Friday, May 23, 2008

And Another Awesome Author Visit: Beth Kephart

Today I am pleased to introduce one of the best authors I know. Her writing flows off the pages and is breathtaking. While I've only read one of her books I can't wait to read her others. So without further ado I present today's amazing author Beth Kephart.

Beth is here today to celebrate the upcoming release of her latest novel House of Dance. This is a great book that deals with learning to treasure the last days with a loved one. It will have you in tears and make you really sit back and contemplate your life. Click here for my review. Beth Kephart is not only a fabulous author, but she is also a breathtaking photographer. To see some of her great pictures be sure to check out her blog. I hope all of you enjoy the interview with Beth and that you will all go and run out to the store on Tuesday (May 27th) and buy House of Dance. You will certainly not be disappointed.

P.S. Read all the way down to the bottom and you'll find an extra special surprise!!


In your latest novel House of Dance, Rosie finds a passion for dance. Do you share her same passion? If so how were you introduced to dance?

I have always loved to dance. Always loved to put the music on, loud, and get lost inside it. I danced as a little girl, I ice skated (which is dancing on ice), I danced alone with my own shadow for years. Two years ago, my husband, who had never danced, decided he wanted to learn ballroom dancing (DANCING WITH THE STARS was on TV) and suddenly we were there, at this wonderful studio, taking lessons. I’ve been dancing ballroom ever since and it’s proven to be the most challenging, most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. Every single time you think you understand a particular move, a particular beat, a way of following, you realize that you are still such an amateur, still just scratching the surface of the rumba, cha-cha, samba, fox trot, waltz, tango, bolero...the dance of the hour.

Where did you get your inspiration for House of Dance?

HOUSE OF DANCE emerged during a very sad time in my life. I had lost a friend, quite suddenly, to cancer; there wasn’t even time to say goodbye. I was angry with me for not knowing that my friend was sick. I wanted to write a story in which a character—Rosie—did the right thing for a loved one at the end of a life. In the course of writing HOUSE, my own mother grew gravely ill. So there is a lot of lived emotion in this book.

How did Rosie’s character come about?

Rosie was the name my grandmother called me when I was a little girl. There is some of me in Rosie’s way of seeing, but Rosie’s life details are entirely fiction. You write a first sentence, then another. You discover your heroine.

I know that authors find it hard to pick their favorite character, but which of your characters is your favorite? Which one is most like you?

Hmmm. I really don’t think I could do that. I’ve written a book in which a river tells her own story, in her own words, and I loved that character (FLOW: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHILADELPHIA’S SCHULYKILL RIVER). I admire Elisa’s spunk in UNDERCOVER and Rosie’s goodheartedness in HOUSE. The characters really do become their own creatures—and when a book is done I see them as being quite separate from me, not characters I’m entirely responsible for. So in the same way that I’d never choose a favorite friend or a favorite child, I don’t think I can choose a favorite character.

What’s one of the hardest parts of being a writer? The best?

Hardest is having to work all the way through a book, by myself, feeling at risk and in danger. Will anyone like this book? Will anyone buy it? Am I just talking to myself? The best is getting to the end of that first draft and, if it works, being able to stand back, by myself, for that unjudged, private moment, and say: I did it. I made it through.

What’s your ideal writing environment?

I need absolute quiet. I am writing more and more of my work by pen and pad, at first. Sometimes on the deck outside, in the shade. Sometimes (early mornings) on the living room couch. And then I come into my beautiful tiny office and try to read my own chicken scratch and type in what I’ve handwritten. It’ll all go through 20 rounds of editing, at least, before it is done.

What are your top three favorite books of all times?

Wow. This is always so hard. Michael Ondaatje’s RUNNING IN THE FAMILY or COMING THROUGH SLAUGHTER would have to be on the list. Wallace Stegner’s CROSSING TO SAFETY. Alice McDermott’s WEDDINGS AND WAKES. Though to
morrow I’d put a Colum McCann novel on the list, or a book of Stanley Kunitz poems, or a fragment from Pablo Neruda, or Seamus Deane’s READING IN THE DARK.

What’s one quirky thing that you care to share?

