Beth Ciotta

 

Favorites and Fun Questions


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you prefer it in a bowl, a cone or straight out of the carton?

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I’ll take it any way I can get it, but a sugar cone is especially yummy.

 

 

 

Interview

Hi Beth and Welcome!   Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview you for Romance Junkies.   First, can you let us know what projects you are currently working on?

 

I’m currently juggling two manuscripts in different phases.   EVERYBOBY LOVES EVIE for HQN and THE FALL OF ROME for Medallion Press.  Both books are romantic comedies with a twist of suspense, but EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE is contemporary and THE FALL OF ROME is historical western.  

 

EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE (2/08) is the sequel to my current release ALL ABOUT EVIE.THE FALL OF ROME (7/08) is the sequel to my upcoming release, ROMANCING THE WEST. Speaking of, although the official release date for RTW is October, copies are already hitting shelves and it is available at the major Internet sources.   So, in addition to writing, I’m also busy promoting.

 

Where do you get your ideas for your stories?  Do you have to do any research for them? What is the most interesting thing you have learned?

 

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. Seriously. I never suffer for story ideas.   When I feel jazzed about a particular concept, I commit it to a file on my computer, even if it’s just a paragraph. That way it’s there for the future.   Mostly I’m inspired by things I’ve witnessed or experienced in real life. Sometimes the idea is rooted in personal points of interest . . . like the American West or my background in entertainment.    

 

As for research, yes, I do quite a bit. The historicals are most time intensive.   Not only do I have to research the characters’ occupations and certain plot specifics, but daily life in that period.   Attire, slang, transportation, housing, and politics to name a few.   I don’t have to worry as much about daily life with the contemporaries since I’m living it, but I do put a lot of time into researching occupations and location.   I’ve learned a lot of interesting things over the years, but the two topics that really grabbed my attention were phobias and con-artists.  

      

How do you name your characters?  Do they have to have their personality before you can name them or do they have to have a name before the personality can emerge?

 

Usually the names of my characters just come to me. I have a sense of their personality and the name just comes with it.   In LASSO THE MOON, I created a secondary character who was traveling sewing machine salesman, a pest and a ninny.His name was Horace Hinklemeyer. I have no idea where I got that name. It just popped in my head and it felt right. That’s how it usually works. Once in a while it’s more calculated. In JINXED, my heroine believes she is jinxed for life because she was born on Friday the thirteenth. I researched names and found Afia. It stands for—born on Friday. Perfect, especially since the sound of the name also fit her personality.  

 

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you write one book at a time or do you have a few going at once?

 

It used to take me 6-9months to write a book.   However, I’m currently writing two books a year and because I’m writing for two different publishers and juggling production deadlines plus promotion for upcoming releases, I now complete books in the 3-5 month range. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who likes sleep!

 

I write one book at a time. The meat of that book, that is—first draft form. Although I often have to pause to do revisions and line edits on another book further along in the production schedule. But it’s one or the other. I can’t divide my creative focus.

 

What is your favorite genre to read? How about write? Is there a genre that you haven’t written that you would love to? Any that you would stay away from?

 

My two favorite genres to read are romance and mainstream suspense/thrillers.   So far I have only written in the romance genre although I am published in three sub-genres: paranormal, contemporary, and historical. I have some thoughts for the future, an area I’d like to explore, but I’m not there yet. No matter what genre I write in there will always be an element of romance, humor, and suspense.   Those elements come naturally and I fully enjoy the process of creation.   A genre I wouldn’t attempt: horror.  

 

Do you remember the day you were told that your book was being published? Can you take our readers through that day?

 

I actually have two days.   My first-first sale was with my writing partner Cynthia Valero. We were RWA Golden Heart Finalists and caught the eye of a judge, a published author who told her publisher about our story. Mostly everything happened through email. Cyndi and I live three hours apart so we celebrated over the phone and through emails. Lots of screaming—oh my God! Lot’s of disbelief—is this for real? It’s the rush of a lifetime, knowing someone is going to turn your manuscript into a real book! Writing as CB Scott, Cyndi and I published three paranormal romances with ImaJinn Books.

 

My second-first sale came in 2003. I was in New York City at the RWA Conference. A few weeks before I had submitted a partial to a new publishing company. My first solo project. While at the conference, I was invited up to Helen Rosburg’s suite. Helen is the founder of Medallion Press. I was stunned when she said to me, “I loved your story and I want to buy it.” She said more that that, but it’s a blur. I think I hyperventilated. Well, not quite, but close. Mind you, she was offering to buy me on three chapters and a synopsis. I was stunned. And flattered. And a little scared when she said, “How fast can you write it?” Turns out the answer was: six months. JINXED came out in the spring of 2004. As of 2008, I’ll have six books out with Medallion Press. It’s been an exhausting, but great ride!    

 

Do you have any interesting writing quirks? Do you have to write in silence or with background noise?   

 

I don’t know that I have any quirks. Unless, being a workaholic counts.   I work best in silence. Background noise—talking, TV, music—pulls me out of my world.


If your life were a movie, what would it be called?  What would the theme song be?

 

Title: The Creative Spaz   

Theme Song:   She Works Hard For the Money

 

How did you meet your husband? What is the most romantic thing you have done for one another?

 

A romantic story, but a long one. I’ll just say that we were both professional musicians (He played sax. I sang.), playing in different bands in various nightclubs across the country. One night our paths crossed and . . . that’s where the long part comes in. Let’s just say it was love at first sight. That was twenty-five years ago and we’ve been together since!

 

Steve surprises me with wonderful romantic gestures all the time.   I wish I were half as creative in that department. The most romantic thing he’s ever done? He gifted me with a Celtic ring that’s inscribed ‘you and no other’.

 

What is the first author that you can remember getting hooked on? How has your reading tastes changed over the years?

 

Johanna Lindsey. Hooked, hooked, hooked. Once I discovered her, I devoured every backlist book I could find.    As for my reading taste, I read romantic fiction exclusively for years. Now I find I am equally drawn to fast-paced thrillers and mystery suspense. If they have a dose of romance, even better. I’d say my TBR piles are 50% romance, 50% thriller.     

 

What is the last book that you read that left a big impression on you?


HARBINGERS by F. Paul Wilson. His latest in his Repairman Jack series. The first I’ve read and now I’m heading for the backlist. You guessed it. Hooked. I adored the author’s voice. And the story was riveting. Fast-paced, humorous, romantic, suspenseful, scary.   Unique.  


MORE FUN…

 

Who was your first celebrity crush? Is he still hot?

 

Elvis. And, yes, he’s still hot. Even though he’s dead. I watched his 68’ comeback special not to long ago and I think I drooled. Please don’t tell anyone.

 

What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Are they the same words your family/friends would use?

 

Kind. Creative. Tolerant. I think my friends and family would say the same. Although they’d probably add workaholic.

 


If you could audition for one reality show, which one would it be and what would you do?


I don’t watch reality shows, so I’m stumped here.


If you could meet anyone from the past or present to have a thought provoking conversation with who would it be and why?

 

Martin Luther King.   I find his tolerance, intelligence, and courage incredibly inspiring.

 

Thank you, Beth, for taking time out of your very busy schedule to chat with us.   It has been great fun.   Much continued success with your writing career!

 


By Kim Atchue-Cusella

Romance Junkies Publishing Editor

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