Thursday, July 11, 2013

Interview ~ Bev Stout (author of Secrets of the Realm)

I conducted an interview with author Bev Stout through the YA Bookaholics group on Goodreads. 

Bev Stout's love of the sea began while growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and continues today with visits and vacations to Cambria on the California coast.

As far as writing is concerned, she is a late bloomer. She began writing about six years ago for fun. But with encouragement from her cousin, who is a published author, she decided to take the craft seriously. She became a member of SCBWI, attended writing conferences, and joined two critique groups. The rest is history.

Bev Stout lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband, a thankful rescue dog, and an insane but lovable cat.

Check out the author's Facebook page here: Bev Stout
About her book:
Secrets of the Realm
Goodreads description:
Blamed for her uncle's death, fifteen-year-old Annie is on the run. Knowing the perils she will face on the streets of eighteenth century London, she disguises herself as a boy. Her life on the streets is cut short when she becomes Captain Hawke’s cabin boy.
Not only must Annie work alongside the Realm’s motley crew of outcasts and gentlemen, she must also keep her superstitious shipmates from discovering she is a girl.

Annie vows she will never leave the Realm, where dreams are chased, shattered lives can mend, and secrets are stowed like keepsakes in an old desk drawer. But when her past catches up with her, can she return to the Realm? More importantly, will she have a choice?

Add Secrets of the Realm to Goodreads

Now that you know about Bev and her book, lets move on to the best part . . .

The Q's and A's
Q: Your book features a girl who disguises herself as a boy. It's not a new concept, but it's tackled in so many different ways. What did you do to make it unique?

That is a good question. It wasn’t until after I finished writing Secrets of the Realm that I discovered how many books were written about girls disguising themselves as boys. Annie has been through a lot in her short fifteen years on earth. She is a survivor. This story is less about her posing as a boy, than it is about Annie maneuvering her way through life and the relationships she develops along the way. Annie remains true to herself. When questioned about her past, she is as truthful as she can be. While she dresses like a boy, she never attempts to walk like one, nor does she even change her voice. Even though Annie knows this will complicate life aboard the Realm, she is who she is, and Annie is determined her shipmates will accept her on her terms.

Q: Are any of your characters similar to anyone you know?

Some of my characters are composites of people I have met. Captain Hawke is such a character. I have known people who I thought I knew, but then later realized they had more layers to them than I ever could have imagined. The captain, like Annie, is a complex individual with secrets all his own.

Q: What was the greatest experience in getting your debut novel published?

Seeing it in print was amazing, and when I learned people, male and female, were reading the book straight through without a break, it blew me away. People talk about Annie as if she were real, someone they have known forever, not simply a character in a book.

Q: As a YA author, what is your favorite thing about writing for the age group?

I find YA readers are just that, young adults. It is a time of transition in their lives. Much like Annie, they are trying to find their way in the world, a world that sometimes can be a scary place. I also like writing YA, because I am finding out it has an extensive audience. Not just teenagers read YA; it is older adults, as well.

Q: How else do you express your creativity, other than through writing?

Sometimes I draw. I enjoy interior decorating. I play the piano, but unlike my son, I don’t write my own music.

Q: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy YA, especially the Hunger Games series, and for lighter fare, My Fair Godmother series by Janette Rallison. I also like Mary Higgins Clark, Brett Battles, and Stephen King. I like historical books, too. One of my favorites is In the Heart of the Sea.

Thank you for answering my questions!

I have a few responses:
  • I like how Bev said Annie remains true to herself. I really like when a heroine can do that.
  • I imagine it feels really great to know someone is reading a book that you've written.
  • I hope that I will still be interested in YA books when I'm older like many are. I like it when the whole "trying to find their way in the world" is reflected in a book.
  • I'm not surprised the author likes to read historical books. Secrets of the Realm is a historical fiction book, after all.
That's it for the interview! Hopefully I will be able to read this book (which I got on Amazon) and put a review up sometime in 2013.


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  2. I hope this shows up this time. I just want to thank you, Kaitlin, for having the interview with me.

    1. You're welcome. I was glad to interview you. :)

  3. Hi Kaitlin, this is Bev, again. I'm just trying something different to see if this goes through, as well.

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