Oh dear. Well, let’ see. This isn’t quirky, but it’s true: I run a business, and so most of my time is spent working for clients—researching and writing annual reports, commemorative books, marketing materials. Most of my literary friends don’t quite understand this about me; they think it rather odd. As for quirky: When I believe I’m alone on a city street, I will sometimes dance a bead of bolero.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have two more YA novels due out in the next two years from HarperTeen — NOTHING BUT GHOSTS and THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE. I’ve just completed a first draft of a novel tentatively called DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have to let it sit and stew awhile. I also have a children’s picture book in the works.

This is a totally unrelated question, but which came first your love of photography or writing?

Well, that’s a very interesting question. When I was in fourth grade (I think it was fourth grade) a teacher took me to her house one weekend and showed me how to build a pinhole camera. I was fascinated from the first. But I was also writing my first (poor) poems at that time. I’ve always put my photos and my writing together, when I could — in scrapbooks, in real books (my third book, STILL LOVE IN STRANGE PLACES, is a memoir about being married to a Salvadoran man, and a series of photos of his country), on my blog. Both writing and photography are about ways of seeing; they are tools that enable me to see more clearly. I find them both to be essential.


Now for that extra special surprise!! Beth (and Harper Collins) have given me some books to give away so that means I have not one, but THREE copies of House of Dance to giveaway!! All you have to do is comment or send me an email to be entered. In your comment tell me the title of your favorite book read this year and what book you are looking forward to most this summer!! All comments/emails must be in by next Thursday, May 29 at midnight. Winners will be announced next Friday. Good luck to everyone!!


Madison said...

Great interview!

Favorite book read this year...Probably The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Book coming out this summer that I'm looking forward to...Rapunzel's Revenge. I have never read a graphic novel before, but I'm a major Shannon Hale fan.

Melissa Walker said...

"When I believe I’m alone on a city street, I will sometimes dance a bead of bolero."

How much do I adore Beth Kephart!?

Favorite book so far this year... um... David Levithan's BOY MEETS BOY (though I was so late to read it). And the book I'm most looking forward to is probably I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE by Stephanie Kuehnert. Can't wait to read that one!

Chelsea said...

OOH, yay! I've really been wanting to read House of Dance! Undercover, too, actually. But anyway. Favorite book read this year -- so hard! I can't even remember all that I've read this year. Hmm. I'd have to say Airhead by Meg Cabot. I really liked it.

Book looking forward to this summer -- um, BREAKING DAWN!! Definitely.

Thanks for the contest!

PJ Hoover said...

Yay for another great interview!

Favorite book read this year: The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan.
Most looking forward to:
(Is it tacky so say my own???)
There are so many good ones!
How about Dragon Wishes by Stacy Nyikos.

paperxxflowers said...

hmm... My favorite book I read this year would defnitely have to be Thirteen Reasons Why.

Book I'm looking forward to the most? Rumors by Anna Godbersen

Anonymous said...


A million thanks (times a million) for this. It looks fantastic, and I've cross blogged about it (and you) on my own site.

You've made my Memorial Day. May you have time for words and weather this weekend.


Axa said...

favorite book I read this year is currently Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde.....and I can't wait for Breaking Dawn!!!!

the story siren said...

favorite book this year..... geez... um, i did just finished the adoration of jenna fox, and i loved it! so i'll go with that one!

i actually won a copy of house of dance at em's bookshelf, so don't sign me up, but i just wanted to say awesome interview! i can't wait to read it myself!

Elainareads said...

Hmm thats kinda hard i've read so many great books. I think maybe Audrey, Wait! is my favorite so far.

I'm excited about Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine. =D

RR2 said...

My favourite book of this year was Undercover by Beth Kephart. Just read it and I loved it. The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a close second, though.

And the book I'm most looking forward to is Superior Saturday by Garth Nix.

WannabeWriter said...

I have Undercover in my need-to-read stack & House of Dance sounds great too.

Um. Favorite book this year? Hard to pick one. I really enjoyed Wicked Lovely, Lock & Key, Girl at Sea, The Alison Rules, City of Bones ... a lot of books.

Looking forward to most: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.


Anonymous said...

My favorite book I read this year... Oh, I can't really choose. I'd have to say Becoming Chloe is one of my new favorites. But there's also Eclipse and Deathly Hallows.

As for this summer... I can't wait for Breaking Dawn!

