Interview with Beth Reason

Describe your desk
On my desk at this exact moment: telephone (old school, not one of these cell phones...just a regular old fashioned dumb phone that only makes calls), stacks of scribbled on papers, two battery chargers for my laser, a wolf head pocket knife, a camera, three paper clips, a squirty bottle of hand sanitizer, a remote controlled usb helicopter, three dead ink cartridges I *still* haven't gotten around to sending back to the recycler, about 50 pens (with perhaps two that actually work), two pencils (with broken leads) and damn near 100 sticky notes. I could not live my life without little sticky notes.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a very small New Hampshire town in a loud and off-beat family. My mother was the town librarian, my father was an engineer and all around science geek with a bizarre and hilariously inappropriate sense of humor. I had four sisters, three of us very close in age and one much younger final try for a boy that, thankfully, turned out to add one more lady to the mix. We went to a school of only a few hundred kids, grades K-12, and that made for a tight knit and more than a little sheltered childhood. I remember the closeness when I write, that sense of community and everyone knowing your name (and, more importantly, your parents' names when you so much as thought about being naughty!). I love where I grew up. I never wanted to "get out of Dodge" or give up the small town for bright city lights. I think that always shines through in my stories.
When did you first start writing?
I suppose I first started making up stories when everyone else did...when I told my first lie to get out of trouble! I began actually writing stories here and there for school, then branching out into a comic strip I made up to entertain my older sister in a boring class. It centered around a character named Biff, who had an entire backstory I never actually wrote into the comic. He never left me alone and I still think of new antics for Biff all these years later. I had my stereotypical poetry phase in my emo-teen years, and then life happened and I stopped writing all together. You can't hide unhappiness when you write, when you create something so personal. And then, as if this story wasn't cliched enough, I met a man and began writing again. And now, now I just can't stop. It's like having an old friend back.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Wow. This is a difficult and very deep question for a little interview! The greatest joy I get in writing is the surprise of it. I never, ever start a book knowing where it will lead. I've killed people in stories and actually felt a mourning shock because I never saw it coming. It's so exciting to write something in the heat of the moment, the rush of the idea, and then go back and read it over when I'm done.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh boy. Ask any author who their favorites are and you'll likely get an entire book of names! I love all kinds of good literature. Period. If it's quality writing, I'm in. Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Terry Pratchett, Larry McMurtry, James Michener, Stephen King (but in his Bachman days), Nora Roberts, Lindsay Buroker, Suzanne Collins...a general hodgepodge. If I was forced to be stranded on a deserted island with the books of just one author for my entertainment, I'm sorry to the rest, but I'd have to pick Terry Pratchett.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. Opening my eyes to another day. That sounds trite and entirely too peppy, I know. But it's true. Every day I'm alive, I'm glad for it. I get to wake up next to a man I love, I get to have a coffee to myself while waiting for four very loud boys to come tromping down the stairs. I get to read silliness online and make something with my welder. Or write. Or sew. Or cook. Or simply sit outside and close my eyes and let the sun do it's thing. There was a time in my life where I didn't appreciate how big of a gift another day alive really is. I appreciate it now, and I enjoy every minute.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I hate boredom. Hate it. Because of this, I spend my time doing or learning. I like crafts (without glitter), sewing, welding, working on my car, cooking (LOVE cooking) (...and eating...), painting, "upcycling" and "repurposing" (even though I hate those terms), having fun and ridiculous chats with my sisters, reading, gaming, fishing, and I've even been known to whittle (don't judge was a phase).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My sisters and I are always reading (daughters of a librarian, remember?). Often I will find a new author I like through their recommendations. Sometimes I will just type a word into the search and see where it takes me. And sometimes I will go on to an ebook site and scroll through highest (or lowest) rated books. I love stumbling on a gem, and when I do, I usually try to read as many other works by that author as I can.
What is your writing process?
