Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beth K. Vogt {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Beth...

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2015 and 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love (June).

Connect with Beth...

Purchase: Almost Like Being In Love

Get to know Beth...

Your Writing

Why are you/did you write it? 
Almost Like Being in Love is the second novel in my destination wedding series, which also has two e-novellas. My heroine, Caron Hollister, is the sister of Logan Hollister, who was the hero if Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the first novel in the series. Caron lurked in the background in the first novel and it was so much fun to bring her front and center in this story.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with? 
All of my books have a Story Question, which is a question that my characters wrestle with and have to answer by the end of the book. It’s a question my readers can wrestle with too. The SQ for Almost Like Being in Love is two-fold: Just because you’re “perfect" for each other, does that mean you should marry each other? And going deeper a bit deeper: How do we let others’ expectations for us shape our lives?

Emilie here: Wow! What great questions Beth!

What was a challenge you faced while writing it? 
Interesting question. I turned my manuscript in on time, but there was a nagging question in the back of my head: What’s not working? Something didn’t quite feel right. About two weeks later, I figured out what the issue was while I was on a walk with a writing buddy. I called Beth Adams, my editor at Howard Books, and told her how I thought we should change the story. I knew the change would take a major rewrite. She agreed with me and sent the manuscript back. I then rewrote about 60-70% of Almost Like Being in Love. You change one major thing in a story’s plot – you change a lot of other things.

Emilie here: That's inspiring Beth - it helps to understand the reality of writing. It's not just about writing an "okay" book, it's about writing the BEST book you can! I'm sure you're changes made it even better.

Did you get to do any fun research for the book? 
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Write what you know.” Oftentimes, writing is “Write what you want to know.” Or “Write what you need to know.” Both Caron Hollister and Kade Webster, as well as several other characters in the book, are Realtors. Other than having bought and sold several homes when my husband and I have moved, I know nothing about being a Realtor. I’m thankful for several friends who are Realtors who came to my aid and answered all my questions so that I was able to realistically write Caron and Kade.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story? 
Kade Webster and his business partner, Mitch, participates in a “Mudder” – an outdoor obstacle race. And so I had to Google information about a Mudder that took place in Snowmass, Colorado because my race was based on that race. I needed to know about the different kinds of obstacles. My son ran it a couple of years ago, which is how I got the idea for including a Mudder in the book. Also, I have friends who founded Heart of the Bride, an international ministry for orphans, and they host The Emerald Coast Mud Run, a fundraising mud race, every year in Florida.


What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”? 

Go ahead and start thinking like a professional writer. My daughter, Christa, is 15 ½ years old, and her best friend Elisabeth is 17 years old. They are co-writing a YA series together and have been involved with ACFW for two years, including attending the local Colorado Springs meeting each month. Find a writers group. Find a mentor – which means praying about and then approaching a more experienced writer to see if they’ll spend time with you and coach you.

Emilie here: LOVE this thought! Great advice for young (and old) writers.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process? 
At some point everything becomes my “least favorite part” of the process. I love being a writer because I’m living my dream! But I’ve also learned the “living the dream” means doing the work. I’m an editor and I love editing. And I love brainstorming story ideas with other writers. I love diving into a story and I love reaching the end. But there are times I think, “Do I really want to do this again?” I also know myself well enough to know I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Writing is my passion and it’s the way I reflect God to the world. The Creator made me a creative.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? 
My stories are always inspired by real life events and people. Sometimes a snippet of a conversation will be the catalyst for a story. Or a challenge I’ve faced – or am facing – sparks a story idea. Or I read something in a magazine and I start mulling over it and think, “How would this play out in a book?” I’m a relationship-oriented person, and my novels are all about relationships and how messy and complicated they are. But I also believe that God is a relationship-orientated God and that He came into our lives because He cares about our mess and doesn’t want to leave us where we are.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share? 
I love to listen to music while I write – and sometimes I play mindless TV shows in the background – things like HGTV’s Flip or Flop or Fixer Upper. I’ve gotten in the habit of creating playlists for every book I write. I learned this from author Evangeline Denmark, a wonderfully creative writer-friend of mine who wrote the book Curio.

Emilie here: Oh man, if I had Fixer Upper on I'd be hooked LOL. But I do love having a playlist for my writing.

How do you grow in your writing craft? 
I love to mentor other writers and that challenges me keep learning, to keep developing as an author. I also am a part of My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by author Susan May Warren. I wouldn’t be published without her help and without my mentor, Rachel Hauck. I love the MBT Deep Thinker Retreats.

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How do (did) you like to celebrate the 4th of July? 
Our family counted down the days to the 4th of July because my oldest son Josh came into town from Seattle. He moved there last October because he was offered a job at Paizo Press as an editor. Yep – he’s an editor and author, too. Ink flows in my family’s veins. One of the things we did was celebrate everyone’s birthdays while he was in town. And we grilled out – we love to cook out and have s’mores! As a former military family, we love the 4th of July. 

Share a personal freedom you’ve experienced. 
I struggled with fear a lot as a child, and even as an adult. As a believer, I know that God says that we don’t need to be afraid – so many Scripture verses speak to how God gives us peace and is our refuge and strength. About 20 years ago, during a time when I was leading a Bible study on prayer and learning to listen to God, I heard him whisper the word “Freedom” to me during a time of prayer. As He walked me through some specific healing of past hurts, God released me from that bondage to fear.

Emilie here: Thanks so much for being my guest Beth! What beautiful and inspiring thoughts here! And major congratulations on winning the Christy Award for A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. What an awesome and deserved accomplishment!

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