Monday, November 16, 2015

Beth Revis: Release Day Interview and Book Giveaway!

It's unlikely that you haven't heard Beth Revis's name before.  She's a multi-published YA author who is among our MSFV Success Story Authors, and an absolutely lovely person.  I'm thrilled to be celebrating the release of her non-fiction book for writers, Paper Hearts, by offering this interview and a fun book giveaway!

AUTHORESS: So, let's go back to July 29, 2009, when your entry for A LONG WAY HOME posted on MSFV for Jodi Meadows's Query Contest. What led you up to that point? And what happened next?

BETH: Prior to that point, I'd written ten other novels. And I'd queried them and eventually trunked them. In fact, there may be some other trunked-Beth-books in the MSFV archives...

Anyway, a lot of writing! And a lot of failure. But I thought I had something with this book (and I did--it eventually became Across the Universe), but I was struggling with those first few chapters. I'd had conflicting critique partner advice on those first chapters, and the MSFV contest helped me to see that I needed to rearrange them.

AUTHORESS: Which is, of course, one of the most exciting MSFV stories ever. :)

So tell us about your success with the Across the Universe trilogy (which graces my downstairs bookshelf).

BETH: AtU was really been about dreams coming true. There's a line in the Harry Potter books about how nothing impossible if you have enough drive. Everything about AtU--it being published, it doing well, it starting my career--that all felt impossible, and now that it's happened, it feels as if nothing is impossible.

AUTHORESS: Your career certainly had a strong start, including bestseller status. So, let's help dispel the myth that, once you make that first sale, you've got it made in the shade. Can you tell us a bit about the next step in your journey?

BETH: Think of it like rolling a ball up a hill. Sure, a great sale with strong numbers on release will push your ball higher up the hill, but if you don't follow that with more--more books, more sales, more work--the ball will just roll back down to the bottom. Unless you're content just releasing a book whenever, without really caring about your audience or reach, and definitely not caring about your career, you can't just sit in an ivory tower and spin tales. You have to keep working, just like at any other career.

AUTHORESS: An excellent analogy!

So, tell us where your adventures led from there.

BETH: It always makes me smile when fans write me and ask me to "never stop writing." That's definitely something no one has to worry about! I don't know what I'd do with myself if I stopped!

As I was wrapping up the Across the Universe trilogy, I tried to think of what I should write next. The idea that really seized me was a fantasy novel. I wrote the whole book, planned a quartet, sent to readers and...the response wasn't that great. Some of my readers loved it, but at least three-quarters were lukewarm at best. I think I got bogged down in the world building. After talking long and hard to my agent about the book, we both decided the best thing was to shelve it, and maybe return to it later, and maybe not.

That was definitely a hard pill to swallow. I was supposed to have made it! I wasn't supposed to still be shelving books!

The next book I wrote was also strange--a science fiction that was loosely linked to the AtU world. I worked with my editor at Penguin on it awhile, but it ultimately wasn't a good fit for my next traditional book, so I ended up self publishing The Body Electric. It was such a wonderful experience. I was initially scared of doing it, but I think it's like getting a tattoo--after the first one, they become really addictive!

While all this was going on, I was already working on another project, one that Penguin latched onto right away--A World Without You--which will be published by Razorbill next July.

All this to say that in the two years since wrapping up the AtU trilogy, I've written one book that was shelved, one that was self published, and one that will be traditionally published. I'm like a microcosm of writing careers across the board!

AUTHORESS: Which makes you a sort of "everygirl" for those who are watching you. A reminder that there really is no such thing as One Way to success. Your author journey is inspiring in many ways!

So now you've taken your wisdom and experience and connections and have created something new, especially for writers. Will you tell us the story of how Paper Hearts came to be?

BETH: Paper Hearts is something that I've been working on for years, even before I was published. I was a teacher, and I loved being a teacher, so some of the book--such as the grammar chapters--came from that background. And some of it just comes from experience. There's this sort of untalked about awkward stage when you decide you want to be a writer where no one you know really knows the real deal. So many people who don't write assume you just type "the end" and get a book deal. That's why so many non-writers ask, "Is your book published yet?" when you tell them you're working on something.

So I started on my blog first, dispelling some of the myths, trying to be up front and honest in response to questions or common misconceptions I was seeing. And then I moved the random blog posts to Wattpad, so everything was organized into one place. But that kept growing and growing, and people kept asking for it to be in book form. Once I hit 100k reads and libraries started contacting me to teach workshops based on the Wattpad book, I decided to shift it into real publication.

