You Know You Want It

I bet you woke up this morning and thought, damn – I really want to know more about Beth’s writing process (humor me, okay?). This interview was originally published three years ago, exactly one year before I published my first novel, although I couldn’t have known that at the time. It was part of a series on a blog that no longer exists, but I decided to keep it because a) I like it and I crack myself up, and b) it’s cool to catch a glimpse from when I was first starting out as a new writer, broaching the intimidating world of Indie authoring and all that entails. So here’s a backstage pass into my writerly world, which frankly hasn’t changed an iota since I published Order of Seven. *waves you through the secret door* Come on back. Help yourself to a drink while you peruse my inner workings. Don’t touch the oils…that’s for later. If you behave yourself. *wink-wink*

What am I working on? Right now I’m finishing up revisions on my novel, which I’m 99% sure will be marketed under YA Urban Fantasy. I’m about to begin work on the cover design, as well as about 100 other details that must happen before it’s an actual living, breathing thing you can hold in your hands (or in your ereader). It’s not my first novel, but it’s the first one I chose to polish and publish first.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? This novel stands alone because (although listed as fantasy) it’s about nothing you’ve come to expect from this genre, while at the same time being about people who could easily be your friends or neighbors. It’s a knuckle-biting drama, while being a romance, while being a mystery, while being a journey of self-discovery. The characters may be the heart of the story, but science drives the plot, specifically archaeology, physics, and astronomy.

Why do I write what I do? I’m restless in the mundane, so I strive to make my work inexorably captivating by taking you places you’d never expect. I want you to walk on the edge of your comfort zone. I want you to gasp. I want you to feel. I want you to freeze in your seat. I want you to squirm. I want you to be so invested you get chills when my characters do.

Because stories.

How does my writing process work? My muse tends to perform best when I drive; when I vacuum; when I run; when I shop…basically, whenever I’m doing mindless activities. I might find an interesting trinket in an antique store that spurs an entire plot. Or I’ll watch an old man drink coffee in a diner, and just his wrinkled hands and the way he smokes a cigarette will inspire a character.

I’ve always considered myself a “burst writer”. I stew with a set of characters for a while before bursting into a writing fever that lasts weeks and sometimes months. I pile everything onto the pages like an enormous heap of sand. When I’m satisfied I have all the sand I need, I begin carving and sculpting it into the castle it was meant to be.

Wallah. It’s just that simple. And just that infuriatingly unpredictable.

Passing The Baton

Next up in the tour: Mandi Castle. She’s not only an author bud of mine, but a close personal friend in real life as well. In fact, we met through our sons who had a preschool class together and begged for a playdate, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I probably wouldn’t have ever published a book had I not met her. She’s cool as shit, funny, wicked talented, and more supportive of me than I deserve. This interview took place one year prior to her publishing her first novel, Dear Stephanie, as well (cough-award-winning-cough). Go read her interview HERE or be a douche purse. For reals.

123 comments

      1. Oh, hey, well that’s damnned convenient, seeing as how you know I’m GREAT at giving massages (and crap at receiving them. Ick.) :p

        I’d love for you to write a ‘stream of consciousness’ post, from one of these coffees shops with fascinating old men in them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved hearing about your process and you’re right, we are similar! I love how you describe your inspiration too. I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ YOUR NOVEL!!! And I feel like I learned so much in this post about Beth the writer!

    Thanks for such an amazing such out. You are so talented yourself. I appreciate the dark and twisted adjectives so much!!!

    Thanks again, SW. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, Beth, I hadn’t realized I was in blog-communication with such an experienced writer – very impressive indeed. Really interesting to read where your ideas for stories and characters originate from.

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  3. A burst writer. I like it.

    Oddly enough, driving does it for me as well. Mind mapping helps. Like you, I stew with a story for quite awhile before I go anywhere with it. I just want to be like you when I grow up, Beth.

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  4. YA Fantasy isn’t my usual deal but I will be all over this when it’s published. So will my 18-year-old daughter. We’ll get two copies, I guess.

    Congratulations. When I published my first it nearly killed me. Now, I’m on book three and it’s more like getting my ass kicked as to almost dying.

    Go Beth Go

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear the publishing bit gets a bit easier. I know the first time is wrought with overwhelming info and a million decisions, but getting encouragement and advice from fellow writers SAVES me. I’m constantly blown away by writer-generosity and support. You know I’m talking about you, too. You’re a total sweetheart and I appreciate you. 🙂

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    2. p.s. it’s not the kind of fantasy you’re probably used to. I could market under paranormal, but I don’t want everyone thinking it’s about vampires or weres. I think fantasy fits the subject best, but it really doesn’t fit perfectly in a particular genre, which is cool and frustrating at the same time. I know you said your work doesn’t fit a particular genre either. How did you decide how to market it?

