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Saturday, 4 September 2010

Interview with Author, BethAnn Buehler


BethAnn’s world revolves around family, friends, and her love of writing.  When not working on her next story, she can usually be found having breakfast at a local restaurant with her parents, enjoying a caramel latte with girlfriends or neglecting her responsibilities as wife and mother because she’s thinking about her next story. 
She writes romance with an erotic bent and gets most of her ideas from talking with friends about what everyone really wants for Christmas---the perfect mate.  Accepting people like that don't actually exist,  she says it's fun to create them on paper!
When not writing, she enjoys the occasional hobby such as digital scrapbooking, cardmaking, reading, and playing tennis.  She’s a proud winner of the 2009 NaNoWriMo challenge and a member of the Indianapolis Writer's Group as well as the Romance Writers of America, Indiana Chapter.  She lives on the north side of Indianapolis with her husband, who she describes as awesome, her gorgeous little boy and two rotten Silky Terriers.


Tell us about Broken Together in a few sentences.
I'm excited to say that Broken Together is being released by Wild Horse Press on September 14th.  Broken Together is the first in a three part series of novels featuring a small town called Rebel Canyon where readers invest in the lives of three close friends.  Bryn Baxter is hugely successful professionally but when it comes to relationships, let me just be candid--she's a mess.  When her otherwise orderly life falls apart, Bryn gets help from a hired gun, Beck Reynolds.  Bryn wants the fairy tale but she doesn't want to have to think about how to make it all work.  So Beck takes control...  

What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?
I think a writer needs thick skin because criticism, even if well deserved and well meaning, can be painful to hear.  I also think that a writer needs to be possess a fair amount of flexibility.  Characters often have minds of their own and can paint even the best writers into some interesting corners.  For most characters, the journey follows a winding path.

What is your working method?
I try to write everyday and usually set a goal of about 3,000 words.  My muse and I are both Type A personalities so we're very goal oriented.  However, I'm raising a little human so I don't always get there.

What is the single biggest mistake made by beginners to writing?
I would have to say a lack of knowledge about the fundamentals of the crazy English language.  It is so much easier to start off correctly than go back and re-write an entire manuscript.


How did you come to write this particular book?
I'm proud to say that I'm a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom to a terrific little boy with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a very mild form of Autism.  My hubby works very hard so that I can be here raising our son.  It's the hardest job I've ever had but it's my favorite.  I started writing to carve out personal time for myself as a way to escape some of the stress in my daily life.  Without really knowing where I was headed at the time, I created a contemporary romance with strong fetish/erotic elements.  I know it sounds corny but I love "love".  I love the underdog, the person who deals with their own brokenness and finds the courage to make their life happen against the odds, whatever those might be.  That's why I write romance.  I really want the happily-ever-after.

If you have a favorite character in your novel, why that particular one?
Jamie Wallace is my favorite hero (Broken Destiny, book two) and I have to admit that I fell in love with him the more I wrote about him.  No to give too much away but there's a scene in Broken Destiny, which releases in February 2011, where Jamie finds that he can no longer stand trying to be something he isn't.  He had me right there...

How can people buy your book?
Broken Together releases September 14th and will be available at www.allromanceebooks.com as well as amazon.com and a few other online retailers including omnilit.com and coffeetimeromance.com

To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
There are no shortcuts to good writing regardless how captivating a story might be.  This one's essential.

How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?
A ton!  I worked on Broken Together for just over a year!

Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?
The Rebel Canyon Series was born on a mountain in Utah.  I was hanging out and reading in the lodge at Deer Valley (Utah) while my husband and son were out skiing.  I took several books to read for the week since I don't ski and honestly, each one I finished left me flat.  By the end of the third day (and the fourth dissatisfying book), I ran to the gift shop, bought a notebook, refilled my hot chocolate and decided I could do better.  Hence the Utah setting for the series.

To what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
I think genre is reader directed.  It's a fact that no every reader will just read whatever.  They like a certain type of story.  To that end, I believe writer's owe their readers the best work within their given genre that they can produce.

What are your writing habits?
I research characters and the details of my books extensively.  That's to say that if I state the name of a gun, let's say, I know enough about that weapon to know how far it shoots, the noise or lack thereof it makes when fired, it's cost...  The same goes for cars and legal terms...  I love to research.  I'm not so big on outlining although as I'm wrapping my first series, I've needed an outline just to make sure I give proper closure to that various storylines I've introduced.

How do you know where to begin any given story?
I'm not sure I do because often times, beginnings get changed in editing.  I'm much more concerned about having a solid title.  In fact, I can't start without one.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?
The given's of being a stay-at-home mom--housework, school board responsibilities, homework!

Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?
My husband is very proud of me but embarrassed to read any of my work.  Because he flinched first, I don't share it with him.  In fact, other than reading these interviews and visiting my author's website, he's never read a word of my stuff.  I told him he can read it when he buys it!  I'm also blessed to have four critique partners, women whom I respect and trust to give me honest feedback. And I have to say my oldest and dearest girlfriend, Sheri, has been there every step of the way offering opinions and questioning my story line and ideas.  I always tease that without her my novel would have been a paragraph.

Is presentation of the MS as important as most agents and publishers suggest?
Absolutely.  There aren't any shortcuts to a polished manuscript.

How long does it normally take you to write a novel?
Broken Together took 13 months.  Broken Destiny took eight and Broken Identity looks like it's going to fall somewhere in the middle of those two numbers.

What are your inspirations?
I'm all about the man versus himself struggles in life and how people overcome and find their way.  I love the underdog and I love a good love story.  Tying all of that together motivates me.

If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?
Re-writes and editing.  When you are as close to your story as most writer's are--we know it so well we're bound to miss something.  That worries me!

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
I believe writing is a blend of both.  Just like you've got writers gifted with a the ability to write short stories, you have your novelists and journalists.  I believe writer's love the written word first and then hone their craft to suit their needs and the needs of their audience.

What are you writing now?
I'm finishing Broken Identity, book three in the Rebel Canyon Series and I've just started a new series, the first book of which will be out late next year.

Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?
There are many wonderful aspects.  I love my critique group because they sharpen me.  I love my best friend and first line editor because she knows just where to push and when to call "foul" when I slip up.  And, I love reader comments. Hearing from readers makes every single letter completely worth it.

Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
I can be found at http://www.bethannbuehler.com/blog.htmland I blog with several of my writer sisters at www.wickedmuses.webs.com 

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
I'd love a space I could retreat to outside my home where I didn't see the laundry or hear the dishwasher.  I'd have a big story board with handwritten notes and I'd also have three computers;  one for research, one for writing and one for character notes so I didn't have to keep hoping back and forth.

Where do you actually write?
When I'm at home I write in my office which offers me a beautiful desk, photos of the people and places I love and my puppies, who are terrific company.  I also write at my favorite breakfast spot quite a bit.  I'll confess, I have two computers!  
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