Tuesday, 18 November 2014

In Conversation with Beth Fehlbaum.

Today I am thrilled to welcome Beth Fehlbaum. A most inspiring lady who is honest, forthright AND a multi tasking whiz!

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

I began writing my first novel, COURAGE IN PATIENCE, at the suggestion of my therapist. I was in recovery for childhood sexual abuse and I was writing stories & poems as I tried to process my grief, rage, and disbelief. One day, he suggested that I try writing a novel.

I didn’t even plan to have my first book, COURAGE IN PATIENCE, published, and the only person I shared it with was my therapist. He pronounced it "good stuff," and knowing that he does not (a) bullshit or (b) give compliments lightly, I began to consider becoming an author.
I found an agent. We found a publisher.
COURAGE IN PATIENCE released in September, 2008. 

I was still in therapy, still writing as a way of processing what I was experiencing, and I wrote HOPE IN PATIENCE, the follow-up to COURAGE IN PATIENCE.

About the same time, Kunati, Inc., the publisher of COURAGE IN PATIENCE, went bankrupt. 

My agent shopped both books to a new publisher, and the publisher bought HOPE IN PATIENCE, with the intention of releasing COURAGE IN PATIENCE at some point if HOPE was successful. 

HOPE IN PATIENCE, which released in October, 2010, was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. (I’d say that’s pretty successful, wouldn’t you?).

July, 2011, THE VERY SAME DAY I was readying the bookend to THE PATIENCE TRILOGY: the 3rd book, TRUTH IN PATIENCE, I received an email notification that the publisher, WestSide Books, was to be sold, and they were not taking on any new works.

TRUTH IN PATIENCE concluded my journey through therapy, and it also concludes Ashley’s story because I was able to give her something I have never had: resolution with my mother. 

Then I wrote a completely un-PATIENCE-related book, called BIG FAT DISASTER. While PATIENCE characters, Bev and Ashley Asher, do make a brief appearance, and BIG FAT DISASTER is set in a small East Texas town, BIG FAT DISASTER is not a PATIENCE book. BIG FAT DISASTER received a Starred-Kirkus Review, which is AWESOME! 

Now, I am standing on the cusp of a new beginning for THE PATIENCE TRILOGY, as my agent and I set out in early 2015 to find a new publisher for it. This coincides with the 10 year anniversary of me entering recovery. You have NO IDEA how meaningful this is to me. NO IDEA.

What do you enjoy the most about being a writer?
When I hear from a reader that my book impacted her life, it is incredibly gratifying. Also, having a platform for raising awareness of the possibility of recovery from childhood sexual abuse is something that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
The business-side of publishing—like when publishing houses unexpectedly go under—really sucks.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?
Most assuredly. Like many writers, I draw on my own life experiences to craft story.
Tell us about your publications?
Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press, 2014), Starred Kirkus Review
The Patience Trilogy--available for acquisition!

  • Courage in Patience (Kunati, 2008)
  • Hope in Patience (WestSide Books, 2010), a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

  • Truth in Patience (unpublished)

What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing that you have learnt?
I guess it’s that you can write a well-received book; you can write a book that wins awards. You can put your heart and soul into promoting the book(s), but none of these things guarantees that your publisher will stay in business. And if the publisher goes out of business, the one thing that is certain is that you will most likely have a hard time placing the previously-published books with a new publisher.

Top tip(s) for writers.

1. Don’t write your book with the idea of having it published. Write it for yourself, THEN decide if you should try to get it published.

2. Expect things to be difficult, and be pleasantly surprised if they are not difficult.

3. Grammar/spelling/usage errors matter very much.

4. No one owes you a career as an author. Do not get your knickers in a twist when people tell you, "No," and DEFINITELY do not take to social media to lambast people for not recognizing your talent.

Other than writing, what else do you love?
I am a teacher in my day job, and I love the interaction I have with the kids. I do NOT love the bureaucracy. But I do love working with kids.

What would your dream location for writing be?

In my writing chair when the words are flowing and I am lost in the story. 

Five words that sum you up.

How can we learn more?

Thank you so much for sharing your journey Beth.
May success follow you wherever you go!


No comments:

Post a Comment