Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Romance Author Beth Barany

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing romance author Beth Barany. So sit back, check out her interview and then learn more about her newest book.

Thanks Christina for having me on Happily Ever After to give a shout out about my new sweet paranormal romance novella, A Christmas Fling, and answer your fun questions.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
From at least age 7. I wrote stories with my younger siblings and even created an anthology my dad recently found in storage.

How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the length. My romance novellas take me about 6 months from start to finish, so far. I’d love to be faster! My YA fantasy takes me about 5-6 years! LOL I’ve accepted how slow each book takes me. I’m working on a 9 book series that may take me 2-3 years to plan. I hope I can write it quickly once I’ve done all the world building.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Gosh, I have no idea! Aren’t we all quirky? Maybe that I have so many interests. Not just romance, but fantasy too. Kick ass heroines on the one hand, and sweet romance on the other, could definitely be called a quirk!

What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days?  
Self-pubbing, all the way! And, it’s whatever fits for you. Each way – self-publishing or traditional publishing or something in between – each have their pros and cons.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
Everywhere, and especially when I travel. 

When did you write your first book?
Does the one I wrote when I was 7 count? If not, I can say with certainty that I started my first book at age 30 and finished it at 35. Yeah, it took me a while.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love watching movies and TV shows, and reading or course, and traveling. And gardening, and doing the Brazilian martial art, capoeira, and hanging our with friends (not nearly often enough), and sleeping.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written 3 nonfiction books and 5 stories (3 novels and 2 novellas). Really, I can’t choose my favorite, because my favorite one if always the one I’m working on right now. And I’m working on a new sweet paranormal romance novella right now. So that’s my favorite! I also really love A Christmas Fling, and want to write my Christmas romances.

Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters?
Dahlia is a vivacious happy elf who is also driven by ambition to succeed. She has a soft spot for children and pets, and men with dimples.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
As I’m just starting out in romance, I’ve heard the most from my early readers and they are saying so sweet things, like: (and giving me 5-star reviews!)

“A Christmas Fling is a fantastic tale of love coming at the most inopportune time...If you want a story filled with Christmas cheer and a warm, tender romance, this is the story for you.”  -- C.A. Malone

“I absolutely loved this book. It was a nice quick holiday read ... I have been reading some really crappy books lately and this one came right along and renewed my spirits.” -- Shawntay Fenyo

“I loved it, a sweet little Christmas story. A story to my taste and liking. Dahlia and Liam, at the end tears in my eyes, a happy ending.” -- Brigitte Stotzka

“Strong female lead, interesting love interest – fun characters throughout and a great setting make this a wonderful holiday read.” – Chelsey J Nichols

What do you think makes a good story? What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
A good story is one that sucks you and makes you forget your life, for a while, and it also transforms you in the process. When you finish that book you’re no longer the same person you were when you started it. I’d love to be a writer like that, like Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Shinn, Richard Bach, Ellen Kushner, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, Nora Roberts, and Michael Connelly, to name a few. As you can see from this list, I favor fantasy, but also like romance and mystery. I like books that give me an escape and lead me to a happy ending.

Who are you favorite authors to read? 
Today? I like Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Shinn, and Dana Marton. I’m saving up for a few slow days so I can devour their books waiting for me in my Kindle and on my nightstand.

Where to find Beth

Now lets check out her new release.

She’s a Santa’s Elf. He’s a Human.
What if falling in love put the life you cherished in jeopardy?

Dahlia, a Santa’s Elf, has 21 days left before Christmas to create the best toy in the world without using magic or revealing her true identity. Stuck on how to complete the prototype, and working as a temp in San Francisco’s financial district with no time for love, will her innocent Christmas fling get her unstuck, or will she turn her back on her beloved career for her heart?

