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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

INTERVIEW: LORENA BATHEY

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Lorena Bathey, whose newest book House on Plunkett Street is now available. It's Lorena's second novel—her first being Beatrice Munson which was released last March.


The theme of women going through change seems to central to each of her books. Beatrice Munson is about a woman in suburbia finding her way after her divorce. It's about how women lose themselves in roles and forget that being happy and finding their bliss is as important as everything else they do in life. House on Plunkett Street is about change, overcoming fears, and really deciding to live your life instead of just existing.


"It has three ghosts, so people ask if it's like A Christmas Carol. The similarities stop with the fact that there are three ghosts," she said. "This book is about a girl who really is lost in her life. She's come from a home where she was mostly overlooked so her expectations for life are not really high. But somewhere in her she knows she should want more. That's when the Universe, God...whatever you want to call the powers that be begins to work in her favor. She is forced to make changes and in that action she meets three women ghosts from other eras in time that show her what they've learned. It's a great story of change and transformation. Even better, there's friendship, love, and fun twists and turns along the way."


I asked Lorena, "Who is your favorite author and why?"


"I am really entranced with Stephen King. One, because he truly is a master of his craft. He is probably one of the best at character development, in my opinion. His book, The Stand, is like the pinnacle of what good characters and plot development can be. But the other thing I love about his writing is the ease with which he writes. I know that is years of development , but I have read his book on writing and I love the way he incorporates all that he is as an individual in his writing style.


"Of course, most authors write about what they know, which is a scary concept with a lot of Mr. King's books, but it takes more than just having a story. You have to get into a character's mind and make him real enough that those reading care about him/her. Mr. King is a pro at doing that. From his books The Green Mile toIt (which is one I couldn't read...too darn scary for me) he is able to make you believe that these people are living and breathing in some small Maine town.


"I hold him up as the type of author I want to be like."


For Lorena, both characters and plot seem to develop at the same time. She will either see a character or think of a plot and the other comes right after.


"I'll give you an example," she said. "Recently I was on vacation and the location we were at inspired a book. Immediately I saw the characters as they went through the process of the book. That's how it works. They kinda morph together.


"But the characters know who they are and why they are there. There's a not a whole lot of ambiguity to my characters. They come out of the box with their looks, personalities, and background stories. I usually get the title of the book and the cover design right away too. It's like my inspiration does a download. So I write everything down they give me right away. And in that I usually have the book pretty much defined in my head. Then I file it away until the book is ready to be written. That may mean that the character won't leave my head or the plot just keeps calling me back."


Lorena told me that it's easy for authors to get caught up writing and forget that reading is also an important aspect of their work.


"When I read I see things differently and it makes my writing better," she explained. "I see things from a reader's perspective which makes me pay attention to that aspect even more in my own writing."


She has just finished reading The Night Circus and I asked her what she thought about it.


"It was wonderful. It was such a cleverly written novel. The characters were quirky, but interesting. The entire idea behind the book was truly new and exciting and I found myself completely satisfied by the end of the book. That's not always the case."


Lorena's first book was a memoir, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother, written after she lost her mom to cancer and her husband left her. She started chronicling the changes that occur when a person takes a hard look at herself. She thought many women were going through what she went through, but no one was writing about it. She gave an honest look at finding the strength that exists inside.


"It was a bit easier to write because everything happened to me and they were my thoughts and ideas. But when I got the finished book, printed, with the perfect cover design I remember the feeling that washed over me. I opened the box and saw my books sitting there and I remember kinda catching my breath. It was a physical form and definitely real," she told me. "But it wasn't until I was standing up in front of over seventy people reading an excerpt and they were laughing that I realized, I was a writer. My writing was affecting others. They were responding to my words. They were feeling. They were laughing. That made it real. It also cemented in that I wanted to do this work. I wanted to use words to create stories and ideas that could not only inspire, but help people. So I guess that's what started the spark of my writing."


She started writing Beatrice Munson during the same time she was speaking and promoting Happy Beginnings. She only wrote half before the story started falling apart. She put it aside and only picked it up again after she met the love of her life. He asked her what she really wanted to do with her life. She answered writing, ideas started flooding in, and she finished Beatrice Munson in about six months.


