Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Bethany W. Turner & The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Posted October 4, 2017 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Bethany W. Turner, Christian, contemporary, giveaway, romance / 86 Comments

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

You can also connect with Bethany on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

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.

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Hi Bethany! I am so delighted to have you on the blog!

Bethany: Oh my goodness. I’m so thrilled to be here, Carrie!

apples or oranges

Bethany: Apples in pie. Oranges in juice. And for everything else, chocolate.

Carrie: haha! yes. totally.

winter or summer

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 😀

dogs or cats

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.

coffee or tea

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.

Carrie: hahaha!!

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.

Carrie: LOL!

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?


  • WritingI 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.

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What about you? What’s YOUR secret talent? 🙂

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86 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Bethany W. Turner & The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

  1. Abby Breuklander

    I don’t know if this is a secret talent or not, but I’m such an organizer that in the past friends wouldn’t get together without me because I had our get together’s planned down to details they never thought of. They would throw a fit if I wasn’t able to make it to something, if I wasn’t there or planning it wasn’t going to happen.

  2. Suzie Waltner

    I have a knack for being the right caller to win stuff from the radio. Here’s the secret: Most people give up too early.

  3. Heide Kemink

    I can read out loud to my kids/grandkids while planning lists in my head for what I need to get from the grocery store, or do tomorrow ect.

  4. Veronica

    Staying calm when things are going crazy. I cry or fall apart later. I can’t wait to read this book.

  5. Carrie Turansky

    My secret (or not so secret) talent is flower arranging. I’ve made all the arrangements for my kids’ weddings.

  6. Amanda T.

    I bake really good cupcakes, but I guess that’s not a secret talent if I share the cupcakes. And I must share….

  7. Patty

    Sounds like a cute book!

    Nothing comes to mind right of as a secret talent… I do wish I had the gift of loading the dishwasher perfectly! My husband is much better at it than me.

  8. danielle hammelef

    My secret talent is knowing how much time has passed–my estimation powers are supernatural (JK).

  9. Winnie Thomas

    My secret talent is being able to tell if a picture is 1/16th of an inch off level. It drives me crazy. I really wish I didn’t have that talent! 😀 I also have the talent of perfect dishwasher loading. I have a son who is even better at it than I am, but he has his own dishwasher to load now.

    Thanks for the awesome interview, Carrie and Bethany! Hugs to you both! I absolutely adored this book! So much fun! And the book trailers are so creative! I loved watching them and seeing some of my fave people in them.

  10. Kay Garrett

    I love to bake but that’s no secret. I guess my “secret” talent would be that I can crochet. I’ve made afghans and the like but to me it’s not a relaxing thing like some folks talk about but rather it’s more like work. So I just don’t do it often. Guess that’s why everyone is surprised when they see something and I say I made it. LOL

  11. Paula S.

    My secret talent is winning contests! I hope I win this one! Those videos were sooooo cute! Very clever!

  12. Pam K.

    My secret talent is winning books. Since I have a very limited budget and love to read, this works well. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is on my “want to read” list. Thanks for including the videos with this interview. They were fun to watch.

  13. Penny Mooney

    My secret talent is listening to other people and not saying a word to anyone else. I may pray that God help guide them or mend a broken heart but I don’t whisper a word to anyone else. God has given me this gift to help others. I wanted to say Bethany has the right idea on faith. God does give us pain but He is right there to help us through it. I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you Bethany for being here and sharing your thoughts. xoxoxo

  14. Love this interview! My secret talent is being able to block the world out when I’m reading a book. Although, it’s not so secret. Not to my husband, anyway, who sometimes finds he has to take drastic measures to make sure I’m listening when he starts talking to me while my head is in a book. He’s even become pretty adept at guessing the exact moment I’ll look up and say, “Hmm?” in that, “I’m sorry, were you talking to me?” kind of way… ?

  15. Andrea Stephens

    I don’t think I have a secret talent anymore unless I count medication organization.
    I can keep track of what pill, eye drop or ointment for who and what time they need it.

    I loved the videos! That was a fun idea. I cannot wait to read this book. I put it on my wishlist and want to read list.