AUTHORESS: Paper Hearts feels like a love story to me. That may be because I went into this knowing more of your story, but I think that any writer who reads this book will feel the love. It's so much more than a "how to" book.

Can you put into words what I am so desperately trying to? What makes PAPER HEARTS more than your average "how to be a writer" book?

BETH: Paper Hearts is very much is a love story! It's the story of my own love affair with writing, of my love for fellow readers and writers, of my love with the dream of writing.

But it is most definitely not a "how to" book. Because I make it very clear very early that there is no such thing as a "how to write" book. None exists. The best I can do is explain what I went through, and what helped me, and what didn't, and hope that it helps someone else.

That's not to say it doesn't have specifics. It's not a life story. It does go into great detail of the very specific strategies that help me write. But it doesn't say they're the only way.

AUTHORESS: Another thing I love about Paper Hearts is your transparency. It's "here's my journey, here's my heart", and not just "here's what I know" -- though there is plenty of that as well.

In short -- it's the first writing advice book that I will actually feel good about recommending to writers who want some specific guidance.

Aside from the excellent take-away of "there is no one RIGHT way to write", what else can readers expect to get out of this book? Can you distill the book's "mission", if you will?

BETH: Aw, thank you so much! <3 p="">
I think the real incentive for me to get this book into print was the fact that I a lot of the questions I kept hearing all sum down to one simple answer: calm down. Before you're published, there's a lot of unknown about what writing can be like. People worry that they have to fit a certain mold or that they'll make one tiny mistake and ruin their chances at ever being published. It's not like that. We fear the unknown, though, so I'm trying here to take away some of the unknown, and hopefully the fear.

AUTHORESS: So much wisdom here! For those of you who are dying to get this wonderful book into your hands, here's the info: 

Would you like a signed copy? Contact my local indie Malaprops.
Indie Bound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBookstore |


Thanks so much for this Release Day interview, Beth, and for the honor of being mentioned as a resource in PAPER HEARTS. May your words of encouragement and common sense reach the writing masses!

BETH: And thank you for hosting me and all you do for aspiring authors!


Here comes the fun part!  How would you like to win a signed paperback copy of Paper Hearts?  You know you want one!  So here's what you have to do:

In the comment box below, write the most hyperbolic plea you can possibly come up with, begging Beth for your copy.  Enter as many times as you'd like!  Beth will read all the entries and choose her favorite.

Yanno, something like:

Beth!  If I don't receive a copy of Paper Hearts in the next 48 hours, my entire pulmonary system will shut down, and my lungs will implode and create an alternate universe in which only carbon dioxide-breathing organisms will survive, which means the destruction of this world as we know it!

The contest is open NOW, and will close at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, November 18.

On your mark, get set, go!

Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. Beth is also the author of The Body Electric and several short stories. Her nonfiction books, the Paper Hearts series, gives writers advice on craft, publishing, and more. A native of North Carolina, Beth is currently working on a new novel for teens, tentatively scheduled for 2016. She lives in rural NC with her boys: one husband, one son, and two massive dogs.


  1. Dear Beth:
    If I don't win a copy of your earth-shatteringly fabulous book, I will be sucked into the vacuum of space, where I will clog up the hose in a bundle of hair and grease rivaling those things they find in the sewers made of poo and "flushable" wipes. This clog will explode, rupturing the vacuum hose (that is the physical manifestation of a wormhole, btw) causing a rift in the space-time continuum, and everything and everyone will wink out of existence like a blind date when you go to the bathroom only to find there's a huge wad of spinach in your teeth when you check the mirror, then come back to find he is gone, gone, gone.

    You could also throw a quarter down the tube, and see if that unclogs it. Sometimes that works. Or maybe a book. A book would be good.

  2. I love this interview!

    I don't have a plea. I have only the fact that I'm starting to not want to try anymore. I've written sixteen novels. Queried seven. I think I might be crazy for continuing to try. But it looks like you had to write a lot of books, too. And I think maybe Paper Hearts can give me some new motivation from someone who's fallen down a lot as well. ^_^ So if I don't win, the sky will explode and the moon dragons will fly down and eat me.

  3. If I don’t get a copy of Paper Hearts, I will have a breakdown in which I am in so much distress and consumed with so much grief that my distress signals the Doctor and calls him to me (I'm not even in England, so this is some serious stuff) and I sneak into the TARDIS without him knowing before epically throwing myself into an exploding star and my atoms are scattered across the universe and if anyone ever breathes in one of my atoms they will instantly feel like they have a horcrux hanging around their neck and they will search all the corners of the earth to find the best of sorcerers to splice that atom from their being and the sorcerer will tell them the tale of how I didn’t get a signed copy of Paper Hearts and they will shake their fist at the sky at my misfortune and grief.

