Please welcome Beverly Varnado and learn more about her romance, The Key to Everything, which released last week!
What is your writing process like?
The simplest answer I could give is to say it’s organic. I don’t always use the same process. I wouldn’t even say that I’m a plotter versus a seat of the pants writer. For example, The Key to Everything started life as a screenplay. A screenplay is definitely written in a three act structure with certain plot points that have to be addressed. That screenplay was rewritten and expanded then I turned it into a novel, which means at least quadrupling the word count, adding more characters and subplots, and fleshing out the scenes. On another occasion I might just begin writing a novel and not necessarily in a linear fashion. I might know chapter seventeen before I’ve written chapter eight. I think my creative process would drive most folks crazy.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I am an artist and when I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me at an easel. I love to capture wildlife especially at a coastal marsh we frequent or even in my backyard. We have an Aussiedor and several cats, so I’m often taking care of animals when I’m not writing.
If we Googled you, what would we find?
The usual author website, my blog, One Ringing Bell, Facebook author page, Goodreads and Amazon author pages, books I have in print and maybe articles about a few awards for writing or painting, but two of my favorite things are these: I had a producer from World Radio contact me about a blog series I did on our family’s 7,000 mile cross country trip one summer. He asked me to record something for their program, The World and Everything in It. I did, and they’ve run it a couple of times. It’s still available HERE and because the trip was so formative in our family’s life, it brings me joy when I listen to it. Also, I’ve had the privilege of writing for an international devotional magazine that’s translated into 33 languages. I accidentally discovered one day that a group in England is also translating the devotions into British sign language. It was so great to see the words I had written expressed this way HERE,
What does being a successful author look like to you?
I’ve had the privilege of spending a little time with notable biographer Elizabeth Sherrill. Her instruction to writers is to write for one person, so that’s what I try to do. I try to picture the reader I want to reach and attempt to pen words that will make a difference for them. Whether it’s a blog post or a novel, I have that person in mind. So, success to me would not be measured in numbers, but whether that one person I’m writing for finds my work meaningful.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
Ah, a much debated question. I write character driven stories, so, of course, I would say characters. When I first begin writing a story, the characters are strangers to me. I’m just shaking their hands and saying, “How do you do?” But as I write, I learn more and more about them, what they love, and what gets under their skin. It’s so much more than hair color or educational background. It’s how they like their hot dog and the one fear that keeps them from moving ahead with their lives. So, by the end of a story, they’re almost as real to me as someone I encounter in my everyday life. One of my writing inspirations, Georgia Hall of Fame Writer, Terry Kay, says we don’t write to tell a story, we write to discover a story. It is this journey of discovery especially where characters are concerned that is so fulfilling to me as a writer. I feel like the characters steer the plot in ways that are often surprising.
Finally, tell us what’s next. What else are you working on?
I’ve been working on another novel and also have a nonfiction project in mind, as well. I don’t talk about my projects until their finished because as someone has said, they tend to get away from you if you spend your time talking instead of writing.
Beverly Varnado is an award winning
author, screenwriter, blogger and artist who lives in North Georgia with her husband,
Jerry. In addition to The Key to Everything, she has written two novels, and a nonfiction
book, Faith in the Fashion District. She has a screenplay optioned for a film. www.beverlyvarnado.com