Camilla Bruce: An Almost Published Author No More

Norwegian author Camilla Bruce shares how her cats inspired her debut novel You Let Me In, what it was like waiting to be a published author, and more.
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Camilla Bruce was born in central Norway and grew up in an old forest, next to an Iron Age burial mound. She has a master's degree in comparative literature and has co-run a small press that published dark fairy tales. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat. You Let Me In is her first novel.

Camilla Bruce (photo credit Lene J. Løkkhaug)

Camilla Bruce (photo credit Lene J. Løkkhaug)

In this post, Bruce shares how her cats inspired her novel, her experience waiting to be a published author, and more.

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Name: Camilla Bruce
Literary agent: Brianne Johnson at Writers House
Book title: You Let Me In
Publisher: Tor
Release date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Speculative thriller

Elevator pitch for the book: When reclusive author Casandra Tipp disappears, her heirs must read her final manuscript in order to get her fortune. They expect to find a confession (she was suspected of murder, twice), instead they find two stories—different yet intertwined—both of them end in violence, but which one of them is true?

What prompted you to write this book?

When asked where I got the idea for You Let Me In, I usually blame my cats. I had two of them at the time: Big, fluffy brothers who kept bringing greenery into the house. Every day I picked up twigs and leaves, until one day, an eerie thought struck me: What if I didn't have cats? What other possible reasons could there be for bits and pieces littering my floors? The answer I came up with inspired the novel.

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How long did it take to go from idea to publication?

It took about four years from the initial idea, but then I let it rest for about a year after I wrote the first draft. The idea itself never changed much; I wrote the first draft in six weeks, so that was a very intense process with a very vivid vision. The manuscript did change some through editing, but those were mostly structural changes that didn't touch the core idea.

(7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story.)

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

The wait was harder than I had expected. I knew it would take a while from sale to publication, but I had not fully realized how trying that period was. You have sold a book, but it is not out yet, so you are an almost published author for quite some time. I may have felt this extra keenly because I am Norwegian and live in Norway as well, so everything felt very far away at times.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I think I was constantly surprised while writing this book. Though I knew where it was headed, a lot of the twists and turns appeared along the way. It was one of those blessed instances where everything just flows. Not all of my projects are easy like that.

(Build your novel scene by scene.)

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

It is my hope that it provides a different reader experience—something a little unusual—that lingers in the mind for a while.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to set ambitious goals—and try not to settle for anything less than those goals on days when motivation is scarce. 

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If you’re an author who would like to be featured in a future post, send an email to Robert Lee Brewer with the subject line “Author Spotlight” at rbrewer@aimmedia.com.

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