Interview with Beth Fantaskey

Hi, Lovelies,

Yesterday was a long, long day. No matter what political party you align yourself with, I’m sure everyone can agree that they are glad its over.  Recently I interviewed with the lovely Beth Fantaskey, author of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (and many more amazing books). Since that review will be posted this Sunday (November 13), I thought it would be a great Hump Day treat to post the interview that I did with her, today! So without further ado, here it is!

1.    Where exactly did you get the idea for “Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side?”
My children are adopted, and we sometimes imagine what their birth parents might be like.  What if they are doctors?  Or farmers?  Or even royalty?  I just took that game to the extreme with Jessica’s Guide, by envisioning a girl who discovers that her birth parents were something completely beyond the scope of her imagination: vampire royalty.
2.    Did you model any characters after people in your life?
Nope, my characters seem to spring to life on their own. I’ve certainly never met anyone like Lucius Vladescu – although I would love to meet someone with his mix of arrogance, charm, humor, and passion. I think he would be fascinating to talk with for awhile!
3.    What is the process of creating these characters?
They honestly seem to just walk into my life. I know that some authors spend a lot of time imagining everything about their characters and fill notebooks with details. My characters just seem to spring to life, fully formed. From the moment I imagined Lucius, I could hear his voice as clearly as I can hear my kids talking in the house right now.
4.    How often do you get writer’s block and how do you deal with it? 
I don’t think I get writer’s block. I have times where I’m stuck on a plot point, but I don’t have days where I go, “Gee, I just can’t write.” If I get stuck in the story, I just try to imagine what would logically happen next, or create a cliffhanger that has to be resolved. Maybe I don’t keep that day’s work, but I find that charging through the hard parts is the only way to keep going.
5.    What was your favorite book when you were little, and what is it now?
My favorite book when I was a kid was The Velveteen Rabbit, although it broke my heart. My favorite book now is The Count of Monte Cristo. I think it has everything. Action, adventure, romance and a hero with a serious dark side. Such a great read!
6.    When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I never really knew!  When I graduated from college, I had no job prospects, so when a friend mentioned that a public relations office was hiring writers, I applied.  When I turned in my writing sample, the man who would become my boss said, “You know you’re a writer, right?”  I got hired on the spot, and that’s what I’ve done ever since – thank goodness!
7. What vampire books/movies did you take inspiration from?
I wasn’t inspired by any vampire novels, I wasn’t even a fan of paranormal stories. I wanted to write a novel about adoption. Lucius being a vampire was supposed to be secondary. As a result, I ended up creating my own “mythology,” based upon things I vaguely knew from reading Dracula, years ago, and just pop culture references to vampires, in general. One of my favorite scenes in Jessica’s Guide shows Lucius mocking most of the traditional vampire conventions about garlic, burning up in sunlight, etc.
8. What advice would you give aspiring authors?
My advice is to treat writing like anything else you want to be good at – which means practice every day.  I get the sense that some people think writing is a “gift” that you either have or don’t have.  But it’s also a talent that you can develop with hard work and practice.  So I always encourage new writers to sit down and work, just like you’d practice piano if you wanted to be a concert pianist, or do soccer drills if you wanted to be a soccer star.
I worked as a professional writer for nearly twenty years before I tried a novel, and I learned something every day that I worked.

Thanks so much to Beth for taking the time to answer these questions for me! If anyone wants to learn more about her or check out some of her books, click here for her website!

Also, some new features coming to Graced with Books:
  • You may have noticed some new share buttons floating around the site! I finally found a plugin that I like called “Shareaholic” so it’s easier for you guys to like and share the posts here
  • Coming Soon: A calendar of events for the site and the book word in general!

Hope you guys enjoyed, and feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, and comments!

XOXO Shelby Grace

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