Whether you are feeling a bit Jekel and Hyde or you are looking for advice on the dark side, Beth Fantaskey is the person you need to speak to. I have been lucky enough to be granted a interview with fascinating author.
So without any further hesitation please welcome to Paranormal Angel the author of such hit as Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jekel Loves Hyde and Jessica Rules the Dark Side. Beth Fantaskey.
P-Angel : What inspired you to be an author?
Beth : I’ve been a writer for my entire professional life, mainly as a political speech writer and journalist. To me, writing fiction was the logical next step in my career. I think everyone who writes for magazines and newspapers secretly wonders if they’d be able to write a novel. I guess I wanted to prove that to myself!
P-Angel : . Where do you get your inspiration for story’s from?
Beth : Jessica’s Guide was inspired by my family. My children are adopted, and we sometimes imagine what their birth parents might be like. What if they are doctors? Or farmers? Or even royalty? I just took that game to the extreme with Jessica Packwood, trying to imagine what it would be like for a very rational young woman to learn that her birth parents were beings that she didn’t even believe in – and royalty, too. As for Jekel Loves Hyde – I honestly don’t know where the idea for that book came from. One day the phrase “Jekyll loves Hyde,” just popped into my mind, and it seemed full of possibilities to me. Soon I was developing a story about an old chemical formula that creates monsters, and the boy and girl who have to grapple with having that as a legacy.
P-Angel : When you are writing do you have any rituals that you do before, during or after?
Beth : I always have something to drink on my desk with me – coffee in the morning, Diet Coke in the afternoon. I also always listen to music. I can’t work in silence. And every time I finish a chapter, I e-mail the revised manuscript to myself, so everything’s stored in my “sent” box. I’m too lazy and disorganized to back up my computer all the time, so that’s my way of making sure I don’t lose anything. Those are my primary rituals.
P-Angel : Did you always want to be a writer or was it something that found you?
Beth : It definitely “found” me. When I graduated from college, I had no job prospects, so when a friend mentioned that a public relations office was hiring writers, I applied. When I turned in my writing sample, the man who would become my boss said, “You know you’re a writer, right?” I got hired on the spot, and that’s what I’ve done ever since – thank goodness!
P-Angel : . Where do you like to work?
Beth : The only place I ever really work is in my home office, which is also my oldest daughter’s bedroom now, because we have more kids than bedrooms. She’s a late sleeper, so a lot of mornings, I’m typing away, listening to Pandora, and she’s behind me, snoring and oblivious, for hours.
P-Angel : . What has been the best and the worst part of being a writer?
Beth : The best part is interacting with readers. I had no idea how many people would contact me to discuss my books. That’s fantastic. I feel like I’ve made friends around the world. The only downside, really, is the uncertainty. There’s not that feeling of security you get from going to an office every day and getting a steady paycheck every week. But to me, that’s the price of working odd hours and using my imagination every day.
P-Angel : . If you weren’t a write what would you like to do?
Beth : I teach at a university now and then, and I’m going for my Ph.D. I’d probably be a professor. Writing and teaching both give you a lot of autonomy, which I like.
P-Angel : Who is your greatest inspiration?
Beth : It sounds cliché, but my children definitely inspire me. I want to be a good role model for them and make them proud. I also love the fact that my parents are proud of my books. They worked hard to make sure I could go to college and live the life I wanted, so I write for them, too.
P-Angel : What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Beth : Don’t take work too seriously. My husband always reminds me of that. Life is short – it should be fun.
P-Angel : Worst advice?
Beth : “Dye your hair red.”
P-Angel : How do you choose the location for your story?
Beth : Jessica Rules the Dark Side pretty much had to be set in Romania. Otherwise, I keep my novels in Pennsylvania, because that’s familiar territory, but shift the locations to suit the mood of the book. For example, I chose Amish country for Jessica’s Guide, because I needed readers to believe that a very conservative populace might actually turn vicious to dispel a vampire. Not that I think anybody in that area is really vicious! It’s a lovely place, in reality!
P-Angel : When you are writing or preparing to write, do you do any form of research or preparation?
Beth : I do research as I go along. Questions seem to arise as I work.
P-Angel : Have you ever suffered from writers block? How did you break through it?
Beth : I think everyone suffers writers’ block – although I also think that means a lot of different things to different people. For me, I just sit down and force myself to write something, even if I’m pretty sure I’ll discard it later. The idea is just to get the thoughts flowing again.
P-Angel : Do you have a favorite character from your book?
Beth : That’s like choosing a favorite child, but I will admit that I have a soft spot for Lucius Vladescu.
P-Angel : Are the character in your story’s based on any one you know ?
Beth : My sister is very rational, like Jessica Packwood, and I’m very shy, like Jill Jekel in Jekel Loves Hyde, but I wouldn’t say any of my characters are based on people I know. For example, aside from being logical, Jess has nothing to do with my sister. My characters just sort of come to life as their own people.
P-Angel : Do you outline and plan your story or do you just go with the flow?
Beth : I like to know how a story starts and where it ends, but beyond that, I go with the flow. Even when I try to plot, things tend to evolve in new directions as I go along. I can’t seem to stick with a flow chart.
Thank you so much for you time Beth.