Interviewing Jo Beverley
(left: Gabie from Tea End Blog | right: Jo Beverley, novelist)
Today I have the privilege of interviewing Jo Beverley; world-renowned romance novelist and one of few members of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) Hall of Fame. I performed a Book Review on one of Jo Beverley's novels and had the privilege of speaking with her via YouTube and then email, resulting in this blogview! Without further a-do, let us speak with Jo Beverley about her most recent publication, what new masterpiece she's brewing and why she's no average Jo...
Gabie: In reading a little about you, I see that you have been writing and story-telling since you were young. However, at what point in your life did you realize that you could write not just to express creativity but also to make a career out of it?
Jo Beverley: Very late. In the 1980s I began to think I could get published, and in 1988 I did. However, it was a few more years before I began to think I could make a living.
Gabie: Better late than never! I love your work! Your last historical romance novel entitled "Too Dangerous For A Lady" became available in April 2015 and we patiently await "The Viscount Needs A Wife" coming out in April 2016. This is exactly a years' time between the releases but how long does it take you to actually complete a novel?
Jo Beverley: It takes me a year, but that's not writing a book all the time. It seems to take that long for a book to grow, and I've likened it to a vegetable plant. If we plant a tomato in the spring it will produce fruit in its own time. Hovering over it won't help. Therefore, at the same time I can write some other small projects, such as the novella I wrote for Faery Weddings.
Gabie: Great illustration! I have ordered "Too Dangerous For A Lady" and plan to make it one of my next reads. Reading some of the reviews on various blogs there was so much positive feedback. However, I couldn't help but notice some that were overly critical about the Rogues and their reappearance thinking it best if they were retired. What do you say to those who want the Rogues to go away?
Jo Beverley: The Rogues are part of my Regency "world". I can't imagine writing Regencies in which they don't exist. However, the part they play varies according to the story-line. Because Herimone is the sister of a dead Rogue, some of them take a keen interest. In "The Viscount Needs A Wife", some Rogues only come in to assist Braydon in his investigations, and they're not on the page a lot.
Gabie: I see, well, no complaints here! It seems like writing comes very easy to you, and I am sure experience plays a key role. It interests me how much time you spend writing. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
"...As for easy, it doesn't always feel that way!"
- Jo Beverley
Jo Beverley: I'm taking it a bit easy these days and I spend about 4 hours a day, in the morning, on writing. I do most research at other times, but I sometimes need to do some spot research during the writing time. Writing time also includes some thinking, bubble-diagramming, character interviews, and all the other things that get the story to take shape.
As for easy, it doesn't always feel that way!
Gabie: 4 hours a day! That is impressive! Speaking of your work schedule, you are now working on a new novel entitled "The Viscount Needs A Wife" debuting in April 2016. I really can't wait because the story line is already teasing and flirtatious! I have pre-ordered my copy! Kitty Cateril and Beau Braydon seem very relatable to modern day! Will Kitty's secrets come as a shock to the reader or will the reader expect her to behave as such after knowing her personality?
Jo Beverley: The reader learns more about Kitty as we go along, and as Braydon learns more about her. I don't think her secrets are truly shocking, but they are parts of her past she'd rather keep private, and they cause some problems. We can relate to that.
Gabie: (smiling) Oh yes, we sure can! I love how witty your characters are, especially the female characters. I feel that a lot of modern women have lost that smart, quick and flirty charm that we used to have. When you are writing, what would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Jo Beverley: A quirk? I think perhaps writing quirks are only obvious to an observer. Writing fiction is pretty quirky thing to do isn't it? We come up with imaginary people and end up believing that they're real.
Gabie: (laughing) Yes, I can agree that is pretty quirky! The historical events in your books are based upon real historical events and we appreciate that about your writing! However, the characters are fictional, so where do you get your information or ideas for your books about the characters?
Jo Beverley: The characters grow out of what I know of the time, so any research I do, especially reading primary sources such as letters, diaries, and newspapers, helps form the characters.
"Writing fiction is pretty quirky...We come up with imaginary people and end up believing that they're real."
- Jo Beverley
Gabie: Amazing! It is said that you started writing when you were very young and that you still have a medieval historical romance written in a school exercise book from when you were a teenager. Is this available? If no, would you consider making it available for your fans?
Jo Beverley: It exists, though mostly handwritten. I don't think I'll make it available. It was a fairly good attempt for a sixteen-year-old, but the storyline is not very coherent.
