AMA - You Ask, Bethany Answers!

Hey, loves!

It's that time of the week again where you ask me all your burning questions, and I try to answer them as best I can. Do you have a question for me? Awesome. Please drop it in HERE.

Remember, I can only keep up my AMA if I have questions to answer, right?

Okay, onto the questions for this week, loves.


1. Hi. I just love how you write your female characters. They are all so strong and I love that in books even though they haven't always had it easy. Is their anyone of them that you can relate to or have a special place for?

Hi there. I try to give all my heroines strength in different ways. Sometimes, depending on the character, their strength might come in their silence. Not everyone is the same, after all. Sometimes being quiet and refusing to engage the thing causing you the most pain is where someone is the most strong, right? And then we have some of my heroines whose strength is far more obvious, and right in your face. Heroines like Catrina, or Aria, for example.

Sometimes their strength is obvious, and sometimes their strength lies in something else that isn't as clear, but yes, all my heroines have strength in their own ways.

Whenever I see someone say a particular character is weak--Catherine was someone that it was mentioned enough times to make my eye twitch--I always wonder what the fuck people consider strength, then. Because if being a survivor of a sexual assault and waking up every day when all someone wants to do is never wake up isn't strength ... then I really don't care to know what is, to be honest. I guess for those people, it goes to show how far we really have to go to understand mental health, but that's a whole other conversation for another day, really.

As for which of my heroines that I hold a special place for or can relate to for whatever reason ... a few that comes to mind are Viviana from The Russian Guns, or Catherine from Cross + Catherine. Siena, from the John + Siena duet, too. These are the ones that, for whatever reason, I relate to in different ways. Siena for the fact she loves someone who has mental health issues (while that's not my situation, I have mental health issues) and despite the fact it's not easy, she's still there doing what she wants to be doing. Viviana because she's very much a I'm going to stand by my man regardless type of woman. She was the true definition of ride or die for me in a way, and I relate to that with my own husband. And finally, Catherine for a couple of different reasons, really. I relate to her mental health issues, and to her trauma. I know what it's like to struggle with both things, and to have one be the cause of the other, so she's very close to my heart for those reasons.


2. I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEW WORLD. If the Astors will be first, who will be second?

Ha, hi, there.

It's been a hot minute since I have gotten a question about the new world in the form, so I really wanted to answer this. Which is also funny because at first, I was going to say, I don't know who will come after the Astors.

Which in a way, is kind of true.

And then at the same time, probably not true.

I haven't actually sat down and sketched out the timeline of which series will follow each series yet. And I really didn't do that with this big world I'm writing in right now. By the time I finished a series, I basically had a good feeling about where I was going next for whatever reason, and that's who I decided to write next. None of the different series were really in chronological order except Marcellos, The Chicago War, that was it. The fact that Chicago immediately followed Marcellos were the only two series of mine where I wrote them in chronological order. And maybe a couple of the Legacy series, too.

But ... with all this being said, because I babble a lot, let's go back to your original question for a quick second. So no, while I have not written down the exact order of series and I can't say for certain which book(s)/series will come after the Astors in the new world, just based on what I know, the way I write, and who will be showing up in the books ... but especially Fourth's ...

I believe it will be followed by two (or one) cartel series based in Mexico. I'm not sure if it'll be two series following two cartels, or one series with the two cartels included. And from there, I'm not sure where I'll be going. Maybe to see Zander "Ace" again ... you met him in Cozen. Or perhaps to the battling Cosa Nostra/Camorra organizations in New York that you saw mentioned in Cozen as well. I have a lot of different places to go, and quite a few different series to pick from where the new world is concerned.

But yes, right after the Astors ... I absolutely expect to be writing about a certain cartel and the other cartel they've been warring against for decades. It'll be my first real foray into cartels, so I look forward to that for a few different reasons. I always enjoy writing something new and different to me, and seeing what I can do with it. I don't expect this to be any different, honestly.

Hope this answered your question.


3. Hey BK, 
I absolutely love your books. I appreciate the fact that almost all the characters have faced or are facing some real-life struggles. It’s absolutely amazing how relatable some of these characters are. It feels like I’m there sometimes because I literally flinch and stuff lol. Anyways, I need some advice. I have these voices in my head and stories. I’ve started writing them down except I have one problem, I’m not exactly sure where to start from. Any advice for new writers? & How we build an audience? Btw. I can’t wait for Andino & Haven 🖤

Hi there, and thank you so much for the kind words.