  4. Dear the most wonderful, fabulous, incredible Beth,

    Before I begin my plea for your lovely book, let me begin with some shameless boot-licking.

    Your earrings in the picture above are lovely. They really bring out your eyes.

    Anyways, I have been writing ever since I was in the sixth grade. I wrote a short story and printed it out, taking it everywhere with me and forcing everyone I met to read it. Since then, I can't remember a time that I haven't been writing, or thinking of writing. Now here I sit in the tenth grade, typing this up behind a binder in my English class and fearing that current novel is lacking some of the "zing" that it could possibly have.

    Without this book, I may plummet into the abyss of "bad writing." And if I plummeted into the abyss of bad writing, a series of unfortunate events could take place. Most of those unfortunate events include circumstances in which I would not be writing. All of which are a bad thing.

    There being less than 48 hours until this contest is over, I'm practically on the edge of my seat here, practically begging for this book. This book is probably vital to my survival (which in my opinion is important). Without it, I'll probably crawl up to my room and hide under the covers of my bed and sob until I forget what I'm sobbing about. In that period of time, I'll probably consume one of those unnecessary large barrels of ice cream and spend all of my money on Starbucks, which all in all is a bad thing. After eating so much ice cream and drinking so much coffee, I'll probably die (semi-happy though) and people will miss me. I'll miss me. And that's important.

  5. If I don't win a copy of Paper Hearts, blood will spill.

    You see, the deadline for the contest is the 18th, my son's b-day. And since my niece and nephew from out of town will be visiting, I already sent out invites to not only celebrate my son's b-day that night, but also my niece's and nephews birthdays.

    If I don't win, the birthday party will turn into a pity party. There will be sobbing, wailing, and crying. Instead of cakes and blowing out candles, forks will be sharpened and knives of all sizes will be glinting. There will be murder.

    My family and friends will kill me for ruining the party. Then they will come after Authoress and you. Yes! You and Authoress. Then both your fans will want revenge. Mobs will form, cyber-war will start, and computers will crash.

    The world as we know it will end. E-N-D!

    So for the love of God! Save us all!

  6. Beth, if I don't win a copy of Paper Hearts, I will commence singing every single song I know with the name "Beth" in it. Hold onto your ears, sister, because they will start to bleed after you hear the medley to end all medleys. You'll be regaled -- or haunted -- by my dulcet tones singing:

    "Beth" - Kiss

    Oh no! I cannot name any other songs about Beth! I shall have to sing that over and over and over again! Perhaps I can change it up... Sing it in different accents? Maybe get different translations of the song? Can't you just hear it now? "Beth, je vous entends appeler." Or Hebrew? בית אני שומע אותך קורא

    The earworm of a lifetime.

  7. Sweet Beth! Thy book hast called unto my heart
    And now I find I must embrace it there
    And pore upon the words with tender care
    That thou wouldst teach me of thy noble Art

    Thy words of interview have been so dear
    Encouraging, and staying pow'r to me
    The effects of which hither I foresee
    Wilt lead me to best seller-dome tis clear

    Dost find mine hyperbolic words enough
    to tempt the gracious leanings of thy will
    to use thy effervescent potent quill
    to pen my name, (ah! please do not rebuff!)

    If thou wouldst toss this heart-sick poem aside,
    The writer surely would shrivel and die.

    #hyperbole #sonnet #iambicpentametersaysitbest

  8. It's the final day of the contest. Here I sit, entering yet again for a chance to get my hands on this book. Tears will be shed and cities will probably burn if I don't win this contest. I am sent spiraling into the endless darkness of utter insanity at the mere thought of not receiving this masterpiece. I will release my fury and sadness upon the mortal world in the form of rain. Probably. Acid rain mind you. People of the now wasteland-like world will cower in terror as the rain mutilates their petunias. It will be dreadful.

    If I don't win I will be distraut. In that case, I will probably end up buying Paper Hearts off of Amazon anyways. Such is life.

  9. If I don't receive this book our world will surely end as we know it. My disappointment will rock galaxies. I will forever be crushed and unable to do anything with my life. The rest of my days will be tinged with a vague feeling of unease and a crippling sense of failure. I will also not know the answers to the questions gnawing away at my insides about writing and getting published, effectively ending my dreams of being a writer and therefore piling more crushing failure onto my already heaping plate. I beg you Beth, I implore you. Please, I have a physical need for this book, a requirement that will undeniably alter our universe if it goes unfulfilled.