Fun Friday ~ Guest Beth Vogt & Book Giveaway

I’m thrilled to have Beth K. Vogt as my guest today. I met Beth a couple of years ago at an ACFW conference and have enjoyed “talking books” with her ever since. Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She is an established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, MOPS International’s leadership magazine. And now…is a multi-contracted author!

I invited her to stop by and talk about characters. Take it away, Beth…

FICTIONAL CHARACTERS WITH A DASH OF REALITY

I’ve heard people say they don’t waste their time reading fiction. Oh, the stories they are missing!

I see a novel as a wonderful opportunity – an invitation, really – to explore and to question, while “living” the literary lives of people like PJ Sugar (a favorite Susan May Warren heroine), or Joy Ballard (thank you, Rachel Hauck) or Anne with an “e” (compliments of L.M. Montgomery), or even my own Kendall Haynes, who wrestles with life not going according to plan in my upcoming novel, Catch a Falling Star (May 2013, Howard Books).

Kendall’s story was prompted by a conversation I had with a good friend – mixed with a little bit of “what if?”

I write fiction, so all of my characters are imaginary, right?

Well, sort of.

I’ve borrowed my friends’ names and loaned them to the people living between the “Once Upon and Time” and “Happily Ever After” in my books. And, no, I’ve never used a friend’s name for a villain. There are limits to friendship.

I’ve also given my main characters the same jobs as some of my friends, although none of them rescue bad-boy llamas like Aunt Nita in my debut novel, Wish You Were Here.

So far all my fictional characters live where I do (Colorado), although I take “novelist’s license” on the details of their homes. You won’t find me giving a street address for anyone, but I do mention specific locations like the Air Force Academy or a favorite restaurant or two. (On the Border, anyone?)

The most realistic aspect of the imaginary people in my stories? They confront true-to-life problems – the same issues you and I deal with. Things like:

· falling in love with the wrong person

· wrestling with the consequences of a poor choice

· navigating dicey family relationships

· unraveling misconceptions about God

· Choosing between forgiveness and unforgiveness

More specifically, I’ve had characters deal with topics like cutting and pornography and divorce and child abduction and infertility and adoption and singleness.

Why?

I like my fiction flavored with reality.

How about you?

Your Turn: When was the last time you read a novel and forgot you were turning the pages of a book? Do you have a character who is so realistic that you’re drawn back to that story again and again to re-read scenes?

Giveaway:

Wish You Were Here, Beth’s debut Christian romance novel, released May 2012. Her next book, Catch a Falling Star releases May 2013. She’s giving away a copy of Wish You Were Here to one lucky commenter. Winner will be announced Monday.

About Wish You Were Here: 
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Read more

Visit with Beth at bethvogt.com.

26 Comments

  • Dee Henderson’s prequel to her O’malley series, Danger in the Shadows. Sarah, who writes childrens books and fiction under another name, is a character who draws me into her life. I’ve read the book 3 times and hope to soon read it again

  • The books that have sucked me in the most would be A Voice in the Wind-Francine Rivers, probably Taming Rafe-Susan May, Lynette Eason can reel me in with her suspense and, of course, Beth’s WYWH is pretty captivating but then, so is Beth! Can’t wait for book two!

  • Good morning all you early birds!
    Teresa, I have to agree with you — Sarah is a “want to get to knew her better” kind of person. I love our conversations.
    Jennifer, thanks for joining the conversation.
    And Amy — oh, yes! I loved Rafe too. That whole story stuck with me for months after I read it.
    Thanks for the encouraging words.

  • Yay for Beth being here!!

    Ooh, Amy listed one of my all-time faves–Taming Rafe. I’ve actually read and re-read that book to try to figure out what sooo tugs at me in it. And of course, Beth’s book!

    One of the most recent books I read that just felt sooo real was Joanne Bischof’s debut novel, Be Still My Soul. It’s actually very different in that the hero isn’t all that likable for about the first half of the book. But maybe that’s what felt so real about it…I read it in a day. 🙂

  • I definitely like my characters to have a dose of reality. I find it is much easier to identify with them and get lost in the storyline. I just finished Fannie Flagg’s A Redbird Christmas and loved her main character Oswald T. Campbell. Having lived in the south for many years, he reminded me of so many of the transplanted older gentleman who found the slow pace of life let them find their true identity. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Beth,
    I love characters who deal with real life issues and make me laugh while I’m crying because the message snuck up and hit me. Those are the ones I re-read and buy in print.

  • “I’ve heard people say they don’t waste their time reading fiction.” Groan – a few years ago I was one of those people. 🙁 And I totally agree with you “Oh, the stories they are missing!” I’ve been both educated and inspired by characters and plots authors have penned. 🙂 I often find myself reading a novel where I get so drawn in due to the compelling nature of the characters and their story. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your post!

    jswaks at gmail dot com

  • It is EXTREMELY RARE for me to go back and re-read scenes from a novel. I’ve only done this one time in recent years and it was for Deeanne Gist’s Courting Trouble.

    Oh, I HATE IT when people say they DON’T read novels! Ever since I was a young child, I’ve always LOVED reading fiction. Reading fiction kept me sane and busy during hot, lazy summers.

  • I love reading fiction. The only time I’ve read much non-fiction would be for a class.

    Characters for me must be realistic or they don’t make sense.

  • I know I’m too late, but just wanted to say, Beth, wish you had a book in the TBCN library contest. I thought maybe you were when I saw this book, for it has the same name of one on there, but it was Lynette Sowell. I would love to win one of your books. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

  • I know, there has to be that balance between true-to-life and exciting enough to provide some escape…I love Miss Marple (and I re-read those books!), but for all those murders to happen in one sleepy town…not so realistic. Still, the realism in her CHARACTER is what draws you back.

    Your books sound right on target with tackling the bigger issues, Beth!

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.