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      1. My first book, The Ballad of Helene Troy, is about a 24-year-old female rock musician trying to make it in NYC, If punk rock was writing genre, then that would be it. It’s listed under Amazon as general fiction. My second book, Soul To Body is about a 1990s rock musician whose wife dies and he’s raising his teenaged daughter on his own while trying to awkwardly date. Again, listed it under general fiction and a family category. No one has told me they’re improperly genre’d. So, there’s that.

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        1. I’ve toyed with going Urban Fantasy and 86 the YA. I never aspired to do YA, but my characters just happen to be 17 – 23; the MC is 18yo. I considered new adult, but I’m concerned it doesn’t have a big enough pull yet. I think YA has a big audience, including adults! Some of my favorite books have been YA.

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    1. I know! The funny thing is, I fight it. I’ll be at the computer for hours – totally stuck – and I KNOW if I go for a drive or walk the dog inspiration will hit….yet I fight it like an idiot. I even wrote a post about it once, way back in the earliest days of my blog. I think it was called Petulant Pout. haha!

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    1. Oh cooking, yes, that’s a big one for me too. I often wish I had a microchip inserted in my head to capture all the great shit I think of when I’m no where near a computer. UGH.

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            1. Having seen the size of the martini you got outside of earlier, I fear that most anything at this point would be technically ‘taking advantage’, and however tempting, I’m (probably) better than that…

              Liked by 1 person

  5. DUDE! I cannot put into words how happy I am to see you back and posting again. Missed ya! And I’m glad it started off with a look into your writing world and process. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We can’t freaking wait to read your book Bethie!! (Inion N. Mathair jump up & down like idiots) Seriously this post was awesome giving people an inside look into Bethie’s wonderful mind & her creative process. LOVE the inspiration part, mention of the antique store….the old man’s wrinkled hands. Truly artistic eyes that see things most overlook and spawns creative stories out of them. The sign of a true artists my dear which we always knew you we’re and which always drew us to you!!! Looking forward to Mandi’s post & already love Deanna!! Will be sharing your post with all xoxoxo ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BTW – I just started reading your KICK-ASS book (from the dark and twisted mind…) and LOVE IT! I’m on Tale 4. (I realize I’ve had this book for months, but you know how that whole editing/blogging/reading thing goes better than anyone!).

      And thank you for you undying support. You ladies are THE ONES who gave me blogging confidence and I heart you to pieces. Thank you for the shares. *massivehugs* xoxo

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      1. Thank you so much Bethie & the feeling is so very mutual!! But truthfully, we did very little! A star as bright as you was bound to find her way into the sky and shine brighter than all the rest!!! You my dear we’re meant for blogging fame!! It’s why people luv you and are drawn to you! We just saw what everyone else does!! As for the book, no need to explain, we have over sixty still sitting in our kindle! Its super hard to make time to read! And thank you for the kind words!! It’s actually our best seller out of the three! Can’t wait til we can start plugging your book & sit down and read your incredible story!!! Luv backatcha always! xoxoxo ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. haha I’ve got enough mundane activities here to last a friggin lifetime (laundry is the tip of the iceberg!)

      Thanks, Alyson! I’ve been enjoying your photos from the writing conference. Looks like you had SO much fun! Wish I could join you and Leigh at Blogher. Maybe next year…..

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  7. I am fascinated by fiction writers. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I’m scared I’ll realize I have absolutely no imagination… Hearing your writing process fills me with awe and I’m intrigued. I too think of the best stuff when driving and showering, doing anything mindless.

    And your description of your book and the feelings you want to evoke in your readers- well, I’ll be eagerly waiting to get my hands on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome and thank you, Gretchen! I bet you’d be an amazing fiction writer. You should try jotting some of those thoughts down. You never know! Or even better, jump in with both feet and attempt nanowrimo in November!

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  8. I have missed you 🙂 But I miss lots of people since I’ve been gone too. Not editing a novel…that will have to wait a bit it looks like. My writing is taking a back seat to sporting events and the like. You know I can’t wait for the book…I’m sending mine to you for an autograph 🙂 XX

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  9. Oh Beth, how much do I love thee? So very very much! I feel like I’m in a secret club since I’ve actually read your novel, and as you know, I absolutely love it so hard. In fact, I’m going through some Baron and Devi withdrawal. Mostly Baron…

    Having said all of that, I feel like I’ve just taken a private tour of your brain. I want to take pictures and document all of this amazingness. I love your writing. However you get there, I’m a fan. I can’t wait for everyone else to get to see what I have! They have no idea how good you are…yet!!!

