One of the books on my summer reading list was the newly released Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. Vogt. It’s a fun beach read (not that I was on a beach, but a girl can daydream, right?) that delves into a couple of deep topics.
Here today is the author of this novel. Stay tuned after the interview for some *giveaway* news.
Andrea: One of the supporting characters in Almost Like Being in Love is a double amputee with a great sense of humor. Why did you choose to feature this particular disability? What were some of the challenges in writing such an interesting character as Mitch?
Beth: I had the idea of including a Spartan Race and/or a Mudder in the story because my son Josh runs both kinds of obstacle races, and my husband and son-in-love, Nate, ran a Spartan Race with him. At one of the Mudders my son participated in, my husband went along to watch. He told me about a double amputee who participated with a team. At one point, the course was so rugged and steep, the man couldn’t get up the incline in his wheelchair, so one guy carried him on his back and someone else carried his wheelchair. That story stayed with me, and I decided to weave it into Almost Like Being in Love. The challenge was trying to represent Wounded Warriors in a realistic way, even though Mitch wasn’t the main character of the story. I wanted to show both the struggles and successes of a Wounded Warrior – and get the issue on the pages, so that readers would stop and think about our military men and women who’ve been injured and the challenges they face.
Andrea: In the story, Kade and Mitch run a “Mudder,” an obstacle course run through the mud. Have you ever participated in a marathon or mud run before? How do you stay involved in the community?
Beth: I’ve never run a Mudder – that’s just beyond my physical abilities. My friends, Tony and Faith Gibson, started Heart of the Bride, which is a ministry to orphans around the world, and they host the Emerald Coast Mud Run each year in Niceville, Florida. I mention that race in Almost Like Being in Love, too. And I cheer my son on whenever I can and keep up on his involvement in obstacle races. He was just home for the Fourth of July weekend, and we talked about his next race and how Wounded Warriors participate in Mudders.
Andrea: A minor character in Almost Like Being in Love suffers from alcoholism, which then affects so many others around her. Were there any difficulties in writing this character? What advice would you give to someone affected by a loved one who suffers from alcoholism?
Beth: I wanted this character to be sympathetic, but I also wanted to show how one person’s choices affect an entire family, as well as close friends. The reader meets this family as the status quo is shifting and changing, for better and for worse. I worked hard to create empathy for everyone involved, to help readers see why different choices were made. As far as what a person should do if someone they love is dealing with alcoholism, the stark reality is you can’t change anyone. You can’t force someone to make the right choices. You can’t make someone not drink. You can only make healthy emotional choices for you. There are resources like Al-Anon (Alcoholics Anonymous) out there for family and friends of people struggling with alcoholism.
Andrea: The Destination Wedding Series is your first collection of books that are all tied together. What has been the most challenging aspect of writing a series? Which has been more fun for you: Writing stand-alone novels or this series?
Beth: Writing stand-alone novels is easier because you don’t have think, “What did I say in the last book about this character? Am I contradicting myself?” But readers seem to enjoy series, where favorite characters show up again and they can find out what has happened since the last book. And that’s good because that means as a writer, I’ve created an emotional connection between my characters and my readers. I think I’m more of a stand-alone novel writer … but we’ll see. I’m keeping my options open.
Andrea: Almost Like Being in Love is rich with details, which usually means buckets of research for the author. What was your favorite thing about researching this book? Any interesting tidbits that didn’t make the cut?
Beth: Both Caron and Kade, my main characters, are Realtors – and I knew next-to-nothing about that career field. I’m so thankful that I have several friends who are Realtors and who were willing to answer all my questions. And I had plenty! As far as what didn’t make the cut … well, about 60-70 percent of the manuscript I turned in to my editor didn’t. After I met my deadline, I realized I needed to change it – and this involved some major rewrites. So I took the manuscript back from my editor and started reworking the story. One change? Nancy Miller, who unsettles Caron Hollister’s life, was completely rewritten.
Andrea: Bonus! What’s up next for you? Any more destination weddings on the horizon?
Beth: Any more destination weddings? Possibly. I’m mulling that over. I’m also working on another novel that has a twin element in it – that’s the first time I’ve returned to that since my 2014 novel, Somebody Like You.
Andrea: Beth, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you on Writing to Inspire today.
Beth: Thanks for having me on your blog, Andrea!
|Beth K. Vogt|