AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BETH YARNALL
New author Beth Yarnall has stopped by the bunny cave to chat with the JR ladies…
Tell us a little about Rush. What inspired you to write it?
The idea for Rush came to me late one night as I flipped through channels and came across a Home Shopping-like show for adult toys. I became fascinated with the way the hosts sold the products without detailing the activities the products could be used. The seed for the idea was planted and as it grew I imagined the host of the show getting letters from men in prison. I then thought, what would happen if the prisoner was released and began stalking this woman?
I had a lot of fun making up the products and product companies featured on my fictitious show ‘Pleasure at Home’ and discovered a knack for euphemisms and innuendo (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). I imagined a hero, Lucas, for my heroine, Mi, who isn’t comfortable with the idea of using toys and gadgets in the bedroom. The thought of it makes him all shifty-footed and twitchy. Until the day he begins to have fantasies about painting Mi’s body with edible body paint…
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I started killing people in grade school. My friends would often choose me to be the storyteller of how the person died in the slumber party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. Now that I’m grown, I can’t seem to stop killing people… on paper.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
To start a book I need a title, an opening line, an opening scene, the names of the main characters, and an idea of the overall story arc. Then I sit down to write. Somewhere around the sixth chapter I have to stop and plot out the book. I use Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery. It’s linear, and easy for me to picture the story in my head.
Once I nail down the major plot points, I write the synopsis. Then it’s back to the story. I have been known to deviate from my original synopsis though. You know, in small ways like killing off characters and blowing up buildings. Totally fixable things. *rolls eyes*
I used to be a full out pantser. I wrote my first book with a simple outline and the next two books without a synopsis or outline at all. Nothing. That made for a lot of sitting and staring at the blinking cursor, wondering what in the heck to write next. It also made for weak plots and under-realized characters. I think I’ve finally figured out what my process is… it’s only taken me five books!
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Oh, gosh. You should ask me an easier question like which of my two sons is my favorite. Or which method I prefer to kill zombies with. I can’t choose. Don’t make me!
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Hahaha, OMG YES. And the real people never recognize themselves. It’s all kinds of awesome. If I share stories, then they’ll know and I’m having way too much fun to clue them in.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Mastering the great art of “Butt in Chair”. It’s by far the most challenging aspect of writing. After all, how will your ‘muse’, ‘girls in the basement’ or ‘inspiration’ find you if you’re not where you’re supposed to be?
Although I should alert you to the side effects of “Butt in Chair”… a flat butt.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’ve been licked by a stranger. In Hawaii. Most people get leied. I got licked.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Baths. With music and candlelight and a really good book of course!
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juices don’t flow?
Since I practice the “Butt in Chair” religion all I need is my bohonkus planted and ear buds jammed in my ears… and maybe a glass of iced tea. I’m horribly practical and I don’t believe in muses. When Nora Roberts pshawed the notion of ‘waiting for your muse to visit’, I pumped my fist in the air and shouted ‘Preach it sister!’
Not really, but you get the idea. Nothing beats hard work and dedication just like diet and exercise are the best way to lose weight. There’s no magic pill.
Also there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Sorry. (Interviewer – NOOOOOOOOOO, say it ain’t so…..)
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Meeting Janet Evanovich gave me the squeals. Her Stephanie Plum series is the reason I started writing. I read her books and I thought- I could write a book like that. I don’t pretend to have her talent, but I’m grateful to her for making it seem so easy and fun. I was thrilled to meet her at a Romance Writers of America national conference a few years ago. I have a picture of the two of us. We’re totally BFF’s now.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m working on a paranormal, romantic suspense about a woman, who has visions of the past and future. Her visions never vary and her talent seems useless until the day she has a vision of finding a man dead. Except when she arrives, the man isn’t dead, but standing over the body of his wife, holding the gun that killed her (dun, dun, dun).
I also write mysteries. My Azalea March mystery series is about a hairstylist who turns detective when a famous hairstylist is killed and her best friend is arrested for the murder. Think Stephanie Plum in a hair salon.
Did you know I used to be a hairstylist and makeup artist? Uh-huh. I can totally MacGyver you an up-do with nothing more than three paper clips and a Ju-Ju-Be.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
My mom would take my sister and me to the library every two weeks in the summer. I slipped my first Harlequin in between my Judy Blumes when I was about thirteen. Mom didn’t notice (or she did and didn’t care because I was READING). Gradually those cameo covers beat out all of the other books like Ice Castles and Are Your There God? It’s Me, Margaret. And mom never said anything. It’s all your fault, Mom.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I ask them how many books of ANY kind they’ve written. When they mumble ‘none’, I tell them to suck it while doing a victory dance a la Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
If I’m in the mood for chocolate, I usually go for chocolate covered potato chips (Trader Joe’s), Snickers with almonds (remember Mars bars?) or plain M&M’s. I actually prefer jelly orange slices, Dots, red licorice, and jelly beans over chocolate. I know. It’s sacrilege. Ssh, don’t tell. I could get my writer card revoked.
Where can readers find you?
I absolutely love social media and can be found on…
I’m usually on every Monday night from 6-7PM PST for a little event called #ManCandyMonday
My newest addiction is Pinterest- http://pinterest.com/bethyarnall/ where I keep all of the pics I post for #ManCandyMonday as well as a bunch of other time wasting inspiring photos.
I also have a website and blog- http://www.bethyarnall.com
Hope to see you online (if I call it networking, it’s not procrastinating, right?).