Gabie: (smiling) I would love to read it none the less! I hope you release it one day! Do most of your activities center around writing? What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Jo Beverley: Gardening, which takes a fair amount of time. A variety of crafts, in which I dabble. I play simple computer games to unwind. And read, of course.
Gabie: Yes, of course! What does your family think of your writing? For example, you have children, two sons, do they read your novels?
Jo Beverley: I don't think they've read any of them, but they're suitably proud of me.
Gabie: I am sure they are very proud. When you create one of your novels, you do much research from what I can see. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Jo Beverley: Oh, there are so many, and they are all delightful. I love being surprised. Perhaps the best recent one was discovering that in 1817 a Bonaparte was in line to succeed to the throne in Britain! Jerome Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon, was about 22nd in line, but he was there. That freaked people out at the time.
Gabie: Wow that is surprising. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I know this is most likely an impossible question, but I am curious to know if there is a direct answer to it. Would you happen to have a favorite novel?
Jo Beverley: It is an impossible questions, I'm afraid. Choosing between my own would be like choosing between my children, and as for the work of other authors, I like different ones for different reasons, and often for reading in different times and places.
Gabie: Yes, I can relate to that. If you could offer one piece of advice to a young female writer, what would it be?
Jo Beverley: If it was specifically for a female writer, I would say, learn to be selfish. Society puts pressure on women to be givers and nurturers, which is all very well, but in some situations, family, friends and the world in general will suck us dry if we let them. Claim some writing time, whether it's an hour, a morning, or all week, and hold it against all comers. Learn to say no. Learn to accept that the world and even your nearest and dearest, can survive without you for a while. Ask, what would happen now if I wasn't available? Often the answer is, someone else would deal with it just as well as I would.
Gabie: Beautiful advice and so practical! I am a strong believer in what I like to call "mental movies". I think a good writer is someone that can create a motion picture in my mind while still allowing me to use my imagination; this is what I look for in writers and found this in your writing style. However, according to you, what do you think makes a good story?
Jo Beverley: I'm glad that you see my novels as movies in the mind, because that's how I see them as I'm writing them. However, just because it's a movie doesn't mean it's interesting. A good story is one that engages the reader and satisfies them from beginning to end, and I prefer ones with some changes of pace and tone. Constant high drama, for example, is exhausting, as is constant lust, or constant joking. Fortunately different readers are engaged and satisfied by different things, so we each find the authors who please us.
Gabie: Oh my goodness! I agree with you 100 percent. I hate unbalanced stories. As you may know, Tea End Blog is a blog of tea and literature. I know you are originally from England but I won't assume that you like tea! Do you like tea? If yes, do you have a favorite tea that you like to sip?
Jo Beverley: I do like tea. When I'm being serious about it I like a loose leaf Ceylon tea, but I'm afraid I'm no more technical than that. I don't like flowery teas like Earl Grey, or smoky ones like lapsang souchong. I like green tea as an iced tea, but not as a hot tea, and I take my hot tea with milk and no sugar, preferably out of a delicate china cup or mug.
Gabie: Absolutely superb! I love it! Thank you for sharing your tea preferences. How can readers discover more about you and your work?
> Website: www.jobev.com
> Blog: Minepast, which I only post to occasionally.
> Also the group blog, the Word Wenches.
> Facebook: www.facebook.com/jo.beverley
> Twitter: twitter.com/JoBeverley
> Amazon Author Page:
I would like to take this moment to express my appreciation to Jo Beverley. Thank you so very much Jo Beverley for taking the time for this interview. I, for one, am a fan and will stay a fan because your novels are just that pleasant to read! Again, thank you and we are looking forward to "The Viscount Needs A Wife"! Good writing to you!
(top) I am yet to begin this titilating novel ("Too Dangerous For A Lady" by Jo Beverley) but I know it will be amazing! You can grab a copy also and perhaps we can read it together! (bottom) Jo Beverley enjoys a loose leaf Ceylon Tea. Taylors of Harrogate supply a tasty Ceylon and have done so since 1886! I Wonder if Lady Herimone ever had a taste?
I have pre-ordered my copy of "The Viscount Needs A Wife" scheduled for release in April 2016!
It is not too late! You can also pre-order your copy. Why don't we read it at the same time and share our thoughts?
Which novel of Jo Beverley's do you like best? Why?