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Conversations with the Inspiring Lisa Brunette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Brunette.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My first job after graduating college in 1994 was as a secretary. The U.S. was in a recession and I had an English degree. It didn’t matter that my work had been published in my college newspaper or that I’d run Missouri’s largest environmental organization while going to school full-time. All employers saw was a recent grad with a liberal arts education.

But that secretary job was at a science museum, and I made it known to my superiors that I could write, and after six months, they promoted me into a position writing fund-raising brochures and letters. I loved to write, so it didn’t matter that brochures and letters weren’t poetry or books. That attitude has kept me solidly employed for the length of my 25-year career. Eventually, I could move into better, more creative types of writing. Today, I have a successful freelance business writing and designing games, and I’m working on a novel on the side.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has been littered with obstacles, for sure: Everything from brutal, mind-game-playing professors (in my MFA program at University of Miami) to the collapse of the newspaper industry in 2007. I’ve dealt with sexual harassment, the glass ceiling, and constantly being underestimated, not to mention a mountain of student debt. But it gets better. You learn which fights are the important ones to fight. You learn to let go. You learn how to be your own source of validation, rather than seeking it from outside yourself. And eventually, you pay off the debt!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Brunette Games story. Tell us more about the business.
I design and write games. Over the past year, I’ve released two interactive novels, one for Pixelberry Studios under their Choices game app, and the other for Daily Magic Productions, a studio I had worked with for five years making great games for the publisher Big Fish. I also helped design the bestselling game Matchington Mansion, and I’ve taken over the design and writing for Survivors: The Quest. For me, working on games is the perfect mashup of my geeky, techie side and my dramatic, storytelling side, and that’s probably what sets me apart, as not as many people can do both, and do both well.

Game design is very fulfilling and very collaborative; I’m always working with teams of programmers, artists, and other creative types. But probably what I’m most proud of is the Dreamslippers mystery series I self-published, releasing one book a year from 2104 to 2016. It was one of the most challenging and yet satisfying projects I’ve ever engaged in. The series is about a grandmother/granddaughter duo who solve crimes using their psychic dream ability. Granny Grace is a sexually active, 77-year-old yogi. The second book, Framed and Burning, is set in Miami, where I lived for two years, getting my MFA degree at the University of Miami. I used my experiences in that program as inspiration for the plot, which centers around Miami’s vibrant art scene.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
There’s still a boy’s club in a lot of places. I’ve encountered them in academia when I was teaching game design. I’ve also encountered them in both small game studios and large game publishers, even when the player audience was overwhelmingly comprised of women. There’s also an age factor. As a 40+ woman, I’ve encountered some crazy stereotypes and assumptions about what older women want in games. And I’ve had men try to mansplain to me about the female audience. It’s pretty ridiculous at times.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Veil of Secrets – Pixelberry Studios, G5 Entertainment, Daily Magic Productions

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