Today we welcome Bethany Chase back to CLC to celebrate the publication of her sophomore novel, Results May Vary, which just came out this past week. Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Perfect Neighbors, calls it "relatable, engaging, and ultimately uplifting." Check out a review at Book Mama Blog. Thanks to Penguin Random House, we have a copy to give away!
A native of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. The craftsmanship and creativity that surround her in the design world are a continual inspiration for her novels. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. She was last at CLC in the spring of 2015 to feature her debut, The One that Got Away (reviewed here). (Author bio courtesy of Amazon.)
Visit Bethany at her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Can you ever really know the person you love?
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, art curator Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the heart’s ability to turn unexpected troubles into extraordinary strength. (Courtesy of Amazon.)
What advice would you give to those who aspire to get a manuscript published?
Be persistent and work hard on your craft. Study all the writing craft advice you can get your hands on. But at the same time, build your filter. There is a gray area between basic rules of grammar and construction that must be obeyed for the sake of clarity, and softer guidelines that start to be a question of style rather than clarity. Keep in mind that a lot of writing advice is dispensed by writers--each of whom has their own personal preference for style. If I obeyed every "write like this, not like that" guideline I'd ever seen, I would have obliterated my own voice long ago.
Do you feel that having a degree in English gave you an advantage when it came to writing a book?
Actually, I learned to write in high school. And even before that, too--I have a vivid memory of sitting in my seventh grade classroom, watching my teacher diagram sentences on the blackboard. My high school was a traditional college prep school, so it was very writing-oriented; we had two English classes a day (literature and vocabulary, and grammar and composition). My degree certainly helped hone my skill, but it was 100% essay and analytical writing. I think that's discernible in my fiction voice: I write every paragraph with an eye to persuasion.
How did writing your second book differ from writing your first book?
I didn’t know it at the time, but there was such liberty in the fact that with my first book, I honest to god had no idea what I was doing. I started writing The One That Got Away to entertain myself, and only about halfway through did I start to consider trying to write an actual novel. And I just went for it: I put together scenes, characters, dialogue without a conscious plan, just in a way that instinctively felt right. But with my second, I was much more deliberate. I’d been studying all sorts of writing craft advice in the interim, and at times I would feel paralyzed by fear of making a bad decision. The only thing that got me out of those moments—the only thing I suspect will ever get me out of them, for the rest of my career—was hearing my agent’s voice in my head saying, “Trust your instincts.”
What is your guilty pleasure?
Boots. I truly could not begin to estimate the number of boots I own. I have knee-high, over-the-knee, mid-calf, ankle; high-heeled, mid-heeled, and flat; leather, suede and rubber and furry. (Admittedly rubber and furry sounds like I’m giving you a glimpse into my nightstand drawer rather than my shoe closet.) But the infinite variety of styles possible by mixing all those heights and materials means that, despite what my husband might tell you, one really cannot have too many boots.
Favorite comfort food?
At the moment, it's the glazed donuts from Dough, here in Brooklyn. They sell them near my office, which always goes poorly for me when I'm having a bad day. They're tender and heavenly and roughly the size of my face. The perfect self-medication snack.
In three words, how would you describe yourself?
Creative, smart-assed, empathetic
Thanks to Bethany for visiting with us and Penguin Random House for sharing her book with our readers.
~Interview by Tracey Meyers
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Giveaway ends August 16th at midnight EST.