It’s been a couple years since I’ve had the privilege of interviewing one of my close author friends, Bethany Macmanus. You can find our previous interview here.
Here’s a little bio on Bethany:
BETHANY MACMANUS lives in Houston with her husband, daughter, and son. After practicing as an RN for five years, Bethany left the nursing field to pursue a writing passion the Lord planted in her heart when she was a child. Nancy Drew mysteries were her guilty pleasure during those early years, so she naturally gravitates her pen toward the things that go bump in the night, and most of her plots have a psychological spin.
She’s allergic to cheese, Sulfa drugs, and people who stop in the middle of intersections while driving.
INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY MACMANUS, AUTHOR OF NERVE
HG: Bethany, I always love having you at my blog. You visited years ago and we had such a great conversation! Now on to some questions!
BM: WHOOT! I love being on here! Feel like I can let down my hair!!
HG: How long have you been indie publishing? I know your beautiful cover on Six Solitude Road impressed me so much, as well as the story, when I was thinking of going indie. Tell me some highs and lows of the process.
BG: I released SSR in January of 2013, ahead of several of my friends. This sounds daring, but in truth I think it was more like naïve. I didn’t know to take some of the marketing risks that were out there, so my book didn’t launch in the way of many indie offerings you see breaking out today. I am having a slow journey gathering readers, but they are coming along!
I think one of the highs of all this is finding out one of my readers told a friend about my book. Ripples in the water, baby!
HG: Yes! Readers who share about your book are such a blessing! Your Romantic Suspense novel, Nerve, won the prestigious Daphne award in the Unpublished Inspirational Mystery/Suspense category. Was that a fun experience for you?
BM: It was! Casey Miller Facebook messaged me the morning I finaled to congratulate me. I was like, “what? Are you serious?!” His wife, author Robin Caroll, had as well, but in the published category.
Then, reading the announcement I’d won first place completely blew me out of the water. I’d never done that before!!
HG: I’d love to know more about the concept of Nerve. The cover is so intriguing and pulls me right in.
BM: Thanks! The cover portrays a scene near the end of the book, when Lauren (my heroine) is at her deceased father’s island house, trying to sell it, and getting into a LOT of trouble. I don’t want to reveal any more, because you’ll have to read it to know why she’s holding the hem of her dress up like that…
HG: Verrrry interesting! What inspired you to write Nerve? Is this the first in series or a standalone?
BM: On February 16, 2012, my husband was hospitalized with burning and tingling and pricking feelings in his arms that had literally driven him crazy. Crazy enough to try to end his own life. Doctors had given him a variety of false diagnoses, from carpal tunnel syndrome to multiple sclerosis. He was at his wit’s end. I won’t tell you what the actual cause was, because Lauren has the same problem and I don’t want to give a spoiler. Anyway, releasing this book on February 14, three years later, is rather cathartic for me. I think it will help make Valentine’s time of year a lot better for us, with new memories!
Unless two of my characters tell me otherwise, Nerve will be a standalone. I already have two more series books to get out, so if those two characters will just behave, until I’m finished with Seven Sentinel’s Gate and Murdered Above Volcanoes, we’ll all be okay!
HG: Oh, wow. Not the kind of thing anyone wants to experience, yet I’m so glad you were able to use that for good. Finally, how to you balance writing and being a mom…and a MODEL! I’m so impressed with that! What would be your best advice for authors trying to get that perfect head shot?
BM: The reason I can balance being a mom with writing is because I have a SUPER supportive husband who believes in my dream and helps out all the time. Though I have to admit, before I got my part-time modeling job it was a little more difficult to get his support because I wasn’t making any money.
As far as getting the perfect head shot, quantity leads to quality. Knowing what side of your face photographs best, and what your best features are, helps a lot. I take many selfies (that I don’t post, of course!), so I’m more confident in front of the camera. I think natural light photographers take great shots. Sunlight at 4 PM is the best for these type of portraits. I am lucky to have a sister who does natural light photography full time.
HG: Excellent tips! I need to update my author shots (once I simultaneously have a good haircut and color, which may never happen), and these tips will definitely help!
Nerve releases Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, 2015. In the meantime, Bethany has graciously shared an excerpt with us today! Thanks, Bethany!
EXCERPT from Nerve:
Wren crossed her arms below her chest. “He may have made a few mistakes, but he remained a wonderful father, even after the divorce. He took me to plays, called me regularly, we even played Bingo.”
“That’s what you always say,” said Mama, lifting a rippling arm and resting it on the pillow behind her head. “You’re more like a dove than a wren, cooin’ and cooin’ about how Doctor Noah Masterson hung the flippin’ moon.”
Was I the one who made you bitter? Wren moved her gaze over the clutter on Mama’s shelves, and out the picture window at the Everglades. Did she have the nerve to say what she needed to say to Mama? An egret flapped high in the air, the sun upon its back, reminding her of a magazine photo she’d shot the week before Daddy died.
“Mark you well, Lauren Masterson, not one of his million–” and she brought her hand back from her pillow to make air quotes–“friends is gonna miss the dirtbag. I guess if you’d had a better man for a father, you would’ve known the wheat from the chaff. Maybe you’d stop going out with losers and start payin’ more attention to the Good Eggs.”
Wren tried to stifle an amused smile. She let her head loll to one side and tightened her arms to the point of feeling her ribcage. “And just who are the ‘Good Eggs,’ Mama?”
“Well, that handsome redhaired cop is one. Why you never dated him is beyond me.”
Lieutenant Justin Breck. His name alone sent a wave of heat up her spine. Mama’s endorsement was hardly a point in his favor.
~copyright Bethany Macmanus, 2015~
It was created to save lives.
Now someone is using it to take them.
When Lauren “Wren” Masterson discovers her deceased father’s medical invention has been stolen from her childhood home in Florida, she never expects the officer assigned to the case will be Justin Breck, who asked her out two years ago.
He’s changed since then, seems like he’s hiding something. What happened to his openness, his no-holds-barred, carefree attitude? She wonders how this new Justin could possibly accept her imperfections, namely the persistent nerve disorder her father’s missing invention might cure.
Justin is learning the darker side of Doctor Masterson’s past life. The hard part? Proving it to Doc’s adoring daughter, while attempting to win her heart. He might have some history with her, but Doc’s lawyer, Connor Radcliffe, has more.
As bodies begin to drop around them, will Justin and Lauren find the invention before the thief uses it to kill Lauren?