An Interview with Lillian Brummet, Non-Fiction and Poetry Author

Today I had a chat with Lillian Brummet, who works with her husband in writing and publishing books in how-to, green living, poetry, and more.

Lillian Brummet and her husband

Hi Lillian, it’s great to have you here! Tell us about your newest book release.

From One Small Garden – Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes is the title of our recent book release. It was officially available to purchase as of Feb. 2021. Since then, we have appeared in about thirty-six forms of media, both online and in print. We were able to do this using our Purple Snowflake Marketing techniques, but this would not have been possible without the incredible support and interest from members of the media. This book offers more than a collection of recipes, it also offers nutritional information, historical facts, interesting agricultural tid-bits, energy and water saving tips, and waste reduction methods.

Books by Lillian Brummet

Excellent! Sounds interesting for those who want to learn more about cooking. What’s the first book you ever remember reading?

The first book I recall is a book I still own. It was a gift to my mom from her aunt… and now it is mine. I look through the pages and see my “art” with crayons that my mom got so upset about. It is a story about an ambitious, productive hen who goes about her work all alone, and a fox who is badgered by his wife to bring food home for the family.

The chicken outsmarts the poor, miserable fella and he brings home heavy rocks instead of a live chicken. He dumps the bag with a flourish to show off to his wife and the rocks splash horrible amounts of hot water on them all and they die, I think. Children’s stories were so tender and kind back then (laughs).

Haha, children’s stories used to be so much more brutal. I remember a similar one where a fox eats a bunch of small animals, possibly rabbits? And another animal performs surgey on the fox, cutting his stomach open so the rabbits can escape, then fills his stomach with rocks instead. He’s so thirsty that he goes to the river for a drink and then drowns. Foxes always get roughed around in those stories. Anyway! What inspired you to start writing?

Pain and trauma filled my days and tormented my nights until after a girls attendance program gave us girls a project – tell your thoughts on paper – and then we burned them in class. No one read them or critiqued them. We just took them outside over a metal barrel and burned them. We did it again and again. Later, I turned to poetry to pour out the incredible fears and the weight I felt from a traumatic childhood.

Occasionally, I would not burn them and they were found by people lying about… comments came in that encouraged me to let people see my work… and the writing bug slowly blossomed from there. I do recall moving a teacher to tears in the classroom when I wrote about a lonely old woman who wore gaudy clothing and heavy makeup to brighten her days. I also wrote about a nightmare I used to have and this was submitted to an English class teacher for a project we were assigned… he wanted to publish it in some youth project thing but I was too frightened at being found at the time as I was still hiding from my abuser. Those were all influences that started me on the track to where I am now.

Wow, that’s an incredible story. I’m sorry you went through that and you were able to make something beautiful out of it. Who would you say is your main inspiration?

I have been inspired by so many – wonderful environmental movement leaders, individuals who create positive change, writers who do magic with words, and yes – pets – who make huge efforts to please us, to feel loved and accepted and just want to be with us. It is amazing to witness the change in people when we drive by with the dogs in the back of our car… pedestrians are trodding along and they see the dogs and their faces brighten, their eyes sparkle, they smile and they converse with the other pedestrians about the dogs they just saw. In that moment, that brief second, the world had changed – just by the dogs being themselves.

I agree that dogs are wonderful. They really brighten your day just by being themselves, as you said! Aside from writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Cleaning and gardening. I like to feel productive, to feel like I’ve used my time constructively. I like the sense of accomplishment at the end of an exhausting day. Allergies often fuel my desire to clean the house, however I do like a clean place and rarely miss the weekly deep cleaning day. Doing chores helps me clear my mind.

I keep paper out so as I’m washing the floor or something and an idea strikes me or I remember something I have to do, I’ll jot it down. I’ll plot out projects in my head as I am watering the garden or weeding. I’m often deep in my mind when I’m working on mundane chores. I’m fond of strolling the shoreline of Kooteany or Moyie Lake, looking for stunning rocks to bring home, gazing at the mountain scapes and lounging on our deck or outdoor sitting area down in the yard. Playing with our fur kids Duchess, Sabrina, Nimway and Korma. Brainstorming or recalling memories with hubby, Dave. Watching bees, butterflies, hummingbirds while sipping on a cold beer or iced rum and ginger ale. Those are all my “down time” endeavours.

