Between Now and A Time to Die

By Kathrese McKee | Feature

Featured Author: Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes has written a fantastic dystopian story you’re sure to love; her debut novel is like nothing you’ve read before. A Time to Die is original and heart-wrenching and consuming. Once you start reading, you’ll lose all track of time but be ever more aware of each passing moment. And by the end, you’ll see time in an entirely different light.

Nadine graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions, and I hope that you will enjoy getting to know her better.

Book Cover



How or why did you choose the title?

Much of the book was inspired from the book of Ecclesiastes when I examined King Solomon’s bitterness toward life (and everything else) being “meaningless.”

The titles for each book have been drawn from the “time passage” in Chapter Three. (And no, I won’t reveal the titles of book two or book three yet. 😉 )

Is there a message in your novel/series you want your readers to consider?

My hope is to inspire everyone to look at life a little differently. To see it as temporary, not in a despairing way, but in a way that will inspire all of us to pursue life and to pursue the adventures God has for us. Because, despite our doubts, He has adventures for us. A lot of us have just forgotten how to dream big.

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About the Book

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government's crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

This is book one in the Out of Time trilogy. (Subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016.)

Publisher is Steve Laube, published through Enclave Publishing

Are there parts of this book that are autobiographical?

I don’t know that any author could write a book that isn’t autobiographical to a sense. This book addresses many questions I’ve had to ask in my own life, like “What’s God’s will for my life?” and “What does it mean to follow God?” and “Does life have purpose?”

Some of these questions are universal, so that’s why I’ve built the story around them – to reach people who might be asking the same questions I do.

Aside from writing, what are your interests and hobbies?

Wait, you mean I can admit to liking things other than books and writing? 😉

I love to play the piano, travel the world, learn new things, find DIY projects, and make new traditions. I like exploring nanotechnology and other weird things that can predict a techy future.

And ever since I lived in Missouri for three years, I’ve become rather obsessed over seasons. (Here in Idaho we have only snow and a blink of summer…at least where I live.)

Do you have a profession other than writing?

Yes, I’m also a freelance editor. Not once has it felt like work. I mean, if you break it down, I just get to read amazing books all day long and suggest ways to make them better. (Sounds easy when it’s put that way.)

Name five of your favorite films.

  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (That still only counts as one!)
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Castle in the Sky (I’m a sucker for Miyazaki films)
  • Far and Away
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the 2014 film, although the old one with Danny Kaye is hilarious and delightful. The new one is simply inspiring.)

A Time To Die Blog Hop

Follow the blog hop addressing the prompt: If I Had One Year Left to Live . . . How would you answer that question? See how over twenty bloggers answer that question for themselves. Click on the icon to get started. Badge

How do you capture ideas?

Hm…they tend to capture me, actually. So much so that I eventually can’t sleep until I start writing it out.

A Time to Die was more like a stalker – the idea came to me when I was in the middle of finishing up my Master’s Program in Speech Therapy. I had no time to write, but it hounded me so much I finally sat down and let it all out. Now look where it’s come! Wow!

What music do you listen to while you write?

Music with words! I’m not sure why it doesn’t distract me, but I can’t listen to movie soundtracks because then I spend the whole time thinking about the movie it came from. My entire family is musical, so it sticks out a lot when associated with something else.

Some of my favorite writing bands are: One Republic, Katie Herzig, Gungor, Imagine Dragons, Josh Garrels, Ellie Goulding, and Greg Laswell. I like a handful of songs from each of these artists. And I have a specific playlist for each book.

One reason I think I gravitate toward songs with words is because lyrics inspire me. It’s amazing the strength of a message that is delivered when paired with music.

What was the most insulting thing said about you as a writer?

Well, it wasn’t something said, really. I’d always been a self-conscious writer because I had very little support in the early years of pursuing it.

My husband (who, of course, is my greatest supporter) won my heart by saying, “I saw you have a blog and…you’re a great writer!”

Another young man wanted to know me better, so I told him I wrote fantasy and let him read a synopsis of my work in progress.

He read it and then laughed at me! He laughed a long time and then asked, “Is this a joke?”

All that to say, he wasn’t around for long. Now, several years later and married to a wonderful man who encourages me to go write while he does the dishes, I think it’s kind of a funny story. 🙂

Sneak Peak

Flickr Creative Commons by Rami

Flickr Creative Commons by Rami


There was once a time when only God knew the day you’d die.

At least that’s what they tell me. I wasn’t alive then—back when life bore adventure and death held surprise. I guess God decided to share the coveted knowledge. Either that, or we stole it from Him. Personally, I think He just gave the world what it thought it wanted: control.

My thin rectangular Clock sits on the carved shelf across the room, clicking its red digital numbers—red like blood. Today marks the first day of my last year alive.


Three hundred sixty-four days, seven hours, five minutes, and sixteen—no, fifteen—seconds to live. I’ve always thought it cruel they include the seconds. But people want absolutes. They demand fine lines in a fuzzy world.

(From Chapter 1.

Connect with Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes Head Shot

Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she's not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel.

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About the Author

Texas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.

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