I always hope the characters that I write come off as genuine and real .... or as real as they can be considering they're, you know, fictional in a fictional world manufactured by me and my crazy brain. I feel like I insert so much of myself and my own experiences into these stories that it's part of the reason why they feel real to me - that's probably not why they feel real to the readers, more along the lines of the fact that there are pieces of these characters that you all are relating to in a human level that makes them more real to you. But what do I know, haha? It could be a lot of things, really.

Point is - I never just wanted to write to write words, you know. And I didn't pick romance just because it's very formulaic in the way a romance has to be written. I write and I write in this genre specifically because I felt like there was something about me that could connect to the characters I wanted to write on a deeper level. They're all very real to me, even if that sounds a little strange. That could also be because I see a lot of myself in the characters, but eh. Another topic for another day, right?

As for your question, because I kind of went onto a tangent there (surprise, surprise). If you go into some of the older AMAs (and a recent one, I believe), then you will find my advice for writing specific things and my process. How I plot, the way I break it all down, why I don't actually get stuck into writer's block, and that sort of thing. It's all there for you to read and learn from, if that's kind of what you're looking for, or whatever.

But just in general, as an advice for new readers ... well ... find your tribe, I guess, is probably some of the best advice I was ever given. Kind of, you know, find a handful of people in this business, be it authors or just readers or even bloggers, that you believe are going to be around in 5 years, people you trust essentially, and let that be your tribe. There is a ridiculous amount of drama in this business. You want people around you who aren't going to cause shit, stir shit, or jump into shit that isn't any of their business when it pops up because it doesn't look good on you, let me just say. Guilty by association is an actual, real thing in this business. As it should be in a lot of cases. So yeah, that would be my advice for that area of things.

As for other areas … uh, learn to like social media. Learn to use it - this is how we get word out, it's how we connect to our readers, you know? Learn to use several different platforms, but really focus on a couple that suits you the most, and learn to like it.

As for the how to build your audience, thing … there was nothing I did that grew my reader base into what it is. I didn't have the lucky book that blew up big for me. I didn't have a publisher that was big enough to put my books in front of every blogger/reviewer they could find. I simply kept putting one book in front of the other. I kept writing whether I was making $200 a month from my books (there were months where I only sold a handful of books and made a few dollars) or whether I was making in the thousands of dollars. I just keep on writing, telling the next book. Your backlist sells your newest book. For those who don't know what a backlist is, a backlist is all the books that you wrote which came before your latest release.

Point is … with each new book you put out, you will gain new readers. That was how I gained a readership. By continuing to write books, putting out something new. If you have consistent books to read, then readers will continue to come back to do exactly that - read. It's why they're here. Not for the drama and the nonsense or really for the business - most readers don't give a shit about any of that. They simply want to read good books from their favorite authors. So, if you're giving them what they want, they will keep coming back and they will bring new people with them each time they do.

I'm not sure if I entirely answered your question, but I hope that I did. If you have any more in this vein, drop me another question in the form and I will try to answer it as best I can. All right?

4. Will you and London Miller every write another series together again? Like together on the same books?

Hi there.

London and I actually get this question quite a bit, haha. I think for a while we were pretty content to say, no, that wouldn't be happening because we're very involved in our own works and whatever else. But the truth is London and I actually do enjoy writing together and we make some pretty interesting things when we team up. So yes, it's very likely at one point or another, we will join together again to write something together, in the same book from both of us.

Right now, though, I can't say when that will be. We are working on the Boykovs, but not as a team on the same book, kind of thing. More like I am writing one book, and she is writing another book. But yes, there will come a time when she and I write together again and you all will get to enjoy the spoils from that team up. We will let you know when you expect it.

5. What happened to Dante's real estate development company? Just curious about when it was sold or if it was passed down?

Hey there.

You know, this was never something I thought about. When it was Antony who sold his company (after he's bought Dante out, essentially) it was kind of integral to Dante's plot and growth as a man, and so that was why you saw that. He really needed to become his own man separate from his father and the things being a Marcello had given him, and the only way he could do that was by having his attachment to his father's legacy taken away, sort of. Just like you saw Antony open the company because in his story, that was a big moment for him. Like the Marcellos became … something more than the mafia, something legitimate in business, you know?

I can't say I know for sure what happened to Dante's company - it's important to know he's really not like his father. Antony was ready to retire, Dante pretty much had to be forced into it by his wife, and far later in life than Antony. Antony wanted to enjoy his golden years, while Dante, on the other hand, was perfectly fine with working until the day he died. And at the same time, Dante would have been fine with having someone else run his company as long as it was someone he honestly trusted you know what I mean? That was something Antony never would have considered.

So no, I don't really have exact details on what happened with Dante's company … but it's safe to say it's still his, even if someone else is running it for him and he is on the sidelines watching it grow.


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