This is the part where I’m supposed to brag about all my illustrious accomplishments, but honestly, I’d rather talk about my dogs and brag about some of the things I haven’t done:
I’ve never been to prison*, court-ordered rehab*, or splashed across the cover of a salacious weekly gossip tabloid with my ladybits on display**.
I’m a Leo, a middle child, and a formidable Trivial Pursuit opponent. I read everything I can get my hands on, from the classics to comic books. I don’t drink coffee because, frankly, I’m high strung enough without adding caffeine into the mix. Here is the true story of how I became a novelist:
I was invited as a plus-one to a wedding where the bride was a successful romance novelist. Well, the second I heard that, I had to go. Being a writer had always been my dream job, and I’d never met anyone who’d actually beaten the odds and made the leap into big-time publishing. So I RSVP-ed, sidled up to the bar at the reception, waited until the bride and all her author friends uncorked the good champagne, and then peppered them with endless questions about writing, editing, and landing an agent. They were so funny and encouraging and generous with their time and advice. (Not to mention quite tipsy.) Next thing you know, I had joined a critique group and was knee-deep in the manuscript that would eventually become MY FAVORITE MISTAKE. The open bar at that wedding changed my life forever. Thank you, Dom Perignon!
I live in Arizona in a very cute fixer-upper that I bought in a burst of totally delusional, can-do confidence. I thought it would be fun to embark on a series of do-it-yourself renovations. Yeah. I know. Turns out, replacing baseboard that’s been painted over 15 times since 1958 is not as easy as those Home Depot commercials would lead you to believe. Also, freshly-installed lawn drip systems and “helpful” dogs are a bad mix.
Speaking of dogs, here we have the indefatigable canine lawn maintenance crew: Roxie and Friday. Both were rescued from the pound when they were puppies. I think they’re Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes. (Probably. Maybe? Anything’s possible.) Roxie is the brains of the operation and Friday is…well, he’s very sweet. And so indolent he could be mistaken for a piece of furniture, which I consider a very desirable trait in a family dog.
I love hearing from readers, and I personally read all my emails. Unfortunately, due to writing deadlines and teaching obligations (and poor time management skills!), I am unable to reply. Just know that it’s not you; it’s me!
Have fun exploring the site, and if you have any questions about my new book, my backlist, or finding an agent…I’ll be right over there at the bar.
**That I know of.
20 questions with beth kendrick
If you weren’t a writer you’d be…?
Either a crime-fighting vigilante or starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.
What? Oh, we’re talking about reality here? Okay then, a child development researcher. I finished my PhD in psychology right about the time I sold my first book, and although I count myself very fortunate to be able to write full-time, I also loved life in the lab.
Favorite TV Series?
“Northern Exposure,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Community”, “Friday Night Lights,” “Good Eats.” (I secretly believe that if I watch enough Food Network, I will learn how to cook gourmet meals via osmosis, with no actual hands-on effort.)
Where do you waste time online when you’re not writing?
If you are my agent and/or editor: What?!? I would never! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work on my next chapter.
What talent do you wish you had?
Culinary prowess. (See: Food Network addiction, above.) I used to be absolutely hopeless in the kitchen, but when I started writing The Bake Off, I enrolled in some baking workshops and I am slowly but surely learning. Today, cheesecake from scratch–tomorrow, the world!
What talent would people be surprised to discover you have?
I was on the synchronized swimming team for 4 years in college. Synchro (as the cool kids call it) is kind of like ice skating or floor gymnastics in that it looks deceptively easy.
Biggest lie you’ve ever told?
“No, seriously, this time I mean it—I’m not getting any more dogs.”
Freshly cut lemons and melting birthday candle wax.
Favorite children’s book?
Muncus Agruncus, a Bad Little Mouse by Nancy Dingman Watson (no longer in print, alas), Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (I’m tearing up just thinking about this one!)
See’s chocolates, Sprinkles’ chocolate marshmallow cupcakes, Dove chocolate… I’m seeing a pattern here.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I have to have a glass of room-temperature water the whole time I’m writing. I can’t work without it.
Yes, I’m a diva. A dehydrated diva.
Favorite movie of all time?
“The Parent Trap.” The original, 1961 version starring Hayley Mills. (“I feel absolutely naked without my lipstick!”) Runners-up: “L.A. Confidential”, “Clueless”, “Better off Dead.”
Sentence we will never hear you utter?
“I’ll have the filet mignon, medium rare.”
What’s on your workout playlist?
Beastie Boys, Bruno Mars, Pursuit of Happiness, Eurhythmics, old-school Britney Spears (I get a ton of story ideas on the treadmill, and for some reason, my muse loves Britney. Ke$ha, too. I need serious therapy.)
What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
Right now, I am wearing Uggs, pajamas pants printed with milk and cookies, and an ancient T-shirt from college–a.k.a. “business casual.” Oh, and I can barely move my feet because my huge oaf of a dog is hogging all the space under my desk. I love my job.
What do you like most about living in Arizona?
Citrus trees growing in my front yard. Oh, and 70 degree winters.
What do you like least about living in Arizona?
Overripe oranges splattering down on the driveway. Oh, and 120 degree summers.
Best advice about writing?
“You can’t get there from here.” Meaning, when you’re starting a first draft, you can’t possibly include all the detail and emotion and character nuance that you hope to see in the finished manuscript, so don’t even try. Just focus on the scene you’re writing right now and don’t be afraid to play around and veer off in an entirely unexpected direction. A story is organic; it should be growing and changing while you tend to it every day. Don’t sweat all the details at once. That’s why God invented second (and third and seventh) drafts.
The one thing you wish you had in your office?
That’s easy: a giant, floor-to-ceiling saltwater aquarium. You know, like the James Bond villains always have.
The one thing you wish you had in your garage?
A totally restored surf wagon from the 1950’s with wood-paneled sides. Parking would be a nightmare, but it would be worth it.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
What is this “morning” you speak of? Are you implying that the sun comes up before 9 a.m.? Heretic!