Friends, I’m so excited to share the fabulously wonderful Bethany Turner! If you haven’t read any of her books yet, stop whatever you’re doing right now (okay not right now but as soon as you’re done reading this post) and get Wooing Cadie McCaffrey. You can read my review here but suffice it to say, I absolutely love, love, love it.
BETHANY: You’re so sweet! And I LOVE when I can cause people to get strange looks in public. Ha ha! Seriously, so glad you’re enjoying it. And thank you so much for asking me to be on the blog! I’m honored.
SHAREE: One of the things I love most about your books is that your characters are real, tackling real life issues, and behaving like normal people. I think your stories are revolutionary to Christian fiction in that respect. I couldn’t help but wonder if you’d gotten any pushback when you first pitched your story ideas to Christian publishers?
BETHANY: First of all, thank you for that. Some readers have appreciated the real-life issues I write about…some have not! But I do think I was prepared a bit for that by the responses I received when I first began sending out queries for The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. I didn’t have an agent until after I had signed with Revell, so I really just pitched to agents. (My editor found me on a list from Writer’s Edge, a manuscript submission service.) Of the agents I queried, about 80% of them said they liked my writing and liked the story, but that the Christian fiction market wasn’t ready for it. They said it would be a very hard sell to publishers. But thirteen days after I got on Writer’s Edge’s list, I was contacted by Revell. They were the only publisher I spoke with, because from the very beginning it was easy to see that my editor was the partner I needed. She wasn’t afraid to shake things up a bit. And soon after, I signed with an agent who is very much on the same page as well. So, yes…there was pushback. And there continues to be pushback…but now it’s from readers. But that’s okay. The positive response definitely overshadows the negative!
SHAREE: You’re a pioneer in Christian Fiction and I’m so excited that you have the support needed to keep publishing these wonderful stories. So, true confessions… Wooing Cadie McCaffrey had me snort-laughing—yes, it’s that good—at myAs you’re writing, do you ever bust out with a case of the giggles?
BETHANY: Wow! What a compliment. Honestly, I do. Once in a while. Most of the time the giggles happen when I land on one line that I think is hilarious, and I don’t care if anyone else thinks it is or not. Usually those lines are relatively obscure. My biggest giggle in Wooing Cadie McCaffrey came because of one simple line: “There is no crying in baseball meetings.” As silly as it sounds, that one still makes me giggle. It’s pure pop culture irrelevance mixed with relevance for the character and relevance to the scene. In The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, it came from a scene in which Sarah is imagining a metaphorical devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, as she deals with being conflicted—but in true Sarah Hollenbeck form, the devil is 1970s-era Stevie Nicks, and the angel is Roma Downey. I think I laughed so hard at that one because I thought I’d never get away with it. But I did!
SHAREE: I love it! And I appreciate the pop-culture references. There were so many great topics within Wooing Cadie McCaffrey! What single message do you hope your readers get from Cadie and Will?
BETHANY: Narrowing it down to one single topic, I’d have to say it’s that we need to be having difficult conversations. With each other, with ourselves, and with God. Some reviewers have said it’s not realistic that Cadie and Will struggle so much with communication, but I beg to differ. Sure, it’s a fictional story with some exaggerated circumstances, but at its heart I think it tells a story that is all too real. We make assumptions, we avoid saying and asking difficult things, and we tell people what we think they want to hear. All the time. Cadie and Will learn the hard way just how much all of those things can get us into trouble.
SHAREE: Communication is definitely a huge part of any relationship and I’d have to agree that it still—and as long as humans are involved, will continue to be—a difficult aspect. Who is your favorite character in Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and why?
BETHANY: Will Whitaker, hands down. This book was the first time I wrote a story alternating between the heroine’s POV and the hero’s, and I’ll tell you…I loved spending time in Will’s head. He is such a good guy—loyal, loving, funny, and kind. But he’s also just the tiniest bit clueless and oblivious. (Okay…more than the tiniest bit…) His obliviousness, partnered with his earnest attempts not to be oblivious, were what made him so frustrating at times, but also irresistibly charming.
SHAREE: Will was so much fun and very easy to like. Readers love to know what the writing life is like. Do you have a certain routine or must-have drink/food when you sit down to write?
BETHANY: Honestly, this is something I always struggle with. Routine. I wish I had a routine! I work a busy full-time job, I’m married to a busy man, and I’m the mother of two busy teenagers. So quite often, I find myself grabbing moments to write whenever I can—but also, all too often, not taking advantage of moments when I could be writing. I will say, though…the one must-have for me when I sit down to write is music. At the start of each new project, I create a music playlist. Songs get added to it as I dive deeper into the story and get to know the characters more, and just like the story helps shape the playlist, the playlist really helps shape the story. Eventually, I reach a point where the playlist helps me cheat a bit. I hear the songs, and I’m instantly in the right headspace for the story.
SHAREE: That has to be one of the coolest things I’ve heard of an author doing. A playlist! Brilliant! What’s your next book about and when does it release?
BETHANY: My next book is called Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish, and it will release in May of 2020—published by Revell. It’s the story of two celebrity chefs who, after a very public altercation, are forced to embark upon the most important stepping stone of their career…together. It’s a romantic comedy, of course, so as you can imagine, sparks fly!
SHAREE: OOOOOOH got it added to my To Be Read list already! I hate to end our time together. You’re so much fun to chat with! Is there anything else you’d like to share?
BETHANY: Apart from just wanting to say how much I appreciate you, and how much I appreciate everyone reading this, I’d just like to say I would love for anyone who’s interested to join me on social media. We have a fair amount of fun there! And for anyone who has read The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck or Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, I’d be thrilled if you’d join me in The Book Club Closest to My House. It’s my reader group on Facebook (named after the reason Sarah Hollenbeck chose her own ultimately life-altering book club), and we have a blast in there! We get together for a live chat every month, and you just never know what’s going to happen…
SHAREE: Bethany, thank you so much for being here today. And for those who haven’t yet read Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, this is your cue to get out there and buy the book! You won’t be disappointed, but you might snort-giggle.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes by her. When a misunderstanding turns into a mistake, leaving her hurt she finally breaks things off. But for Will, the end of the relationship is only the beginning for his quest to win Cadie back. It’s a fool-proof plan, what could possibly go wrong?
Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a Christy Award finalist. When she’s not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
The Book Club Closest to My House: www.facebook.com/groups/closesttomyhouse