Love it! You paint a beautiful picture. Tell me about your writing space. Where do you usually write?

My office is located where the dining area is usually located in a home. There are two desks lined up together, Dave used to use the other desk but it is now used for other things. He has two desks in the lower part of our home in his own office area. The desks are wood, with a black fake-leather inset in the middle. They have three narrow drawers along the top and that leaves a lot of room for all the dogs to cuddle while I strain to reach the computer and get work done. ha ha My view to the right is of the beautiful valley we live in via the glass doors leading to the small deck. On my left, is the kitchen and to my back, the living room area.

That sounds lovely. Are you a morning or night person? What time of day do you prefer to sit and write?

I used to be an early morning person… once out of bed, I was raring to go with lists running in my head overtime. Now, I’m slower to start and earlier to bed. I’d still call myself a morning person, but now that I’m in my fifties, I find it much more important to leisurely enter my day for a couple hours after waking, casually tidying up while nursing a couple of cups of coffee.

Do you plan out your stories or are you a pantser (making it up as you go along)?

I am a plotter. I’ll figure out the general focus and generally have an idea as to the flow from beginning to end. I’ll start out putting everything I can think of on “paper” and then I’ll start to see a pattern flowing. I’ll organize the ideas into the timeline of the book and then I’ll start the process of content creation.

However, as I am creating content, something will arise that I did not consider before and those little things can greatly alter a project, take it in a new direction. I’m not a huge fan of delays and obstacles because I’ve already got more projects planned in my mind. That said, I am patient with the writing process. I know, for instance, that if I’m stuck or feel frustrated, this just means I have to set it aside until I have gained the experience, the skills or the headspace to figure out the way to go next. That is OK. It’s part of being an author and growing as a writer. I’m OK with those kinds of delays.

It’s definitely OK to delay a project if it’s going to turn out better in the end. What’s your favourite book genre? Do you write in that genre?

I have been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. My late mother, Joanne Siewert, was responsible for my early addiction; we’d hit the library just me and her back then, coming home with so many books that our arms ached by the time the bus reached our neighbourhood. As such, I don’t have a favourite genre. I have read horror, science fiction, fiction and how-to or non-fiction. Fiction takes me out of my head, which never really seems to stop running otherwise.

It’s good to read a lot of different genres for sure. Tell me your top three favourite books of all time.

The Ovum Factor by Marvin Zimmerman, Startide Rising by David Brin, Shibumi by Trevanian. Can I list more? A lot more? (Laughs).

Have you ever read a book that changed your life?

Often! Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damerosh were huge gardening influences among dozens of others, and we now grow about 65-70% of our annual fruit and vegetable needs right here in our yard. Second Innocence is a non-fiction book that helped change my thinking patterns into a more positive mindset. Oh, I could go on and on with this questions, so to keep it brief, yes – my life is often changed by the books I read.

Excellent. What’s your latest book about?

From One Small Garden is a cookbook that kind of goes beyond cooking healthy, delicious meals on a budget. It helps people consider gardening and teaches them how to use those impressive yields in the most efficient ways. It encourages freezing, canning and dehydrating harvests as well. It offers ways to reduce food waste by including specific recipes that deal with this issue including the salad dressing based on that little bit of jam left in the jar.

It shows nutritional alternatives to heavily priced and over-packaged items such as bottled hair spray, air fragrance, chicken coating, and taco seasoning. It coaxes people to shop in season, buying from places that sell local harvests and locally produced food sources, including honey. It encourages even the smallest amount of green space – that series of potted herbs on the front step, some beans growing up a vine support system where they can shade the deck or the sun-soaked window.

It sounds like something everyone should read so we can take care of our Earth. OK, something unrelated to writing! If you could go on a date with any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be and why?

None – I’m happily married and have been for more than 3 decades. So no dates! It would be fun to listen to Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reaves, Tom Cruise, and Jodie Foster speak about their experiences. Mr. Anthony Hopkins is such a genius in so many ways; he’s a talented symphony composer, phenomenal actor, well-read and has such an intensity about him. I’d love to sit near him and absorb some of that.

Oh, great choices! I love Sandra Bullock especially. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today. Where can we find out more about you?

You can find me on my website, BrummetMedia.ca, and also on Facebook.

Thank you, Lillian!

Check out Lillian’s books here.

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