Beth, welcome to my blog. I'm happy to have you here.
There is always a part of me evident in the hero or heroine, and some of the supporting characters, too. I like to make my characters as human, vulnerable and funny as real people.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Funny you should ask. Last year our family drove 900 miles one way to camp in Arkansas…and to dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. We had a blast digging in the dirt and finding everything except diamonds. There were three or four diamonds found a day and we were extremely happy for those lucky hunters. The family adventure, however, was worth more to us than the diamonds.
I lived in Arkansas my first 20 years and never went to that park. I wish I had. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Since junior high school there had been some inkling in my mind that I might be a writer, but my spelling was so dreadful that I never considered it possible. After nursing college, I went back to writing and used the dictionary like it was my best friend. Soon after, I sold a short story and was doing news articles for a local paper. By then the computer spelling program had become my next best friend. When I sold my first novel in 2000, I figured there must be actual talent somewhere within.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m sorry to say that I’m not a well-rounded reader. I love fiction, especially mystery novels and romance. Christian living books would be next on my list. Writing book reviews and being church librarian has forced me to read outside of my interests, usually with pleasant results. Still, I know I should read more beyond my comfort zone.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first published novel was an e-book by MountainView Publishing called Lessons of the Heart. There are three Heartsong Presents books in the Bay Island series: Bay Island, Thunder Bay, and Bay Hideaway that have been joined together in the 3-in-1 book, Ohio Weddings. There are three unpublished, cozy mystery books that I plan to dust off and polish sometime in the near future, and one current romance project that is a work in progress.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Prayer! And more prayer! Sometimes my life is insane and I’m involved with so many church and homeschool projects. Keeping a level head requires some down time by watching my favorite DVDs (Murder She Wrote, "Hogan’s Heroes" and Diagnosis Murder), exercising, reading and taking time to camp in the great outdoors.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
There are times when a particular character’s name is known to me before the character is barely developed. Then there are the other times. Once I even perused the white pages before settling on the perfect name. How pathetic is that? Baby books are great resources, too.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Besides actually writing and completing four books, I’m most proud of being a wife and mother. It’s an extremely hard, but rewarding job to keep our family going though the busy, and often, difficult times. We are a homeschooling family and our oldest is graduating this year, ready to take on college and dorm life. It’s very satisfying to know your child loves God and is prepared to let His light shine when they set out on their own.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Okay, this is a really weird question. What’s worse; I have an answer. It would have to be a cat. Think about it! Cats sleep twenty hours out of the day, can successfully hide for hours at a time when they don’t want to be bothered and then waltz in the room when they do want attention, and pretend to be dumb when they’ve really got you wrapped around their paws by doing everything for them like food, water and (yuck) cleaning out their litter box in a timely manner. Tell me that this isn’t life.
What is your favorite food?
No doubt about it…pepperoni pizza. Pizza has all the food groups neatly wrapped into one. Efficient and delicious.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
It seems as if most of my writing battles involve time…or the lack thereof. I try very hard to carve out at least a half hour each day to write. It’s important for me to meet deadlines, so I’m very careful to make sure that I have ample time (and a bit of wiggle room if something happens) to complete a writing project.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
The hardest thing for all new writers is to endure the dreaded critique. Believe me, I know how difficult this can be, but it’s also imperative that a writer be able to step back from their writing project and listen to constructive advice. Editors are especially worthy of your attention, and writers should take their suggestions seriously. Once I had a friend ask me to comment on a short, book-length manuscript she wanted to publish about her life experiences. Unfortunately, the writing was excruciatingly slow, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, repetitive and without natural flow. There were some very positive aspects that I encouraged her to capitalize on. In the end, she decided to keep the manuscript “just the way it is” since it reflected what she felt, and not how an editor should feel even if they refused to publish her book. How sad! The book may be your “baby”, but all babies must grow in their abilities and intellectual function. If someone is willing to give of their time to read your writing, listen to their constructive advice and work to make your manuscript the best it can be.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Ohio Weddings is the compilation of the three Bay Island series books, and the result of my love for the Lake Erie, Ohio islands: Put-in-Bay and Kelley’s Island. They were so fun to write and all the characters are like family to me. When I finished the last book, it felt like I was packing my bags and leaving the island. It was difficult. I enjoy receiving mail from readers who like the island setting and feel like they are a part of the story. The characters are like real people who encounter love, laughter and……of course, problems. There are spiritual truths related to how we live and interact with one another, and the characters of Bay Island are no different. It’s also a fantastic place to fall in love.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m easy to find on the Internet. Just visit my website at www.bethloughner.com. I love to hear from readers and other writers.
Thank you, Beth, for spending this time with us.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Ohio Weddings. I just love that cover, don't you?