MEET BETHANY LOPEZ
NEW Author Interviews!!!
A series of interviews, guest blogs and more for Thursdays!
Author of Contemporary YA series. Ta Ta for Now! and xoxoxo now available. Wife, mother, Airman, supporter of fellow writers.
http://bethanylopez.weebly.com TWITTER: @BethanyLopez2
I know that you write YA fiction, what made you decide to choose YA over other genres?
When I started writing Ta Ta for Now!, it was Oct 2010, and my husband was in Jordan. My eldest daughters were 15 and 12, and I started writing and showing them what I wrote. I never expected it to turn in to a book, it just worked out that way. I was also recruiting for the Air Force enlisted corps, so I worked in high schools and with people 17 – 22. It just seemed like I could really relate to YA and I wanted to write something that would teach kids to make positive choices without sounding like a “Mom”.
What made you decide self-publishing over traditional?
I initially tried to send query letters to agents. As I said, I never intended to make Ta Ta for Now! into a book, so I had no idea how to proceed. I have always loved to write, but never imagined I would publish anything, so I looked online to see what to do. After about 40 rejections, I decided to stop querying for a while. I went home to Michigan and while I was there, I heard that my uncle had self published through Amazon, so I decided to look into it. Almost a year later, I still don’t have it all figured out, but I am very happy that I did it!
Tell us about a quirk of Melissa and why you chose it?
I don’t know if it is a quirk, but although Melissa can be self-centered, when it comes down to it, she is very loyal to her friends and family. I think it is important for teens to realize that sometimes they are a small part of a bigger picture. I try to show this with humor, as well as some pretty serious circumstances.
Are there sexual references in your YA novel? And if so how do you determine what is too much for your audience?
In Ta Ta for Now and in xoxoxo, Melissa is only 14. The most that happens is kissing. I realize that there are kids that are having sex at that age, but I am not tackling that issue. I am trying to portray real characters in real situations and really show the dynamic of a big family. Melissa is not perfect in any way, but I wanted to show her grow. I plan to write from her freshman through her senior year, and I will have her mature accordingly.
This is a series of which you also have the second book out “XOXOXO” as well, on average, how long did it take you to write the first book, edit the first book and was the second book any easier?
Stories About Melissa. Ta Ta for Now! and xoxoxo cover her freshman year, and Ciao is the beginning of her sophmore year, so the plan is to have 8 books in all, spanning her high school career. It took 9 months from start to publish on Ta Ta for Now!, and still, 7 months later, I revised, re-edited, and re-issued it. So, it was 16 months for Ta Ta for Now to reach it’s current state. xoxoxo took 5 months from the day I started to the day I published it. I think I learned a lot with the first book, so the second one was easier.
Do you plot or are you a pantser?
Pantser. I am not very good at plotting it out. I am more of a free writer. I do keep a little notebook with notes on my characters, that I add to with each book, but that is as close as I get.
When is the third book expected to come out?
I am almost finished with Ciao, and expect it to come out in Aug/Sept. I am going to have some Beta Readers go through it first, as well as my normal people, so I am excited and nervous to try something new to make the book as great as possible.
Will you continue to do series and YA or have you changed your preferences and why?
I have another book that I have started, and will work on in between Stories About Melissa books. It is still YA, but has Fantasy elements, as well as Contemporary. I am really excited about trying something new.
The cover art on your books is fantastic, did you hire out or did you do them yourself?
Actually, there is a program through CreateSpace that you can use to make your cover art. I spent my time to find exactly what I wanted and make it as nice as possible. I used pictures they had available. For Ciao, I have taken the picture that I am going to use for the cover, as long as I can figure out how to do it. In the books, Melissa really loves photography, so I wanted to incorporate that on the covers. I am glad you like them, I really love the covers!
When do you find the time to write?
I am in the Air Force full time and have a husband and four kids at home, so I am very busy. Mostly I write in the evenings, before bed, and usually just one or two entries at a time. The books are in journal entry form, so some are long and some are pretty short.
Do you have a publicist or do you do it yourself? If you do it yourself then what has had the best results in your promotions?
I do it myself. I am active in social media, and try to keep up with all of them: Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram. I am pretty good at those, but I also have Linkedin and Tumblr accounts that I haven’t utilized as much. The best results though probably come when bloggers do a reveiw or interview on their site. Whether it was through the Blog Tour I did with YA Bound, which was wonderful, or individual instances like this! Word of mouth is best!
Do you have a silly or a most entertaining or happiest accomplishment moment in your writing career?
I have met so many wonderful people over the last year, since I joined the online writing community. Great writers, great bloggers, and what have really become great friends. I can’t believe I never knew this community existed before last June. Another wonderful moment was when I gathered up my courage and attended the Southern California Writers Conference in Feb. I was scared to death and felt like an imposter, but everyone there was so friendly and helpful, it is an amazing group of people, and I learned so much over the course of the three day conference. I cannot wait to attend next year!
OKAY HERE IS :
First sentences of the story:
From the book: Ta Ta For Now
“I always hear people say that they wish they had lots of brothers and sisters, I guess they are lonely because they are only children or their siblings are older, but they cannot possibly understand the magnitude of what they are saying.”
WOW! So we know right off the bat that Melissa has lots of brothers and sisters and apparently there is some baggage that comes along with them. We get a little sense of her snark and a big sense that there is big family dynamic in this story that causes tension and what YA is complete without a bit of drama! I also get a sense that maybe the teen is a little book smart with the lack of conjunctions or maybe it just means that it’s such a big issue it deserves emphasis on every syllable for this first sentence. But definately seeing a lot of questions that I would want to know the answers to already!
Melissa begins her freshman year with one goal in mind, getting Brian Jackson to be her boyfriend. She will soon learn that things don’t necessarily turn out the way you plan them, the value of true friendship, and the importance of family.
SO IT’S CHANCE TIME! ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF
Bethany’s Ta Ta for Now YA Novel:
Please spread the word of this interview through twitter and such, but be sure to include my handle (@theglitterlady) or my G+ (steviemccoy) so that I can give you credit for spreading the word. All spreading of the word will be added to a list and on the day before my next interview post I will use a random generator to pick a winner to receive the FREE e-book from Bethany!
There you have it Peeps! Say Hi to Bethany! And also if you have any questions that you’d like for me to incorporate or things that you want to know that weren’t answered here, let me know! I’m sure I could get an all inclusive Interview WRAP UP post going every so often dedicated to just that question and answers from many authors!
Remember to stop by next week on Thursday for another Author interview with DANIEL KOEKER