Author Spotlight Interview: Bethany Maines
Today’s interview is with author Bethany Maines. According to her official bio, Bethany is the author of romantic action-adventure and fantasy tales that focus on women who know when to apply lipstick and when to apply a foot to someone’s hind end. It was an pleasure getting to know more about her writing process and life outside of writing.
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
BM: I generally say that I write Women’s Action-Adventure. It’s feminist, funny, romantic and action-packed. I’ve gotten a few eye rolls from industry “insiders” because that’s not a BISAC genre category. On the other hand, readers all know exactly what I mean and since readers are who I care about… 🤷♀️
I’ve tried out a fairly wide variety of genres – mystery, crime, paranormal romance, sci-fi, romantic suspense – but the through-line is that my heroines are women who will fight to get the guy (or girl) of their dreams, and they will do it while saving the world and kicking the villains ass at the same time.
HG: Fantastic! Tell us, when did you know you were ready to take on the title of author?
BM: I’m a graphic designer in my “real” life and I always intended to be an artist. I also always wrote stories, but I didn’t describe myself as a writer. So the first time someone else described me as an “author” I laughed because it sounded funny. Which was socially awkward. But it made me really think about the labels that we apply to ourselves. I guess I started “owning” the label when I got my first publishing contract, but really… I’m an author because I write.
HG: Great answer. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. You’ve been publishing for many years, how has your process changed? Does it change based on the genre you are writing?
BM: Oh good lordy has it changed. I’ve always been fairly good about sticking to a schedule, but I used to sit down and write whatever came into my head. Then someone (my agent) suggested that maybe I should l learn how to plot more. Um… thanks for that very genteel insult? But OK, I guess I’ll work on that. So I read books, watched movies and basically put myself through plotting school. I feel like, as humans, we’re all inherently aware of when a story deviates from the correct structure, but learning how to pull stuff apart and build it “correctly” takes a lot more thinking about. So my plotting improved, but I was still fairly devil-may-care about what order I would write in. And then I had my daughter and my time got compressed like I put it in a corset. I didn’t have time for farting around and deciding what to write today. I became a lot more strict about plotting in advance and writing in a linear fashion. Now that my daughter is less dependent on me I’ve loosened back up again, but I’m still pretty spreadsheet and organization obsessed. (Yes, there are spreadsheets.)
HG: Any interesting writing or brainstorming quirks?
BM: I like to hold “plotting parties” where I invite other writers to hang out in my backyard and work on our WIPs (work in progress). The beauty is that we can then brainstorm together and the questions other writers ask always spark ideas that I would never have had otherwise.
HG: Oh, I love that! You’ve released three books in the Rejects Pack series this year. What can you tell us about those books and will there be more?
BM: Oh, I sooooo want there to be more. The Rejects Pack is part of my Supernatural paranormal romance world. My 3 Colors Trilogy and Maverick are in the same world and some characters do cross over. The Rejects series focuses on a pack of shifter wolves who have been kicked out by their original families, but have now come together to form a new pack. The series is my homage to The Mummy and Indiana Jones and other stories that have smart people going to exotic locales, punching Nazis, and having adventures. Although I wrapped up the over-arching storyline for the first 3 books, there are at least 2 more pack members that could have their own book. Sebastian and Pellos still need to find their true loves. And for Sebastian that is definitely lovessssss plural. Long story short, yes, I hope there are more, but they would be a 2025 project.
HG: Wonderful. So, your next book releases in October 2023, and is the fourth in the San Juan Islands Murder Mysteries series. What can you tell us about this series and who would you recommend these books to?
BM: The San Juan series are clean(ish) mysteries, which I define as no sex and only moderate swearing (Sorry, I can’t not swear. That’s just not how I’m #^*@ing built.) The series revolves around ex-actress Tish Yearly and her ex-CIA agent grandfather Tobias Yearly, solving mysteries in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. It’s like if Matlock and Psych had a baby, with a dash of Death in Paradise for flavor. Being on an island gives the series a lot of unique quirks and I love visiting to pick up new ideas. Although, one time, while doing research, the lady at the tourist desk asked why I was visiting Orcas and I blurted out that it was a good place to kill people. I don’t think I’ve ever more accidentally shocked someone in my life.
HG: That’s funny! Okay, because I lived in Seattle for many years, I’m going to follow up more on the San Juan Islands Murder Mysteries series. If those books were turned into a series or movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
BM: That would be so much fun!!! I would love someone like Joe Mantegna for Tobias. He needs that rumpled Columbo style. Tish would be harder to cast. She’s an ex-actress with an all-American vibe that people frequently underestimate because of that same look. I’d probably pick someone like Chloë Grace Moretz, but taller.
HG: Nice! What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your novels?
BM: Once in high-school, my brother read a movie review that said a movie wasn’t very realistic and he said, “If I wanted real life and ugly people I’d go to the mall.” Possibly not a quote ready for being cross-stitched on a sampler, but I understand the sentiment. I want true-loves to be true and adventures to be awesome. I want my readers to laugh, swoon, and cheer all the way through my stories.
HG: Oh, I like that! What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
BM: I have a standalone Seattle mystery called Eye Contact coming out early next year and I’m working with a small press on a vampire heist story that I’m hopeful will come out late next year (think Ocean’s 11 meets What We Do in the Shadows).
HG: Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
BM: I am an instructor and student of karate. I teach a class once a week and always get a kick out of my students (#karatejoke #sorrynotsorry). Hanging out with kids from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages is a really fun way to see the world from a different perspective. I love them and they have inspired my writing on several occasions.
HG: That’s awesome. Okay, for fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…cookies or cake?
HG: Movie or book?
BM: Uh… book. Of course.
HG: Pool or ocean?
BM: Love the ocean, but it can be scary. So, I guess pool if I’m swimming. Ocean for peace of soul.
HG: Introvert or extrovert?
BM: Introverts unite! Separately. In our own homes.
HG: eBook, print book or audiobook?
BM: ebook. I used to be print, print, print. But having a kid switched me over to ebooks permanently. I read on my phone.
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
BM: Check me out at bethanymaines.com – it has all the social links and if you look for the dropdown called “Free Ebook” you can get a… (you guessed it) free ebook.
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