Please welcome Bev Irwin, award-winning author of MISSING CLAYTON, a women's suspense novel, and three other stories. She lives in Ontario, Canada and her debut novel, WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE came out Dec 2011 (contemporary romance) with Soul Mate Publishing under pen name Kendra James. She writes YA, children's and poetry, and prefers spending time in her garden, reading, and writing to being in the kitchen. Her YA Paranormal, GHOSTLY JUSTICE, was released by Black Opal Books in April 2012 in both print and ebook. As a registered nurse, she liked to add a touch of medical to her romance and mystery novels.
Where did you get your inspiration for MISSING CLAYTON?
I think any mother’s worst fear is losing their child. If lost, hopefully they return or someone finds them and brings them home. But when your child is missing even for a moment, the worst thoughts go through your head. The more time that passes, more and darker scenarios present themselves.
The premise came to me when a co-worker’s husband kept her kids longer than their agreement allowed. My mind went wandering and a seed began to germinate for Missing Clayton.
What scene in the book is your favorite?
I think the first scene where my child has been taken and put in a cave-like space. We hear his thoughts and feel his fear. When a child is lost, it is not only the mother who is traumatized but also the child who trusts his mother to always be there for him.
Which character was the most challenging to write and why?
I think Tyrell. I had to make him the villain but I wanted to show his human side and what had driven him to take the child. I also wanted to show the deterioration of his mental status, which puts the child in more jeopardy.
What is your writing story? How did you get started in the business?
I wrote poetry as a child getting a poem published when I was in grade three. I continued writing poetry for years never showing it to anyone until I was in my thirties. At that time, I started entering them in some contests. I am in a few anthologies for my poetry.
Then in the mid 90’s I broke my hand getting a horse on a trailer. It was like God said, “Okay, you have been wanting to write, here is some time.”
So for the first time since I was fourteen and started working while I went to school then became a registered nurse, I had some time to myself. I had had maternity leaves, three of them, but then only had like six to fifteen weeks off with a new baby that didn’t count for time to play with my dream. But with a broken hand that ended up not being set properly and having to have it broken again and then surgery to fix it properly, I had several months off my nursing job.
I started my first romance, which still might get published. But children’s stories started coming to me in the middle of writing the romance. None of them are published yet but someday they may be. I also started writing other stories that became my passion, mysteries. And this is where I find the most fun. I like to start with a what-if and see where it takes me.
I belong to Savvy Authors, a great site for writers. In the summer of 2011, I pitch to Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing and she contracted me for my first book, WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE which came out as an ebook in December and will be out in print later this year. I also pitched two novels to Lauri Bausch of Black Opal Books. She took GHOSTLY JUSTICE, my YA paranormal out in print and ebook in April, and MISSING CLAYTON, a women’s suspense, will be released July 28th. I have been contracted for two more books with Lauri.
Are you a plotter or a ‘pantser’?
Oh, definetly a ‘panster’ but I am trying so hard to be a ‘plotter’. It would be so much easier to have a map of where I am going in my stories. I do try, I really do and I am getting better at it. I use Scrivener for a writing program and can put all my scenes there and write on each scene as the muse hits me. I have never written a book from the beginning to the end and I doubt I ever will. My muse likes to keep me moving from one thing to another. I may have five projects on the go and write a bit here and then go work on another project. Some may say I am AHDD but I end up with several projects. And that worked very well when I found an editor that likes my work. She has contracted me for four books this year and I have more projects I want to finish and pitch to her.
What is the oddest/craziest piece of advice you’ve heard from an editor/agent/or author?
I’ve had an author tell me to just work on one thing. What would have happened if I listened to that advice. I would still be re-editing and re-editing. No book is perfect and we will always find things we want to change every time we read it. We have to do the best we can, then send it out into the big bad world, accept our rejections. Hopefully we get some constructive criticism and can improve the book, and do what, of course, send it out there again.
What advice would you offer to new writers trying to break into publishing?
Take wring courses, join writing groups, allow yourself to be critiqued. Get your book finished. It’s hard but if you never finish it, you have nothing to send out there. Start with smaller publishing houses and newer agents. It would be like winning the lottery to have a big agent take on your first book. But do so if you want, people do win the lottery. Join a group like Savvy Authors. They have great, inexpensive writing courses, critique possibilities and also pitch sessions.
As you can see I write in several genres and enjoy them all. Don’t limit your writing. Experiment. See where your imagination takes you, but most of all keep that pen moving and the pages turning.
What’s next for you?
MISSING CLAYTON, a women’s suspense, is coming out July 28th with Black Opal Books.
IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS, coming out Oct 27th is similar to Gary Paulsen’s Brian series.
WITHOUT CONSENT, a medical / police thriller will be coming out at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
GHOSTLY JUSTICE, a YA paranormal was released April 14th.
Fifteen-year-old Daria Brennan doesn’t want to hear people’s thoughts. She doesn’t want to see ghosts or talk to dead people. And she definitely doesn’t want to help Amanda solve her forty-year old murder. But Amanda wants revenge, and Daria is the first human contact she’s had since the day she died. Now the killer is after Daria and her friends. Can they solve this Amanda’s murder in time, or will they become the next victims?
I also have several other works in progress. It’s so much fun to start something new!
If you could have coffee/tea/martinis with any person (living or dead), who would it be with and why?
Taylor Caldwell. I loved her writing. She has a great body of work and she worked philosophical themes into her stories.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Bev! Readers- please post comments and questions for Bev Irwin and she'll come by and answer when she can.
Bev can be found online at www.bevirwin.com and www.blackopalbooks.com
Thanks for joining us today! Please come back on Friday for an excerpt of MISSING CLAYTON.