  16. Carol Alscheff

    Currently my talent is doing the excercises to strengthen my replaced right knee. Maybe after that my talent could be reading a new book. Lol.

  17. Evangeline

    I don’t think I have a secret talent. I try to use the talents God has given me…playing the piano, teaching S.S., youth groups, and such, baking cookies that are a hit with the kids (grown-ups, too)! This is a new author to me and I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds great. ?

  18. Shannon

    I can relate just about any situation to something that happened or was said in Harry Potter. My kids think it’s hilarious.

  19. Vivian Furbay

    I don’t believe that I have a secret talent. Most of my friends know what I like to do in the way of crafts. in reading about this book, I like what one person said about our past doesn’t have to hold us back. Praise God for his grace that forgives us and helps us let go of our past.

  20. Amy

    My secret talent is sending anonymous notes of encouragement to friends, church members and favorite authors.

  21. Brittany McEuen

    Secret talent? That’s a hard one! I’m really good at figuring out the twist or surprise ending to movies. I’ll point it out to my family as soon as I figure it out and they are always like, “No way! That is nowhere near what is going to happen.” Or I’ll figure out the bad guy (who seems like a good guy) is just a few minutes into the movie. They don’t believe me…till it works out just like I said it would! 😉

  22. Jeanne C

    I don’t have a secret talent! How sad. I do love to take pictures and read, but to those who know me, those hobbies are not a secret. I enjoyed the interview and I love the premise of this story! I used to read the types of books that Sarah Hollenbeck used to write. They eventually lost their appeal. Once I discovered Christian fiction, I was hooked. So much more meaningful & uplifting than the variety of books I used to read. Bethany Turner is a “new to me” author. Thanks for the fun interview and the chance to win.

  23. Terrill R.

    I have the memory of an elephant for nearly useless trivia – except maybe winning at Trivial Pursuit. I can also remember names, faces, etc. I’ve quite often run into someone who has no recollection of ever meeting me for that fleeting 30 seconds 10 years ago, but I will have remembered them, our conversation and what we all might have been wearing. LOL!

  24. my secret talent….hmmm..not sure what that would be…. 🙂 the only thing that comes to mind is…solving mysteries… 😉 not that I’ve had many opportunities to solve mysteries or anything..

  25. Rachael

    It’s not much of a secret to people who know me, but I whistle well and can fool mama hens into thinking one of their chicks is lost, or make people believe a bird [that sounds mightily like a baby chick] got trapped in a cavern hundreds of feet below ground. What would a bird be doing so far down in the dark where not even bats will go? I don’t know. But a couple people on tour with us believed it. Not the people who knew me, though.

  26. Nicole

    I don’t know if I have a secret talent, necessarily. I can rattle off the Books of the Bible and the 50 states super quickly like Bethany can with Presidents, but I don’t know if those are as impressive as knowing the Presidents. 🙂 I can do algebra in my head quickly (like factoring, etc.) and come up with algebra math problems pretty quickly/easily. That was a not-so-secret talent to my students, but I stopped teaching once my son was born.

    • I think being able to rattle off the states is super impressive! I basically have to draw a map in my head to name the states, and I inevitable (after much time has passed) end up with 48 or 49. And the ones I forget are usually very obvious. Like Texas or California, or one of those that take up half the map. So I’m impressed! lol

  27. Elly

    My secret talent is that I can remember books. Like everything about books. Like if I look at a book once, I will forever be able to remember the title, the author, exactly what the cover looked like, and what the book is about. Or, if one of my sisters tells me a little about the book they’re reading, I will always be able to tell them exactly what book that thing they’re remembering is from, even years later, when they’ve forgotten! And I’m not even the one that read the book! And if we’re at a bookstore and I pick up a book, I could tell you if and/or which of my sisters has it or doesn’t have it…and the four of us have 100-500 books each!
    And I don’t know why, but ask me about movies and I probably couldn’t tell you, lol. My sister gets frustrated and says I never remember anything about the movies we’ve watched. Yet I can’t seem to FORGET anything about the books I’ve seen or heard something about or read! ?

  28. lisa Phillips

    I think I have a talent to multitask and I guess I make people feel so at ease they tell me their life story.

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