AMA - You Ask, Bethany Answers!
It's that time of the week again when I answer 3-5 of your questions, more often 5 than anything less, haha. If you have questions for me, you can drop them into the form HERE.
If I haven't gotten to your question yet, then please check older AMAs on here because I may have already answered one just like it from someone else - or, I simply may not have gotten to it yet.
So, are we ready?
As a side note, last week I said my list of mafia authors included JM Darhower and London Miller as the ones I read. I would also add JL Lora to that list - she's great, new to me in a way, and I love her writing. I think she's fantastic as an author and a person, so if you haven't grabbed her debut Trinity series (Boss, Made, Steel) you should go do that now.
Onto the questions ...
1. Have you decided what are you going to do with Zeke and Katya story? Will it be in the Cross + Catherine companion, on Wattpad or your blog?
So, originally, I did plan to have something for Zeke and Katya in the Cross + Catherine companion novel, but I ended up not including it for my own reasons - mostly because that companion was a goodbye of sorts to Cross and Catherine, so I didn't feel it was a good fit. I wanted the focus to be on that couple, and not another couple, essentially.
As for Wattpad ... so Wattpad readers aren't my readers, and even the entire free novel I have over there gets very few views, which is fine. I put it on there because someone asked me to, not because I expected anything to come from it, to be honest.
On the business side of Wattpad, though ... the conversation rate of turning someone who reads for free on Wattpad to a paying reader is very low. That would be my only reason to publish consistently on Wattpad is with the hopes that those free readers want to come over and actually pay for my words.
Because my words are worth more than air in my bank account. Air doesn't pay my bills, feed my kids, or put clothes on our backs, you know? I wish more authors treated their work this way, too, but that's another topic for another day.
So all in all, no, I really haven't decided what, if anything, I will do with the short novel I had planned for Zeke and Katya. I do want to do something - I have two entire months this summer to do whatever the hell I want instead of working on the next release kind of thing, so I may add it into my to-do list for then, but at this point ... they are dormant in my head while I focus on getting Andino done.
But as soon as I know what I am going to do with them, I will let all of you know as well so you can know where to find those two.
Hope this helps.
2. This BK book junkie has a lot of questions for you, but I will stick to one long question for now...What was your writing process like for John and Siena, your mindset going into their journey? Especially from John's perspective. The way you introduced such a sensitive topic with such grace, it blew me away. <3
And thank you.
So, I actually avoided writing John and Siena for as long as I felt that I possibly could because I didn't feel like I was in the right head space to get in there, and touch on a topic that's sensitive to me, and to a lot of others ... clearly.
See, I often touch on things that have affected me in real life, or someone close to me. More often than not, me directly, though. Like rape, depression, bipolar, abuse, and other mental illness. Just ... that's sort of how I work on things. like a therapy for myself, essentially.
But I really have to be in the right mindset to actually write these topics - John and his bipolar was one of those. So, yeah, I put him off for as long as I could until I was really ready to get back in the headspace where bipolar was a focus in my life in some way - now, through writing John. Before, it was with my mother.
I didn't want to go into John with the bitterness I feel toward my own mother - that's the most important part. Please know, I am not bitter or distant from my mother because she is bipolar. There is a whole host of other issues, long history, and a bad lifetime of memories that has caused this deep riff between my mother and me. An entire childhood that is shaded in grays and blacks, with lost memories, drug and physical abuse, and more. So much more. Bipolar is not why I am bitter with my mother - my mother is why I am bitter with my mother.
But bipolar is a part of who my mother is, and I was worried that there was a part of me that would allow any bitterness I felt for her to bleed over onto how I chose to handle John, and his disorder.
Because I love my characters.
And I can't say the same for my mother.
So yes, this was how I went into John, and how I handled him and his disorder the way I did.
3. In Loyalty, Andino is presented as someone who is always taking care of others. In the book, he plays a hand in bringing Siena and John together when he tells Siena at what club to find John. Originally when I read Revere, I thought the Cross and Catherine encounter at Andino's restaurant was pure coincidence. However, now I am thinking that Andino knew what he was doing by scheduling Cross and Catherine to meet him that same day at his restaurant. I know he contacted Cross for Business, so it could just be Andino choosing Business > Family. Am I reading too much into this or was Andi trying to look out for Catherine just as he did for John?
