When Beverly was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth-grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she managed to graduate from high school then attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she could count. After four years, she graduated cum laude with, you guessed it, a teaching degree. And somewhere along the way, perhaps reading to her sons or reading great Newbery winners with her students, she discovered what she’d been missing: reading was fun. Now she reads most every day. She also writes stories and articles for children and teens.
Beverly lives in the country with her husband, two cats, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout or just to peek in the door. Besides writing, she plays the piano, searches for her ancestors, and teaches a women’s Sunday school class. She also has the most beautiful grandchildren in the world.
Congratulations on yet another book release, Beverly! How do you keep yourself so productive?
Thank you, Mayra. It is fun to see a new book, after so many months of writing and editing, finally in the hands of readers. As for being productive, I think as an older writer, realizing I’m in those supposedly “golden years” motivates me to stay busy. Each hour of every day is precious to me. I hate to waste time. Maybe my years as a teacher helps too, since I’m used to a schedule. Even though I retired years ago, I still write out my plans for each day, not that I always stick to them, but I try. Also, my sons are grown and away, leaving me time for myself, which is rare when you have children at home. I do not see how writers with young kids and even teens manage to write.
I write at least two hours every morning except Saturday, which is catch up day, and Sunday, church day. Sometimes, my words are not worth keeping. Other times, they flow onto the screen and a story forms.
What was your inspiration for Life on Hold? Sounds like a compelling mystery.
One day, I read an article in the local newspaper about a young couple that had a baby while they were still in high school. The girl’s parents made her give the child away. The teens eventually went their separate ways, married others, and had other children. Years later, a chance conversation between the boy or girl (I forget which one) and a friend mentioned an 18-year-old boy they knew that had been adopted when a baby. The article went on to tell how the former boyfriend and girlfriend, who no longer were married to their spouses, found each other again and decided to search for the son they’d given up. And, you guessed it, the teen mentioned was their son. They went on to have a wonderful relationship with him. I love stories with happy endings. I also imagine this story happens quite often.
Could you share with us what your process was like during the creation of this novel?
Most of the time, my stories start from something I read about, or sometimes a little voice speaks to me, or an event begs to be told. With Life on Hold, I basically started with the plot of a teen discovering her father really was her stepfather. At first, I wasn’t sure how the story would end or even how we’d get there. The characters carried me along, occasionally as confused as I was; other times knowing exactly where they were going. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to my writing and try to write a little every day, as I mentioned earlier. My schedule is flexible, but mornings are my best writing time. It took me a bit over two years to write the story, including many revisions and then more edits with my great editor. Yes, I’m slow, but like the turtle I eventually reach my destination.
Did you hit any walls while writing the book? If yes, what did you do to overcome them?
Not walls exactly, but the final version had many changes from the original as I got to know the characters better. I keep each draft on the chance an earlier edition might have a scene I’d want to add back in. When a scene wasn’t working, I rewrote it in different ways to see what worked best. Many times the first thought was the best.
Did you celebrate when you typed ‘The End?’
I didn’t do anything special, but the words The End are two of my favorite words. They give me a sense of accomplishment, because many times in a story, I’ll wonder if it will ever end or if I should scrap the whole thing.
What do you want readers to get out of this book?
I’d like for children/teens who are adopted or those that are step children to realize that bringing a child into the world does not make a man a father. (Or a mother, a mother) Holding, rocking, and whispering gentle words to a child when she’s sick make a father. Attending her programs at school, helping her with spelling, taking her to the movies make a father. A father and mother show their love by actions: love, discipline when necessary, and always being there when the child has a crisis, whether big or small.
What do you enjoy most about being a children’s book author?
The most exciting thing about writing for children to me is when a child or teen says he/she likes my books. What greater reward can an author wish for?
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Hang in there. Never give up. I have enough “No thank you” letters to paper my whole writing room, but some of them also contain a word of encouragement. Cling to those comments. Use them to improve your story. Keep writing. Learn more. Attend conferences, Online ones if you can’t get to live ones. Keep writing. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but if you stop writing when times are tough, you’ll never be published. If you’re persistent, one day, you’ll succeed. Hint: Don’t expect to get rich, unless you write a blockbuster. Enjoy the writing. For me, the finished story is the reward.
What’s on the horizon?
My chapter book, Kate, Little Angel Sometimes (title will be changed) is scheduled for a May/June 2013 release from 4 RV Publishing. January 2013 is the release date of my Tween paranormal A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat,MuseItUp Publishing. My orphan train story, Scattered to the Winds, is under contract with Twilight Times, and Guardian Angel has Weird Noises in the Night,no dates set yet.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts. I hope they help you in some way. Visit me on my blogs. I love comments. If you read my books, please let me know what you think.
Thank you, Beverly!