INTERVIEW WITH BEVERLY NAULT
Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Bev: My husband and I decided that when our children both got married last summer it would be a really good idea to sell our house and put everything in storage for a couple of months while we found a condo closer to his office. So we moved into our RV, a 36' Diesel pusher, and we're still there! Do we miss the yard work, pool maintenance and house cleaning? Nope! Because he's a pilot, and well, maybe because we really are, we call her "Flight Risk." LOL Seriously, I'm enjoying more time to write, and we are enjoying the freedom of being downsized. Now we plan trips, for now they're close to home, but after retirement we're thinking of Alaska, the Midwest, and the Florida Keys, but probably not all in the same month.
Debbie: Tell us about your most recent book.
Bev: "The Kaleidoscope" s the most recent, and a new genre for me. My fans will notice this one is written by B K Nault, but it's still me. I wanted an easy way for people to distinguish between my previous "cozy small town" style, and the high concept, suspense-mystery-romance style I'm tackling now.
In "The Kaleidoscope," the main character is a computer forensics expert named Harold who finds himself the guardian of a mysterious kaleidoscope that shows people a glimpse into their future. When the book starts, he a bit of a loner and know-it-all, but the 'scope forces him to ally with a colorful bunch of people who help him both come out of his shell, and also figure out where the mysterious gizmo came from and what makes it work. There's a ring of bad guys, but that's all I'm going to say about them, they will reveal themselves soon enough.
Here's a piece of the action from "The Kaleidoscope."
While living downstairs in the structure that had been around since De Mille directed epics beneath the Hollywood sign, Walter had persevered through his own endless trials, which took longer because of his equipment - an outdated computer, laughable to programmers pecking and coding elsewhere in the world, and a temperamental Dremel he'd found in a second-hand shop years ago. If he'd toiled in a state-of-the-art laboratory, his invention might have been ready years earlier.
Forced into hiding and sacrificing everything precious to him, Walter had accomplished something the rest of the tech-world vigorously debated was impossible. He'd worked as quickly as his limited resources allowed, but he finally reached his goal.
Now the prototype awaited one final step, and it would be ready for the real-world testing. A few more tweaks and the soft launch of which he'd dreamed was within his grasp. He unwound the protective length of fabric from the metal tube and exhaled a breath of adoration and pride. He'd polished the creation until it glimmered in the rays probing down through the high window into his basement workroom-slash-bedroom. He sighted down the shaft. His masterpiece, his swan song, was almost ready for the world.
One more piece of the puzzle, and the technology anticipated, even feared, would be born. If he'd calculated correctly, and Walter was meticulous about calculations, the day's mail should contain the gem he'd saved and scraped for. Every tip, handout, or penny literally scraped from the gutter had gone into that jar, and last week he'd exchanged the sum for a cashier's check and placed the order. If this final trial didn't work, he'd lose everything he'd slaved over. His ideas were running out, his home was about to be razed, and what made the urgency even more crucial, he sensed "they" were about to discover his hiding place.
Flipping the wall calendar over his workbench, Walter circled a date two weeks hence. That would give him sufficient time to install the final part, to test. and make note of his achievement. Perhaps even enjoy it himself before he turned it over to the one who would carry it to the world, who could safely deliver the technology where it would do the most good. It was time to plan the handoff.
Debbie: What was your journey to publication like?
Bev: I worked as a technical writer, but always wanted to write creatively for the general market, so I took a year-long correspondence course, began attending conferences, workshops and critique groups, and reading everything I could get my hands on about writing novels and narrative non-fiction.
In March 2011, my first two general market books released in the same month and I called them my fraternal twins! Both "Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton," that I co-wrote with the actress Mary McDonough about her experience growing up as a child actor and "Fresh Start Summer," came out side by side. "Fresh Start Summer" launched The Seasons of Cherryvale series about a fictional small town, similar to the Mitford or Cedar Cove stories, and I went on to write five more books about Cherryvale. (Four seasons + two bonus holiday novellas = Bev's math)
Debbie: What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Bev: So glad you asked! I'm reading Mary (Erin Walton) McDonough's first novel, "One Year," which ironically released this month, very close it its cousin, "The Kaleidoscope." I didn't help her with this one but I totally recommend it! She did a great job weaving together three women's lives in a small Virginia town. Hey, Mary, way to go!
