Friday, January 16, 2015

Interview with author Bethany Lopez

Please start by telling us a little about yourself (education, jobs, significant other, children, pets, etc.) 

I retired from the US Air Force last August, and since then I’ve been writing full time, and getting to be a full time mom to. My husband is still in the Air Force, and we are currently stationed in North Carolina, although I’d really love to get to be stationed overseas one more time before he retires. We have five children all together, three who are still living at home with us.
I began writing in 2010, and self-published my first book in 2011. Since then I have released fifteen titles. I write a mixture of YA, NA, and Romance. 

Tell us about your latest New Adult book and what inspired you to write it.

My current NA book is 10 Years, and it is book five in my Time for Love series. Each book focuses on a different couple, and I always knew that I wanted to show Gwen and Craig’s relationship over a span of time. They are both the younger siblings of other characters in the series, and I liked the idea of seeing everyone grow.

I focus on some heavy material in this book, more so than the others in the series, and although I know some readers may be turned off by the subject matter, I think it’s important to write organically, and hopefully help someone who has dealt with a similar situation.
I tend to do this in some way in all of my books. I like to write about real situations, and real reactions to those situations.

The New Adult genre is fairly new. What's your definition of it? How does it differ from Young Adult or just regular Adult books?

I think New Adult is categorized by the age of the characters. I’ve seen differing views on this, but in my opinion, characters who are out of high school, which could be seventeen or eighteen, all the way through their mid-to-late twenties. It’s that time in your life where you are out of your parents home, and starting to discover who you are. Suddenly, you are responsible for your own decisions, mistakes, and successes, and you’re trying to find your place in the world. It’s an exciting time, filled with angst, joy, and extreme emotions, which makes it really fun to write.

Do you belong to any critique groups and/or do you have other people read your work as you're writing it? Who's brutally honest and who's a cheerleader? Which do you prefer?

I have a critique partner, someone who reads my chapters as I write them. She is very honest and doesn’t shy away from giving me her opinions, which I like. Then I have a group of people who beta read for me, once the first draft is finished. They tell me whether or not the flow of the story is believable, and what they do and do not like about the characters.

What are your all-time favorite authors/books?

This is so hard, because I’m an avid reader. I’ve always read Nora Roberts and Stephen King. Some of my new favorites include: Kristen Ashley, Kristen Proby, Samantha Young, Karina Halle, Dannika Dark, Tarryn Fisher, and Penny Reid.

Do you outline before you write or just dive head-first into a manuscript? Do you maintain a schedule for writing, or is it more haphazard?

I don’t have an outline, but I build stories in my head months before I start writing, and will often jot down notes in various notebooks. I don’t have a strict schedule, but I tend to like to write in the morning, and save my evenings for family time.

Where do you do your best writing? (Ex: desk in your office, public library, under a tree in the park, in front of a Real Housewives TV marathon, etc.) Do you like music or some other background noise, or do you need quiet?

I change it up. Sometimes I’ll write at the kitchen table, or at Starbucks, but usually I’m in my office at my desk. Sometimes I’ll have music playing in the other room, so that I can hear it as background noise, but it isn’t in the same room that I am. I can’t watch TV, or else I won’t get any writing done.

What are the best and worst parts of writing a book? 

I always love writing the big emotional scenes, and the ending. The hardest tend to be the middle for me, because I want to get to the big scenes, but I know that I have to include the journey as well, and I don’t want to rush it.

When you're driving and you have a sudden, brilliant idea for the new manuscript you're working on, what do you do? (Ex: pull over and fire up the laptop, keep driving while scribbling on a McDonald's bag, tell Siri, etc.)

I have jotted it down, did a voice text/note in to my phone, and just prayed that I’d remember it when I finally stopped.

Imagine you have a whole day free for shopping. Where do you go? (Mall, unique boutiques, flea market, antique shops, bookstore, home improvement store, etc.)

Yay! I love to shop, Lol! I’m an equal opportunity shopper. I enjoy the mall, outlets, and individual stores. Some of my favorites are book stores, Lucky, Old Navy, and Kohls. Of course, when I’m with my kids, I end up at American Eagle, Nike, Under Armour, Game Stop, Claire’s, Hot Topic, or the Disney Store, depending on who I’m with.

What are the top 5 titles in your Netflix queue? (Be honest.) Or if you don't have a Netflix queue, which books are on your bedside table? (Again, be honest.)

We are a little crazy with Netflix right now, which makes it harder to write! We’ve gotten in to The Following, The Walking Dead, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and American Horror Story. So we’re catching up on TV shows that others have been watching for years.

Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?

I read a lot more ebooks than print now, but I still love having print copies of my favorites.

Where is your favorite place in the world?
Italy. Hands down. My husband took a trip there while we were stationed in Belgium, and I’m dying to go back. We flew in to Venice, then took the train to Rome, Florence, and Pisa, before flying back home. It’s a magical place, and the food is fantastic!

Do you have any advice for people who want to write a book?

Don’t give up. Keep writing and don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’re planning to publish, be prepared to do a lot of work marketing, not just your book(s), but yourself. Try to avoid negative reviews whenever possible, and don’t measure your success by the success of others.

Twitter Handle - @bethanylopez2

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