Monday, September 25, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Beth Ciotta

Today on Makebelieve Mondays I'm pleased to introduce Beth Ciotta. Beth writes for Medallion Press and HQN. (And today is a special day for her as its her wedding anniversary.) So happy anniversary, Beth and thank you for joining us!

Beth: Thank you for having me, Debra. I’m thrilled to be here for Make-Believe Monday.

Debra: Beth, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Beth: I’m currently working on a new series for HQN. THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES features a divorced and forcibly retired 41-year-old showbiz veteran who rediscovers passion and purpose when she unwittingly teams up with reformed grifter and a government operative in their mission to expose nefarious scams.

I enjoy writing romantic comedies with a twist of suspense and that’s exactly what these stories are. Tackling the colorful lives and worlds of Evie Parish and these two men, Arch Duvall and Milo Beckett, has been a pleasure and a thrill. I’m presently doing revisions on the first book, ALL ABOUT EVIE, which will be released in May 2007. After that, I plunge right into book two.

I’m also writing historical westerns (also humorous suspense… Is that a sub-genre?) for Medallion Press. ROMANCING THE WEST hits shelves July 2007. Bouncing between writing contemporaries and historicals has been interesting. Fun, but challenging. What time period am I in today?

Debra: Sounds like you're a bit of a time traveler when you write. What fun!

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Beth: I typically feel connected to the heroine right off the bat, although she does always evolve as the story goes on. At first, she’s the one speaking loudest in my head, driving the story forward. It usually takes me a while to get a grip on the hero. (That didn’t sound right, did it?)

Debra: Well, that all depends on what kind of a story you're writing!

Beth: In fact, it’s not unusual for me to be a third of the way through the story before I’ll understand who this guy is and what he’s really about. Suddenly, it’ll just click. On ROMANCING THE WEST, for the first time ever, it happened the other way around. I was in bed with the hero (Okay. That definitely didn’t sound right.) from page one.

Debra: Hmm, that is part of the fantasy isn't it?

Beth: I didn’t connect with my heroine for a good three months. Frustrating, but when I finally got her—bam!—magic. She’s one of my favorite heroines to date. Well, aside from Evie, and Afia, and Lulu…. Well, shoot. Anyway, once I connect, I see them and hear them clearly even in my sleep.

Debra: Which leads me to our next question.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Beth: Dreams? No. Daydreams? Absolutely. Once the premise and characters are cemented in my brain, I become pretty obsessed. I write even when I’m not at the computer. I see scenes, hear dialogue in my head while doing the most mundane things. Some of my best ideas occur in the shower—not sure why—and when I’m almost asleep but not quite.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Beth: Cinderella. Aside from Charlotte’s Web, it was the story that stamped itself on my heart forever.

Debra: Beth, is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Beth: Our imagination is powerful and a gift not to be wasted. You can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything. My motto? Dream big and reach for the stars. Anything is possible.

To learn more about me and my books visit my website at
For a daily peek into my chaotic life and a bit of lively discussuion visit my website

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