Our interview today is with Lorena Bathey the author of Beatrice Munson a novel that readers have enjoyed by rating it 4.5 stars on 49 reviews. Before we get to the interview a brief book description: In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige. Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch-enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa’s high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice’s house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected.How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt.
This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties. Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you might be one of them.
Interview with Lorena Bathey
1. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
As most of the time the characters come first for me the story usually develops along the way. I start with a person, male or female. I see them in my mind and then add in their personality. Then as the story begins to take shape I really see them act out the plot in my mind like a movie. It makes dialog easy to write. So as the author I really write what I see. I usually write the first draft and then go back and read it out loud. This gives me a heads up for issues in the dialog, writing, or even grammar stumbling blocks. It also allows me to see if I think the character is struggling enough, because let’s be real, stories are about a character overcoming…a lot. That’s what will change how the story is going. Does my character need more drama?
2. Was there a basis for your story? A previous experience? Something else?
It depends. My first novel, Beatrice Munsondefinitely came out of my own personal experience. But the rest of my books so far have started with one character or a story that I wanted to tell. There are always aspects of my own life and experiences in the stories. But a lot of the time it’s my life as I might want it to be or a character that does something exciting that I might want to have experienced.
As my books progress I am finding that I want to look at the grittier aspects of human beings. What do they really feel? How do they deal with things more realistically. Not always allowing for a happy ending.
3. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
My characters are absolutely believable. They are not super heroes. They are you and me. While some of the situations may seem out of the realm of possibility, when you get right down to it, the world is strange and anything is possible!
4. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?
For me I get an idea and then it simmers. The words bounce around in my head until they want to be written. Then I schedule time to write. I usually go to coffee houses or places like Panera because it keeps me less distracted and focused. I know that it seems weird because it’s busy and noisy, but somehow that buzz of activity keeps me working.
Then I just write. I don’t do a storyboard or anything, I just usually write down in Word the characters and their aspects and as I get the idea where I see it going. Most of the time the book follows pretty close to that initial outline.
5. How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?
Ugh…dang Facebook, Pinterest, and the internet as a whole. It’s a writer’s demon. When you aren’t sure about a story or character there is so many ways to be distracted, even doing social media for your book. That’s why I like going to coffee stores because I am less likely to get on the internet there and it keeps me focused on writing.
6. Favorite book from childhood.
Young childhood was Ferdinand. It was a book about a bull that didn’t want to fight in the bullfights. And while I didn’t know it then, it was about being yourself and following your heart.
But the one that made the most significant impact was Katherine, by Anya Seton. My aunt gave it to me before I went on a trip to England. The story was about John of Gaunt (real person) and Katherine Swynford (also real person) and a historical fiction of their love. I spent the whole trip asking, “Was John of Gaunt here?” It really shone a light on how a book can enhance your life.
7. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk? Describe what you see when you look around.
I don’t have a desk. At home I write on kitchen table and when out and about whatever table I land. But my fiancée says he’s going to make me a desk. I will relish having my own spot to leave all my stuff and not have to pick everything up and move it when the whole family comes to town.
Growing up in Northern California, Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English.
Lorena Bathey found characters were visiting her mind and wouldn’t leave. She was introduced to Marissa, Andrea, Lily, Deidre and Beatrice and her first novel, Beatrice Munson, came to life. After finishing that book she was inspired to write more novels and she knew that pursuing her passion was the best way to live her life. So a writer she became.
After meeting the love of her life, they embarked on the thrilling life to follow their dreams, bringing their families along for the ride. Today Lorena has nine novels in her writing queue.
But writing isn’t the only muse that inspires Lorena. She has become a passionate photographer and likes to push the envelope taking avant guarde shots. Travel, walking, enjoying new restaurants, and Italy are other loves and things she makes sure she has time for.
Get your copy of Beatrice Munson on Amazon