It is with great pleasure I get to interview Beth Vogt this month. I credit her inspiring speech at the ACFW Conference, September 2011, for relieving my heart-thumping anxiety as I prepared to meet with agents and editors that weekend. She encouraged the audience to listen to, and trust, God’s voice. Always a good plan.
Beth, thanks for taking the time to meet with us today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
If you’ve hung around MBT any length of time, you probably know my nickname is “The Evil Editor” (TEE) – but it’s said with affection, or so I’m told. I also believe that God’s best is often behind the door marked “Never.” One of the things I said “never” about was writing fiction. I was a committed nonfiction writer and editor until God used a season of burnout to redirect my steps on the writing road.
I see that, “TEE.” In fact, you’ve written a few nonfiction books, such as “Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35,” and contributed to “Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms,” and “The Mommy Diaries: Finding Yourself in the Daily Adventure.” Your debut fiction novel is “Wish You Were Here.” Tell us about the new book.
“Wish You Were Here” is an inspirational contemporary romance that revolves around the question “Can the wrong kiss lead to Mr. Right?” It’s all about unraveling the “what ifs?” and “what nows?” that happen after a woman kisses her fiancé’s brother five days before her wedding. Which is the mistake? The wedding? Or the kiss?
Ooooo! I like that. How is writing fiction different from your previous works?
It might be easier to ask how writing fiction is similar to my other works. Of course, writing fiction required a whole different skill set involving things like: Inciting Incident, Storyworld, Black Moment, Lie, Wound and Push-Pull. And then I had to learn to listen to the voices in my head, rather than thinking I needed to medicate them into oblivion. But my nonfiction writing voice crossed over to the Dark Side with me. I still write tight, which means my chapters are shorter than some other authors’ chapters. But I’m okay with that.
Tell us how MBT has contributed to your success.
In 2010, I went to the first-ever MBT StoryCrafters Retreat. At the time, I was pondering the question: Am I going to be as serious about writing fiction as I’ve been about writing nonfiction? The encouragement and skills I received from that retreat helped me realize that, yes, I wanted to write novels. I’ve attended all three Deep Thinkers Retreats. They are my must-go-to retreat each year. And the MBT community is incredible – so supportive to both new and experienced writers.
And now you are an MBT Skills Coach. Tell us why you decided to join the team and what you enjoy most about the job?
Almost from the moment I met Susie, I felt God nudging me to come alongside her and help her with her MBT ministry. At first, I offered my red pen to her – providing editorial skills. And then she asked me to come on the leadership team. I prayed about it, talked it over with my husband, backed away from other commitments – and said yes.
What is the biggest change since you went from a nonfiction author to a fiction author?
There were times I wanted to bolt from the Dark Side (fiction) back to what I knew (non-fiction.) Writing fiction – learning to write it well – is challenging. So the biggest change was going from being comfortable as a writer to being uncomfortable – going from the “known” to the “unknown” – and embracing it.
I see you have another book, “Catch a Falling Star,” due out next year. Can you give us a sneak peek into that story?
“Catch a Falling Star” (May 2013 Howard Books) is now in my editor’s hands. It’s a stand-alone contemporary romance that is also set in Colorado. The story focuses on the question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Do you keep pushing for plan A? Do you pull Plan B out of your back pocket? Or do you just settle?
Do you have any hobbies outside of writing that inspire you or just allow you to decompress?
Living in Colorado, I love to go hiking with my husband and our family. I also like to exercise, whether that’s going for a long walk with my husband, or getting on the treadmill, or taking on Wii Fit Plus.(I just ignore the avatar’s smack talk.)
Welcome to the “Dark Side,” Beth, and thanks for sharing your journey as well as encouraging us to be better writers.
Visit Beth on the web:
Website & blog: “In Others’ Words,” which is all about quotes: http://bethvogt.com/