Author Spotlight—Bethany Turner

How can anyone not instantly become a fan of Bethany’s work after knowing a bit more about her? She is a lover of Jane Austen, watches my personal favorite movie You’ve Got Mail and she writes great books! I am beyond excited for her book with Revell and can’t wait to read it! I hope that this interview brightens your day and that you learn a bit about a great writer.

Abigail Phelps

About The Author

Bethany TurnerBethany Turner has been writing since the second grade, when she won her first writing award for her essay explaining why, if she could have lunch with any person throughout history, she would choose John Stamos. Do-gooders all around her chose Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, but it was Bethany’s ode to Uncle Jesse which walked away with the prize. More than 25 years later, her writing is still infused with pop culture and off-the-beaten-track ideas.

Bethany is a born and bred Kentucky girl who relocated to Colorado in 2001, three years after meeting the love of her life in a chat room, back before anyone knew that wasn’t always a good idea. Thankfully, it worked out in this case, and she and her husband are the proud parents of two boys. In 2014 Bethany walked away from her career as a bank vice president to step out in faith as a writer. Since then, God has not only opened doors in the publishing world, but has also called her to full-time ministry serving on a church staff. She is an innovative systems administrator for a rural church that is passionate about reaching the unchurched.

Bethany’s debut novel for Revell is a romantic comedy which stays true to her pop culture roots, and will be published in October 2017. Her home on the web is SeeBethanyWrite.com.

Bethany is proud to say that John Stamos regularly ignores her on social media, even to this very day.

My Interview With The Author

Bree

Thanks Bethany for joining me today on Bibliophile Reviews.  I have become a recent fan, as I was privileged to review one of your fabulous books.

Bethany Turner

Thanks so much for having me, Bree! I’m thrilled to be making an appearance on Bibliophile Reviews. I love this site!

Bree

Aw, thank you, I am so happy to have you! Let’s get started with some questions. How did you begin your writing career?

Bethany Turner

I truly stumbled into it. I was VP/Operations of a bank, and had no plans to ever do anything else. I was pretty sure I would retire from that field someday. And then, in the midst of a corporate merger, I started writing the Abigail Phelps books—primarily just for stress relief! Writing didn’t really become a career, per se, until I felt God calling me away from that high-intensity corporate management world I was in. Through a series of events which only make sense if you believe, as I do, that God had a plan all along, I ended up on staff at my church, where I not only get to do work I’m passionate about, but also devote time and energy to writing.

Bree

What is your reason for writing? Did you feel as though you were always meant to be a writer?

Bethany Turner

I always talk about the first writing award I ever won, which was for a state-level contest in 2nd grade. The subject of the essay was all about which living person you would have lunch with if you could, and what you would discuss with them. Well, it was the eighties, so as you can imagine there were lots of mentions of Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher, etc. I chose John Stamos who was playing Uncle Jesse on Full House at the time. (Unlike now, when he plays Uncle Jesse on Fuller House!) And I won an award. At the time, I didn’t look at it as a significant moment in my life, of course—at least not in terms of extended impact! But now I look back at that as a reminder to trust myself. I don’t tend to like boxes very much, and I don’t tend to think inside of them very often. Sometimes that’s scary. Things would certainly be easier sometimes if I did. But I believe my reason for writing is the knowledge that I have something unique to contribute. That doesn’t mean that who I am will appeal to everyone, but I have finally reached a point in my life when I can embrace who God made me to be…even if who He made me to be is a bit quirky!

Bree

Tell us more about Abigail, how did you come up with her?

