Thursday, 9 August 2007

Interview with Elizabeth White

Ever since reading The Trouble with Tommy in the anthology, Sweet Delights I have clamoured to read Beth White's stories and each one has lived up to my expectations. Beth kindly took time out from her busy schedule to spend time at RelzReviewz. Keep reading to find our her thoughts:~

ON WRITING...

Please share some of your writing/publishing journey with us.

I'm a lifelong lover of the written word. It got serious when I took a college fiction-writing course--this was, I think, around 1986--and finished a Christian young adult novel and sent it to Bethany House. They expressed interest, but eventually turned it down (surprise surprise). Which made me wonder what it would take to make my work publishable. Why didn't I wonder that before I sent off a manuscript, you ask? I have no idea. I wrote to a published author to ask that ignorant question, and she encouraged me to join RWA®, which I did. In 1998 my local chapter hosted a conference where I met a Tyndale editor. She recommended my first novella sale for the HeartQuest anthology line. After two more novellas, I signed with Alive Communications, who facilitated a three-book romantic suspense contract with Tyndale--aborted because I turned in manuscripts that needed too much work. Work? You mean one must rewrite multiple times? Yes, indeedy. So I rewrote. But never fear, tragedy turned to triumph when those poor rejected darlings found homes with Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense and Zondervan.

Why Christian fiction?

Because God told me to.

What kept you busy before the writing bug bit?

In another life I was a pastor's wife, mommy of two kids, and a music teacher. I was also quite a proficient needlewoman. I'm still a pastor's wife, my kids are mostly grown, and I still do music a little bit. My sewing machine has a nice family of spiders living in its little bobbin case.

What project or book are you working on now?

This is a complicated question. I have four different projects in various stages. I'm noodling around with a proposal for a Zondervan romance. Something about a ballerina. Before January I have to cut about 10,000 words out of a completed Civil War suspense for Love Inspired Historicals. During the fall I will be tinkering with another historical for my Creative Writing masters thesis. It's sort of Grey's Anatomy set in 1879 New Orleans at Tulane Medical College. No sex onstage, though. And, let's see, the next Zondervan title, Controlling Interest (April '08), will have to go through line edits soon.

What does a regular writing day look like for you?

Regular? HAHAHAHAH! Some days I do nothing but think, "Hey, where did the time go?" Some days I check email and surf the Internet (I think I found the end). Some days I call up an expert on whatever topic I need to write about but upon which I find myself in severe ignorance. Sometimes (usually a month before deadline) I keep my hiney in the chair and write for ten hours. This is not a good system, children. Do not try this at home.

ON OFF THE RECORD...

What inspired you to write a story about a female judge?

I read a front-page article in our local paper about a female judge (a Democrat, I read with fascinated horror) who was running for Alabama Supreme Court chief justice. To that point there had never been a woman in that position. I thought that was pretty fascinating, so I started playing around with all the things that could keep that from happening. As it happens, the woman I read about in that article was elected last November. She obviously had none of the setbacks I created for Laurel Kincade.

What was your favourite scene to write?

I don't know. I really had a good time with those people. They kind of got to be my friends. The scene where Cole confronts Matt Hogan, his detective buddy who spills the beans about Laurel was full of testosterone and made me laugh. Readers so far have enjoyed Matt because he's so completely self-centered, but in a charming way. Laurel's speech at the Boll Weevil Museum was fun, too.

If the series was made into a movie, who would you cast?

Oh, that's a good one. Laurel is Kate Walsh from Grey's Anatomy. Tall, classy redhead. Cole is Russell Crowe, um, maybe a little younger than Russell. Matt is James Roday, the lead actor on Psych. Other ideas may come to me.

Will we read more of Matt Hogan one day?

He's got his own book! Controlling Interest comes out next April. Yay!

What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader?

I hope it will encourage Christian women who have messy pasts to walk with confidence in the Lord. If our sins and mistakes have been confessed and repented of, they don't disqualify us from serving God. In fact, God has a way of taking those tragic or embarrassing things in our pasts and bringing glory to Himself. The Father never tires of his girls coming back to him.

ON MATTERS PERSONAL...

Do you read Christian fiction yourself? If so, some favourite authors or books both Christian and/or secular?

I do read Christian fiction. Queen Francine is probably my favorite, especially Redeeming Love and The Atonement Child. I read just about everything Terri Blackstock writes. Recently I read Annette Smith's A Bigger Life. Just devoured that book in a day-long binge. It was amazing.

Secular…I'm a Carla Kelly fan (Regency romance), John Grisham's The Testament is one of my favorite books, and I like Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series (sci-fi). For westerns, I reread my Max Brand and Zane Grey stuff.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. Gag me with a spoon. I'm in graduate school. But I'm also in the middle of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It was recommended by a friend. It's fantasy, a bit on the graphic side, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it in general.

Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?

"I came across time for you, Sarah." The Terminator. Classic romance (though my husband thinks I'm crazy).

Who inspires you?

People from my church who are now living on mission fields all over the world. Can't share their names because they're in sensitive areas. But God knows them.

Please share some of your faith journey...

I grew up in a Christian home and knew Jesus from an early age. I "made it official" when I was about nine years old. He's been the true love of my life since then. Early on I devoted my creative gifts to His use--the music, the writing, whatever else He wanted to take. This sounds really boring, but it's the truth. My life is a testament to the fact that God's Word is true and faithful. I find unending joy in surrender to His will. Do I mess up? Sure, but He draws me back, chastises me, restores me, loves me.

SOME ESSENTIAL AUSSIE QUESTIONS...

When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first? A platypus or a koala?

Oh, koalas are so cute.

Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?

Huh?

You are visiting Australia ~ do you say yes or no to some vegemite on toast?!

I truly don't know what to say.

Any last words.................................

Thanks for noticing me.

Thanks Beth ~ it has been a pleasure :) Love your humour and that Southern gentility you write so much about!

Read my review of another fabulous Beth White book, Fair Game here and look for my review of Off The Record to appear soon at TitleTrakk ~ it's a beauty! Off The Record releases this month from Zondervan.

3 comments:

So Many Books... said...

I love James Roday! Looking forward to Controlling Interest. =)

bethsquill said...

Isn't James just adorable?

Thanks for the fun interview, Rel!

Beth White said...

I meant to add that on my website www.elizabethwhite.net I'm holding a drawing for two book baskets, each full of 10 different Zondervan titles. Come over and check it out!
Beth

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