Interview with Runner Up--Beth Blake!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
WOW: Beth, Congratulations for winning a spot in our summer flash fiction contest! How did you feel when you read about it?

Beth: I was so excited! It’s always nice to know that people enjoy your work. “Magic” was fun to write, and I’m so glad it was enjoyed by others as well.

WOW: It’s always great to hear that fun was involved in the writing. So, what inspired “Magic”?

Beth: I wanted to explore the idea that you don’t have to go anywhere, or spend a lot of money to have a great time together as a family. My parents were masters at this. We never had a lot of money growing up, but still we did so many “magical” things that have left me with so many memories. In fact, the tents out of sheets and encyclopedias and “popcorn snow” are two of the things we did frequently.

WOW: What a wonderful family environment! The way people spend their time together matters most. In your bio you mentioned that you’ve just graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in family studies and creative writing. That’s quite an achievement. Do you feel that the degree helps you when you write for contests and publications?

Beth: Definitely. I received some wonderful instruction in classes about creative writing that have made me the writer that I am. I feel blessed to have the family science background in my writing as well. Family is the core unit of society and if a story can somehow strengthen a family, then that to me is worth more than any monetary compensation.

WOW: That’s true, and kudos to you for acknowledging it so openly. Your viewpoint must help you with your writing. You also said you do freelance writing. How is that going?

Beth: Great! I am gaining wonderful experience and having so much fun! I have a few stories out in the market right now and more in the works. As for the type of writing I prefer, I like to write stories about relationships and how human beings connect with each other--whatever the specific genre might be.

WOW: You sound like you have fun with everything you do. That shows you have a truly upbeat attitude. Have you found inspiration from other books or authors you could recommend?

Beth: I love Jan Karon’s Mitford series. I discovered these books this summer and read the entire series in about two months. She inspired me to realize that in a world where so much of the media is about sex and violence, there can still be a simple, honest, story about life and family that ends up being a bestseller.

WOW: Good. That’s definitely inspiring! Do you have any other specific goals for your writing career?

Beth: My goal in life is to help strengthen the family, and I would love to do that through my writing. I’ve got a few ideas for a novel circulating in my head and am working on writing those down. As a writer, I feel one of my strengths is in detail, so I’m working on longer projects.

WOW: That’s fabulous. Let’s switch back to your bio. We learned that you love pouring over both classics and cookbooks. That’s an interesting combination. Do you think you’ll write a cookbook?

I would love to write a cookbook! I am a recipe nut. I will be 85 years old before I try all the recipes I want to try!

WOW: (Laughs) Yes, the world is overrun with recipes! On a different note, which classics do you find the most inspiring?

Beth: I would have to say any of Louisa May Alcott’s works. They have been good friends ever since I was a little girl. When I read them, I feel happy and behave differently. That to me is the mark of a good book--when I’m a better person because it was written.

WOW: Great! Could you end on some inspiring words to our audience?

Beth: All authors are actors. One of the greatest things I ever did for my writing was take an acting class. I learned how to get inside my characters’ minds, and write as if I were really that person. Make your characters live, just as if you were Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts.

WOW: That’s new and sound advice. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us. We appreciate it! Good luck with your writing!

Readers, if you haven’t read Beth’s summer entry, go here.


Susan said...

I absolutely love the idea of taking an acting class to be able to get into your characters' heads more. That idea really beats reading another book about how to write! Very creative and very insightful.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I agree with Susan! What a terrific idea Beth. And as Susan mentioned... geez, sometimes I feel if I read another writing book I'm going to pull my hair out! There is so much conflicting information out there, and sometimes it's good to take a break. That's why I love interviews or other forms of getting writing tips that are less "do as I say" type of information, and more casual like "this is what I did and it worked for me" etc.

And congrats again Beth on your fabulous entry!! Your story is wonderful. ;-)

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