Her next novel is coming out next year and is called The X. It's the story of a housewife whose husband divorces her and steals her sons away. She must dig deep in herself to find out why and face the fact that you often don't know the person you love. It's a suspense and, like her other books, shows a female character finding her inner strength, power, and place in her own world.


I asked her to describe her writing space and she told me she writes the best at Panera, a chain of sandwich shops.


"I don't know if it's the warm baking bread or the soft hum of people coming in and out that creates a writing cocoon for me. It was at Panera that I finished my first novel, Beatrice Munson, in a nine-hour writing session. Seriously, I could barely see when I left. I kept thinking the staff was going to throw me out after being there that long, but they didn't. I not only love their stores but their bread is just short of spectacular. It's a win-win since I get to write and eat yummy food."


Once a week she meets there with a friend, also an author, who she's known since the second grade, and they spend the day writing, helping each other, editing each other's work, and eating luscious bread and sandwiches.


When she's not writing, there are a lot of other things she loves to do with her family being her biggest enjoyment. She also just got engaged on New Year's Eve and she and her fiancé spends a lot of time together sharing their thoughts and ideas and having a great time.


"Through our blended family we have six kids and three grandchildren. They are the light of our life," she said. "Having everyone over to watch movies or for dinner is a great time and we always end up laughing so much drinks come out of our noses."


She also loves photography.


"I am not much of an artist in the drawing/painting sense. In fact, I can only draw a fuzzy kitty and a worm," she confessed. "But with photography, I can show art through my lenses. I love to walk around San Francisco and take pictures from odd angles and show some amazing things people may not have looked at before. I have also become the photographer for our business, www.TheDrumDoktor.com and did all the model shoots for our upcoming marketing campaign."


"I love traveling. Whether it's a jaunt on the motorcycle with my fiancée, or going to Italy for ten days," she told me, "I love the adventure and the opportunities that travel affords you. It's during travel that you not only get to meet some of the most interesting people, but you see things that are historic and astounding. It opens your eyes to your own world and makes you realize how small your world can get. I think travel is the best way to find yourself too. In my first book, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother, I traveled to Italy for ten days to really learn not only how to be alone but to find out who I really was."


About the Author: Growing up in Northern California, Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English. Then she traveled, learned about life, and developed great fodder for books. Losing her mother to cancer and her own marriage’s demise pushed her to find herself. She wrote Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother about her journey to unleash her inner fairy godmother.



Lorena found after writing her first book that characters were visiting her mind and wouldn't leave. She met Marissa, Andrea, Lily, Deidre and Beatrice and her first novel, Beatrice Munson, came to life. After finishing the book she knew that pursuing her passion was the best way to live her life, so a writer she became.



After meeting the love of her life, they decided to follow their dreams blending their families. Today Lorena has nine novels in her writing queue. But writing isn't the only muse that inspires Lorena. She has become a passionate photographer and likes to push the envelope taking shots. Travel, walking, enjoying new restaurants, and Italy are other loves and things she makes sure she has time for.



Find her at Lorena@LorenaBBooks.com or at www.LorenaBBooks.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Lorena-B-Books/1138014032926011 and at www.twitter.com/lorenabbooks



Phoebe Bertram is boring, bland, and unexciting. She works a job that is inadequate of her abilities. She has a boyfriend that is a dud. She is on the treadmill of her life and doesn’t know how to get off.



With changes in her job and her apartment going condo, she must find a new place to live. Her friend Meghan brings her to the perfect apartment and the moment Phoebe steps in the door she knows there is something atypical about this perspective residence.



What she never expects are the three ghosts that arrive on her couch to teach her how life is really meant to be lived.



Author of Beatrice Munson, Lorena Bathey, has brought us another great example of character study combined with a moral at the end of the story. This book will make you laugh, cry, and look at your world with new eyes.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

WOW!!! I love the theme of your books..you have no idea how close to home that is for me!! Thanks for sharing


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