Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel
Today we are welcoming author Bev Irwin to the blog. Bev also writes as Kendra James and she’s here to talk to us about her books! Sit back and enjoy learning about this Canadian author!
Barb – Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing.
Bev – Hello and happy Easter Monday. This is Bev Irwin (aka Kendra James) waving from London, Ontario. Thank you Barb for inviting me to Sugarbeats Books.
A bit about me? Well, I’ve had one wonderful career as a registered nurse working in many areas of nursing, another career as a mother of three wonderful, now adult children. Thank God we all made it through alive and relatively unscathed. Another career was as a sales representative. Now I am hoping to succeed at the career that has taken a backseat. That is my writing career. How long has that been on the back-burner? Forever.
The writing bug bit me early in life. A poem I wrote in grade three was published. After that, I wrote poetry for years that I kept hidden away. In my late twenties I finally shared some and even found the courage to enter some contests and had several published in anthologies. Can you make a career of writing poetry? Only in your dreams.
When I broke my hand getting a horse on a trailer, I think God said. “Here, I’m giving you some time to develop that writing talent I gave you.”
So I a started a real novel. It was a romance I named CITY SLICKER. It wrote about 20,000 words and sent it off for a critique. Not a good idea. I should have finished the whole thing and then sent it off. I should have joined a writing group. I should have taken lots of writing courses. I should have entered writing contests. I have taken care of the should’s and now it is paying off. CITY SLICKER remains a WIP. I will publish it one day.
So that’s my life now, writing, rewriting, editing. But I still find time to spend with my three cats, my three children, and my wonderful granddaughter, Jasmine, and work part-time with my nursing.
Barb – What is your favorite part of writing?
Bev – Starting a new project. It is always so exciting to play with a new idea or meet new friends that audition for a part in the book.
Barb – What part of writing do you find the most challenging?
Bev – Keeping at it and finishing. There is always a new idea that wants to draw me away.
Barb – Tell us a bit about your soon to be released – Ghostly Justice.
Bev – Fifteen-year-old Daria Brennan doesn’t want to hear people’s thoughts. She doesn’t want to see ghosts—or talk to dead people. And she definitely doesn’t want to help solve a forty-year old murder.
But Amanda wants revenge, and Daria is the first human contact she’s had since the day she died. Now the killer is after Daria and her friends. Can they solve Amanda’s murder before becoming his next victims?
Barb – What challenges did you face bringing this book to market, if any.
Bev – Well, as a new author starting out, it is always hard to get any one to look at your work. So many rejections. But now it has found a great home. A major challenge with any youth or children’s novel is getting the ‘voice’ right. It’s been a long time since I was a teenager. So after I had written the book, I had a couple of teens read it an ‘teen’ down the voice.
Barb – Do you have a favorite character in Ghostly Justice?
Bev – I love my ghost, Amanda. Despite being a tragic figure, I mean who isn’t tragic when they’re dead, she’s stubborn, spunky, and has a sense of humor. She wants revenge but being dead has its drawbacks. No one has been able to see or hear her since the day she died. That is until Daria walks by the house. She suddenly feels a jolt of electricity and it is like ‘her heart almost starts to beat again.”
Barb – When you write, do you start with an outline, or do you let the characters take the story away?!
Bev – Oh, I wish I could outline. I am trying to, really I am. It would be so much easier, like a map that helps you know where you are going. Mostly, I think of a scene and start writing something. I use Scrivener for Mac and it is great as I can give a scene a heading, write a few words or a whole scene.
I do a lot of scribbling on pieces of papers, or small notebooks so I won’t forget any great ideas for a scene, or something about the characters, or ‘what if’s’ for plots.
Usually a idea of plot comes and as it festers in the back of my brain, characters come and audition for their parts.
Barb – What is your favorite all time book – or is there more than one?
Bev – I’ve been an avid reader since I was a young child and it is so hard to pick out one. Anything by Taylor Caldwell, like WICKED ANGEL, or BRIGHT FLOWS THE RIVER. Also MY SISTER’S KEEPER, by Jodi Piccoult. Did anybody see that ending coming?
Barb – Where can your fans keep in touch with you?
Bev – Fans can leave me a comment at www.bevirwin.com
Barb – What do you have in the works, and when can your fans expect your next book?
Bev – MISSING CLAYTON, a woman’s suspense, is coming out in June with Black Opal Books. One of my own favorites of my books, LOL.
I have also been offered another contract with Black Opal for WITHOUT CONSENT, a medical/police thriller. Much more graphic than my other books, reader be ware. As a registered nurse I like to add a medical touch when I can.
Barb – Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Bev – To all aspiring authors, keep writing, keep churning out those pages, smother your inner critic, let the words loose. Reading something by Natalie Goldberg, or Annie Dillard.
