Just for fun, how does your main character in this book remind you of yourself?
B: Wow, deep question! Lol. I'm a control freak. The places in my life where I've needed God to break my will, abound. Maybe you wouldn't know it to talk with me online, and I can even hide it over the phone sometimes. But, for example, if I wake up to a messy and out-of-control kitchen, my heart breaks and it spoils my morning!
Kate Marset, my MC, has had her trust broken one too many times by her ex-husband, Jack. She thinks the solution to keep from being burned again in relationships is to control other peoples' behavior. This has translated into a fairly unlikeable character, to some readers. Kate is what I'd call (my nursing experience coming through, here) a co-dependent. The plotline challenges Kate to trust God to work things out with her ex-husband, and also with their daughter, Janna, who Kate wants to control. She has to let go, and so do I!
B: On your website, you describe your characters as “gritty”. I would agree! You’re such a sweetheart, how do you get your characters to act so edgy?
B: Hmm. I guess I just try to see things from their perspectives. Kate talks often out of her hurt and pain, as the former wife of a substance abuser. She gets defensive, rationalizes, and uses sarcasm to cover up what's under the surface. I've never been in a relationship with a substance abuser, but I tried to imagine what that must be like. I just try to show in my characters' voices/dialog the past/qualities/motivations I think they have. One of my favorite characters is Morris, the cab driver. He was supposed to be a typical hormone-drenched college guy, but he ended up with a quirky personality I hadn't expected!
K:Other than breaking open that first box of books you received in the mail, what was the most exciting aspect of publishing your first novel?
B: That's easy: finally getting readers!
K: I tend to dread the isolation of writing and enjoy the process of creating a platform through social networking. What is your take on the marketing/promoting end of the job?
B: Do you want the honest truth? Ok...
Actually, I've given up on Twitter almost entirely. ONCE in a while I'll get on there to try and help promote mine and other peoples' work, but Twitter's tweet length limitations, hashtag rules, abbreviations...it is all too confusing to me, and feels like a bunch of people in a large room yelling at each other!
Facebook is more my style. But on there, people expect to see mostly social stuff, which I am more comfortable with, anyway. I think if an author just keeps posting fun, unique stuff and interacting with responders, they build their readership much more effectively than if they try to take advantage of every possible moment to plug their book(s).
Blogging is pretty effective, too. I'm learning to blog for readers and not as much for other writers. Writers are readers, too, don't get me wrong. But I don't want to alienate readers who aren't writers. Eek, that was a mouthful. Lol
I'm focusing on making my book the BEST book I can make it, and I believe it will earn readers for me better than any of the platform-building tools out there. Word of mouth between friends will ALWAYS be the best way for word to get out!
K:I know you are an award winning author.Thinking specifically of the RWA Daphne Du Maurier Award. Don't be so modest! What is your advice for any new writers to be excellent in this craft?
B: Well, I've won contests, but not actual “awards.” As far as advice goes, you'll hear it here, and you'll hear it elsewhere: spend time learning about what sells, perfecting your craft, entering contests, and getting the perspective of your critique partners. However, I think the best advice I've heard lately is, to spend time before you open your document, really giving that writing day to the Lord, and asking the Holy Spirit to come alive in the words you type.
K:Some of the greatest books ever written have their faith masterfully interwoven through the story. Like the recent popular "Hobbit" series. How is your faith reflected through the characters and plot line in Six Solitude Road?
B: I think the part where my faith is reflected strongest is the thread in the story where Kate realizes that even though she's not asked the Lord directly to help, not invited Him into the situation, He is still pursuing her with His love, still desiring to receive glory for Himself. That He has redeemed her son, who she names Isaac, out of the mess that was the result of other peoples' sin. The Lord gently calls her to lay her life down, which she finally does.
K: You’re such an encourager Bethany! How do you stay focused on God and others when we live in a “me” first saturated culture?
B: I have the hardest time with this. When I first wrote SSR, and it was rejected by so many people in the business, I was the one who needed the encouragement. A lot has happened since then, and I feel God telling me to be strong in the gifts He has given me. So I've been asking for more of that, and I guess the encouragement just flows out as a product. :)
K: How exciting! You have a brand new book coming out soon~ don’t keep us in suspense~ can you give us any clues about your new release, Twelve Tragedy Lane?
B: It is the continuing story of Allie Reese, a victim in SSR. She's moved away from Louisiana, away from her parents and her past, to California. There, she gets a job at a dating service, and is paired at the beginning of the story with reflective, careful Croft Thames. They work together, planning a charity event.
But Croft becomes distracted. He goes off on what feels to Allie like a wild goose chase, when he finds an old girlfriend's necklace in his brother's pool. Then, he discovers the girlfriend is missing, and is also the hostage of a serial killer. He drags Allie along on his quest to catch whoever is murdering his father's best friends.
I hope to have Twelve Tragedy Lane out on Kindle and Amazon paperback by the end of May, 2014!
Thanks for this blog feature opportunity, Kelly! I enjoyed thinking this deeply about my characters. Hehe
K: Loved having you my friend! :-D
Bethany Macmanus lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son. After practicing as an RN for five years, Bethany left the nursing field to pursue a fiction writing passion the Lord planted in her heart when she was a child. And as Nancy Drew mysteries were her guilty pleasure during those early years, so she naturally gravitates her pen toward the things that go bump in the night.
She draws many interesting and perplexing facts from her former career. These come in handy when her characters get themselves into serious scrapes, and gives a psychological spin to many of her plots.
YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BETHANY AND HER CREAKING DOOR SUSPENSE BOOKS