For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Beth Bolden. We talked about writing emotional books, being inspired by her friends, her focused approach to writing, and her love of cooking.
Take it away Beth…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Beth, and I really love to write books. No, seriously. I think there’s a lot of reasons authors get into publishing, but for me, the books always come first. There’s nothing more joyful to me than sitting down and crafting a story that readers can get lost in.
I particularly enjoy writing sports romance, as well as food-related books (I wrote six books and a novella about food trucks, because I just really love food trucks LOL). I’ve been publishing MM romance since 2017, and genuinely I can’t imagine doing anything else. This is the best job in the world (also, sometimes, the worst, but I believe that if some rain doesn’t fall, then we can’t enjoy the sun).
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I am very much a character-first kind of writer. I will occasionally set out to write a certain trope, but most of the time, I already know the characters, as I tend to write in-series, and I’ve been thinking for one or two or five books what story best suits them as a character. Usually by then I know them so well, and they’ve been sitting in the back of my head, chattering away for so long, that part of planning a book feels very easy.
I don’t think I write particularly angsty books in that there are few scenarios in which you know something terrible is going to happen and then it happens. I like to think instead that I write emotional books where the arcs move upwards, and out of what we might call the “black moment.” Generally I try to always have the momentum moving upwards and becoming more positive as the book reaches a climax.
Describe your books in only three words.
Emotional, witty, and satisfying.
What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
I’ve just finished working on book #3 of my Miami Piranhas series, Playing by the Rules. It’s about Paxton, who is the quarterback of the Piranhas, trying to find his footing in year two, after a disastrous rookie season, and Davis, who is currently Pax’s quarterbacks coach, but is actually still trying to make it as a quarterback himself, even though he’s got some emotional baggage from his last starting job. Their fascination with each other is very much not okay by team dynamics, and it was so fun to figure out a way to make that relationship not just work, but thrive. Also, it was the perfect opportunity for a ton of pining, which is basically my favorite thing to write (and to read!).
Playing by the Rules will be coming out October 12th.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite but I have to say that the book I’m most proud of is The Rivalry because I wanted to quit writing it about half a dozen times. When I first envisioned the book, I thought it would be a short, fun, steamy book about two quarterbacks and rivals who end up on the same team. I was picturing lots of locker room shenanigans, etc, but what I ended up writing was this tome of a book that was actually a hell of a lot darker and emotional than I planned. It’s also long, and when I released it, I thought nobody actually wants to read 110,000 words about two quarterbacks. It turned out I was wrong, and very pleasantly so. People often tell me that’s the book that affected them most strongly, and I’m always glad I didn’t throw in the towel when I was tempted to.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I have a close knit group of author friends, and they influence and inspire me every single day. They’ve helped me learn how to create books that don’t just satisfy but entertain as well, and that’s been the most important shift in my writing in the last few years.
What inspired you to start writing?
I don’t think I ever didn’t write, but for a time, during college and directly after, I didn’t think I had fiction writing in me. Thankfully, I grew out of that fairly quickly. But a few years back, my mom re-discovered my first book, which I wrote and illustrated when I was 5, called Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings. I think it’s safe to say we’re all lucky I decided illustrating was not my forte LOL.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I’m very much a discipline/focus writer. I like to write in the morning. I need a few hours of uninterrupted and quiet (except for music in my headphones) writing time. If I can finish my words for the day by lunch, it energizes me and I can often cruise through the rest of the To Do list in the afternoon. But if I have to slog through additional words . . . well, I get cranky hahah. But truly nothing makes me crazier than being interrupted, I need one of those red/green lights on the outside of my office, to let Mr. B know if it’s okay to come in. The one thing that’s always welcome in my office, though, is my kitty, Earl Gray. He likes to come and hang out with me during the day and he’s mostly good about leaving me alone to work.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Always the characters! They’re the part of the book that fascinates me, I love trying to unpack them and discover why they do the things they do.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
The Captive Prince trilogy by CS Pacat. Not only because she made a lot of risky choices that paid off, and that’s always brave, but because the writing is so dang good.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I want to say enemies to lovers, but it’s a hard trope to write, so instead I’m going to say friends to lovers, because there’s nothing I love more than pining.
What would be your three desert island books?
Prince’s Gambit, the second Captive Prince book, Persuasion by Jane Austen, and The Redemption of Althalus by David and Leigh Eddings, which is an amazing fantasy that I love.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I think my Kitchen Gods series would make an awesome TV series, one season per book, kind of how they are doing with the Bridgerton books. As for casting, the one piece I think would be dynamite (and impossible LOL) would be Timothee Chalamet as Xander. He’s got the right edge and sly humor to make that character sing.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I am the most boring person on the planet. I like to cook dinner, watch TV with my husband, cuddle with my kitty, and sometimes I will work on an adult coloring book.
Something we’ve started doing since moving to North Carolina is go to a lot of minor league baseball games, and I’m always tempted while watching them to write a baseball series. But I’ve managed to resist temptation so far.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Triceratops because they carry around a neat neck piece all the time, and they always look to me like they have kind faces. Also, they don’t eat people, which is great in my book.
BETH BOLDEN is originally from the Pacific Northwest, and she’s been writing since her mom stuck a pencil in her hand the first time. She particularly enjoys writing sports romance and romance with food-related themes. The author of thirty-two novels and nine novellas, Beth enjoys hanging out with her husband and their cat, Earl Grey.
For more information on Beth and her work you can visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, and also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also join her Facebook Group, Beth’s Boldest, for more news and updates.