    I’ll take the baton. Next Monday it is. Thanks for passing it to me and for all of the nice things you said about me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could have said a shit-ton more about you, specifically how I want to scream from the rooftops about YOUR novel….but I bite my tongue until you’re ready. Can’t wait to read your responses. 🙂

      And I thank you to the moon and stars for being the air in my writer balloon. Now back to editing….the seven await.

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        1. this made me grin cuz I just got a passive aggressive text from my mom that she doesn’t feel I make time for her in my life. hahaha. I’m like, get in line, lady. I don’t even have time to take a shower right now. I don’t talk on the phone, I don’t watch my shows (unless I’m on the treadmille, cuz…motivation), I don’t do anything lately but write/edit.

          I do miss my friends, tho. We will get together soon, promise! At the end of April, you’re going to have a shit load to read from me, too! (if you’re willing that is!)

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      1. *slides off chair* I just had a blogasm. Compare away, my dear sister wife! I suppose being compared to the fucking amazing N.G. is as close to how some people would feel being compared to Oprah!

        DAY. MADE.

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        1. Huzzah! My work here is done. *mic drop*

          …but really, I meant it.

          “I’m restless in the mundane, so I strive to make my work inexorably captivating by taking you places you’d never expect. I want you to walk on the edge of your comfort zone. I want you to gasp. I want you to feel. I want you to freeze in your seat. I want you to squirm. I want you to be so invested you get chills when my characters do.

          Because…stories.” <–That makes me want to read everything you've ever written. Except for, y'know, your high school diaries. Mine are painful enough.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the heaps of sand thing. I do that with blog posts…just a lot of junk whirling around in my head that I need to write, so I just…start writing, then sift through it later, which is…not brilliant, but definitely therapeutic. 😀

    PS–And I WAS just wondering where you *were*… not in a wierd way, though.

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    1. I know, I know I’ve been so absent from the blogoshere and missing everyone so much! I was just at your blog and saw how many posts I’ve missed….I HATE that!!! BTW, your latest had me giggling like crazy hahaha!

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      1. Aww, thanks! The thought of writing a post about those people, was what got me through that dinner. We’d try and talk, then we’d get interrupted, then I was like, I AM SO GOING TO BLOG THIS.

        Plus we brought home a boatload of creamy chicken alfredo-y feta raviolis and I’m still eating them.

        *win* 😀

        Glad you’re back!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. haha that’s so funny, there are so many things that happen and I think that exact thing (I’m so going to blog this!) Sometimes something happens and my husband is like, do not put this in the blog. LOL
          It becomes a way of life!

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  11. “I want you to gasp. I want you to feel. I want you to freeze in your seat. I want you to squirm.”

    This all sounds very much like the time I peed in my chair in second grade. It went something like this:

    “Mrs. Stasney! Mrs. Stasney! Birgitta peed in her chair! It’s all over the floor! Mrs. Stasney!”

    This story is shamefully true. I was shuffled to the nurse’s station and given a fresh change of clothing that was conveniently my size AND available: a freshly pressed Brownie uniform WITH THE RIDICULOUS BROWN, ROUND CAP. If the pee-chair incident wasn’t bad enough, I came back wearing the equivalent of Bozo the Clown’s getup (sans the furry red hair but with an added stench of dried pee).

    So yes, reading that brings it alllll back to me in vivid technicolour.

    Thanks, Beth. 😉

    And on that note, I absolutely love your writing style and am so impressed that you’re adding actual research (about the sciences, no less!) into your work. Wow. I’m totally going to check it out, and cannot wait. :0)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha I totally wasn’t expecting this comment to go to a pee story! I love that you shared it, though. *grins* You’re awesome, and I’m sorry I’m laughing at your Brownie uniform, but holy shit that’s funny as hell. Now. Then I’m sure it was horrific, but now…..HILARIUOS.

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  12. You know I want it baby! Yes you do. Oh yeah. I want you walk on the edge of your comfort zone. I want you to gasp. I want you to feel. I want you to freeze in your seat. I want you to squirm. I’m gonna read the fuck out of you!

    Mandi is a great writer too. Very funny. And Sexy too. Too much hotness on this blog right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about it on the blog, but with the questions I couldn’t avoid it….plus, it’s getting close so I feel a little better talking about it. Yeah, I never aspired to write YA in particular; it just so happens my characters for this novel range from 17 – 23, the MC is 18. My other novel (which I have even had edited yet) is not YA. The MC in that one is 30.

