Tuesday, May 01, 2018

THINGS I NEVER TOLD YOU - Beth K Vogt - One Free Book

Bio: Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind doors marked Never. Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA Award finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers' groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at http://www.bethvogt.com.

Welcome back, Beth. You have described Things I Never Told You as “Little Women gone wrong,” with a This Is Us feel. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little about this title and why it might be described in this way?
Things I Never Told You is a story about things both spoken and unspoken between sisters. Little Women is a classic story that idealizes the relationships between four sisters. For all their differences, the March girls are undergirded by a sense of loving unity and, well, goodness. The Thatcher sisters? I replace idealism with the kind of reality you see in the popular TV show This Is Us. The conflicts separating Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper seem to outweigh the sense of family.

What themes do you explore in Things I Never Told You?
Family is a major theme of the book. I also delve into grief, including delayed grief, and secrets, and the always intriguing topic of sisters.

I understand that you develop a story question for each book you write. What is a story question (or how does a story question help you as a writer)—and what was the story question for Things I Never Told You?
I’ll answer your question with a quote: “I start with a question. Then I try to answer it.” ~ Mary Lee Settle (1918-2005), author. A story question is a question of the heart and mind—one that your main characters are wrestling with throughout your book—and that your readers will try to answer, too. A story question is not easily answered with a yes or a no. Developing a story question before I start writing a book helps me just like fuel for a car: it keeps my story going. So long as I remember what my story question is, I can stay focused and keep writing because I know the heart of my story. For Things I Never Told You, the story question is this: Is family always worth fighting for?

This novel involves the complicated relationship between sisters. Why did you decide to tackle that family dynamic? Did your own experience inform this story?
Sisters can be the most supportive of relationships . . . but they can also be the most competitive of relationships, too. And yes, I’ve experienced this personally with my two sisters, one of whom is my fraternal twin. I’ve watched other sister relationships, as well as my daughters, navigate their relationships with one another. There’s a beautiful, yet at times, frustrating dichotomy between sisters.

Things I Never Told You deals with death, delayed grief, strained family relationships, impending trauma, and resentment. When faced with similar challenges, what questions must we ask ourselves? Where do we turn for answers?
So often, our first reaction to pain or tragedy is to ask, “Why?” I’m learning to ask, “How?” How am I supposed to walk through this tragedy, this trauma, this tension, in a manner that is both honest and allows me to survive? How do I find God in this? How do I hang on to my values through this—and let others be who they are during this time? When we face struggles of any kind, sometimes we are looking for answers . . . and sometimes we think we know the answers. Sometimes we are looking for an escape rather than God’s provision so that we can stand and face the problem.

The novel brings to light, both for the characters and the reader, certain challenges faced by many families. How might this story help your reader untangle their own family dynamics?
I think readers will see aspects of themselves and of others they know—friends, family members, coworkers—in Things I Never Told You. Maybe they will understand themselves—and someone else—a little better when they are finished reading this book. They’ll see choices fictional characters make and weigh what they would or wouldn’t do in similar situations.

What is the role of faith in your novel?
Both faith and unbelief play a role in my novel because I find both in this world. At one time, I believed in God—in a distant “I know you’re out there, but let’s not ask too much of one another, okay?” kind of way. Now, my relationship with God influences my entire life. But I know that not everyone believes as I do—and I try to weave that reality into my books.

Family is very central to the plot of Things I Never Told You, and many will probably recognize some aspect of their own family life in the characters. What do you hope readers will take away from being immersed in the drama and imperfections of the Thatcher family?
I hope they fall in love with the Thatcher sisters—Payton, Pepper, Johanna, and Jillian—as well as the subplot characters. I hope they miss them when they finish reading the book. I hope they tell other people about them because, while Things I Never Told You is fiction, what I write about is real life. I hope readers wonder, “Would I do what Payton did? What Jillian did?” And maybe, just maybe, it changes their real-life relationships in some way.

Your novel gives readers permission to have questions about their faith. Why do you think this is important?
Living a life of faith is hard. Choosing to believe in God doesn’t mean that you don’t doubt . . . that life is always good, that you’re guaranteed a permanent residence on the sunny side of Easy Street. A few years ago, I sat across from a trusted friend and said, “I know all the right answers, but they’re not working anymore.” I still believed in God, but life was harder than I ever expected. It’s important to know that God accepts us when we doubt. He is a big, big God—big enough to handle any and all of our questions.

Forgiveness and reconciliation can be difficult topics, and you include them as core themes of the novel. What do you hope your reader will learn from this?
I often say that all writers of faith have the theme of forgiveness in their novels—after all, forgiveness and reconciliation are at the very core of our Christian belief. And yet, I’ve had to unlearn and relearn what true, honest forgiveness means . . . and realize that reconciliation is hard, hard work. Life is messy—and God doesn’t shy away from any of it. Neither should we.

Thank you, Beth, for sharing this new book with us. Relationships are so complicated sometimes.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Things I Never Told You - Christianbook.com
Things I Never Told You (Thatcher Sisters) - Amazon paperback
Things I Never Told You (Thatcher Sisters) - Kindle

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Melanie Backus said...

