Today I’m featuring YA paranormal novelist Bethany Harar as she tours her newest novel, Voices of the Sea.
As part of her virtual book tour, Bethany will award a copy of Voices of the Sea to a lucky commenter of this blog. So, to be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below! And if you'd like other chances to win 'stuff', feel free to visit the Fresh News Daily blog for other contests.
Bethany Masone Harar grew up in a family with “gypsy feet” who moved from place to place until eventually settling down in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. As a teacher and writer of young-adult fiction, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes and does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. You can visit her website at www.bethanymasoneharar.com.
Welcome, Bethany. Please tell us about your current release.
Voices of the Sea is a young adult novel which brings mythology and our modern world together. In my book, Sirens exist, but have remained hidden for centuries to protect themselves against a vicious cult who wants them dead. Seventeen-year-old Loralei is the future guardian of her clan, and never took the threat seriously, until now. The cult, known as the Sons of Orpheus, has found them and Loralei must find a way to protect her people without revealing their existence. Voices of the Sea is a book about survival, love and family. But ultimately, it’s about one young woman who must put aside her childhood and make difficult decisions to save the people she loves.
What inspired you to write this book?
I came up with the idea when I had a dream about a woman who was wading in the ocean. In my dream, I knew she was communicating with the sea. I happened to be teaching The Odyssey to my ninth graders at the time, and put the two together. I’d been searching for an original idea for a new book, and was so excited when everything fell into place.
“At the water’s edge, she pictured her mother. All around Lora, her mother’s spirit danced in the ocean, swirled in the salt air, surrounded her, and filled her with the power she’d been lacking. It swelled within her, starting at the tips of her toes and pulsing through her body like a detonator, threatening to bring her to the breaking point. Lora’s body quivered, and she pictured a massive swell, higher than the gentle waves of Pacific Grove.
Moving forward, her toes touched the ocean. She could feel the electricity flowing from her body into the water, a cosmic pulse moving magically into the sea. She could see the ripple effect as a giant wave moved away from the shore into the water, then back again, creating a large current, taller than even she had imagined. Closing her eyes, Lora willed it to crash at her feet and then dissipate, and the water listened. The ocean obeyed her. For the first time, she had power over the sea.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
My newest book is a YA, paranormal thriller. I hesitate to say too much, because it is still in the beginning stages, but it deals with raw teenage struggles and what happens when adults tell them they need to let go of their problems and “lighten up”. Let’s just say that their problems are very real, and only get worse as a result.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is a hard question to answer. Sometimes I still doubt my abilities enough to wonder if I really AM a writer. But I think after I wrote my second novel (which is not published), I began to believe I was a writer. In any event, as I wrote Voices of the Sea, I started to realize that it had the potential to be published, and at that point I knew I was a writer, even if my confidence was still lacking.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of being a full-time writer. I teach eleventh grade English at my local high school, and also serve as senior class sponsor. Generally, I get up at 4:45 a.m., get to school by 6:00 a.m., and get work done for an hour before the students arrive at 7:15. I teach until 3:15, and then leave to pick up my children from school. My “mommy” job begins at that point, and ends when they go to bed. Finally, around 8:30, I have time to write. Sometimes all I finish is a paragraph. Other days, I’ll get a whole chapter completed. Either way, I write and consider it a win. Weekends allow more writing time, but it is never guaranteed. I write when I can, and take what I can get.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I get cold when I write. I can’t explain it, but my feet particularly get very cold, so I end up wearing warm socks and a hooded sweatshirt even in the summer!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a movie star. Their lives always looked so glamorous, and I was sure I would be the best. When I was a teenager, I wanted to own my own bookstore, and buy and sell rare books. I imagined myself traveling Europe, and working with interesting book collectors. However, I’m pretty happy with being an author and a teacher.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
There is so much pressure in this question! Okay. I like poodles and hate spoons. I routinely watch Sponge Bob, sometimes by myself, and have watched the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count on two hands. My students might tell you that I’m a hard grader, but do my best to make class interesting and humorous. My current favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Bones, True Blood, Falling Skies and Under the Dome. My former favorite TV shows are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, X-Files, The Sopranos, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld and Survivor. I think Italians are lovely and I do not prefer heights. And I just got back from a seventeen-day trip to London and Scotland with my mother.
Is that enough?
That’s all fabulous, thanks, Beth!