Liam, an up-and-coming financial analyst, swore off women after getting dumped by the love of his life. He just found out his ex is going to the company Christmas party with his rival Michael Hendricks. Up for promotion against Hendricks, Liam has to win the favor of his boss. His best bet is to invite the vivacious secretary Dahlia to the party. Will Dahlia be a welcome distraction, or will she turn his life upside down?


chapter 1
december 1, oakland, ca

Dahlia strolled through the small neighborhood park. It was great fun to think about how the children would enjoy her toy once she was done with it, but she had to complete it first. She only had twenty-two days to fix whatever was wrong with it before returning home. She’d gone over her designs and schematics and taken it apart and put it back together a dozen times, but it still wouldn’t work.
Dahlia left the park and headed down the street toward the detached studio she rented on Miles Avenue.
A dog bark had her look up just in time to almost but not quite avoid getting tangled up in a long leash. A man with the warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen gazed down at her, a half smile on his face.
She smiled back startled out of her daydreaming, but not before she noticed his endearing dimple on one side of his mouth.
She said, “Sorry, I didn’t see you. Thank goodness for your dog. Oh, she looks like a Husky.”
Dahlia shifted her bag to one hip, so she could bend down and pet the dog.
The dog wagged her tail.
Dahlia said, “You must feed her really well. Her coat is so soft and luscious.”
“She’s a Bernese Mountain Dog. Sally. My roommate’s.”
His voice was deep. She had to look up to smile into his deep brown eyes. He was a whole head taller than she was. Almost two meters. She translated into American measurements. Six foot three or something.
“My uncle, well one of my uncles has one—that he uses for work. But I hardly see him because he lives—” She paused. “I’m prattling, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are, but I like listening to your accent. Scottish?”
“Yes, wow, you guessed correctly. Most people here can’t do that. Yeah, we’re from Scotland, but it’s been a few generations.” She couldn’t very well tell him how Santa’s elves lived a very long time. It had only been her grandparents that had immigrated with Uncle, known as Santa to most, and some neighbors to set up the North Pole.
“So, you’re in school here?” He waved off toward what she knew was the art college a few blocks away.
“No. I’m here on an independent research project for a few more weeks.”
“So you’re from—”
“Alaska. Well, near Alaska, anyway. I—I best be going,” she interrupted and gestured to her bag of goodies. She shifted from foot to foot on the corner of Miles and Clifton Streets, still tangled up in the Bernese’s leash. “Gifts to wrap. For the kids. Big project.” She gulped and held out her hand. “I’m Dahlia, by the way. Dahlia MacMillian.”
With a half-smile, he shook her offered hand. His grip was firm and strong. “Liam. Nice to meet you, Dahlia MacMillian.” He led the dog around her, slowly untangling the leash.
How he moved with grace and power, even in his simple gestures. He was tall, lean and muscular, broad shoulders identifiable even in his sweatshirt with the UC Berkeley name and logo on it.
“There we go, Sally,” Liam said, his voice a rumbling, soothing cascade.
Sally licked Dahlia’s hand, bringing her out of her staring. She gulped and felt the heat of a blush creep up her neck and onto her cheeks. Dahlia stroked the soft fur to cover her embarrassment. It had been a long time since she’d felt attracted to anyone. Everyone she’d dated at the Pole was so familiar to her, and mostly related. She didn’t have time for a distraction.
She looked up when she heard Liam chuckling. He was shaking his head.
“What?” She couldn’t help but ask.
He shrugged. “I guess I should run into girls more often with my roommate’s dog. I didn’t realize it could be such a pleasant experience.”
“You must not walk her very often then.” Oh my, she was flirting. The Elf boys back home never brought that out of her. She felt her pale skin flush. Och, yes, this was a man, she thought. “Thank you, then. For the pleasant experience. And the untangling.”
“You’re welcome.” Liam said to her, smiling, that one dimple showing again. Then he spoke to the dog. “Come on Sally. Let’s finish your walk, so we can go watch the game.”
Dahlia waved good-bye and turned to go down the street and head for her apartment. But first she had to watch Liam walk away. He fit nicely into his jeans. For a moment, a pang of wistfulness washed through her. She shook her. She had other things to focus on, like completing her toy on time so she could get her Master Elf badge, and even win the Grand Prize.
She was sure she’d be able to make progress on her toy tonight. Maybe it was something about meeting a happy dog and tall brown-eyed man that made her feel hopeful. Yes, she would get her toy done in time.


  1. Thanks Christina for having me as a guest on your blog!

  2. Oh, that sounds like such a fun story! Very clever. And good interview, too! It's fun to see how different writers are and their process for getting a book out there.

  3. I'm with you, Beth, I love the kick-ass heroines too. And the softer, not-quite-alpha-males. Funny how reader preferences have changed in the last 50 years, huh? : )