It's that time of the week again where you ask me all your burning questions, and I do my very best to answer them. I am a little late getting this up today as I had to make a trip into town and waste time at the bank because adulting sucks.
But all is well; here is the AMA for you today.
Do you have a question you want to ask me?
Just drop it into the form HERE, and I will get to it eventually. If you are wondering why I have not answered your question yet, I may have already answered one just like it in a previous AMA post. Just click on the AMA tag at the upper left-hand side of this post, and it will show you all the previous AMAs on the blog. Or, I may have simply not gotten to your question yet.
Now, with all that out of the way ... let's begin.
1. What's your favorite quote from your books?
In Shattered, Viviana says to Claire that, "We're all monsters, sweetheart. Some of us just hide it better than others." A lot of people have misinterpreted that quote in that they believed Anton said that to Claire, but no, it was Viviana.
And I feel like that quote was much more poignant coming from a woman married to a bad man, than a bad man who would have just been stating the obvious about himself, anyway.
That quote is my favorite because I feel like no matter who you are, how much money you have, how much love you have to offer the world ... you are hated by someone, and loved by another. We all have our own personal demons to fight, and so, that quote just really encompasses every person in one way or another.
So yes, that is my all-time favorite quote. I have intentions to have it tattooed somewhere. I just need to find the time because I literally have none.
2. Out of all your books which one was your favorite to write?
Um this is kind of hard. My immediate reaction was to instantly say Dishonored, but truthfully, I had the most emotional time writing The Donati Bloodlines Trilogy. And I waited so long to write the Cross + Catherine Saga that when I could finally sit down and write them it just like bled out of me because they had been living in my head for so long before that waiting to be told.
I have loved all of my novels for different reasons - some were easier to write than others, and some--like Dishonored--have really stuck with me despite having already finished it months ago. And really, my favorites between characters and novels do change from month to month as well. What are my favorites today will be entirely different a couple of months from now.
I reserve the right to change my choices at any time because of that, haha.
Sorry, I know I didn't give you a straight answer but that's truely because I don't have one. It's like putting me on the spot, and I would literally have to go through each of my written works and explain why that one is my favorite for its own reasons. I could probably do that with almost all of my works, too, because I am just that connected to them. I love them that much.
3. Hey Bethany! Firstly, I just wanted to say what a huge fan I am of yours. I have devoured all your books and cannot wait for what you have in store! Also love and appreciate how interactive you are with us readers! I was just wondering what your thought process is in deciding the children that a couple will have? Like how many they will have/genders etc.
Hi, thank you so much for your kind words. And I love interacting with the fans - I don't think that this writing job of mine would be half as interesting if I didn't have as awesome of readers as I do that keep me engaged and pushing myself to the limits with each new book or couple to really deliver for you all.
As for your question ...
So, it really depends on the couple. There have been times, like with Cross and Catherine, that I knew they were just going to have two little mini-me's of themselves, essentially. Their names were already there in my head, I knew they looked like little versions of their mom and dad and acted just like them, too.
And then there was people like Lucian, who ... at first, I figured Lucian was only going to have one child, just John. And then the further into the world I got, I realized ... no, he would need more children, and so, they ended up with the three girls by the time I finished Dante. I didn't have a reason to give Lucian more boys, and I honestly thought some of the scenes that would come out of him being the father to three girls would be cute and funny, and I was right, they were.
Other times when I sit down and plot a couple or a series, like Chicago War, I decide right then and there when I am plotting how many children, what genders, their names, etc so that I just know what to reference in the future. I don't really have a method or mode to it unless I know for certain this person's kid is going to get with this other person's kid in the future.
And sometimes, I also base on which genders or names a kid should have based on their parents' middle names. Like *******SPOILER***** Fourth Astor's middle name is Valor, and he will have a child, a boy, named Valor. Actually, the kid's full name is Remington Valor Astor the Fifth, but he goes by Valor to everyone.
So it all just depends really. Sometimes I chose later on, and sometimes I decide before I even really get started on writing the series for a specific couple.
4. Sorry if this question is confusing. I can try again if it makes no sense. Do your characters come to you fully formed with their stories or do they come with their personality and quirks and then you have to go back and build their stories? I thought of this when reading Liliana and how Cella would point out how she would run away from tough situations and then you'd find out later how part of that was connected to her history with Rich.
Nope, not confusing. No worries there.
I plot my books out entirely before I even begin writing them ... so the whole Liliana running from tough situations thing and later it being connected to Rich and her history with him was a deliberate choice on my part. It was a hint to the readers that Liliana was dealing with emotional baggage related to domestic violence, like a lot of domestic violence survivors do when it comes to new relationships and whatnot.
So for the most part, my characters come to me fully formed as who they are - their personality, how they talk, their quirks, flaws, or strengths. They are who they are when they come into my head, and I try to put them down on paper as honestly and geniunely as I possibly can so that I feel like I am doing them the proper justice they deserve.
Usually, they have their stories or a good portion of their stories already ready for me. Like for example, we will use Joe and Liliana again, I knew he was a hit man hired to kill the people close to the man who had abused her. I had to dig deeper and find out why he wasn't killing the man who abused her directly, and all the other things that had happened around that. I also went into it knowing that Liliana was not going to continue on with ballet, that it wasn't in her future though she was giving ballet her all while she was a ballerina now. I had to dig deeper and decide why she couldn't do ballet anymore, or rather, why she chose to quit in the end.
So, I guess, to end that rambling mess up there ... it is a mixture of both in a lot of cases. The characters come to me very much fully formed and with a good portion of their story mixed into why they are the way they are or act the way they do, or whatever the case may be. And sometimes there are bits and parts to them that I have to work to fill in the blanks because they don't have all those answers for me.
And then, there are characters like Anton Avdonin from The Russian Guns who one day showed up in my mind, and just said, "Let me tell you about this woman." And I didn't have to know anything - he told me everything.
5. Will you ever write a story about a female character that is completely removed from the organized crime lifestyle with a good relationship with her parents? Karen wasn't from an organized crime family, but didn't have a very close relationship with her parents. I'd love to see how you'd write a love story with heroine who is not from an organized crime family, and has a good relationship with her parents who do not like her being involved with someone making money in the way made men do.
So, you are really going to enjoy Andino and Haven if this is the story you are looking to read. Although, to be fair, Haven's parents don't really say anything one way or the other about Andino and what he's involved in. That never really came up - but yes, she is a heroine who is in no way involved in the life, or the business. And for a good portion of it, she doesn't know he is until she overhears some things and can no longer keep her head stuck in the sand. And she has a great relationship with her parents, even though they live out of state, she converses with them regularly and even goes to visit once or twice.
Yep, if that's what you're wanting to read - you will find that in the Andino + Haven duet.
Okay, loves. That is all for this week. Until next!