Things I Never Told You sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity. Melanie Backus, TX

Jane said...

Thank you for the interesting introduction, as I have not yet had the pleasure of reading anything by Beth. I think we can all identify with her personal history of life changing our plans, usually for the better. Jane in TX

Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Melanie: Thanks so much for your encouraging comment about Things I Never Told You! I had so much fun with the Thatcher Sisters --and I just turned in book 2 of the series two days ago!

Hi, Jane: And yes, I'm much better at accepting changed plans ... I was quite resistant when I was younger. I'm a bit more flexible now.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I'd love to read it.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Linda: I'm glad you'd like to read Things I Never Told You. Johanna, Jillian, Payton and Pepper (the identical twin sisters) certainly are the reason why I say Things I Never Told You is a "Little Women gone wrong" story.

Vivian Furbay said...

I would like to read about this family of four sisters and how they struggle with their faith. Vivian Furbay of CO

Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a great read. I'm the only girl and a family of boys so I look forward to reading books with just sisters since I never had the experience.

Raechel said...

I've seen this book 'around' but hadn't heard much about the plot until now and it sounds very good! Great interview too. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, and the giveaway too!
Raechel in MN

Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, VIvian: Every book I write has a spiritual thread in it, but I am also aware that the world is made up of both believers and non-believers -- people who are walking out very different faith journeys. And so, I always represent that -- makes for reality ... and tension.

Hi, Kim: Yes, I think all readers can relate to this story because we often find "sisters of the heart" in life's journey, don't we?

Good morning, Rachel: Thank you for stopping by and learning more about Things I Never Told You (TINTY). I hope you get a chance to get to know the Thatcher Sisters better -- they are a fun group of gals! :O)

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

I would love to read this book. Beth is a beautiful writer and person and teacher. I live in Illinois. Thank you.

Britney Adams said...

What a wonderful interview! I love the insight you shared, Beth, and can’t wait to meet the Thatcher sisters!

Britney Adams, TX

Patty said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Beth's first trio of novels including Catch a Falling Star. I have missed her last several releases, but know she is a gifted author!

Patty in SC

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I have this book on my must read list for this year. Danielle from Michigan

Connie Leonard said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds powerfully profound. Growing up, I always longed for a sister, but my relationships with my brothers was so much easier than I think relationships would actually be between sisters.
Connie in Texas

Jackie Smith said...

I have been seeing this book on blogs, etc., and am so anxious to read it! I have read 3 of your books and love your writing. Thanks for the giveaway.
Jackie in GA

Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Tammie: It was so nice to see you pop up on the blog post! I hope our paths cross again soon in the writing world!
Hi, Britney: Thank you for being so encouraging and I think you would have fun meeting the Thatcher sisters. They definitely liven up a room!
Hi, Patty: It's nice to know you've read some of my books -- and thank you for the compliment. The Thatcher Sister Series marks my debut into women's fiction, and it feels like I've found like "home" as a writer.
Hi Danielle: Thanks for letting me know that you've had Things I Never Told You on your "must read" list. That made my day.
Hi Connie: A lot of people think boys are easier than girls -- and having raised one boy and three girls, I would agree that, in some ways, they are.
Hi Jackie: It's great to hear you love my writing. Things I Never Told You is something a bit different for me -- although there has always been an element of women's fiction in my novels, even when I was writing contemporary fiction.

MJSH said...

I’ve heard so much about this book! Thanks for the post and giveaway.
Mindy from NJ

Beth K. Vogt said...

MJSH: That makes my day to know that you're hearing about Things I've Never Told You!

Pam K. said...

I've read several of Beth's books and enjoyed them. THINGS I NEVER TOLD YOU sounds very thought provoking and real. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Pam, it's always fun to meet readers -- in person or via blog posts. Yes, Things I Never Told You is a change for me -- new genre and new publisher, but I'm excited for my readers to meet the Thatcher Sisters!

Anonymous said...

Beth's book sounds like a must read. I love the sister aspect of the story. It's great when authors try new genres. I think it shows their creativity.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in New York

Judy Weaver said...

This book sounds soooo good!! I don't have a sister, but I have 3 daughters. jawdance@yahoo.com

Judy Weaver

Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Anonymous: I first wrote nonfiction before crossing over to the "Dark Side" and writing fiction, specifically contemporary romance. But about two years ago, I began to feel unsettled and God caused that "bend in the writing road" and led me to women's fiction. I'm so excited about this new genre.

Hi,Judy: You know all about sister dynamics if you're raising 3 daughters!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Texas! Your books sounds fabulous in that family dynamics can be pretty interesting and ever shifting. Thanks for the review.

Connie said...

This book sounds very intriguing! Thank you for sharing.
Connie from KY

Melissa Oldaker said...

I love her books. Looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for the chance to win. Melissa in NC

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC

Pam Graber said...

Every Beth K. Vogt book I've read has been fantastic! I've been hearing some really great things about this one, and would love to win it.

Pam in OH

Shelia64 said...

sounds interesting! Shelia from Mississippi