Interview with Beth Abbott

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sadly yes, I do, although I can't remember much about the detail. It was a romantic "novella", I suppose you'd call it, of around a hundred and fifty pages, and I had to type it on paper as we're talking pre-computer days. It's probably around the house somewhere, as I don't ever remember throwing it away, but I'm pretty sure it was utter drivel! I've always said I'd throw it on the fire if ever I found it, but maybe I might just read it first to see if it's as bad as I think it might be. I had one person read it, and they said it was OK, but as they were related to me and there was no way it was ever going to be published back then, I think they were just being kind.
What is your writing process?
I start with the basis of an idea - my Alpha Company and Stalwart Security books revolve around a team of men and the women they meet, so I always know who the male lead will be. I then flesh out my female lead - physical attributes and personality, where they live and who they're related to, which I keep logged on a spread-sheet so I can keep track of everyone. I have at least twenty main characters, so I seriously need to keep track of them! From there I write out a one page synopsis of the book - from how the characters meet, to what the "action" part of the plot will be. That could be as basic as "terrorist incident", as at that stage, I don't need to know precisely what it will be. I have to figure it out at some point but it doesn't have to be on day one. Beyond that, I don't need to have too many notes, as my writing is pretty free-flowing. I describe it as being organic, as I literally don't know what will come out until I sit down and start typing. One sentence leads to another, and the next thing you know you have a paragraph, or a chapter! Having said that, it does help that I know most of my characters so well. I know what each of them would say or do in any given situation, and I won't attribute something to someone that wouldn't be in keeping with their personality.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My Mum found some of the Enid Blyton Famous Five books in a second hand store, and remembered how much she'd loved Enid Blyton books when she was a kid, so she bought a few for me. I was hooked! I wanted to be George (Georgina, the Tom-boy) and have a dog called Timmy. Once I devoured the whole series, I read the St Clare's books and the Malory Towers books, and obviously wanted to go to an all girls boarding school! Thankfully my parents ignored that request, along with the one for a dog! I never got into the Secret Seven books though, although looking back, I have no idea why.
The first book I bought myself was 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith. I absolutely loved it, and was amazed that the Disney film was actually different in parts from the book. Fairly astute for an eight year old, I thought. I read that book a dozen times, and still have the same copy on a shelf somewhere.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of romantic fiction, obviously, anything from sweet and innocent to hot and steamy. I love pretty much all of the books by Jennifer Foor, Eve Rabi, Nicole Edwards and MJ Fields, as well as the likes of J Kenner and Sylvia Day. Anyone who can write a character I can engage with is a hit with me. Make me laugh and cry in the same book and my e-reader has a spot reserved for you.(Although, hopefully not in my "Load of crap" folder! Yes, I really do have a folder by that name!)
Outside of romantic fiction, I absolutely love Peter James' Roy Grace Series of Detective stories set in Brighton, England. They're fantastically well written, with engaging characters and refreshingly different plot lines. I can't recommend them highly enough.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have several tablets I use depending on where I am and which one I've remembered to charge up! But most often, I use my old Kindle. This is because I have the second generation 3G version, which has the ability to read to me, so it turns those boring two and three hour drives to get to business meetings into a pleasure. The voices are pretty mechanical, especially the male voice, but you get used to them, and it's great because you don't have to wait until you get home to finish that fantastic story you're half-way through. Although, a tip for anyone out there who thinks e-readers reading aloud in the car are a good idea... if your book is reading you a steamy love scene just as you pull up at a manned toll-booth, turn the volume down. A few times I've opened the window to hand over my cash, only to have the poor booth attendant listen to somebody describing a sex act in fairly graphic detail! I don't know which of us was blushing more!
Describe your desk
Wooden top...four legs... Just kidding. Honestly? It's always a mess! I'm not the tidiest person when it comes to my desk, but then I don't need to be. I know where everything is, and it's my desk... So there!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Fleshing out my characters! Every single character has their own personality, and I know how each of them would react in certain situations. When I write a funny scene, for, say, Danny or Matt, I actually giggle like a teenager as I'm writing it, because that is exactly who these guys are. Likewise, when there are sad scenes, I give you a glimpse of the emotional and softer side of the guys which I think makes them seem more human and less like Alpha Male demi-Gods!
Lots of people have asked me why the Series is called the Alpha Company Women Series when Alpha Company refers to the men. It's because the female characters I've created are a bunch of smart, sassy, brave, loyal, loving, protective, Bad-ass women, who deserve to have the series named after them!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest in the Alpha Company Women Series is Impossible, Book 6. It's about Sara, the daughter of the British Foreign Secretary who is working as a doctor in America. She and her father become targets for some well known terrorists as a result of his outspokenness in the war on terror, and Marcus, one of our Alpha Company guys has to step in to try and protect her. It's actually the last of the series as I move into the Stalwart Security Series, based in America, but as both Alpha Company and Stalwart work closely together, I shan't be leaving my Alpha Company men and women completely behind. There'll still be crossovers, as there were in the original series.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote the first five books in the series just for me, for my own pleasure. After some nagging and cajoling, a friend persuaded me to let her read them and she loved them. A lot of editing and re-writing later, and they're out in the world of e-publishing. Let me tell you that publishing my work is the most petrifying thing I've ever done! What if people hate them? What if everyone leaves a 1 star review and trashes them? The first time I hit that "publish" button I actually thought I was going to throw up!
But you know what? I have to put on my big girl panties and take it! Unless I get honest feedback, how will I know if my books are any good or not? (My friend might have just been being kind to me!) And without feedback, how will my writing get any better?
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know if I've actually got any "fans" yet. I have a lot of readers, some of whom have signed up for alerts and have added me to their favourites list, and even a few who have messaged me on Facebook, and I am incredibly grateful for them showing an interest. Sadly, not many people go back and give reviews, I know I'm often too busy, but just by seeing the books selling from one through to six, and knowing that people like them enough to read the whole series from start to, that gives me chills! To any of my readers, whether you'd call yourself a fan or not, thank you so much for taking the time. I can't tell you how much it means to me!
What are you working on next?
Apart from publishing book six of the Alpha Company Women Series, and releasing Invisible, book one, on Smashwords? (Thank you Mark Coker for all your wonderful words of wisdom!) I'm actually half-way through writing Relentless, book one of the Stalwart Security Series. It's proving a challenge with everything else going on, but I want to aim for a Thanksgiving release date, so I'm trying to stay on track. I also need to re-format the rest of my books to get them onto Smashwords, so as you can tell, I'm a little bit busy right now!
Published 2016-09-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Invisible: An Alpha Company Military Romance
Series: The Alpha Company Women Series. Price: Free! Words: 86,660. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
On the run from a London gangster who wants to silence Ellen and her father before they can hand over evidence to the police, they've been forced to flee in opposite directions, leaving Ellen scared and alone. Former soldier Luke Roberts is now a partner in a successful Security business, but has a burning need to find the woman who can tell him who murdered his twin brother Casey three years ago.