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  13. I am here for the beer. (I think I have a shirt that says that too)

    Burst writing is an interesting concept. I am a discovery writer. I have no clue what is going to happen until I am actually writing the story. Sometimes the stories, they can be surprising.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I totally agree with you! There are times that what I end with is NOTHING like what I started with. In fact, after getting it professionally edited, I even changed the tense of my entire novel from past to present (first person). Talk about an overhaul. I’m still working on it!

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  14. I can’t wait to see and read it.

    I a YA in an OA body. Doncha know?!

    Yay on nearly being published!!!

    Ps I ate all the biscuits.

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  15. I just thought of something while I was doing the dishes because you know..mundane and great minds..you didn’t mention how much friggin research went into your book and how much time. I think that says something. And that is one of the reasons (or is that 2?) it’s so good. Look at me – superstar who’s read it. *sticks out my tongue at the rest of the commenters and says nah nah nah nah nah nah*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thanks, M. There was a shit-ton of exhaustive research, but I loved it cuz it’s all my favorite subjects.

      Gloat away! I love that you’re the superstar who’s read it. 🙂

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  16. I am SO jealous of that superstar who *says* she read it!!! Cellulite girl- stop bragging and flaunting. That kind of talk does NOT look better with a tan, or even a string bikini. Just sayin’. And anyway, Beth loves me more. I know it. So there’s that.

    Get me the damn book NOW.

    MWUAH! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I have missed you 🙂 But I miss lots of people since I’ve been gone too. Not editing a novel…that will have to wait a bit it looks like. My writing is taking a back seat to sporting events and the like. You know I can’t wait for the book…I’m sending mine to you for an autograph 🙂 XX

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I don’t want to say I have been wondering about your writing process (though this was interesting). But I have been wondering where you have been. And I am so glad to hear about this novel. My fingers are already making little grabbing motions.

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  19. Bethie, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

    I can’t really, The post was amazing; the comments, which I read because they are so good, even more delicious.

    The best part of this was how you are restless in the mundane, so you pull us out of our worlds to explore unchartered territory -and yet – your muse often visits you during the mundane.

    Also, you had a blogasm with Jennie Saia, So I am sliding off my chair. Because…sister wives sexy times.

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      1. Lurve you back!

        Holy grateful,Batman! I’m so grateful for sister wives.

        And Bethie- about Lizzi. Thank you so much for bringing her into my world. For introducing all of us to her. I’ve never met anyone quite like her.

        I want to write a post- “there’s something about Lizzi.”

        There just is. And you’re so special, you discovered her. You willed her into our WordPress world.

        Okay, I’ll stop fangirling SO HARD on the two of you.

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  20. Beth, so glad to hear about your writing process, it gives me something to aspire to…I just don’t think I have fiction in me. For pete’s sake, I can’t even seem to squeeze out the non-fiction lately. 😉

    Can’t wait for your book! XXOOXX Roby

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        1. I TOTALLY THOUGHT OF THAT TOO!!!! The other day when Aussa mentioned the secret project in May, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to do a group writing and have people try and guess whose is whose!?!? #greatminds

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  21. Oh my goodness. You never cease to amaze! What I’d like to know is how you manage to pop out of my computer screen and dance around, waving your arms in crazy hand gestures and blowing raspberries. I thought only Santa Claus had those kinds of magical teleportation powers. You’re just so vivid in your writing. You’re present, if that makes sense. (And I didn’t mean a present, like the ones Santa brings, although your writing is certainly a gift to the world.) At the risk of sounding like a total sycophant, I have one more compliment, sorry, can’t stop myself…it’s the asterisks. Plenty of people use asterisks to convey gestures and sounds *raises hand guiltily*, but you are the most talented asterisk-user I’ve seen, bar none. Anyway. Ahem. *adjusts monocle* That is, I meant to say, I did enjoy your blog tour. T’was well-written and quite…hrm, enjoyable. Yes. Carry on. As you were. *struts away with coattails fluttering in the breeze*

    …okayonemorething. Can I read your novel now? No?? Howboutnow?

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    1. I’ll have no more of those gratuitous compliments! *begs for more because of her constant need for validation*

      🙂 You’re the SWEETEST!!! Seriously, what an amazing comment. I sort of want to print and frame it. THANKYOU. Seriously. Made my morning. Also? If you had any idea how much I admire YOUR brillz writing, you’d know how much this means coming from you. *kisses your cheek, big and sloppy*

      …..working on that novel…..hope to get it to amazing peeps like you SOON.

      Like

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