Beth, welcome to Writers on Reading! I’m looking forward to getting to know you are a reader. Your debut novel, Her Deadly Inheritance, released mere days ago. I’m curious, are you drawn toward the same genre you write? Do you find one theme more repeatedly snags your attention as a read? Is there something special you seek when selecting your next reading adventure?
Thank you for inviting me, Deirdre. It’s great to be here, and yes, I am excited about Her Deadly Inheritance. I’m hoping readers will find it as much fun to read as it was to write. As to the genre I’m drawn to, I’ve loved reading romantic suspense since I was a freshman in college. Like others, it comes and goes in popularity, but I agree with librarians. They tell me that fans of romantic suspense are always looking for that next one. I’m definitely one of those avid fans.
As a writer, you should know better, but as a reader, you know we all do it…so, when did you last “judge a book by the cover”? How did it work out?
Just recently, I saw the fascinating cover for The Dividing Stone by Anita Estes. I bought her novel and am thoroughly enjoying it. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a Frank Peretti novel, with angels and demons responding to people’s prayers in ever darkening circumstances.
Sounds shivery! I was a Peretti fan, too, back in his heyday. Do you find time to read during the months you spend writing or with deadlines ahead is it either/or for you? If so, what did you read while working on your last book? If not, what did you read when you finished this one?
I enjoy reading other novels while I’m writing my own. They inspire me rather than distract me. While writing Her Deadly Inheritance, I read many Love Inspired Suspense novels by such authors as Margaret Daley, Dana Mentink, Debby Guisti, Lisa Harris, Christy Barritt, Terri Reed, Shirlee McCoy, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Valerie Hansen, and so many more!
What was the last book you absolutely couldn't put down? Why?
Actually, I can name two! “Fragile Blessings,” by Susan M. Baganz, one of three historical romance novellas in Love’s Christmas Past. The heroine has just lost her first baby in childbirth when her husband volunteers to take in three small children who just lost their parents in a fire. She’s aghast, but the deed is already done. I had to know how she would finally come to take those children into her grieving heart. The other novel is A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar, also an historical romance. The convoluted adventures of the heroine as she tries to find her sister in the midst of Civil War battles and, instead, finds true love in the most unlikely social situation absolutely captivated me.
Well, those are excellent recommendations! Were you the kind of kid/teen who loved reading? Which novel do you first remember reading?
Absolutely! The library was my second home. Mom said I first set foot in a library when I was two weeks old. I don’t remember that, but I do remember the many childhood summers when I eagerly signed up for the reading program—check out a book, read it, give a little book report to the children’s librarian, who then stamped another “stone” along the pathway of a themed sheet. Great memories, especially finishing the number of books required to participate in the celebration party. What kid doesn’t like candy, games, and prizes? Maybe that’s what set me on a lifelong pattern of reading novels.
When did you know you wanted to write? Did any or multiple books influence this desire?
I was ten years old when the desire struck. How I loved reading fairy tales, especially books loaded with stories of princes and princesses who had to overcome great challenges before they could live the rest of their lives in love. My favorites were a series: The Red Book of Fairy Tales, The Blue …, The Green …, The Pink …, The Yellow …. The colors went on and on, and I read every one of them! One day, I thought how wonderful it would be to write books that gave others as much pleasure as these books gave me. I didn’t know it at the time, but God had planted the seed of novelist in my heart that day.
What a special memory! Thank you for sharing that with us, Beth. Has any book stuck with you recently? What created the lasting impressions?
The novel that has stuck with me down through the years is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The heroine faced such awful challenges—orphaned and mistreated by those who should have loved and cared for her. But she rose to the challenge and grew up to be a woman of courage, a woman who risked the unknown and chose to do what was right in God’s eyes even when it cost her dearly. And because she did, the Lord rewarded her in the end by giving her the desires of her heart.
With a chilling winter upon us, what is on your cozy to-read list? And what is your ideal winter reading experience?
When I was a child, I loved reading in the crook of a tree or on my belly in the living room. These days, I like to cuddle in my bed with a soft and warm blanket, and multiple pillows behind me. I keep my to-read novels stacked high on my bedside table. Nearly all are romantic suspense, including Foul Play by Elizabeth Rees and Compromised Identity by Jodie Bailey.
If antagonist/protagonist in your debut book were to pick a book from today’s shelves, what do you think it would be?
If Jill, the heroine of Her Deadly Inheritance, were to select one of today books, I think it would be Pesto & Potholes by Susan M. Baganz. She would find common ground with Susan’s heroine who longs for a place in a loving family but isn’t sure how that would ever happen.
What a delightful and intriguing answers. Wasn’t this a fun interview! Thanks so much for visiting and letting us get to know you better as a reader, Beth! Folks, you can continue to connect with Beth—and find out more about her Romantic Suspense books!—at the links below.
A long-time fan of romantic suspense, Beth Ann Ziarnik offers her first novel with all the twists and turns, cliffhangers and romantic tension she and readers have come to love. She is a co-founder of Word & Pen Christian Writers in Northeast Wisconsin and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In addition to her 450 published pieces (several included in anthologies), she is the author of Love With Shoes On, her ten-year devotional column about love in action and based on 1 Corinthians 13.
PURCHASE AND CONNECTION LINKS:Her Deadly Inheritance