Ariel said...

My favorite book I've read this year is undeniably The Book Thief. Though City of Ashes and The Patron Saint of Butterflies draw close seconds.

I have to say, though, I'm most excited for Artemis Fowl and The Time Paradox. I can't wait!!!

Breanna said...

Great author visit!

I'd have to say my favorite book that I've read so far this year would have to be Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I just discovered the series this year. Also I finished Becoming Chloe a few days ago, and I loved it. It was amazing.

I'm really looking forward to Airhead by Meg Cabot. I'm going to buy it, I just haven't made it to a book store yet. Also, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert. I'm so excited for that book.


Steph said...

I'm looking forward to Madapple and The Adoration of Jenna Fox! Getting both of those sometime soon :)

Book I liked best this year? Hmm... Well, that was released this year, so far that's Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty. :)


Rachael Stein said...

i have too many favorite books to list and too many books i am looking forward too.

they do include Stephennie Meyer's book though :D

Rachael Stein said...

my favorite books are all my Meg Cabot. or Lisi Harrison (i love the Clique series).

as for what i'm looking forward to...idk, more Meg Cabot books? i think the next one out is Queen of Babble something...


Anonymous said...

My newest favorite book is Madapple, and the book i'm most looking forward to this summer is Breaking Dawn (i can't wait!!!)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for Unbreakable by Sara Shepard to come out. Love the Pretty Little Liars series. Um, my fave book read so far this year would probably be Poison Study. It was great.

dd said... favorite book this year would have to be Sweethearts by Sara Zarr!(It's hard to pick just one though! =D) It was so awesome! I also can't wait to read Thirteen Reasons Why!

~Lucy D =)

Em said...

Hi Tasha, Don't count me in for the contest - I already have a copy. I just wanted to say this was a great interview! :)

Fav book I've read this year: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Book I'm looking forward to: I just got asked to review Guitar Girl by a reader of my blog so I'm looking forward to that one.

Bunny B said...

My fave book of this year would have to be The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale! I'm so glad I've read it :)

Thank you for the chance!

bunnybox9 at gmail. com

Chelsie said...

Oh my gosh, what a hard question!

Well, the summer book is easy: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert (God I hate spelling her last name...)
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

So far this year my favorite book has been... Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. Plus a couple others, but Sweethearts really got to me, so that's gotta be it...

Test said...

My favorite book I've read so far this year is Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen and the book I'm looking forward to is Unbelievable by Sara Sheperd.

Nurin said...

Favorite book of the year:
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante <333

Book I'm looking foward to in the summer:

Breaking Dawn (I know, typical but *squee*)

Anonymous said...

Beth is so kind, so thoughtful, and her books are delicate.
(I own House of Dance, so you needn't enter me in the drawing.)

Amee said...

Favorite so far is probably Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman.

I'm most looking forward to QoB3 by Meg Cabot and Stop in the Name of Pants (9th Georgia Nicholson) by Louise Rennison!

Liv said...

So far, I think my fave book has been Looking For Alaska by John Green. And the book I'm most looking forward to for summer would have to be Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Woods.

I can't wait to read House of Dance. Great interview!

Anonymous said...

Favorite read this year: On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Most Looking Forward To: Stop In The Name of Pants by Louise Rennison

Thanks for running a great contest!

Anonymous said...

My favorite book so far this year was Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and I can't wait to read Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss!!!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Great interview! I wish I could take good pictures or dance...something to work on for the future, I suppose! LOL

Favorite book that I'm looking forward too:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone by Stephenie Keuhnert.

And I'm sure a ton more...

Favorite book that I've read this year so far:

Oh gosh! I've read a lot of good books. I really enjoyed Bleeding Hearts by Josh Aterovis a ton.


Lenore Appelhans said...

Let's see - I was very late to the party but I loved Uglies by Scott Westerfeld!

Most looking forward to The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - all thanks to the hype on all your blogs.

There are sooo many more I could list too - YA fiction is just awesome right now.

Theopinionedreader said...

Fav read so far is Fire Study by Maria v. snyder, Book im looking forward to is Breaking Dawn, Stephine Meyers

Theopinionedreader said...

Fav read so far is Fire Study by Maria v. snyder, Book im looking forward to is Breaking Dawn, Stephine Meyers


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