Bethany Turner

The whole idea of those books began with a (seemingly) simple concept. I wanted to write a story in which almost all of the characters are actual celebrities or well-known figures, apart from one…Abigail Phelps. But Abigail is the center of it all, and it’s very much her story. But by surrounding her with characters who the readers already know (the Kennedys, George Clooney, Colin Firth…just to name a few), I got to do two things: 1) I had built-in backstory, and 2) I got to play with the readers’ expectations and preconceived notions a bit. Abigail was developed from there. With all of those characters in place, her story began writing itself. And then that took a crazy turn when I learned about a real-life historical Abigail Phelps from Simsbury, CT (where, as it turned out, I had already written as my Abigail’s hometown). I tied my Abigail into that real history. It’s really an amazing story, and I was blessed enough to get to travel to Simsbury for a book appearance. I got to eat at a restaurant called Abigail’s and visit the Phelps Homestead, and witness all of these other pieces of history which, at least in my mind, were the legacy of my fictional character’s family. (See what I mean about it writing itself??)

Bree

How did you decide to create a series around Abigail?

Bethany Turner

Well, like I said, I just wrote for stress relief! I never intended to publish the books. In fact, I didn’t think they would be books. I was just writing…and writing…and I kept writing. Before I knew it (in about nine months) I had written about 300,000 words. By the time a lot of scaling down happened, and I decided to self-publish, a series was the only way to go.

Bree

What can us as readers expect in 2017 from you? Any new books?

Bethany Turner

Yes, actually! In the fall, my first novel for the Christian market will be published by Revell. It’s a Christian romantic comedy called The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. It’s the story of a steamy romance writer who becomes a Christ-follower, and then discovers that reconciling her former career with her faith and her future is more difficult than she had imagined.

Bree

It’s January and like many I have made resolutions, have you made any for this year? Or any new goals?

Bethany Turner

In many ways I know 2017 is going to be one of the busiest years of my life, and I definitely have goals which are a part of all of that busyness. But my biggest goals for the year all center around trying to listen to God, and go the direction He leads. Also, I want to relax more, which seems a bit laughable to me at times. (Reminder: 2017 is going to be one of the busiest years of my life!) I think it’s a matter of working hard when it’s time to work, and finding a way to let it all go for a while when it’s time to relax. That’s the tricky part for me…

Bree

What is your favorite book that you have read (ever)?

Bethany Turner

I know it is such a cliché for the romance writer to reference Austen, but I’m going to say Pride and Prejudice. Not only do I get completely lost in it in a way I don’t get lost in any other book, but something about that book makes its way into everything I write. Ever. Jane Austen created a formula that works. That’s all there is to it.

Bree

What was the last book of 2016 that you read?

Bethany Turner

I’ve been on a journey with Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. It was a gift from someone who understands me well enough to know how much I struggle with the concepts Shauna tackles. It’s one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.

Bree

What is the first book for 2017 that you have read or plan to read?

Bethany Turner

Unfortunately, I haven’t read anything in 2017 that I didn’t write! So far it’s been a season of editing and writing, and every free moment has been devoted to that. But The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson is next. The third book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series will come out this summer, and I am frightfully behind!

Bree

Do you have a mantra or quote that you go to mentally each day?

Bethany Turner

Lately my go-to has been from the movie You’ve Got Mail: “It will all shake out. Meanwhile, I’m putting up more twinkle lights.” I’m a person who tends to get bogged down in the details, and I’m trying to get better about that. There are a million different quotes which mean so much to me, but that’s the one I’m focusing on right now. It makes me smile and it reminds me that I can’t always control things, but I can always put up more twinkle lights!

Bree

Thank you for joining me Bethany and I look forward to all your stories coming and reading myself backwards through your current work!

Professional Reader Affiliates

NetGalley Professional Reader 50 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published Great Escape Tour Host BethanyHouse Blogger Reviewer

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3 Comments

  1. Bethany Turner

    Thanks so much for having me today, Bree! My sister and our friends routinely have You’ve Got Mail quote-offs on Facebook. I’ll be sure to invite you to the next one! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Linda Herold

    My favorite movie is You’ve Got Mail!!

    Reply
    • Bethany Turner

      It’s a good one, Linda! I could just watch it a hundred times. (And probably have.) 😉

      Reply

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