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Meet Tricia Copeland Brzostowicz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tricia Copeland Brzostowicz.

Tricia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a small town in Southeast Georgia. Since ninth grade, I’d dreamed of becoming a geneticist and my “big break” came when I was accepted to Ga Tech. Excited to get out of my rural surroundings, I poured all my efforts into classwork and building friendships in Atlanta. There, my craving to achieve a perfect life drove me to become obsessive about weight and exercise. By the fall of my junior year at a weight of seventy-two pounds, I experienced a cardiac episode. With pulse-rate plummeting to below thirty and then bouncing to over one-hundred-twenty beats a minutes, I was admitted to a treatment facility. This began long road to recovery from anorexia.

With college savings depleted, my future felt dim. Still, not to be deterred from my goal of becoming a scientist, I found a full-time job as a chemist in an environmental lab. This paycheck enabled me to pay rent and enroll in night classes at Georgia State University. Three years later, I graduated magna cum laude and was accepted into a PhD. program at the University of Georgia.

I met my future husband through my lab position. We were married and I began the graduate program at UGA. I loved microbiology and, opting to try my hand in the industry, earned a master’s degree and went to work for Dupont. The position in the industrial biotechnology group at DuPont Central Research represented my dream job. I loved designing experiments and figuring out how to answer the next question. As a researcher, I became an inventor on several patent applications which led me to my second love, patents and technical writing.

Up until graduate school, I would have told you I hated writing, everything about it, from idea formation, to sentence structure, to editing, I abhorred. Thankfully I had mentors who showed me how to write technical papers and patent applications. Ten years later I discovered my love of fiction writing. As a stay-at-home mom with three young kids, they were six, four, and four at the time, I missed mental stimulation. In the evenings after they went to bed, I began writing. I chronicled a fiction story about a normal, average, run of the mill girl, who lost herself, and like I had, became anorexic. Over the course of five years, these pages grew into manuscript of one-hundred eighty thousand words, pages that would become my first two books.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My journey has been far from smooth, but with each challenge, I’ve kept my eye on the goal and looked for a path to get where I wanted to go. After my time in a recovery facility, I had no money or support. I looked through the yellow pages and started calling labs to find a job. Realizing that chemistry positions had higher salary ranges, I focused on those. I phoned all the labs in the metro Atlanta area until I got interviews and a position where I could support myself.

I saved money to be able to attend college classes in the evenings. It took me three years to finish school. Starting work at six in the morning, I was in class till nine at night. My hard work payed off when I was accepted into a graduate program and then hired into my dream job.

When I finished formal edits of my first book, I began querying literary agents. Even though my friend/editor was an indie author, I felt I had to try the traditional publishing route. I gave myself three months to find an agent. I wrote over two-hundred-fifty query letters. Less than ten percent of these asked to read additional pages, and none showed interest in my writing beyond that.

For me, getting my story out into the world, felt more important than having a big agent or publishing house choose my work. I decided to self-publish. Many of my best author moments include those when I get a review or message from a reader who says they loved my book, or were inspired, or connected with the struggles of my characters.

Fiction writing and independent publishing may never pay my bills. I focus on helping clients file patent applications for livelihood. Owning my own businesses means that I am a website designer, accountant, marketing & sales director, and delivery person. I enjoy learning new things and this enables me to pursue my writing hobby in earnest. Since 2015, I’ve published twelve novels. I love reading myself and connecting with other readers and authors in book clubs, online, and at conferences and signings.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I began my patent services business, Superior Patent Group, in 2012. As a registered patent agent I help independent inventors and technology companies apply for and prosecute patent applications. Spurred to share a girl’s journey of recovery from anorexia, I launched true bird publishing in 2015. Since then I’ve published twelve fiction books.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I love the patent world and my side hustle of independent publishing. Continuing to nurture these keeps me on my toes. As a creative person, new ideas for book plots and characters percolate through my head often and I’m excited to see these come to life.

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Image Credit:
Heidi Howard Photography

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