Interviewed by Debs Carr
Beth Kery's novel, Because You Are Mine, is one of eight e-books that is part of a project put together by Headline. The first part was published on Tuesday and is available for download with the next seven parts being published every Tuesday from then on. Beth kindly answered a few questions for the Novelicious readers.
1. Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I'm a fairly disciplined writer. When I have a deadline, I do daily word counts. I keep track of word counts in a book, to sort of hold myself accountable. I'm required to do a minimum word count daily. If something happens, I have to make it up the next day. It's the only way I can keep myself honest. Writers work alone, so we have to be our own monitors.
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I usually only do that for appearance inspiration, although there are some small exceptions in regard to choosing character careers, etc. Writing physical attributes can be a challenge, so occasionally I'll choose a face, often a famous one, and use that as a springboard. For instance, for my enigmatic, powerful billionaire businessman Ian Noble in Because You Are Mine, I sort of had a Jonathan Rhys Meyers wearing an immaculate English suit in mind. He's so innately masculine and strong, he's one man who could pull off a Savile Row, tailored look and still look entirely alpha male, just like Ian. For those of you who are disappointed, because you imagined another look, please don't be. Your imagined face is just wonderful. For me, Ian Noble doesn't look precisely like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but Meyers 'look' was a starting point to fill out Ian's appearance.
In regard to my heroine from Because You Are Mine, Francesca Arno, I didn't have a model for appearance for her, although I could see her clearly in my mind. I did have a career inspiration for her. I love art, and had recently acquired a new painting. The artist has an intimate knowledge and love of architecture, and so does these amazing cityscapes where the buildings seem alive. I loved that concept, so I made Francesca both an artist and architect. I liked the idea of someone blending the creative, free-wheeling energies of a painter and the precise, technical skills of an architect.
3. What is your favourite Women's Fiction/Erotic book of all time and
I have a couple that I would mention as being hallmarks for me: Megan Hart's Dirty and Emma Holly's All You Can Eat. Hart's Dirty was a stand out because it struck me that erotica or erotic romance could be amazingly well written and poignant and belong in the realms of 'literature.' In Holly's case, it's wrong to say I thought it was so special because of just the opposite reasoning, because that sounds disrespectful to a book and author I adore. But Holly's writing is unapologetically lusty and fun and gritty. I love that with erotic romance you can explore everything from the sublime aspects of human experience and emotion to the primal and raw.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many
drafts do you do?
I do one draft, but with edits all along the way. Typically, I do a loose synopsis. I want to have enough structure that there are benchmarks to work toward, but with plenty of room for flexibility and character growth and change. For Because You Are Mine, which was a serial novel, all my normal writing traditions went out the window. This was an amazingly unorthodox and invigorating project. It all went really quick, with almost immediate feedback from editors. I wrote and submitted Because In three large chunks. Oftentimes, I was working on edits for one part and writing in another. It created an experience unlike any other I've ever had as a writer. I was completely and utterly submersed in Ian and Francesca's story. Even now, as I complete this interview, I'm working on edits for the final three parts. Typically, authors finish a book and it doesn't release until nine months or a year later. They are usually completed involved in another project by the time the book releases. So the creative process for Because You Are Mine has been really unique and fresh.
5. What was journey to being a published author?
It sort of is a journey of fits and starts. I first submitted to Harlequin without an agent when I was in my early twenties. I got a rejection with pages upon pages of notes from the editor. Being a complete idiot about the publishing world, I threw the manuscript away in frustration and focused on another career. I had no idea this was a 'good' rejection, and the editor expected me to use her copious notes to resubmit. (My gargantuan ignorance in this case is the main reason I encourage new writers to join writer communities or organizations. Otherwise, you are running blind in regard to the industry's expectations and trends). About ten years later, I heard about Ellora's Cave and thought I could write spicy romance. Turns out I was right. After being accepted there, I soon acquired an agent and sold to Berkley. I've been actively writing for about five years now.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
Probably that if you are published, you are rich. By far, the majority of authors write in addition to another career, or they eek out a respectable living by working their butts off writing. Yes, there are exceptions at the top end of the bell curve. There are immensely successful authors, obviously. But the bulk of them reside somewhere in the middle. They are a very hard working, industrious lot, but for the most part are not rolling around in cash and luxury.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of
Persevere. Persevere, and then persevere more. It's a gruelling industry, and the ability to accept rejection, criticism and failure is paramount. I find it easier to reframe rejection. Look at it like every time you receive a rejection or a bad review or harsh peer criticism that you are one step closer to a sale or a five star review or peer accolades. 'Failure' needs to be re-conceptualized as a stepping stone on the path. Have the faith and courage to walk through it, and you are that much closer to your goal. If you turn away from that stepping stone, you'll never get closer. If I'd understood that fifteen years ago, I might be all that much farther along in my writing career now. Not complaining--we all have our paths--just saying that it's true.
8. What's are you working on at the moment?
Strange to say it, but Because You Are Mine still (edits) even though the first part was released on Tuesday! After that, I'll be working on yet another serial novel as a follow up to Because! I'm looking forward to it. This has been such a fun, writing-out-of-the box experience.
Thank you for having me at Novelicious! Great questions.
BETH KERY'S WEBSITE