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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

 

Meet Beth Everett, 2nd Place Winner in WOW’s Fall 2015 Flash Fiction Contest

A short work of 750 words can come from anywhere: some uncompleted idea shoved away in your desk, or, as in the case of our second place winner, derived from larger project. Beth Everett’s prologue to her third book successfully captures the emotional world of her main character and sets the stage for a larger story. Please take a few moments to enjoy the imagery in Where Charlotte Lay.

Beth Everett grew up in the coastal hills of San Francisco. When she wasn’t writing books about ladybug circuses, she was suspecting the worst of her neighbors and looking for clues of their misdeeds. She blames Nancy Drew.

After college, Beth worked for a booming investment bank in San Francisco. She later sold real estate in a suburb of Manhattan, but always longed to return to the west coast. These days she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and sons. She drives for Uber part-time, which she claims is a goldmine for material.

The author spends most of her free time in the woods with two badly behaved Beagles, whom she fears will discover dead bodies.

Her first novel, Death on Adler, was published in October of 2015. The second, Dead on the Dock, will be released in April. Charlotte is a character from the third book in her series, called the Lee Harding Mysteries.

Visit her website at www.beth-everett.com, and connect with her on Facebook.


WOW: Hello Beth, congratulations on placing in our Fall 2015 contest! With one book launched and another on the way, what prompted you to enter the flash-fiction contest? I’m imagining you would already have a long to-do list!

Beth: I love the challenge of telling a story in just seven hundred and fifty words. It forces the writer to cut to the most useful pieces of language.

WOW: Your writing shows careful word choices and a strong poetic influence; at what point in the process does the poet emerge? Is she there on the first draft?

Beth: The Charlotte story really represents a new era in writing for me. I moved to Portland two years ago, and the beauty of the Pacific North West has moved me deeply. I find myself needing to be in the woods even on the rainiest of days. Finding new words to describe what sometimes is just downright spiritual has been a difficult. The Pacific temperate rain forest is the real poet; I am just trying to share the beauty of it.

WOW: You’ve succeeded! Tell us about the creation of the Lee Harding Mystery series; when did you know you were ready to tackle a series?

Beth: I’ve been trying to write books for almost thirty years, but couldn’t stand my own narrative voice. I would destroy my journals then come back and try again. I wanted to be Fitzgerald.

One cold evening in New Jersey, I complained to a friend that I was stranded on the East Coast. He responded with, “Do something about it.” The next day I started writing Death on Alder and I didn’t stop until it was finished.

It was an incredible experience to start and “finish” something. I didn’t know then that I would have six more rewrites. I wish I’d done seven, but I met so many people that had been working on their books for seven or eight years and that scared me.

I’m working on my third Lee Harding book (Where Charlotte Lay). I like writing the series because I am really getting to know her now. She is a contemporary woman in her thirties; struggling with some of the marriage, family and work life issues that I and many of my friends went through at that age. My hope is that other women can relate to her imperfections. We can be so hard on ourselves.

WOW: What is your story organization process? Do you outline, wallpaper your studio with character charts, …?

Beth: My stories come to me as I write them. Sometimes I find new scenes on my walks or in with my prompt writing group, PDX Writers.

With Dead on the Dock, my poor husband had to put up with me pacing the floor for days as I tried to figure out who the murderer was. When it came to me, I cried, because I fall in love with all of my characters.

WOW: You have an attractive website! Many writers struggle with the idea of creating an author website; do you have any tips or words of wisdom to share?

Beth: Thank you. I used Sitebuilder, which is website building for the technologically challenged, another group I belong to.

My advice is to be fearless. You can always “undo.”

WOW: Good words to live by in writing and in life! Thank you for visiting today, Beth. We look forward to reading the rest of Charlotte’s story.

Do you have an old, dusty story stuck in your desk drawer? Polish it up and send it in! You can find all the information for Winter 2016 Flash Fiction Contest on this page. We can hardly wait to see what you will write!

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