April 2016 Author of the Month: Beth Hammond
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Name: Beth Hammond
Latest Release: The Sound of the Stones
Genre: YA Fantasy
Beth Hammond is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military. Her middle years spent raising babies and figuring out her place in the world. Her YA fantasy novel “The Sound Of The Stones” is newly released and available now. She created stories for her book loving children, “Do Your Toes Stink Good?”, “The Blond Korean and the Blue-Eyed frog”, “Puppy Waits”, and “Teddy Pink Nose”. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.
We are so honored to have you as our Author of the Month! Thank you for sharing your words with the world!
How long have you been writing? I’ve dabbled in writing since I was a child writing poems and letters but writing a novel didn’t even occur to me until about three years ago. So short story long, I’ve been writing for three and a half years.
What kind(s) of writing do you do? I write children’s picture books, and fantasy shorts and novels.
Why did you choose that particular field or genre? I choose children’s picture books because I illustrate and find the process a fun adventure. I write fantasy because I can’t possibly think of a story worth telling without some semblance of magic happening. My mind dwells in the magical realm.
What inspires you? Things that inspire me: Life, a well written TV show, a book so good I’m left wrecked for days after finishing.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from? I think growing up in the 80s and exposed to great fantasy movies like Labyrinth, The Never Ending Story, Legend, and The Dark Crystal gave me a hunger for fantasy. Discovering the fantasy genre made for an easy transition into the writing world for me.
How do you find or make time to write? I fit it in between the nooks and crannies of life. It can be weeks between time to sit and write but that’s ok. When the time is right I make it happen. When the time is not right I don’t stress about it.
Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process. Both, when I get an idea for a story I know the beginning and the end. The in between part and some of the subplot are often off the cuff. But I end up logically tying it all up by the end.
How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Wow, that’s a doozy of a question! I could say hard work, determination, and a dash of luck, but the truth is I followed my heart. Sure, hard work and determination came into play. Luck played a role as well. But staying true to myself and following my dreams played the largest part I think.
What projects are you working on at the moment? I’m finishing revision for my second book in The Sound of the Stones trilogy.
What process did you go through to get your work published? Two years writing, and one year refining, querying/slogging through the list of agents and publishers to find a home for The Sound of the Stones.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? Can I say marketing? The writing part was far easier than the getting the work in front of the right audience. Competing against millions of other books is difficult to say the least.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work. Creating a new world when literally anything you can think of can happen. My favorite work is the trilogy I’m writing now.
What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true? I don’t know if this is still as huge of a stigma as it used to be, but fantasy used to be deemed not real literature. But, some of the most brilliant works of literature are in fact fantasy works.
What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should? That just because you don’t like one fantasy book you’ve read doesn’t mean you wont like another. I can almost guarantee if you try enough fantasy books you will find one that changes your life.
For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start? Is it wrong to say by reading my book? Yes? Well, in that case start by watching long documentaries on theoretical physics particularly ones about string and M theory, research mineral compounds, and crystal properties. Never mind, just read my book. That would be more fun.
What are some ways in which you promote your writing? I trade blog hosting with fellow writers, take out an occasional Facebook ad, do Goodreads giveaways, attend local arts events, and a myriad of other things. Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time? It takes away from writing time by leaps and bounds. If I didn’t need to promote to be seen I wouldn’t do it. But alas, promotion comes with the territory.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing? Patrick Rothfuss and Diana Gabaldon are my two favorite writers. They paint such beautiful pictures with words. They both have very intricate character development. That alone has shaped my desire to deliver a very thorough story with rich character development.
What makes your writing stand out from the crowd? Two things come to mind. I write YA but do it from a third person perspective. That’s somewhat of a novelty in YA fiction. Also, I don’t use old world or medieval speak even though parts of my story are set in the distant past.
What are you currently reading? I’m reading Anabel Unraveled by Amanda Romine Lynch, and rereading A Wise Mans Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing? I try not to forecast what may be. The truth is I don’t have a clue. I would encourage writers to write what they themselves would want to read. And I would encourage readers to read what they love and ignore those who would shame them for their choices.
Thank you for answering our questions.
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