April is #indieapril and I want to highlight the work of a fellow indie author (and writer mom).
A little background of Bethany…
Bethany Hoeflich lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, three children and an assortment of furry (and scaley) creatures.
Monday through Friday, Bethany is at the mercy of the sadistic whims of her scatterbrained muse, feverishly churning out the words for her next novel.
On the weekends, Bethany wrestles narwhals, participates in competitive taco-eating competitions and visits alternate dimensions through a rift in her stereotypically dark, spooky basement.
I meet Bethany in one of the many writer support groups on Facebook. She’s pretty active online and posts very engaging content about fantasy writing. I like that she updates our group on her work-in-progress (WIP) and often shares exerpts. Bethany is also great about replying encouragingly to questions from aspiring writers.
What motivates you?
The success of other indie writers. I love seeing that little orange banner on their Amazon page and knowing that all their hard work is paying off. One day, I hope that will be me, too.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Cutting out distractions and having the discipline to actually put words on a page. It’s easy to procrastinate — to pop onto Facebook for five minutes and somehow an hour goes by without getting any work done.
What is your novel about and what makes it special?
Dreg follows the story of Mara, an outcast dreg from Stonehollow with no magical ability of her own in a world where almost everyone is Gifted. When she’s forced to flee her village of Stonehollow, Mara is thrust into a dangerous tangle of secrets and lies that threaten to shatter the world she knows.
I think what makes it special are my characters. Each one feels real to me, and I love them all — except Cadmus. Cadmus can go jump in a tank of hungry sharks.
Mara is dirt— worse, actually. She’s a dreg.
Nineteen-year-old Mara has spent her whole life wondering why the old Magi refused to awaken her Gift. With no magical ability to call her own, Mara faces a life of persecution with no value, no power and no purpose.
When a charming new Magi arrives in her village of Stonehollow, Mara expects more of the same. Instead, she’s thrust into a dangerous tangle of secrets and lies that will shatter everything she thought she knew.
Now, Mara must flee the Order— a powerful organization of Magi who will do anything to capture her before she can expose the truth.
Why did you decide to self-publish your work?
I’m a bit of a control freak, and I wanted a say in every step of the process. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.
When did you start writing fiction?
I’ve always been a bookworm (if that wasn’t obvious from the previous question). When I was a child, I would create my own stories and write them down. In second grade, my teacher would type them up and ‘publish’ them.
I didn’t start writing seriously until November 2017, when I wrote my rough draft of Dreg during NaNoWriMo, and now, I can’t imagine my life without writing.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
Dreg took nine months to go from rough draft to publish-quality and Gifted took six months. The more I write, the more streamlined my process becomes.
What is your approach to world building?
I approach it with the same caution I would give a cornered animal. Kidding!
World building comes to me in bits and pieces, and rarely at a convenient time. I’ll have a new idea in the shower, when I’m driving, or when I’m trying to fall asleep. It starts small, like a seed that has burrowed in my brain. Over the next few days, I’ll grow that idea. What is the culture? What is the climate like? What type of government does it have? Does this location have a strong sense of community? By the time I’m done, the world is fully fleshed out.
Writers are also readers …
How many books do you read per month/year?
Anywhere from ten to twenty per month, and one hundred to three hundred per year. According to my Goodreads reading challenge, I’ve read sixty-one so far this year (not including rereads of my favorite books, ARCs, or beta reading).
What can we expect from you in the future?
After The Dreg Trilogy is complete, I will be writing a YA Fantasy series that features a strong-willed princess, a swoon-worthy prince, and a hate-to-love romance. I already have the covers, and I can’t wait to share the story.
I encourage you to like & share this post!