I’m so excited to interview Daphne du Maurier winner and Rita® finalist, Beth Yarnall, on A Slice of Orange today. She writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and the occasional hilarious tweet. A storyteller since her playground days, Beth remembers her friends asking her to make up stories of how the person ‘died’ in the slumber party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, so it’s little wonder she prefers writing stories in which people meet unfortunate ends. In middle school she discovered romance novels, which inspired her to write a spoof of soap operas for the school’s newspaper. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
For a number of years, Beth made her living as a hairstylist and makeup artist and even owned a salon. Somehow hairstylists and salons seem to find their way into her stories. Beth lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their rescue dog where she is hard at work on her next novel. For more information about Beth and her novels please visit her website- www.bethyarnall.com.
Jann: Welcome Beth to A Slice of Orange. What was it like to receive “The Call” that Atone is a Rita Finalist for Romantic Suspense?
Beth: Well, first of all I missed The Call. Then I missed the second The Call. I totally forgot it was Rita®/Golden Heart day and slept in. When my phone rang I looked at the display and thought ‘I don’t know anybody in Louisiana.’ It was Farrah Rachon calling me to let me know I was a finalist. Poor thing had to leave me a message. So The Call was really a Call Back. Talk about a duh moment!
I almost couldn’t believe it was real. I really didn’t think this book had a shot because it’s first person present tense and most romantic suspense books are third person past tense. When I was writing it nearly every scene scared me so I knew I was writing something that was deeply emotional that ‘went there’. I’m honored to be included in the amazing list of authors in my category.
Beth: The idea came with the first line of the first book, Vindicate. That line is—I got my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday so I could visit my brother in prison.
I often get ideas for a book in the first line and I knew there was a whole book in that sentence and, eventually, a whole series. I plan on writing more books in the series. The idea for the fourth book in the series has been floating around in my head since I first started writing the series. I’m trying to work it into my writing calendar.
Jann: Have you found your dress and shoes for the Rita® ceremony yet?
Beth: I did find a dress. I actually bought two online because I couldn’t decide. After trying them both on I know which one I’ll be keeping and wearing Rita night. You’re going to think I’m weird because I’m more concerned about the jewelry I’ll wear with the dress than the shoes. That’s still up in the air as are the shoes. But hey, the hard part is over. I have a dress!
Jann: Let’s talk about writing. Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?
Beth: Hoe your own row. It’s my mantra. Hoeing is head down, back to your goal work. If you’re doing it right you can’t see how far you’ve come or how far you have yet to go, but most importantly you can’t see how far ahead or behind others around you are. I just try to keep my head down and work and not get distracted by how much better another author’s career is going or how far behind I am from X or Y author. I try to keep my focus on my goals and work steadily toward them.
Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Beth: BICHOK=butt in chair hands on keyboard. There’s really no magic formula. There’s only getting words on the page.
Jann: Do you listen to music when you write?
Beth: Yes. I have a writing playlist I listen to through noise cancelling headphones. Sometimes I’ll create a playlist for certain scenes. If I want a lot of angst I have a punk rock playlist. If I’m trying to get into a love scene I have a playlist of very sexy songs. But mostly I write to the main writing playlist.
Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?
Beth: Oh my gosh no. I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all simultaneously. If it weren’t for deadlines and my inborn stubbornness I’d jump from one shiny new idea to another and never finish a book. I have being a Taurus to thank for making me stubborn enough to not let a book defeat me.
Jann: What are you currently working on and when can we read it?
Beth: I’m working on the first book in a new romantic suspense series. The series is about a rag-tag bunch of ex-spies and Special Forces folk who do mercenary work for hire. The first book, Far From Honest (on preorder now), is about a burned ex-spy who has to convince the reporter who broke the story that got him burned and his best friend killed to give him the name of her source. She doesn’t know what her story did to him and he doesn’t know how she ended up in the small town The Gods of Redemption call home. They spend the whole book lying to each other and trying to keep their hands off each other. There’s lots of chemistry and the lies they tell only ramp up their sexual attraction. It’s been lots of fun to write and is scheduled to tentatively release in January of 2018, but my publisher is looking to move that date up.
Jann: Where can we get your books?
Beth: Anywhere you buy books. All of my books are widely available.
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
I would like to thank Beth Yarnall for taking the time to tell us about receiving The Call and her writing. If you have comments or questions for Beth, please use the comment form below.
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.
Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.