The Secret Identity of Nadine Brandes

Nadine & Me - Dallas
Nadine & Me – Dallas

I had the pleasure of meeting Nadine prior to the launch of her first book, A Time to Die. Being a huge dystopian fan, I really wanted to read it. Thanks to social media, we became friends and now, here I am helping to launch A Time to Speak!


I love this series. The world and characters are complex, the struggle to find faith in the midst of suffering is woven organically, but most importantly, there is hope.

Let’s face it: we live in a dystopian society. Any culture on this side of eternity is dystopian. Some things shock us worse than others, and some things don’t shock us as much as they should. What sets a Christ-follower apart from the rest of the world is the fact we have hope. That doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. That doesn’t mean we have all the answers, but that does mean that we know Someone who does. 🙂

unnamedBut enough of my soapbox. Let’s learn more about Nadine!

Besides writing, what is your secret identity?

You expect me to tell you? 😉

Okay, since you asked… My secret identity is…[dramatic music]…adventuring. I go on adventures, and/or brainstorm adventures almost as much as I brainstorm new stories.

Adventures can be anything from road-tripping through Europe or chasing a boxcar train, to eating raw potatoes or trudging through knee-deep snow in a fur-lined skirt.

Hiking in her Parvin skirt
Hiking in her Parvin skirt

What do you find most interesting about adventuring?

The fact I get to explore the world and experience life in unique ways that I would have missed had I not been intentionally pursuing an adventure.

Another aspect is that it takes a lot more bravery than I would have expected. I was raised as a traveler – my dad is a pilot and taught my siblings and me how to focus on where we’re going instead of what we’re leaving. But even with that, the unknown is deliciously intimidating.

It seems like you travel all the time. Where have you been?

Riding a sleeper train in Russia
Riding a sleeper train in Russia

If you’re talking about outside the U.S. then I’ve been quite blessed enough to travel a lot. I’ve been to:
-Russia, Korea, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Panama, England, Scotland, France, Finland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, and several islands (Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, etc.)

A castle town in Germany
A castle town in Germany

Crikey! That’s a bunch of places. I’ve been to Mexico, France, Germany, Greece, and Turkey but you certainly have me beat! 

How did it come about that you traveled to all these places? Were they all vacations or something else? Are you a spy?

Nadine competing in the National Championships for Boardercross (2013)
Nadine competing in the National Championships for Boardercross (2013)

Many places I traveled were for ministry purposes (Russia, Korea, Mexico, etc) and a few were for vacations. I traveled to England, Scotland, and Finland because I was attending a Bible college in England for one semester. It’s much easier to travel to many places when you’re already living in Europe. Everything’s so much closer.

My dad is a pilot and an adventurer, too. He took us on a lot of trips when we were younger, teaching us how to sail, scuba dive, fly airplanes, rock climb, navigate airports that are in different languages…I learned it all from him. 😉

Wow. So what’s on your bucket list? Where do you want to go that you haven’t visited yet?

I’d love to go to Italy someday because it’s part of my heritage. And…for personal bookish reasons, I’d love to visit Antarctica briefly.
Other things on my bucket list to do include Skydiving, going on an alpine slide, riding a bike in Amsterdam, and riding the Trans Siberian Rail across all of Russia.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your traveling?

They think I must have a bottomless bank account. 😛 But really, an adventure doesn’t always mean traveling to a new country or dropping a few grand on some crazy adventure. Last year I did the #Walk30Days challenge where I walked every day for 30 days and took a picture each day. That was an adventure because I was discovering life in a new way.

Adventuring doesn’t mean going It means doing something new or different. (From Nadine’s English Dictionary)

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about your hobby that most people don’t know?

It’s easy to do! Some people think adventuring takes a huge time or money commitment. But just take a step out your door and turn left instead of right! Read an entire book while sitting outside instead of inside. Find out what your friends’ hobbies are and join them one day. Adventuring is easy. The only thing EASIER is choosing not to do it. 😉

People are totally willing to help you make an adventure. I got to go dogsledding for a full day because I asked people in my church if they knew a place I could do it. Sure enough, a great friend had connections. Voila!

Dogsledding. Only Nadine!
Dogsledding. Only Nadine!

How do you balance writing, work, adventuring, and your private life?

I always check in on my priorities, and then organize around that. God and hubby trump writing and adventuring. The two can go hand in hand, because most of my adventures either stem from or feed into a story I’m writing. Also…hubby tends to join me on these adventures. 🙂

Does your hobby ever sneak into your writing?

Going through the Panama Canal on a 40-ft sailboat (2015)
Going through the Panama Canal on a 40-ft sailboat (2015)

Um…YEAH! Sometimes, when I’m on an adventure (like being a seacook on a 40-foot sailboat from North Carolina to the Bahamas) I’ll write scenes that I experience and then I’ll build a scene in a story around that.

Or it’ll got the other way around. I’ll be writing a scene and won’t get it detailed to my liking, so I’ll see if I can go live it out (like rock climbing a cliff face, or wading through a cattail marsh…see A Time to Die.)

Toothless and Parvin at Realm Makers in St. Louis
Toothless and Parvin at Realm Makers in St. Louis

Nadine was shy, so I had to enlist a couple of friends to help make the trailer for book 3 (thanks Gretchen and Emilie!). Who’s ready to read A Time for Interpretive Dance?

Connect with Nadine:

Book links:

NOW YOU: Have you been out of the country? If so, where? Favorite adventure? Bucket list place to visit?


12 thoughts on “The Secret Identity of Nadine Brandes

  1. Oh my goodness!!! You are a hoot Lisa! And great interview! You’re amazing Nadine! Love your adventuring spirit and you for you. I hope to travel all over the world someday. Thanks for sharing this Lisa and Nadine!


    1. Whoops didn’t see your question! I’ve been to Peru and plan to visit Zambia, Africa and hope to visit London, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Germany, Austria, Peru again, and many more.

      Favorite adventuring…Peru, but like Nadine said, there are all sorts of adventuring out there, so I like to share about some of my childhood stories such as almost hanging myself during a skit and getting a cow drunk (not intentionally, of course). It’s really our perspective of it. And like Biblo said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”


  2. You guys have some sweet moves! I have been to Mexico, Haiti, Ireland and England….all to help Christian organizations or missionaries. I would love to travel more, but I’m in a season with little kids that makes it hard. Hawaii is definitely on the bucket list.


  3. Fun interview! And here I thought I’d been to a lot of places…

    For me it has been Mexico and Canada multiple times, Venezuela, Chile, Bermuda, Bahamas, St Thomas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, France, England. I’ve also climbed a glacier in Alaska, and scuba-dived to 100′ in Hawaii. How’s that?

    Loved the video, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

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