An Interview I Did With A Local Student Writing Club

How did you write a decent description without boring your readers?

My cardinal rule since the onset of this writing journey has been, Never bore the reader. I write adventure, mystery, and suspense and make my descriptions pretty gripping while adding enough detail for readers to feel they’re ‘there.’

Why did you decide to write historical romance? How did you start to write books?

I’ve always been fascinated with the past and love books with historical settings. Period movies are also my favorite. I’m a natural born romantic so combining history with a love story came easily.  I made the decision to take the leap into writing novels after commenting to my mother that my favorite books were historical romances of some sort and I wished I could write one.

She said, ‘why don’t you?’  And I said, ‘do you have any idea how much research I’d have to do?’  And she said, ‘Begin.’

I was also inspired by family accounts of ancestors taken captive by Indians during the French and Indian War and others who fought in the Revolution.  With all the rich history surrounding us here in Virginia and my early American roots, setting my novels in Virginia and the Carolinas also came naturally. Now I’ve reached further back into my Scot’s roots with my upcoming release, a unique Scottish time travel Somewhere My Lass.

How do you get over writer’s block?

I have what I call my thinking times, when I scheme and dream. Certain movies or music inspire creativity, like The Fellowship of the Rings…

How do you come up with your ideas?

Some stories stem from accounts I’ve read, including family genealogy, and others come from dreams.

Do you ever have problems not going over the top details and plot lines? No, I’m perfect in every way. 🙂  OK, sometimes I have to rein myself in.

How did you find a publisher?

After years of writing books set in early America which New York didn’t want, I was invited to submit to the Wild Rose Press, a small but fast growing company that publishes novels in both digital download/E-book and print.  The Wild Rose Press is eager to build its American historical line, but considers all romance categories.  If you’re interested in submitting, check the submission guidelines on their website.

On average, how long does it take to write your books?

Far longer than it should.  I agonize over research and fuss over every word.  An average time would be six months, although I’ve written a novel in three, while some have taken years.

How old were you when you finished your first book?

Ten years older than 30.

Have you ever killed a character? How do you do it?

Oh yes. I’ve killed a lot of them, sometimes even envisioned individuals who’ve annoyed me in their place.  In the fort Assault scene in Through the Fire I killed one of the refs from my daughter’s basketball games (gave him the name Hutch, an abbreviation of his last name).  He was particularly aggravating.  That story is set during the French and Indian War and he’s a frontiersman attacked by a warrior who ran a knife up under his ribs.  Hutch probably also got scalped but I didn’t stick around to give those details. Some of my characters have been shot by muskets, pistols, had their throats cut, been tomahawked, poisoned…

How old were you when you really got interested in writing?

I’ve written since elementary school, diaries, short stories, poems, and non-fiction pieces before moving onto novels.

What was it that made you want to be an author?

I love to read and think the story tellers are vital to society.  Where would we be without them? They preserve history and inspire as well as teach and entertain.

Do you have a person in your life that you would consider to be your inspiration?

Many. I come from a creative family with parents who encouraged me in that direction.  I admire anyone who strives to achieve their dreams.

Were you ever interested in writing in other genres than historical romance?

I also write light paranormal as I’m intrigued by ghosts, time travel and fantasy. My stories have a lot of mystery and adventure in them so if I were to let go of the romance genre, I’d focus more on those elements.

How many total books do you have published?

Four novels and a Christmas story in an anthology that came out this past December, plus I’ve signed for another historical and light paranormal.

What would you consider to be your favorite book you’ve written?

My favorite is the first novel I ever wrote and the next one coming out, a Native American romance set in the colonial frontier, Red Bird’s Song.

How did you first attract enough attention to be published?

I finaled in a number of writing contests, even won a few, and that helped a lot.

Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?

Ever and always my favorite author is CS Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia.  He’s been a great inspiration to me.

How do you cope with rejection?

First mope then try to learn from it; see if any suggestions were made I can apply to my writing.  If not, then let it go and forge ahead.  I’ve had hundreds of rejections over the years, used to throw weekly rejection parties to cheer myself up.  I had treats and jigged around the kitchen with the dogs.  A good sense of humor is a must.

Do you base your characters on people you know?

Some are based on individuals I know, while others are drawn from historical figures I admire or even detest.  I’ve also been influenced upon occasion by an actor.  Captain Vaughan in Enemy of the King was inspired by the character Sark in Alias.

How do you determine the goals of your characters?

My stories are strongly character driven.  I have to know them well and consider what they would or wouldn’t do in any given situation…ask them what they want.  I listen to my characters. I can plot all I want but they have a way of asserting themselves and altering the story, usually for the better.

*When Rebecca challenged Tonkawa in the cavern scene in Through the Fire, I hadn’t planned on her enraged response and had to scramble. I tried to persuade her to calm down and await rescue but she refused. I wrote the scene her way.  It’s times like this I sound a bit skitzo.  I have a saying that ‘I talk amongst myselves.’  It worries my mom.  Highly creative people are a little crazy, I think.  Here’s to crazy creativity!

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2 responses to “An Interview I Did With A Local Student Writing Club

  1. Great interview, Beth! Loved the non-lethal way to get your aggression out!!!


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