Each year, we ask locals to nominate Hunterdon County’s most influential people – men and women who are shaping the community, influencing their industries, and making a difference. Dozens of amazing stories were submitted about passionate and committed locals. At Hunterdon Happening, we salute all those who wake up every morning with the intention of leaving the world just a little bit better.
10 outstanding individuals have been named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of the year, and we have the honor of sharing their stories on Hunterdon Happening. Meet Delaware Township-based author Brandi Granett. Not only is Brandi providing writing mentoring to fellow Hunterdon residence often assisting students to get into the college of their dreams, but she chose to release her most recent novel, Triple Love Score, by hosting the River Reads Book Festival and provide 40 local authors with the opportunity to meet with their readers on October 23, 2016 at Prallsville Mill in Stockton.
Hunterdon Happening: Where did you attend school?
Brandi: I attended the University of Florida for my BA, Sarah Lawrence College for an MFA, Penn State for an MEd, and Aberystwyth University in Wales for PhD.
Hunterdon Happening: What motivates you every morning?
Brandi: Having fun. I try to structure each day so that I get to do something I enjoy after I finish my work. Keeping my eye on that reward makes me excited to face each day and get through all of my necessary tasks.
Hunterdon Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
Brandi: It is such a luxury to think about a perfect day! First of all, I would wake up with an amazing idea for a short story. This would effortless make its way to the page before any emails roll in! As I love teaching, I would probably check in on my classes before enjoying an excellent hot shower. Then my husband and I would head to The Bees Knees in Lambertville for pancakes. They are amazing! Full from a delicious meal, we would hit the archery range in our backyard until dinner-time. Then either we would make dinner with the awesome veggies we get from our CSA share at Sandbrook Meadow Farm or head north for dinner at the Farmhouse at the Grand Colonial.
Hunterdon Happening: Who inspires you?
Brandi: My students inspire me; I teach primarily for Kaplan University and Thomas Edison State College, both online. My students come from all walks of life and they negotiate so many challenges to achieve their educational dreams; they inspire me to keep pursuing my own goals and learning new things about writing to teach them.
Hunterdon Happening: How did you decide to pursue a career in writing?
Brandi: I decided to be a writer for a few reasons. First, many of my teachers from elementary school to college encouraged my writing, but it wasn’t until a slip of tongue of my first creative writing teacher in college made that the idea really took root. I told the graduate student in charge of the seminar that one of my stories was being published in the Alligator, the local college newspaper. He repeated it back to me but instead of saying Alligator, he said New Yorker, as in “Brandi got a story in the New Yorker.” When he said it, the door to that possibility opened in my mind.
Hunterdon Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
Brandi: I’d like to say my daughter, Megan, but she isn’t really my accomplishment; she is her own person that I am proud to had some role in influencing. In terms of personal achievements, I am very proud of taking up archery in my 30s and rising in the competitive ranks. I’m also very proud of River Reads, the book festival I am organizing at Prallsville Mills on October 23, which is bringing together over 40 authors to celebrate reading and writing along the Delaware River.
Hunterdon Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Brandi: My health. In college, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. While at the time this diagnosis was little understood, I learned over time that I really needed to be careful with managing stress and getting enough sleep. As a type A person with lots of irons in the fire, this balancing act proves challenging time and time again, but I am happy to say that this is battle I mostly win now.
Hunterdon Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
Brandi: I’d love to finish and publish my next novel Straight Shooter; it is a work in progress that marries my passions for writing and archery.
Hunterdon Happening: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
Brandi: Nice. I hear this a lot, which I find odd because I have a sarcastic streak, but I do try to temper it!
Hunterdon Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Hunterdon County?
Brandi: I love the canal path from Frenchtown to Lambertville. From walking and biking for exercise to visiting the small towns and enjoying all the great food along the way from OWowCow Ice Cream, awesome truffles from Sciascia Confections, the donuts at Curiosity Donuts, to breakfast at the Frenchtown Café.
Hunterdon Happening: You can take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?
Brandi: I’d say keeping aiming. A few times along the way I thought about giving up on both archery and writing, but both have helped me grow so much as a person that I couldn’t even imagine who I would be now without them. I’d let my younger self know that all the work is worth it.
Hunterdon Happening: Same question 10 years in the future.
Brandi: This is a great question. I have to go with keep trying to new things. I imagine it might be very tempting to just settle on the things you enjoy and never change, but I take great joy in finding new places to go and new things to experience. I never want to stop exploring.