How We Rise Tour // An Interview with Brooke Riley

Hello, my voyagers. Today I have the extraordinary honor of hosting day #9 of the How We Rise book tour! In case you missed the big news, Brooke Riley self-published her book baby on May 19th and obviously everyone in the blogosphere wants to help her celebrate. So if you wanna see the rest of the lineup (plus the ones that happened before me), stick around till the end and I’ll post the entire blog tour lineup. ❤

I signed up to do an interview with Brooke and basically it was the cutest thing ever, so here. *shoves it at your face*

Me: What inspired the cover for How We Rise? It’s super cool, and I need the backstory ASAP.

Brooke: Okay, so this is a lot less of a story than you would think. I contacted my cover designer with almost zero ideas. I knew I wanted a tree because the tree has special meaning to the book, and I knew I wanted a blue cover. She asked me for some references of book covers I like, and some information on the book and BAM. Megan is AMAZING. She works her magic and blows any fragment of idea I had out of the water. 

Me: That’s still super cool. So have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what did Little Brooke wanna do?

Brooke: Actually, before age 15, I hated writing. With a passion. I wanted to be a chef. I was going to go to culinary school, own a restaurant, all that and then slowly, that dream faded. And for a while, I had no clue what I was going to do. Then God dropped writing (and maybe a future with public speaking??) in my lap. And I’ve never turned back.

Me: I’m now convinced that we’re twins because I was exactly the same way. I hated writing in middle school and a little in high school, but God also changed my attitude toward it. I can’t believe we have such similar histories. ❤ Okay, here’s a hard question… You can only keep one: 100 Days of Sunlight or The Blood Race. Which one do you choose??? (Yes, we all know what you’re going to say, but I still had to ask.)

Brooke: Well, this is like choosing one child over the other. To be fair, I’ve read The Blood Race so many times, it is ingrained in my heart. Plus, you just said The Blood Race, not the trilogy, so I’d have the other two books, and Worlds Beneath is my favorite. So I’d say 100 Days of Sunlight because that book inspired me in many ways with my writing and blogging. (I love Kate and Abbie both sooo much. They’ve both really helped me out and answered questions, so this was such a hard question.)

Me: I know, I’m a terrible human being for making you choose. But I hope I’m not the only one who was shocked by your answer. (Leave a screaming face in the comments if you thought she was gonna choose The Blood Race.) Okay, but in all seriousness, what’s your spirit animal?

Brooke: A wolf. Or at least, I’d like to think so. xD

Me: Ugh wolves are so aesthetic, I love it. Are any of the characters in How We Rise based on someone you know in real life?

Brooke: Not really. I get asked that or have assumptions that Raegan is based on me, but that’s not really the case at all. Same with Peter, that he was based on someone I used to know, and that isn’t really it. Peter was written to be everyone’s soul mate, tbh. But in all seriousness, no, I didn’t base them off anyone at all. I just created them for the purpose of the plot, but the book turned into more about them than the plot and I won’t lie, I love it more that way.

Me: I’m only on like chapter 3 and I’m already in love with Peter, so I think you’re right. <333 What genre was the first story you ever wrote?

Brooke: Fantasy. It was about a princess trying to fight for her kingdom. I plan to go back to it and rewrite it one day.

Me: *grabby hands* GIVE ME ALL THE PRINCESS FANTASY STORIES PALEAAASE. *calms down* Let’s talk a little bit about your writing specifics. Do you prefer typing or handwriting?

Brooke: So, I actually do a lot of both. When I’m writing out or fleshing out characters, or when I write poems or short stories, I do it by hand. When I begin full-length novels or go to transfer the poems and other small pieces of fiction, I type it out. Both are very necessary to my process.

Me: Is there a special pen that you WILL FIGHT TO THE DEATH if it ever gets stolen by a family member/friend?

Brooke: All of them! I have 7 Mason Jars full of pens and I will FIGHT ANYONE who takes them. I don’t even like lending my pens. If I let someone use my pen, they are special, but you better believe I am on them to give it back. Like… I will not sacrifice my penssss. I have felt tip, gel pens, ballpoint, fine tip marker, the zebra mildliners… I will protect them with my life.

Me: I mean, I don’t blame you. Every dragon must protect their hoard, amiright? Now for the real talk: What fictional-related hill will you die on??

Brooke: Ooh, this is a good one. A serious answer will be that I believe the story writes itself, at least in my case. And I won’t compromise that purpose of it. I won’t change details to make it one way, or to try and please everyone. I will also make the story so dark, because I can get dark. But… there is light, too. And I won’t limit myself to belonging to one type of writing, such as my characters may cuss sometimes, but it will never be without purpose. My characters are never going to be perfect. I will make them so flawed, so broken, so fragile. Because we, as humans, are that way.

Me: Can I just copy and paste that answer everywhere in the universe??? It was so eloquent and beautiful and I swear, you are actually the sweetest, most amazing human in the entire world. ❤ So speaking of dark stories, what’s the hardest part about writing a dystopia? (I’m literally only asking because I also write dystopian stories and like IT’S REALLY HARD OKAY?!)

Brooke: Balancing the dystopian elements has been the hardest thing for me, personally. Like I love it, I love how dark it can get, but I also struggle with making it actually dystopian enough. Balance is the hardest thing, I think. But I’m hoping I did a good job.

Me: I’m sure you did amazing, Brookie. I’m literally DYING to hurry up and just read it because I know it’ll be so, so good. OH, can you give us any updates on the painter/poet novel????

