Friday, May 3, 2013

Featured Debut Novelist: Beth K. Vogt

Beth K. Vogt is an inspirational contemporary romance novelist who writes happily ever afters woven through with reality, humor and God's lavish grace. She is also a freelance editor and national women's speaker.

An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren.

The following is a May 2013 interview with Beth.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I believe that God’s best is often behind the door marked “Never.” I’m a former nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction. And then God turned a season of burnout into a bend in the writing road and I’m now finishing my third novel. I also said I never wanted to marry a doctor or anyone in the military—and my husband was an air force family physician for 18 years. There was a time when I said I didn’t want children, and my husband and I have four children, including our “caboose kiddo,” who was born 12 ½ years after our third (and supposedly) last child.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

  I’ll start with the “did I always want to write?” part of the question: Yes, yes, I did. I was the kid in school who loved writing assignments. In my teens I routinely plagiarized my favorite authors—at the time I was a Georgette Heyer aficionado. Plagiarism was a harmless attempt to discover my writing voice – I wrote and read those early stories for my own enjoyment.

I abandoned fiction and earned a journalism degree and was quite happy in the world of non-fiction—until I hit a season of burnout about five years ago. At that time I was editing the leadership magazine for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) and had published a book on late-in-life motherhood, Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood After 35.

After proclaiming I was never going to write again, I started playing with the idea for a novel—just for fun—and three years later that novel, Wish You Were Here, was published by Howard Books.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Readers of Christian fiction are looking for a strong spiritual thread in their stories. Their faith is important to them and they don’t want God ignored in a novel. In the same way, Christian novelists want to tell a good story and also weave spiritual truth into their stories because their faith is vital to their lives. For me, I believe that my writing is one way that I reflect God to the world. My prayer is that somehow, someway, my readers are brought one step closer to Jesus as they read my books.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

I’ve had readers tell me they couldn’t put my novels down. That’s a great response. I’ve had readers tell me they’ve laughed or they’ve cried – and I like that too. But when a reader tells me that something I wrote made them see God differently . . . that’s when I realize how God worked through imperfect me as I wrote my stories – how he transcends my efforts and touches the hearts of my readers in an eternal way.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

There are two distinct responses to a novelist’s writing: people either like what you write—or they don’t. Of course, the positive responses are so affirming and the negative responses can knock me off my feet for a bit. What I’ve had to remind myself over and over again is that it’s not about reviews and stars and what readers think about me. It’s remembering who I am based on what God says about me.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

Since Wish You Were Here debuted a year ago, I have drawn closer to Christ. Isaiah 33:6 says “He will be the stability of your times.” Launching a novel is a bit of a wild ride—but knowing that God loves me, God is watching over me, God has “got” all this provides me with peace and assurance.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?

My husband and my children are the people I treasure the most. I’ve always said that if people can say that I loved my husband and I loved my children, then I would be content at the end of my life.

I also love to connect with other writers—and to encourage other writers, just as I’ve been helped by others who are farther along the writing road then I am.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Ah, spare time … remind me what that is again?

Game nights are a favorite family pastime. We enjoy games like Quelf and Bohnanza and Scotland Yard. And I love movies—musicals, action movies, the classics, John Wayne. I live in Colorado, so hiking and camping is also relaxing. And all of my family loves to cook—and I like to provide the groceries for that and step back and applaud their efforts!

What can you tell us about your latest novels?

Catch a Falling Star releases on May 7, 2013. It’s a contemporary romance that asks the question: Is life about accomplishing plans . . . or wishes coming true . . . or something more? Everyone deals with life not going according to their plans—and that’s what Kendall and Griffin, the main characters in Catch a Falling Star, are dealing with. I’m on deadline for my third novel which involves twin brothers.

Wish You Were Here
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Catch a Falling Star
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

I’m tossing some novel ideas around with my mentors and my hope is to journey around Colorado some more for the story setting. I also want to connect with my readers—meet the people on the other side of my books. I’m always posting fun questions on my Author Facebook page and I love it when readers comment.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

A few years ago, my son and daughter-in-love traveled to New Zealand for their delayed honeymoon – and it snowed while they were there! I’ve heard so many wonderful descriptions of how beautiful New Zealand is and I’d like to experience it for myself one day. My family loves to travel both within and outside the U.S. – and I find that my worldview is expanded when I step outside home base. Of course, Facebook and Twitter allow me to virtually connect with people all over the world, but meeting face to face is always the best fun.

Do you have any parting words?

I know many readers indulge in fiction for an escape – and that’s a wonderful reason to pick up a novel. But I believe the best fiction is rooted in real life. One of my motives for writing inspirational romance is because there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.

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