So, no, he didn't actually bring Cross and Catherine together for that meeting. That was entirely unintentional on his part - he wasn't really thinking, but he didn't think it was a bad thing either as long as Dante didn't find out what was going on with him and Cross and the guns.
You will see in Duty (Andino's first book in his duet) that his life is kind of upset, and chaotic at the moment. The simple choice by Dante to decide for Andino that he would be the next boss of the Marcellos--with no care or thought or question for Andino as to whether he wanted to do that or not--really puts Andino in a bad headspace. He wasn't ready for that, he wasn't expecting it being a happy Capo in his place, and he's not really sure what to do with it.
Andino is not the best Andino he can be in those few months - his mind is elsewhere. Entirely distracted. He's got a lot of shit shoveled on him between the duty to his family, this wonderful woman he randomly met, and trying to handle his cousin, John, before that tailspin comes along.
And too much attention on one thing tends to mean something else slips for Andino.
So no, that was not intentional on his part.
And yes, Andino always chooses business over family - he's not every other man, he is his own man. But for Andino, choosing business often means putting the family first anyway. It is not necessarily for the betterment of one particular man (unless it's himself), but for the betterment of all the men.
It's something he also has to learn.
4. Your schedule is so busy for these next two years. But you always come out the BEST either way 😊. Have you plotted any of the books for next year? Such as some of the Guzzi brothers books. I'm just so excited about their series for many reasons. I want to already know how they all will meet their heroines now, but I have to wait. You write great books so it's worth the wait with ones you are doing this year. ❤
Thank you so much.
And yes, I have begun work on the books that are coming out next year. So far, I have 2 out of 3 books entirely plotted for the Renzo + Lucia trilogy, as well as the Michel and Gabbie standalone novel for the summer. I am also 50% done writing Kolya Boykov's book, Fractured Ties, for mine and London Miller's Boykov Bratva series.
July and August of this summer are dedicated to me plotting the final Ren and Lucia book, as well as all five of the Guzzi brothers' books, and Viktoria Boykov.
And I will begin writing 2019 books as of September, starting with Ren and Lucia's trilogy. I hope to have the Ren/Lucia books finished writing by the end of November, as well as most if not all of my 2019 summer releases done by then, too.
So, then I can start the Guzzi brothers before winter, and finish them around Feb/March 2019ish.
That is my goal. :)
5. Hi Bethany! How do you keep up with all of the people and families in all of your books? It seems so hard - not only do you have to write about both of the main characters families and friends, you also have to write about other families as well. What is your secret? How do you make it feel less crowded and so clean? It a task for me and I just can't seem to get organized. Thank you! xoox
So, a lot of it is just in my head - it's my world, and I am very familiar and comfortable working in the world, so I kind of know where every one is, what they're doing, whose kids belong to whom, and what kid marries whoever else's kid all the way across the country.
Like, pick any one of my series on the spot and ask me who is who, which kid belongs to who, and who married who across series, and I can tell you right off the top of my head. I have never actually had trouble keeping this all organized and maybe it's just my brain works in strange ways, or maybe it's because I have been in this world for so long.
It's like say you're favorite TV series - you know who is with who, or who has been with who, or what happened ten seasons ago in episode four, fifteen minutes in. That's kind of how this is for me with these books, too.
I do occasionally keep a doc opened where I write in ages, or specific events, or whatever just in case I need to reference back for whatever reason and can't remember what was exactly said or done for that event.
I also keep each series separate and clean from the last in the same world by simply ... going into each series with the intent to make it standalone. I don't reference events from other series as major plot points for new series. I don't rely on characters from old series to move the plot along for new series, and I don't automatically assume every reader knows who Gio Marcello is when he turns up on a page in a series that isn't Filthy Marcellos.
Go into a world full of series with the intent to make each standalone, and your world will be concise, clean, and fun to read.
Now, go into a world where you need to read five series before a brand new series, and you're not going to get new readers following along because no one wants to be told they need to read 10+ books before they can read the one that finally caught their eye.
I occasionally get complaints from people going, "Oh, I saw in this epilogue that so and so got married. Or I read in this chapter that so and so from another series have a baby."
That's how world and times work.
People get married.
Babies are born.
Life moves forward.
I didn't tell you how they got that way, though, did I?
So go read their books/series and find out.
That's how you make a world like this work, and keep it interesting.
That's all for today, loves.
Until next time.