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time.
Annie Dillard – in her book The Writing Life
Let the words flow and let the inner gold come out.
Buy writing books (my shelves are full of them), take writing courses, join critique groups. My warning on critique groups is to start off with gentle ones, where everyone is supportive. As you advance with your writing and your writing improves, you will need to move to a harsher critiquing group. This is necessary if you want your writing to improve but hopefully by that time your writing will be a higher quality and you will have developed the broader shoulders it takes to: listen without justifying, accepting that maybe they have a point, and then taking their advice, sitting on it, letting it simmer, and then going back and seeing your piece with new eyes and deciding what advice is really important to make your piece the best it can be.
Then when you have it the ‘best it can be,’ take a big breath and send it out there and start working on something else. But keep your shoulders broad, as there will still be rejections.
For myself, I have been writing for several years and now that I finally have an editor, two in fact, that believe in my work, I have novels to send them and several more ‘WIP’s’ (works in progress) that are ready to be finished off and find a home.
I kept writing, learning, revising, submitting. One book that Mills and Boon almost accepted is now out there with another publisher. It is an ebook but will be out in print later this year with a much more gorgeous cover than I ever would have gotten from the medical line at Mills and Boon, and now, the shelf life is unlimited.
This is GHOSTLY JUSTICE COMING April 14TH!!!!
Here is an excerpt
After all these years, I could finally feel something. It was as if a jolt of electricity surged through me, and my heart almost began to beat again.
At first, I didn’t know what caused it. I only knew an undeniable force drew me to my bedroom window. With each step, the tingle of fingernails tracking down my spine increased. The thought passed through me, maybe I should be afraid. But really, what was there to be afraid of? It couldn’t get worse. What’s worse than being dead?
I floated toward the window. Two girls were walking in front of the house. They looked about my age, maybe younger – fifteen, sixteen. I was drawn to the one with the dark curly hair. Her friend called her Daria. I reached out my hand, called her name. She looked up at the window. She sensed me. I knew it. I saw her shudder, but she kept walking.
I watched until they turned the corner at Colburn Street. Then the energy vanished and a profound sadness filled me. Even playing the piano held no joy that day.
I have to talk to her. But how?
I gave up trying to contact the living years ago. It became so tiresome—appearing in front of them, touching them, talking to them, yet never being noticed.
Every day, I watch for her. Every day, I try to make contact. Every day I plead for her to look up at my window again. Two weeks have passed now. And every day, she hurries past; her gaze focused on the street ahead.
I must talk to her.
Daria is the first person I’ve been able to communicate with since the day I was murdered.
And here are pre pub blurbs
KUDOS for Ghostly Justice
Ghostly Justice by Bev Irwin is one of those books that can easily span the bridge between YA and adult fiction. Though the characters are teenagers and still in high school, like Harry Potter and Twilight, the story is fascinating enough to appeal to much broader audiences. Our heroine, Daria, is young, but she’s also spunky, creative, clever, and reluctantly courageous—my favorite kind of gal. And she is most definitely not pleased when she discovers that she is psychic and can talk to ghosts. Well, one ghost, at least…Irwin has added a well-rounded cast of secondary characters to help Daria in her quest, and together with a strong plot, excellent dialogue and a few surprises along the way, they all combine to make this book a very enjoyable read. – Taylor, Reviewer
Ghostly Justice was not quite what I expected when I learned it was YA. Even though the characters are teens, the subject matter—some of it anyway—was very adult. However, Bev Irwin seems to be a talented author and handled the sensitive issues with the same aplomb with which she did the scenes where her teenage characters break into an abandoned house. Daria, our very reluctant heroine, doesn’t want to be special. She especially doesn’t want to talk to dead people or to hear her best friend’s thoughts. She wants to keep clear of her mom’s creepy boyfriend, snag a hot, sexy boyfriend of her own—who doesn’t—and to be left in peace…The other characters in the book are equally well-developed and three-dimensional, the plot has some very nice twists and turns, and Irwin’s writing is superb. – Regan, Reviewer
GHOSTLY JUSTICE will be available on April 14th!!!!
Also coming from Black Opal Books in June.
Blurb: MISSING CLAYTON
Where is Clayton? There is no answer when Jenny calls. The sandbox is empty, the backyard is empty, the gate is open, where is her six-year old son. Will she be able to find him in time?
MISSING CLAYTON came third in the Gateway to the Best in the Suspense category, and second in the TARA for Women’s Fiction.
Other books by Bev Irwin writing as Kendra James?
Thank you everyone for coming to see me today. Happy Easter Monday!
I’d like to thank Bev for dropping by and sharing! It’s always nice to have a fellow Canadian visit the blog!