Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or Self-Love Day, today is a day for Love. So who better to talk about love with than romance author Beau North?
*Don’t worry it’s not very sappy*
Author of 3 books and contributor to multiple anthologies, IPPY Award winner, podcast co-host of Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen On-Screen, and much more, Beau North is not only my friend but she’s my hero. I have had the pleasure of helping her with two of her books and she gave me the opportunity to edit my first anthology, which I am forever grateful for.
I wanted to ask her some questions about her writing and share them with you all for a special Interview with an Author post. I hope to get more interviews with authors I work with and share them with you.
Q & A
Why Romance? What other genres do you like to write?
I’ve written an urban fantasy novel, it’s not quite upbeat enough to qualify as paranormal romance, and I may try to get it published in the future. I’d love to try my hand at horror. I feel like romance and horror are so often intertwined, at least in books. Both rely on a happy or hopeful ending.
You get a lot of inspiration from Jane Austen, but who else inspires your writing?
I get a lot of inspiration from my family. There are parts of both Modern Love and Longbourn’s Songbird that are somewhat autobiographical. My family is mostly in Appalachia, where the oral tradition is still very much alive and well. I would get storied from older relatives on what this great aunt or that great uncle did. Not all of it was pretty!
Who are your favorite authors to read?
I adore the women writing smart romance for the modern audience. Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, Talia Hibbert, Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, Alisha Rai. I’m particularly fond of Sarah MacLean as her books are smart, funny, and somehow always manage to make me cry. But I don’t just read romance! I’m a big fan of the paranormal and downright weird. I loved Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy and his stand-alone novel Bourne. I love writers like Chuck Wendig and Richard Kadrey who mix the supernatural in with hard-boiled detective noir. And then this summer I read primarily mysteries, some of my favorites were Anthony Horowtiz’s The Magpie Murders and Sherry Thomas’ amazing Lady Sherlock series.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I was 13 and writing Anne Rice fan fiction. I later discovered that Anne is not okay with and very litigious when it comes to Fanfic, so it’s probably for the best that the internet wasn’t around back then, else I would have been tempted to post them on AO3 (Archive Of Our Own) when it came along.
Where do you get your ideas?
Honestly, they just pop into my head sometimes. I get a lot of ideas in the shower. Sometimes it can be a bit of song lyrics or some visual snag that puts an idea into my brain. I got the idea for Longbourn’s Songbird because I saw a photograph of my paternal grandmother when she was young and I thought she looked like Jane Bennet. The idea for Modern Love came out of the death of David Bowie, and how it feels to mourn someone because they evoke memories of someone else, and you’ve then lost that connection.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Look, writing is work. It’s hard work. Mentally exhausting and sometimes utterly demoralizing. I think it’s especially difficult now, with the world in such turmoil, to “turn off” the world around me and focus on a story. It takes discipline and can be especially difficult for people who suffer with depression. I honestly don’t know where the myth that depression fuels creativity came from, but depression is the opposite of inspiration. It’s impossible to connect emotionally to your own writing if you’re not functioning. So that’s definitely the hardest part for me, that and trying not to use so many adjectives.
Music while you write?
Yes, definitely. My music depends on what I’m writing, what kind of mood I’m trying to evoke, what the lyrics are reflecting in my characters. If I’m writing something with a historical setting like Georgian/Regency, I listen to classical and instrumental film scores. Anything by Max Richter is great for writing, he’s been in the top spot of my Spotify year in review for like three years running.
Why is it important for you to be inclusive with your characters?
Because it reflects life and the world we live in. It gives real context for fiction. Unless you’re writing science fiction. It’s totally unrealistic to imagine a world in which there are no people of color, no queer people, not one disabled person. I also include people struggling with addiction and depression in my stories, no matter the era, because none of these things are new phenomena.
What’s more important to me than being inclusive with my own characters, though, is making space for people from those groups writing their stories. It’s important to raise up #ownvoices authors and their works, like Talia Hibbert, who is writing some of the best romance out there, or Alisha Rai or Alyssa Cole or Beverly Jenkins, NK Jesimin, Roxane Gay, Helen Huang. Everyone should be reading their books! I recently saw a thread where Patton Oswalt was reading Alyssa Cole’s Let Us Dream, set in Harlem during the Jazz Age. We should all write more inclusively, yes, but we should also be buying diverse books and lifting up diverse authors. It makes reading a richer experience, and it makes the world a bit nicer too.
Follow Beau on Twitter @beaunorth
visit beaunorthwrites.com for updates on her upcoming writing!
Buy her work on Amazon!