I was trying to think when, and where, I first met Beth Kendrick…and I can’t. I have so many great memories of her—tea with our librarian friend, John Charles…presenting together at a Scottsdale Library program, lunches and more teas, and then our great visit in Hawaii this summer when Beth brought her mom and son out for a week to Oahu, and I happened to be there, too, with my little guy. Beth and her crew went surfing with Ty and his instructors and in less than a month, Beth will be here in San Clemente for my Orange County book party. The party is going to be awesome…Anita Hughes, Beth Albright, Suzanne Redfern, and Beth Kendrick will all be joining me (and hopefully some of you!!) for a fun girls night out on October 12th, so save the date if you haven’t already!
But in the meantime, I’m delighted to feature Beth Kendrick here on my blog. Her The Week Before the Wedding is a fantastic read—funny, smart, engaging. And that’s not by accident. Beth Kendrick is equally funny, smart and engaging. Not surprised, as she’s armed with a PhD in Psychology!
So readers, without further delay, here is my friend and talented novelist, Beth Kendrick!
Beth, what do you love most about being a writer?
The delights of having canine co-workers cannot be overstated.
Tell us about your current release in 2-3 sentences.
Seven days, three rebellious bridesmaids, a dozen Stepford in-laws, two potential grooms who are hot like fire, and one bride-to-be on the ragged edge of sanity.
Emily McKellips is a wild child who’s grown into a worldly, responsible woman, and she’s facing a crossroads in her life as she tried to decide whether to embrace her free-spirited side or her sensible, serious side. I think every woman can relate to the struggle to achieve balance in adulthood without losing your sense of self. Leather mini-skirts or tweed suits? Minivans or motorcycles? It’s a quandary!
What are you working on now?
THE CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAK UP*, which is actually a follow-up to THE WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING. For those of you who’ve read WEEK, Summer the bridesmaid gets her own book. She goes through an excruciating break up and runs off to Black Dog Bay, a tiny beachside town known as “The Best Place in America to Bounce Back From Your Break Up”. As it turns out, bouncing back from your break up involves extended stays at the Better Off Bed & Breakfast, phantom dogs, and some very naughty behavior in a country club parking lot… Oops, I’ve said too much.
*Cocktail recipe included. For real.
Name five items sitting on your desk.
The July issue of Architectural Digest (I’m in the process of decorating a very swanky fictional summer home), Chapstick, a crystal polar bear paperweight, assembly instructions for a Lego Coast Guard helicopter set, and approximately 18 pens.
What is your favorite thing about your book?
Emily, the bride-to-be, wears her future mother-in-law’s heirloom wedding gown for the big day, and I had a great time scouring the Internet for ideas. I ended up basing Emily’s gown on a tea-length Priscilla of Boston dress with an illusion bodice and a nipped-in waistline. Dress porn at its finest!
Action movies or chick flicks?
Chick flicks, ninety percent of the time. “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” + “Clueless” + “Mean Girls” = GENIUS!
But every once in a while, I need to switch it up and watch Hans Gruber and John McClane throw down in “Die Hard”. “Shoot the glass”, y’all.
What has writing taught you?
1. The value of simplicity. When you’re in the middle of a draft and everything’s stalled and falling apart, fight the impulse to add another subplot/character/story twist. Instead, try to pare your story down to its essence. Write down the goal, motivation, and conflict for each character, and try to re-focus on those core issues.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail sometimes. Failure is a byproduct of growth and learning. Not every idea is going to work out. But you cannot improve as a writer until you are willing to take a few steps outside your comfort zone. We learn from analyzing and fixing our mistakes (a.k.a. revising).
3. Always break in your brand new, super cute shoes BEFORE a book signing or conference. Otherwise, your feet will blister so badly, you’ll look like you need a skin graft. Trust me.
First thing you do once you’re ready to face the world in the morning?
I read vapid celebrity gossip blogs every day before I start writing. Say it with me: it’s not procrastination; it’s part of the process!
Last thing you do before you turn in for the night?
Give my dog, Friday, a kiss on his giant noggin. He stays up with me, follows me around the house while I turn off the lights, and then settles down to sleep right next to the bed, where I will be sure to trip over him when I get up in the morning. Canine stalker love!
Favorite conference memory?
My very first conference was RWA 2002 (Denver, CO). I was a clueless, wide-eyed newbie who’d just sold my first novel to Simon & Schuster, and so I was invited to the publisher’s author dinner. I was all scared and shy, and I spent cocktail hour mumbling at my shoes and trying not to make eye contact with anyone. When we sat down for dinner, I ended up next to Kresley Cole, a charming and fabulous paranormal author who had ALSO just sold her first book and was ALSO feeling scared and shy. Kresley and I spent the whole dinner laughing and bonding (there may have been some red wine involved), and at the end of dessert, one of the editors asked us, “Are you two long-lost sisters separated at birth?”
A decade later, we are still besties. We always joke that we met at the kids’ table.
Beth, it’s been great to have you visit!! Thanks for stopping by to share about your new release…and I can’t wait to see you in October when you come visit me, and meet all my wonderful Southern California readers and friends!
Readers, please stop by Beth’s website to learn more about her books. In celebration of Beth’s visit today, I’m giving away a signed copy of The Week Before the Wedding, a signed copy of Odd Mom Out, a Starbucks drink card, and lots of fun reader goodies. The contest ends Friday the 20th at midnight with the winner announced Saturday morning so do check back on Saturday to see if you won!