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Q & A of Debut Author Beth Ziarnik

Thank you for inviting me, Lisa. I’m excited about this opportunity to visit with you and your blog readers.
                             Where did the idea for the novel Her Deadly Inheritance start?
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the idea started when I was a child in elementary school. I loved reading those wonderful stories of beautiful princesses and handsome princes who fought through dreadful danger to enjoy true love.
Years later Phyllis A. Whitney’s romantic suspense novels captivated me, and no wonder! Her heroes and heroines had to overcome dreadful danger and impossible obstacles before they could enjoy their happily ever after.
This eventually became the basic plotline for my own romantic suspense novels, including Her Deadly Inheritance.

         What did you do to help prepare you to write fictional novels?
The best thing I did to prepare was read hundreds of romantic suspense novels, especially by Christian authors since I wanted to write Christian romantic suspense. I studied the elements they included in their stories and read every how-to book and article I could find about writing fiction—especially romantic suspense.

While writing Her Deadly Inheritance, I joined two critique groups—one through Word & Pen Christian Writers (my local group) and the other through American Christian Fiction Writers. What a great help they are, lending fresh eyes to the reading of my story and giving me valuable suggestions.

I also made it a practice to attend at least one Christian writers’ conference a year. Wow! Learning from published writers and making friends with other conferees made a vast difference in my progress. Just this past June, after years of attending the Write-to-Publish Conference, I received its “Writer of the Year” award because of Her Deadly Inheritance. What a blessing!

Where do your ideas for characters, scenes, and plots come from?
Mostly from living. None of my characters are copies of people I know, but they are composed from bits and pieces of taken from their lives and my own. For example, Clay. My novel’s hero plays softball in one of my story’s scenes. His batting and fielding feats are ones I’ve witnessed my dear husband accomplish as a ball player.

Scenes come from researching settings in books and magazines, online, and by visiting the locations. Jim and I vacationed at Munising and Grand Island twice while I researched my novel’s setting. We experienced the storms that are part of the story. Things like that are only made possible with on-site research.

Plots start with the “What if ..?” question asked over and over as I write. I’m what’s called a “pantser” novelist. Though I know the gist of my story, I have to experience it along with my characters as I write. How? I have no idea. It’s a mystery to me as much as it is for any other “pantser” author.

To date what other types of writing have you tackled?
For many years I wrote nonfiction articles for Christian publications and had two monthly columns. Most of my articles were devotional pieces, but I also wrote profile interviews, news articles, book reviews, and feature articles.

     Do like to hear from readers of your writings?  How can people interact with you?
I love hearing from readers and faithfully reply whether they contact me through my website ( ), my Facebook pages (  or ), my blog ( ) or leave a review of Her Deadly Inheritance on ( ).
    Are there others in your family who have been or want to become authors?
Not that I know of, but we have great oral story tellers in our family. And I often say that my mother was the first writer in our family. When I was born, she wrote a sweet poem about me which she put in my baby book.

 How do you keep the passion for writing alive as well as fresh?
By reading novels by other authors, attending writers’ conferences and my local Christian writers’ group, and staying in touch with writer friends. But more than anything, prayer keeps my passion fresh

How long have you been married? Where did you meet your husband?
Jim and I met while we were in college. We both remember that brief, magical moment when a mutual friend introduced us. Two years later, we started dating. Jim and I enjoyed 47 years as husband and wife before he went to be with the Lord

Is there anything in the writing process that you would readers to understand? 
Being a published writer takes perseverance. If you believe God has called you to write, don’t quit. Keep working toward that next level of expertise that will lead to publication. It will happen, if you keep praying, keep honing your craft, and you don’t quit.

        Do you have any future endeavors or projects in your plans/goals?
I’m currently working on my second romantic suspense novel and have four more in the works at various stages of development. In the meantime, I also enjoy speaking at women’s, writers’, and community events where I get to meet my readers face-to-face. Great fun!

   Do you have a Scripture verse or verses or a quote that helps you continue in your calling as an author?
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

I discovered this verse on an Easter card when I was a child, and it had been my life verse ever since.

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