Author Pen Name: Beth Fehlbaum
CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
BF: My debut novel is considered YA fiction but it will appeal to wider audiences because of its subject matter and the sheer number of people affected by the main theme, recovery from sexual abuse. It also deals with issues common to everyone, such as censorship, bullying, tolerance, diversity, forgiveness, hope. Most of all, it's about finding freedom through living in the light of truth..even when it's not an easy thing to do.
The reason I wrote Courage in Patience was to give hope to people who are struggling with things that feel too big to deal with, too scary to make it up and over that mountain. To let them know that they're not alone.
CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
BF: I cannot remember a time that I wasn't a writer. It's like breathing to me. I know what you mean; writing is hard work and becoming published is definitely hard work. But I would be writing even if nobody else read it but me. It's something I HAVE to do, an itch I have to scratch.
CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
BF: A need I felt down to the marrow of my bones to get the thoughts out of my head and see them on paper, try to make sense of them in black-and-white. A friend of mine suggested to me that I ought to try writing a novel, and I stopped-and-started for a few months, then when it started flowing, that was it, it just came out.
CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
BF: I'm a middle-of-the-night writer. I've just about resigned myself to the fact that my next book will, in all likelihood, be born in the middle of the night, so I suppose that means I'll be working on it most in the summer, since my day job is teaching.
CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
CA: What was your biggest challenge in writing your book(s)?
BF: Getting started. I knew what I wanted to say but getting it to come out was a challenge. I had to overcome my fear.
CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
BF: I'm a language arts teacher of children whose first language is Spanish, and I love my job. I've always taught English and I love working with kids, so during the school year, when I'm not writing, I'm teaching.
In my free time, I like reading, working on my physical endurance-- I aspire to be a distance runner; spending time with my family and laughing a lot, and music-- all kinds. But I have a special place in my heart for folk music by singer-songwriters like Chuck Pyle, Eliza Gilkyson, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Steve Seskin, Tom Russell, Jackson Browne, and Stephen Allen Davis, among many others. I very much admire and respect their gift. I use their music to teach my students English, to help them grasp the deeper meaning and appreciate the beauty that is figurative language. Last year my students especially loved Chuck Pyle's music. They wrote to him, invited him to come to our school, and offered to feed him authentic Mexican food. He not only took them up on their offer of lunch, he even performed a concert for the whole school! It was one of the most awesome moments of my career as a teacher, showing my kids that they could have a dream and it could come true.
CA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
BF: Courage in Patience is my first novel, and I think it will always have a special place in my heart.
CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
BF: Like any writer, I draw on my own experiences and people I've known to some extent, and the rest is imagination.
CA: Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?
BF: JUST WRITE. Let the thoughts flow from your mind, right down your arm, and come out your fingertips. Don't let your fear of "not doing it right" or "not being perfect" keep you from trying. Just do it. Let it come.
CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?
BF: Courage in Patience is available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Independent Publishers Group, and also through brick-and-mortar stores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. Librarians can order it through their wholesalers, too.
Readers can e-mail me, and also visit my websites:
Courage in Patience, MySpace, Kunati Blog, Beth Fehlbaum, and Kunati Page
CA: Is there anything you would like to add?
BF: I am very interested in hearing from my readers of all ages, as well as corresponding with schools and English classes. So, teachers and librarians, contact me if you'd like to take me up on the offer!