My writing process starts with a nagging idea, usually popping into my head at random and inconvenient times. My first book on Smashwords, A Journey Deep, began when I was arranging a funeral. No, it has nothing to do with funerals. There is no rhyme or reason. Once the idea is there, it usually percolates for a few days before I have this overwhelming need to sit down and write. I can't start writing midday. I always have to start early in the morning, and with music playing in my headphones. My sons ask how it is I can write when listening to different words...I grew up in a loud house. I cannot function without background noise! As the story develops, I make a playlist of music that puts me in the right mood. And then I write. It's an all consuming process for me. I have to set time limits, so I get everything else done, but even when my fingers aren't flying on the keyboard recording the tale, my brain is in overdrive. Thinking about it now, I don't suppose I'm very pleasant to be around when I'm so distracted by a universe no one else knows about. I write extremely fast, and I just let it flow. Then I usually put it away for at least a week before rereading it. I think the time to let it mellow gives me better eyes to see rough areas, mistakes, etc. And then once I do a rough proof, I'll generally show it to someone else and then continue the editing process from there.
How do you approach cover design?
I approach cover design with angst, irritation, and a healthy dose of insecurity, as any decent author should.

Okay, so it's not really all that bad. But, it is almost the most daunting part of the entire process for me. In this digital medium, you have a thumbnail, a teeny tiny little picture that's going to fight for the attention of everyone in a great sea of other teeny tiny little pictures. I'm progressing, I believe. I've been doing my best to read the tips and tricks other authors have generously offered on their blogs. Since I do my own artwork, the advice from those who have been commercially successful is invaluable.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything. And I don't mean that to sound pat. I mean, when I envision these worlds, these characters, the very reason I write them down is so that I can make them real for other people as well. I love it when I hear from a fan because that means I was somehow able to get that person to see and feel what had me so wrapped up. And then to step back and realize that I was the one to write it... It's an incredible feeling that I will never take for granted.
What do you read for pleasure?
Dang near anything, actually. I don't like books that take the reader inside the minds of serial killers, I can't stand the idea of warewolves, and unless it's really funny, a vampire story just doesn't do it for me. I'll give pretty much everything else a go.
Published 2014-10-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Children of the After: The Diary of Leaf Jackson
Series: Great Mother. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 115,190. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
After Pandora, a young girl was saved from life on an army base and raised in a tenty, living a life as far from the Newton ideal as anyone could. And just as she begins to blossom, to start questioning life and the world around her, she's left all alone. Armed with a diary as her only companion, she is determined to find the answers to the millions of questions no one in her life ever answered.
Base 19
Series: Great Mother, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 122,590. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Mother scraped together the people around her after the Pandora pandemic swept the world and together they built Newton. Now five years later, Newton has grown not only in size, but in fame. And while Mother gained supporters all over the continent, she also called the attention of the army, who sees her as a traitor. She always knew that one day, the soldiers would come. Will she be ready?
Threads Through the Universe
Price: $2.49 USD. Words: 73,740. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
This is a collection of nine all new short stories. Stop Sign The Relative Color of Grass Redneck Christmas Unexpected Hero The Formula for Happy Days Planned Futures Never Come The Dance Lottery Road to Riches
The Great Mother
Series: Great Mother, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 115,570. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The world was stopped cold by an invisible killer. As far as she knows, everyone else is dead. And yet, something makes her feet move forward, something inside makes her eat, something keeps her going until all at once, she learns that she is not alone. Once she wakes up from the numbness and haze, she opens her eyes as a new woman in a new world that needs her.
Tenets of War
Series: Tenet, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 141,510. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Tenet and Scarab have built a life in Ogden. They've become members of the community and work hard to pay back the Celtists for giving them sanctuary. Then all at once, the peace and serenity they have grown to love is lost as their old lives finally catch up to them. With everything at stake, Tenet must find the strength to finally face his worst enemy and settle the old score once and for all.
Sacred Tenets
Series: Tenet, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 109,340. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
After making it through the heat and trials of High Summer in Southland, Tenet Bradwin was given a new chance at life. All he had to do was travel over an unknown land with a woman he barely knew and pretend to be a different person well enough to convince a wary government to take a chance and give him asylum. How hard could that be?
Broken Tenets
Series: Tenet, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 79,210. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
In a world that had to adapt to a drastic new climate, society follows the seasons and migration is law. When the son of the Exalted Leader decides to test his mettle against the unforgiving Summer, he learns that nothing is really what it seems, and the life he thought he understood may be no more than a mirage.
A Journey Deep
Price: Free! Words: 152,680. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Two scientists deep in space decide to break the law and have a child, the first human born off-planet. Jacob Cosworth is raised to know a tiny space craft as home and alien races as his friends. When something drastic happens and he's forced to go back to Earth, he quickly learns just how far from "normal" his life really is.