I’m so excited about my guest today! She’s the author of the much buzzed-about romantic comedy, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, and she originally hails from my current stomping grounds!
Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned thirty-five), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. For more, visit www.seebethanywrite.com.
Her new novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, released October 3rd!
Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing.
Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.
Hi Bethany! I am so delighted to have you on the blog!
Bethany: Oh my goodness. I’m so thrilled to be here, Carrie!
Bethany: Apples in pie. Oranges in juice. And for everything else, chocolate.
Carrie: haha! yes. totally.
Bethany: Definitely winter. Summer is icky. I don’t like sweating, or really being hot at all. I don’t like bugs. And if my skin even senses sun in the vicinity, there is not an SPF high enough to keep me from burning. Plus, in the winter you can drink coffee all day long and give the appearance of just wanting warmth and comfort, rather than being a java junkie.
Carrie: Girl, yes. Summer is sweaty and buggy and just TOO HOT. Winter is of the awesome 😀
Bethany: I actually love them both on a selective basis. It has to be the right dog and the right cat. But never Cats, the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. That’s where I draw the line.
Carrie: Well… no one can blame you, really.
Bethany: Coffee. For the warmth and comfort. (See how that works?)
Carrie: uh huh… sure. 😉
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Bethany: Ooh…I actually think that loading a dishwasher perfectly is my superpower. I’ve told my husband that while I know dishwasher loading isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, I’m pretty sure it was included in my spiritual gifts.
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Bethany: Ramona Quimby. Oh my goodness, I loved Ramona Quimby! The Beverly Cleary books really sparked my love of story, and I was totally addicted to the Quimby family. I actually miss them. I wonder if I could implore Beverly Cleary to co-author a new book with me — Ramona Quimby, Age 38 or Ramona and Her Daughter. Or Beezus and Ramona: The College Years, even. (Okay, seriously, y’all…don’t steal this from me. Mrs. Cleary…call me!)
Carrie: I would LOVE to read Ramona Quimby, Age 38!! And can you imagine Ramona in college or with a daughter of her own??? Too much fun! That needs to happen.
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Bethany: I think they would say that I am protective of them, and unwaveringly loyal to them. They would say that I allow them to be who they are, and rarely try to force them into situations that don’t feel natural to them. And I think they would say that I write pretty decent dialogue for them, more often than not. But I think they would also say that I need to stop making them say “a bit” so much.
Q: The title of your new novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, begs me to ask you this question… What secret talent (or quirk or fave odd food) are you hiding? 😉
Bethany: Well, one thing that probably straddles the line between talent and quirk… I can name all of the Presidents of the U.S. in less than eleven seconds. I memorized them all thanks to a song my sister taught me when I was little (it only went up to Reagan at the time), and through the years it’s become something I occasionally pull out at really odd moments. Actually, let’s just place that in the quirk category!
Carrie: hahaha! Oh how i wish i had known this about you when we were at CFRR!
You’ve been releasing the absolute cutest book trailers (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in them haha!), giving us a sneak peek into Sarah’s thoughts on writing, faith, her secret life, and Ben Delaney.
Bethany: Those have been so much fun! (And you being in them is definitely part of their appeal!)
Carrie: Oh sure. HAHA! (not)
Q: What’s one snippet from the book that best sums up Sarah’s thoughts in each of these categories?
- Writing — “I would write a book of my own. Then I could be in control of the content. Then my emotions wouldn’t be putty in the hands of authors who had probably written to escape their own misery, with nary a care given to the feelings of the miserable divorcée who would one day read their work while attempting to bury her pain beneath enough cheesecake to bestow diabetes upon a small village.”
- Her Secret Life — “I would no longer be the young postulant Maria, whom the nuns had referred to as a flibbertigibbet. I was going to be Maria von Trapp, and the nuns would be willing to remove a Nazi’s carburetor in order to protect me.”
- Faith — “God has a plan. A perfect, bigger, and better than anything you can imagine sort of plan.”
- Ben Delaney — “A few minutes in the presence of Ben Delaney had been enough to take away ‘someone’ and ‘someday’ and replace them with ‘him’ and ‘now.’”
Carrie: Have I mentioned how much I love these trailers? And Sarah Hollenbeck. And you. And Ben Delaney. So honored to have been part of it!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck?
Bethany: As Ben Delaney says, “Our past shapes us and our past prepares us, but our past does not define us.” God is always present, offering His forgiveness and redemption if only we’ll take Him up on the offer. And there is absolutely nothing in our past which could surprise Him or take Him off guard, and there’s certainly nothing too big for Him. He’s fully aware of how messed up we all are. Thankfully, He loves us anyway, and He just can’t wait to show us how He can turn our mess into His masterpiece.
Carrie: Amen. He is so sweet.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Bethany: It’s funny…I’ve been asked that question a few times, and I think I’ve given a different answer each time! Partially because I didn’t know, partially because I thought I knew. 🙂 Now I really think I know, but I can’t announce anything officially yet. But I’ll say this: we’re definitely looking at more romantic comedy. Can’t wait to tell you more!
Carrie: Eeeeeeeeep!! YAY! Can’t wait to learn more!
Bethany Turner is giving away an autographed copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, a Sarah Hollenbeck bookmark, and that really pretty photo box pictured above. Open internationally, except where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What’s YOUR secret talent? 🙂