Welcome, Beth. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Looking back on those days of first loves and the possibilities that the attraction promises is the reason I write YA. And this story stirs up all those feelings in just the right way. I loved capturing Neely's youth--that age where she's just about to step into adulthood. She's a great character--and Angelo is scrumptious too!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I read the obituaries. And for awhile I made it a daily habit which eventually led to a story I’ve been working on titled, The Funeral Hopper. It’s a fun read with very unique characters. You never know where your quirks may take you.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I didn't start writing until 2003, and I was never one of those kids who hid under the covers at night to read after bedtime, or started writing my first novel at age five! No, I began writing articles for inspirational magazines because I thought I had something to say and wanted to share with others. An author friend of mine read my articles and encouraged me to write a book. That book was, Love at First Flight, yep, my very first manuscript. Then came the memories of my social work years and, A Case of the Heart, was created, and I've written six more. For me, writing is all about life experiences on steroids. Each situation, conversation or feeling is heightened to give everyday situations a fun, new kick:)
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have a romantic suspense, A Case of the Heart, coming out in June. I’ve also written a historical, Remnant of the Fall, that will be out this summer and a women’s fiction, Reclaiming Tess, will released at the end of the year. My last book, Fear of Falling, will come out in 2010. Presently I’m writing another YA.
What is the range of books you like to read?
I don’t have any particular genre that I like, maybe historical if I had to choose, but I like to read all types of books and see everything that’s out there. I’ve been surprised at some of the books I’ve really enjoyed that I never thought I’d like. When you see all the different genres I write in you’ll understand my tendency to jump around a lot. It’s all about the story not the category for me.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity can be a tricky thing for writers who live in another world for a good part of their day. I try and keep my quiet time each morning a priority and if I follow through with that my day seems to start out right. I’m a runner, have been for 15 years which helps relieve everyday stress. I also rely on a circle of girlfriends who are always there for me to cry to or play with. My family is very supportive as well.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
What I’m most proud of is that I’m doing something I never thought I would, writing. As I mentioned previously creating a full-length story was never something I’d even thought of doing until I moved to Texas. I had a hard time with the adjustment moving from Colorado but I found comfort and a way to express myself with writing and a connection that made me feel whole again.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
When we were in Carmel, California, I loved watching the otters play with each other in the waves and lie on their backs and eat crabs. Playing and eating are good, so I think an otter is the way to go for me.
I loved watching the otters in Carmel, too. What is your favorite food?
Sushi. Goes with the otter thingJ
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
It’s hard to break into any market. It’s all about timing, finding an editor who likes your writing, and perseverance.
What advice would you give to a beginning author who want to write the kind of books you do?
Read YAs, know teens and how they think, talk, what they would do in situations different than adults. And although each individual has preferences, teens tend to go with the trend even more than adults, so watch for the big hits and find out from teens what they liked about those books. And don’t give up. The writing industry is TOUGH!
Tell us about the featured book?
Love at First Flight is like a perfect summer vacation, full of sun, surf, and a sweet romance. Who doesn’t dream of going on a trip to an exotic location and finding love? Neely is a likable and engaging narrator, and girls will enjoy tagging along in her suitcase for this fantasy trip to Mexico, which is touched with just enough realism to make the happy ending quite satisfying.
Please give us the first page of the book.
I braced myself for the landing. I’d gotten through takeoff, but landings were worse. I didn’t have a fear of flying. It’s more a fear of puking.
The plane lost altitude. Every downward movement made my stomach lurch. My clammy hands stuck to the armrests, and my forehead perspired. Why did it take so long to land? It seemed like an endless process to drop a few hundred feet. Meanwhile, I was being tortured.
Don’t throw up! Don’t throw up! I kept this mantra until the tires hit the runway, then I took a deep breath. Yes! I’d made it without puking!
I had been so excited about going to Mexico. The picture on the brochure of a lady in a bikini, lying in a hammock between two palm trees, made it look like a tropical paradise. But whenever I get on a plane I wonder if it’s worth it. But this was my last big hurrah before leaving for college, so I planned to make the most of it.
I exhaled and looked at my sister beside me.
“I had this ready for you, Neely.” Meredith held out a puke bag.
Meredith is two years older than me and in her second year of college. We had our share of brawls growing up, but now that she’s gone most of the time, I’d hoped we might get along better.
“Very funny. Let me look out the window. Can you see anything?” I moved my head around, trying to look out.
She moved her head with mine, blocking my view. I slapped her on the knee. She yelped, and reached out to grab me.
Dad’s hand shot between us, catching her hand. “You two never change.” He shook his head.
Outside the window, palm trees blew in the wind. The Cancun airport was surrounded by a jungle.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Beth, for spending this time with us.
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