Saturday, February 8, 2014

Interview: Beth White

Today I'm excited to welcome Beth White to my blog! I'm really looking forward to reading "The Pelican Bride" when it comes out in April! :)

Tell us a little about yourself:
I like the font “Book Antiqua” because it’s curly and romantic. My favorite TV show is The Mentalist. I have two grown married children, one little grandson (he’s three, and his name is Judah—is that not the greatest name ever?), and another one coming this summer. My husband is a pastor, and we’ve been married for 34 years. Yikes! How did that happen? I teach choral music and class piano at an inner city high school in Mobile, Alabama. I play the flute and the pennywhistle, and I like to paint and draw. I teach kids’ Bible study at my church. I’m the eldest of four sisters, no brothers, which means I’m bossy. I’m afraid of chickens. I live near the beach and I don’t like to swim.

Aw, congratulations on the new member of the family!! :D You sound like you have a very fun personality! 

What is your favorite book/author (and why)?
Is this a trick question? One?? Really? Okay, I’ll play. One of my favorites is Zane Grey’s The Mysterious Rider. It is a romance by one of the greatest Western authors who ever lived. A handsome, cocky cowboy becomes the broken hero, and the tender, innocent heroine becomes worthy of him by helping a mysterious drifter foil the selfish, dastardly villain. This, in a beautiful mountain setting. What’s not to like?
Haha I know, that is the worst question, but I had to ask! ;D Sounds like a great story! :)

What/Who inspired you to start writing?
I read Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom each about a hundred times before I got out of grade school. Okay, I’m exaggerating. A little. But seriously, Louisa May Alcott has been my hero forever. I had such a vivid mental image of Jo March “scribbling” in the family garret—what is a garret? Attic? Loft?—that I began scribbling myself when I was in about the 6th grade. I started keeping a diary/journal that year and never stopped. It’s a sickness.
Louisa May Alcott has always been one of my favorites too! Little Women is my favorite, but I'm also partial to Old Fashioned Girl and Eight Cousins. Jack and Jill was a lot better than I was expecting! Hmmm.... 
Gar·ret (garit)
noun: garret; plural noun: garrets
1.a top-floor or attic room, esp. a small dismal one (traditionally inhabited by an artist).
synonyms: loft, attic, mansard
(thank you Google ^_^)

Tell us a little about your current project- "The Pelican Bride":
The Pelican Bride is about two sisters, Genevieve and Aimee Gaillain, who are sent by the king of France in 1704 to Louisiana, New France (now the Gulf Coast of Alabama). With 23 other young women, they are expected to marry one of the young explorers who have come from Canada to establish a new French colony. Genevieve, who hides a dangerous secret, falls in love with mapmaker Tristan Lanier, whose past is equally traumatic. There are Indians…a dastardly villain…a broken hero…a mysterious drifter…
Wow- I really can't wait to read this!!! =D I absolutely love your cover, too. :)

What is one of your favorite quotes from The Pelican Bride?
“There’s no place like home.” Wait, that’s The Wizard of Oz. 
Okay, how about this one: “Neither of us particularly wants to get married at all, so we might as well marry each other and save trouble for everyone concerned.”
Haha! :D

What is the main theme/message you are hoping to convey to your readers through this book?
Wait, is this a Senior English essay? I’m not a big fan of themes and messages, because that sometimes gets in the way of the story—especially when the story comes from a Christian worldview like mine do. There are, however, a couple of things that kept running through my mind as I developed this one. First, there are essentials for living a Christian life, and then there are nonessentials. Folks who focus on nonessentials are going to make life miserable for everybody else, and are likely to not be very happy themselves. The other word that seemed to keep reappearing was the word freedom. Freedom means different things to different people. We have come to take our American freedoms for granted, and it was really interesting to show life in America during the period when the concept as we now know it was just beginning to form.
That sounds really interesting! I look forward to finding it throughout your book!

What made you pick this era for the setting of your book?
Years ago, when I went with my son’s second-grade class to visit the Mobile Museum of History, I saw some things that ignited my interest and set my story-telling wheels turning. One was a replica of the Hunley submarine, which became the nucleus for my Civil War-set novel, Redeeming Gabriel. I also saw portraits of the LeMoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, who were responsible for claiming the Gulf Coast for France in the 18th century. Anyway, later, as I was researching Mobile history for the submarine story, I ran across mention of some young Frenchwomen who came to America on a ship called the Pelican to marry the soldiers and settlers under the LeMoynes. I made a note to myself to write a novel based on their experiences if I ever got the chance. So there you go. 

Do you like to have any particular things/surroundings when you write?
M&M’s. My dog, ZoĆ«. A soy chai tea latte or cup of coffee. Sometimes I write in my living room recliner. Sometimes I go to Starbucks. When I’m really in a deadline crunch, I go to my office.
Sounds relaxing! =D She's adorable! ;)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Paris, probably. Or Oxford. Maybe Venice. Oh! But first I’d go to Williamsburg to see the setting of Elswyth Thane’s historical series. Love those books!
I think it would be interesting to go to Williamsburg! And Paris is always a good idea. 

What is your favorite Period Drama?
I really really liked the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice (I’m not a purist—so shoot me). I don’t know if it’s exactly a period drama, but I loved the Leonardo Dicaprio/Claire Danes Romeo and Juliet. I loved The Patriot—that may be my favorite ever—oh, and The Gladiator.
I love that version of Pride and Prejudice!! It's my favorite too- shhh! :p

Tea or Coffee?
Yes. My name is Beth White, and I am a caffeine addict. You forgot Cherry Coke Zero.
Haha! Very nice! =)

How does your faith influence your writing?
I don’t really know how to answer that, because I’m a Christian who writes. I don’t know how to be anything else. I’m not blaming my mistakes and failures, which are legion, on God, but I’m fully aware that every breath I take comes from Him. I’m also a Christian teacher, and the way I teach is shaped by the Christ-life. I’ve really gotten away from preaching any particular message as I write, but I try to listen to the Holy Spirit, who infuses my thoughts and imagination. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!!!
You’re welcome! Any opportunity to ramble about writing…Thanks for noticing me.

Check out Beth's website! Like her page on Facebook! Be sure to keep your eyes open for "The Pelican Bride", coming out in April!


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