Saturday, May 10, 2014

Author Interview with Beth K. Vogt

Heidi here. Thanks for stopping by today as we chat with Beth Vogt, author of Somebody Like You. I've read her first two novels, Wish You Were Here and Catch a Falling Star and loved them!

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A nonfiction writer and editor who said she'd never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. Her novels include Wish You Were Here (2012), Catch a Falling Star (2013), and Somebody Like You (May 2014). She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy writing community. Connect with Beth on her website or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.

Sombody Like You backcover copy: Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection?

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed?

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

Beth, congratulations on your new novel, Somebody Like You, and thank you for stopping by to visit with us today! Where do you come up with such awesome hooks that create conflict for the characters from page one and sustain a full-length novel?
 Coming up with hooks for my novels is one of my favorite things to do. You hear over and over again as a writer how important it is to grab someone’s attention – be it an editor or an agent or a reader. I learned how to develop a hook through my involvement in My Book Therapy, best-selling author Susan May Warren’s writing community. It takes time, a lot of mulling, and tossing around key elements of your story like what’s at stake, what’s compelling about your characters, and trying to discover the dissonance – or the conflict – in your story.
What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities? 
There’s this myth that you can number priorities 1, 2, 3. What I’ve learned is there are usually several #1 priorities needing attention at the same time. Right now I’m launching my latest book, fast drafting my next novel, and getting ready to edit a novella. All are equally important.
Sounds exciting and exhausting at the same time! What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career? 
Now this is an interesting question. If you’ll allow me to change the word “greatest” to “most significant,” I’ll say that I’ve had many significant moments in my writing career. One of the most significant moments was when a reader called me and told me how she identified with the spiritual journey of Allison Denman, the heroine of my debut novel, Wish You Were Here. She said reading Wish You Were Here changed her relationship with God. I was so humbled by her words, because my prayer is that my novels bring my readers one step closer to God, wherever they are in their walk of faith.
Having a reader call to say your words changed their relationship with God. Very cool! I love plotting and am always looking for tips. How do you plot a novel? How close to the final version does the first draft read? 
Here’s my tip: Invest in The Book Buddy, a work-text developed by Susan May Warren that helps you plot out your novel. I use this for every book I write, drafting out themes, the Story Question, characters, spiritual threads, subplots, and villains. I also love to help other writers learn how to use The Book Buddy. My first draft is a fast draft – I usually write it in 4-5 weeks. And then I rewrite it at least 2-3 times before I submit it to my editor. And I make substantial changes along the way, refining my story as needed.

Yes, the Book Buddy is awesome, as are all of Suzie's craft books. I met you at a My Book Therapy retreat in Florida a few years ago. I adore Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauk, and their ability to teach and encourage other writers. Can you share with us more about My Book Therapy? 
Honest truth: I would not be published except for what I learned from My Book Therapy (MBT). Susie and Rachel are amazing writing mentors and they taught me the fundamentals of writing – and then challenged me to up my game with every book I write. I’m now the Skills Coach for MBT and it’s a joy to be part of this writing community. The skills you are taught take you from beginning to experienced, with the goal of getting published and staying published. And it’s also all about developing your distinct author voice.

I agree, MBT is an amazing writing community. Time for a fun question . . . You are headed to a deserted island and can bring only two things with you, what do you bring?
Well you said “things,” so I assume my husband and my family (a loosely defined two things) are not acceptable answers. I’ve always said that if I could only bring to things to a deserted island, I would bring my Bible and my copy of Howard Hendricks’ Living By TheBook. I discovered Hendricks’ book years ago when I taught women’s Bible studies. It’s a wonderful resource for inductive Bible study – and with that, I would be able to stay in the Word for years!

Interesting. I usually hear "chocolate" as one of the things! But feeding your soul is a humbling answer. Tell us about future books planned.
I just signed another contract with my publisher, Howard Books, for a Destination: Wedding series – 2 books and 2 novellas (one novella, A November Bride can be pre-ordered right now). I’m working on the first novel, which asks the question “What if you discovered that your biggest mistake was actually the right choice?”

Beth, congratulations on the new contract with Howard Books and thank you for your time today, it was fun! And congratulations again on your newest novel, Somebody Like You.

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