Brooke: Hahahah #spoilers. What I can say is, at this point, once I have published the entire trilogy, that novel will be the next one in line. 

Me: I literally can’t wait until this contemporary artsy novel is out. IT’S ALREADY SO GOOD just based on the pinterest board and playlist. *heart clutch* Okay, well this is my last question, which makes me sad, BUT it’s a really fun one. Can you tell us something about How We Rise that you haven’t shared with anyone else? A behind the scenes moment? A character backstory concept? Name origins???

Brooke: Ooh, this one is my favorite question, and I love all of these questions. Some people may ask why Raegan, who is a female, has a rather masculine name. I wanted her to be, pardon my cliche, not like other girls. Haha, of course, she is actually like other girls, but also her own person. She’s relatable, in my opinion. But her name was actually spelled Reagan through most drafts of this book, and I remember reading a book series where a girl was named that and I like the idea of a more neutral name. And when one of my friends came up with the ship name, she spelled it Raeter. And then I thought… Why not give the spelling a slightly more feminine look? That is how she came to be Raegan. And I am usually bad at naming characters. I can’t even tell you where Peter got his name, except maybe his parents were naming him after Peter in the Bible? Haha, there’s really no telling. Also, fun fact, I write AUs with my characters sometimes. Just to test the waters. xD

Me: WAIT, THERE ARE AUs OF THESE BABIES THAT EXIST??? Ack, well if you ever feel like sharing, I think I know a few people who would be interested *wiggles eyebrows and ends up laughing like the silly girl I am* Well, I’m afraid that’s all the questions I have, Brooke. Thanks for letting me interview you, I hope you had as much fun as I did. ❤

Brooke: Thank you so much, Bree, for having me on your blog! This was so much fun and I loved ALLLL the questions. 

Want a copy? Click the cover and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon where you can purchase a paperback for only $15.99.

Book Blurb

When the truth gets you killed… will you still Rise?

Raegan MacArthur is content with her simple life. But lately, her life hasn’t been all that simple. She can’t drown out the screams in the night coming from the military base up the road. And she can’t ignore the truth behind them.

Peter Daniels thought moving back to Texas with his mom for senior year was a good thing. A chance to reconnect with old friends and finally feel at home again. But his life now can never be the same as it was six years ago.

Signs of government overreach are everywhere, and an unknown- yet familiar- enemy lurks in the shadows, watching their every move. The government is clamping down tighter and tighter on anyone who resists their ways. Raegan and Peter have to make the hardest decision they’ve ever faced: will they go quietly to save their lives… or will they rise? 

Author Bio

Brooke Riley has been seriously writing novels since she was fifteen, the thrill of creating new worlds and broken humans with a greater purpose is something that inspired her to begin writing in the first place. Before then, she hated writing but loved books and literature. She’s always been drawn to new worlds and fascinating books. Not limiting herself to one genre, you will find she writes in dystopian one day, contemporary another day, and even historical the day after that.

When she’s not writing, Brooke is probably thinking of some random idea for a new novel that’s come to her in the most inconvenient of times, and how soon she can make a Pinterest board and Spotify playlist for it.

How We Rise blog tour lineup

Monday, May 18th- Ocean McAllister, Author interview @
Tuesday, May 19th- Brooke Riley, Book release day+ aesthetics
Wednesday, May 20th- Lia, Book review @
Thursday, May 21st- M.K, Author Interview @
Friday, May 22nd- R.F. Gammon, Review/bookshoutout @
Saturday, May 23rd- Elizabeth Dragina, Guest post @
Sunday, May 24th- Nicole Dust, book shoutout @
Monday, May 25th- Merie Shen, book shoutout @
Tuesday, May 26th– Me, author interview @
Wednesday, May 27th- Lisa, book review @
Wednesday, May 27th- Sarah Rodecker, guest post @
Thursday, May 28th- Clare, book review @
Friday, May 29th- R.F. Gammon, author interview @
Saturday, May 30th- Allison Riera, book review @
Sunday, May 31st- Lila Kims, book review @

Let’s Talk!

Wasn’t that exciting? I absolutely loved interviewing Brooke for the book tour, but now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite thing about dystopian stories? Have you read How We Rise yet? Or is it still on your TBR? Also, do you hoard your writing pens like Brooke? Or are you super carefree and relaxed about your writing tools?

Also, just a quick reminder: You still have until the end of May to submit your vote for how I should celebrate my blogoversary. You can access the form right here. Currently the assumptions reaction and character takeover are both tied with 9 votes each. So if you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time to break the tie!

Keep voyaging onward!


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Bree Dawn is a voracious book dragon who believes in the power of stories. As a young girl, she always begged her parents to let her read “one more chapter” before bedtime. As an adult, she uses this same passion to craft dark stories with hopeful undertones for young adults who seek a glimmer of light in this dark world. Bree is currently working on her dystopian fantasy novel while consuming as many stories as possible.

11 thoughts on “How We Rise Tour // An Interview with Brooke Riley

  1. Um THERE ARE AUs??????? *dies* Ahem, Bree, if you ever get your hands on those, you know where to send them 😉 😉 just kidding XD but honestly when people write AUs of their own characters it makes me so happy to think about.

    This interview is LIFE and absolutely INCREDIBLE!! You both are incredibly talented, sweet people, and so this is the Ultimate Power Move (if that makes any sense???? I’m tired, sorry XD)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Like I want the AUs so we can flail and fangirl together. <333

      Thank you so much, Nicole. I really enjoyed interviewing Brooks, she’s so sweet. I think we’re a pretty powerful team too😉

      Liked by 1 person

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