google.
What are your favorite ways to disconnect and re-inspire?
Traveling. We do that less now with Warren, so Ross and I go for a lot of walks around Boston and we talk about everything. His business, new book ideas. I thought of Tell Me Everything while I was taking our dog for a walk. Walks are the best. And my second book idea actually came to me while I couldn’t sleep one night. I was just lying there in the quiet and dark and the idea surfaced and by morning I had outlined the entire thing. When the inspiration strikes ya gotta GRAB IT.
What are your favorite things to do in the city with Warren?
It changes with his age. We used to be really into music class, but now he loves climbing and running around so we are all about playgrounds and the public garden (and stairs, why the fascinations with stairs??). He loves watching the ducks and birds and helicopters. He’s also content going for walks, pointing out garbage trucks and buses, and dogs. Luckily the city has a lot of all of those things.
If you had a free day to do anything, how would you spend it?
Teleport to Nantucket. Read on the beach with a beer and a bag of cheese puffs (now you know my guilty pleasure haha).
Can you share anything about what’s in the works next for you?
I am working on book two! It’s another novel about the same age group – early twenties. I guess I am drawn to that time of life. It’s that age where you’re like: oh crap, what am I going to do for the rest of my life? There’s a lot of excitement and anxiety, which leads to a whole lot of emotions, so it lends to dramatic story telling. The book takes place in Wyoming and Vermont. I’ll probably always have pieces of New England in my books!
Will you be doing any book signings / readings that we can tell our readers about?
Yes! More to come…
Thank you so much, Cam! We are so excited and proud of you. You can pre-order Tell Me Everything here, and follow Cambria on Instagram and Twitter, where she’ll share details about her book launch and future projects.
Photos: Cambria visits Random House for the first time, writing on her balcony during nap time, reading while her son, Warren, plays in his kitchen, a family walk in Nantucket.
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