Brandon Goode grew up in the small beach town of Melbourne, Florida. He attended Eastern Florida State College and Florida International University. He loves to motivate and inspire others, enjoys traveling, and eats an insanely amount of sushi. Oh, and he is obsessed with all things on the Bravo network. His debut novel, The Secrets of Eden, made the Barnes & Noble Teen’s Top 6 Retelling’s list of 2017. He’s also previously written for media outlets such as Florida Today, the Disney Internships & Programs Blog, and a few other publications. His sophomore book, UNORTHODOX REMEDIES was an Amazon #1 release.
Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Secrets of Eden?
Brandon Goode: Growing up, I was a BIG fan of books like the Harry Potter series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and one of my all-time favorites, Hero by Perry Moore. All of these books kept me on the edge of my seat with every page, but something that I found missing was diversity. Now, I’m not talking about the side characters who provide comedic relief. I’m talking about how many, many books that I read didn’t have anyone that looked like me at the center. When I decided to write The Secrets of Eden, it was sort of me writing the book that I wish was available while growing up. It has magic, murder, mystery AND it’s also very gay with a black main character. I wanted to write a book so those gay black bookworms could see themselves and smile because there was a book about them. Representation matters, and that was a big inspiration behind this novel.
V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
BG: Being a writer I’ve found comes with certain expectations. When people become familiar with you and your work they want you to be consistent in the stories that you tell, and the messages they leave behind. One thing that I hope readers take away from my work is to always live in their truths because it will inspire someone else to do the same. My stories will always have characters who are true to the experiences that they’re going through because believe it or not, there are people out there needing to see someone win. And when people see others winning by being true to themselves, it will cause a chain reaction and inspire them to do the same. They need to see being authentic to themselves is what will best help them navigate life. I’m not saying that bad times won’t happen, but when you’re true to you, the best outcome happens for you.
V: What was the hardest scene of Secrets of Eden to write?
BG: The hardest scene that I wrote for The Secrets of Eden is when (spoiler alert) Prince Jared breaks Eden’s heart! Now, I won’t give it all away, but for those of us who have been in relationships with men in the closet, we can relate to this scene. Prince Jared was dealing with the pressures of becoming a king while trying to keep his relationship with Eden a secret since he knew his family wouldn’t accept it, and that comes with consequences. I related to this scene so much because I’ve been both Eden AND Jared at an earlier part in my life: Eden, a character comfortable with who he is, and Jared, someone struggling with wanting to be accepted by his family so he keeps parts of him a secret. People come out in their own time and their own way, but entering into a relationship while making the other person keep that secret too is hard. It places the other person in a situation where they have to sort of revert back into being in the closet to keep the secret of the relationship. I’ve dated a couple of men in the past who, due to their professions, chose not to be out about their sexuality. So when I wrote this scene I had to be true to the experiences that I went through, and it was hard to relive those emotions. But I wanted this type of relationship to be incorporated so that those readers out there who have been through it or are going through it could relate to the toll it can take.
V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
BG: I would tell young Brandon to never stop writing, and the ideas that he thinks are crazy in his head aren’t crazy enough! The rough days are only temporary, and the future is beautiful. Just try to fast forward through the year 2020 if possible!
V: What are your writing must-haves?
BG: Okay, so whenever I sit down to write I have to have some sort of music scores playing in the background or a random episode of The Real Housewives! I also like to prepare a cup of hot tea and have a cup of ramen noodles. It’s a weird combination that I found to be successful back in my journalist days.