Interview with Bethany Chester

What is your writing process?
Let's see...first, I get an idea in my head. Then I might make an illegible mindmap. I do all my writing on the computer, because I edit as I go along. If I can read my terrible handwriting, I use the mindmap to help me, though by now the first chapter is usually all planned out in my head. I start writing, and don't stop until something distracts me. The usual culprits are Tumblr and hunger. Hey, that rhymes! Good thing I'm a writer and not a poet.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't say I do, but I remember making my parents read me this alphabet book, over and over again. I could recite the alphabet before my second birthday, so I suppose it was always meant to be. And from a very young age, I've had an internal monologue/running commentary in my head. Is it weird to narrate your own life? Perhaps slightly.
How do you approach cover design?
I do it myself, because I'm poor, and because I love to draw and generally do arty things. My sister sometimes helps me with the concepts - in fact, her arm is on the cover of Now and Then! I use an open source photo editor to modify things and stick them together until they look pretty. I probably don't spend as long as I should on them, but being an indie author is kind of time-consuming.
What do you read for pleasure?
A lot of classics, partly so I can pretend I'm well-read, and partly because I really appreciate the quality of the writing. Also some thrillers, particularly James Patterson, and the occasional obscure indie author, or I'd be letting the side down. Although I write some fantasy, I'm not that into reading it, though I did enjoy the Game of Thrones series. I usually don't go in for chick lit and romances, I guess because I'm not a girly person, and they strike me as rather repetitive. I also find it irritating when books are written specifically to make you cry. I'm going to stop here, because this is now about things I don't like rather than things I like. Sorry.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle, and I love it to pieces. I take it with me pretty much everywhere. I especially love reading on the bus, because it's the only time when I don't have to be doing anything else. Also, I like that the screen isn't backlit and I can read for as long as I like without hurting my ridiculously sensitive eyes. There was one unfortunate episode where I dropped it over a wall, and it nearly landed in a river. I had to plough through a thicket of brambles to get it out. Perhaps I should leave it at home more often...
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'll tell you when I'm successful. Right now, I don't really think I'm qualified to answer that question.
Describe your desk
It looks a lot like a bed, and it has pillows. This may be because it actually is my bed. I don't have space for a desk, but my bed is comfortable, and is big enough to hold lots of paper and various electronic devices. The only annoying part is that pens tend to get lost in the folds of duvet. It is truly tragic.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South Wales, which is not the same as New South Wales. I am half English, so a lot of people made me feel like I wasn't really Welsh, but since I was born here and have lived here all my life, I think they were talking crap. I am fluent in Welsh, which is not very useful since less than 600,000 people actually speak it (fact of the day). But it's cool all the same, because you can say uncharitable things about non-Welsh speakers and they can't understand you, and also because it sounds as if you are speaking Gremlin. The landscape has influenced me quite a lot, I guess. I have a board on Pinterest with pictures of places that have inspired me. There aren't many at the moment, but hopefully there will be more soon. Various trips to the Pembrokeshire coast have also been quite inspirational. It was voted the joint-second most beautiful coastline in the world. There's another fact for you. It's not all good, though - I'm thirteen miles from the nearest cinema, for instance. I had a bout of depression a couple of years back, because I didn't get out enough. I'm happy to say that I'm completely over that now - my spirit is kind of irrepressible.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At this time, my latest book is "The Fist is Closing". I don't want to spoil the plot, but it's basically a psychological novella (though I had to put it under Horror. Come on, Smashwords!). I decided I wanted to write it after reading Lord of the Flies. I was fascinated by the way their society disintegrated when civilisation was taken out of the equation, and I wondered what would happen if an entire town was cut off from the rest of the world. I then decided to write a book about it. The fictional town, St. Catherine, falls victim to a very heavy snowfall, and nobody can get out or even communicate with anyone outside. Some very creepy rumours start to spread, and everything becomes very uncertain. It's a little sad, but hopeful at the same time, because I really hate those bleak, depressing books that people say are good because they're "realistic". In real life, there is ALWAYS a silver lining.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I felt disillusioned with the idea of traditional publishing, though admittedly, I've never tried it myself. I'm still open to the idea, but I probably won't go out looking for it. I've accepted that writing will probably be a hobby and not a career, unless I get really lucky. I'm a bit of a computer geek, so the idea of eBooks really appealed to me, especially since I have a Kindle and I read them all the time. Anyway, I like to be in control of my life, since I don't really trust other people with it. They don't even seem to be in control of their own lives a lot of the time. I've fallen in love with indie publishing, although it's a lot of hard work. I'm willing to put in the hours, and if I keep trying, I'm bound to get somewhere. All I really want is for people to recognise that I can write, and that I'm good at it. If I can achieve that, I'll be happy.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Drawing, painting, playing the guitar, reading, Of course. Also, playing stupid nerd pranks on my friends. One of their laptops screams piercingly whenever she logs in. I'm not sure she'll ever forgive me.
I love to create, and anyone who tells you coding isn't creative has no idea what they're talking about. When you look at a problem and come up with a solution, you're creating, right?
I'm not big on exercise, but I do like to go on walks in picturesque places, while listening to my large music collection, which ranges from folk to hip-hop. Then I get emotional and reflective and stare at horizons and stuff. And take pictures so I can put them online. What is the world coming to?
Published 2013-10-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.