Debbie: What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Bev: My next project has the working title, "Misdirect," and it's another suspense-mystery-romance. The main character is a former CIA operative turned desk analyst who has to brush off her tradecraft skills and go back into the field. She finds herself riding camels in the Sahara desert to rescue her soon to be son-in-law who has been taken hostage. Again, more bad guys.
Here's a sample from "Misdirect."
Eve sighted down the barrel of her 9MM, raised to the height of an average man's heart. She took controlled breaths measured to match her own pulse. In. Out. Blood thrummed in her ears threatening to drown crucial communication. She sensed rather than saw the others in the hallway made dark by her advance team's removal of bulbs from Nixon-era fixtures. Shadows surrounded her with stealth movements. Bracing against the wall, Eve uttered, "Go."
A booted foot struck just below the knob with enough force to explode the doorframe. Dry rot splintered onto peeling linoleum and left a gaping hole into a black abyss. Before the rebounding door flew back someone blocked it and the team glided through. Backs together in simi-circle, their synchronicity so finely tuned, an infrared footprint would for decades confuse intelligence analysts as to the number of bodies at once. In silent choreography, they starburst, boots gliding silently, floating from room to room.
Debbie: What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Bev: Try new things, stretch yourself and be as creative as possible. There are a lot of "rules" about what you should be doing as far as grammar, but what readers really want is a great page-turner. There are tons of ways to be published and to find an audience, and that's the fun part about being a writer these days. Find a group to meet with for honest feedback, and most of all, enjoy yourself!
Debbie: Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share?
Bev: It's hard to narrow them down, but there are a few that spring to mind right away. I have subscribed to www.thepassivevoice for years and always find some article or information that I find helpful. Also, I read every blog post Kristen Lamb writes at We Are Not Alone. There are also some great podcasts for writers. Jack Cavanaugh's Let's Talk Novels is good for beginners, and Writing Excuses covers Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but they also do a great job discussing style and technique and how to give readers what they want.
Here's a list of books I highly recommend:
On Writing by Stephen King
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (screenwriting, but excellent on writing page-turning tension)
Writing the Breakout Novel, and The Fire in Fiction by Donald Mass
Any writing book by James Scott Bell. And read the classics and bestsellers. Read. Everything.
Debbie: Is there anything you'd like to tell us we haven't covered?
Bev: It's a terrific time to be a writer and a reader! The world of publishing is opening up to so many new and interesting niches, allowing new voices and stories to be told like never before. If you're a writer, go for it, and if you're a reader, have fun exploring new stories, maybe you'll discover a new writer no one's heard of yet. And please, everyone, be kind enough to share positive reviews on books you like on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Reviews are the new word of mouth and telling other "guess what kept me up into the wee hours reading!?" will do a lot to keep encouraging readers to buy and writers to continue penning good books.
And if you see a writer sitting behind a desk or table somewhere waiting to sign a copy or share a candy, don't be afraid to approach and ask about their book, we don't bite, I promise!
Debbie: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
Bev: My blog, "Bev Said What?" is where I try to behave myself sometimes. The blog and all my titles are on my website, www.beverlynault.com and my Facebook is Beverly Nault,author. Tweet me @bevnault.
Thanks for having me, it's been fun!
Thanks for stopping by Bev and giving us a little more insight into what an author goes through in writing. Not only is Bev a great writer, but she is also a great editor. She has edited all of my Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery Series. Now hop on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy or two of Bev's books!
Deborah Malone's first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2011 and 2012 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine "Georgia Backroads," since 2001. She has had many articles and photographs published, and her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails," edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the "Christian Communicator." She is a member of the Gerogia Writer's Association, Advanced Writer and Speaker's Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers.