May 16, 2012

Getting to Know Author Beth Vogt (and a Book Giveaway)


I’m thrilled to have my friend Beth Vogt on my blog today. Beth was one of the first writers I connected with online, and we instantly bonded for several reasons, one being that we’re both editors!

Beth’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here, just came out earlier this month. It’s a contemporary inspirational romance complete with comedy, love, and deep truths. (See below for a chance to win a copy!)

Beth agreed to answer some questions for me (thanks, Beth!), so here we go:

Tell me about the first story you ever wrote, no matter how old you were! How old were you, what was it about, and what was your inspiration for it?
My first story was a historical romance. I quite happily plagiarized Georgette Heyer, who was my favorite author at the time. She’s still one of my favorite authors. I asked my eighth grade teacher to read it and, bless her heart, she did—and gave me encouraging feedback too.

Plagiarism…the sincerest form of flattery, right? Anyway, I’ve read on your website that you had at one point sworn never to cross from the nonfiction realm into the fiction world. What made you cross over to the—as you put it—“Dark Side”?
I’d succeeded in my goal to be writing, submitting, and getting published regularly as a nonfiction writer. I’d even surprised myself by having a nonfiction book on late-in-life motherhood, Baby Changes Everything, published in 2007. But I was burned out. Writing a novel was my attempt to write just for the fun of it again—not for deadline.

I loved Wish You Were Here! It definitely made me want to travel more. Where’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to and why was it the best?
I’m so happy to hear you loved WYWH. I had fun writing it. Thanks to my husband’s military career, we vacationed in Italy and were able to visit Venice. There is something so, so intriguing about a floating city and traveling everywhere by boat. At the top of my “want to get there” list is Australia.

Ooo, my husband and I are hoping to make it to Venice sometime in the next few years. Moving on…I’m always interested to know: what was the first part of your story that was solid in your mind? Was it something in the plot or a certain character you couldn’t get out of your mind that led to Wish You Were Here?
I started with the scene of Allison standing in the church, all decked out in her never-should-have-said-yes-to-the-dress wedding gown, thinking, “I do. I can’t. I must.” I had so many questions to answer: Who was this woman? How did she get here? What was going to happen next?

Intriguing! So, they say (I’m not sure who “they” are, but regardless…) that we tend to put a little bit of us into our main characters. Is there any part of you in Allison or is she a complete figment of your imagination?
A close friend of mine just told me she caught all sorts of glimpses of me in Allison. (Jasmine tea, anyone?) Allison might not thank me for this, but I did give her my fear. I struggled against fear for too many years of my life. One of my greatest joys in Wish You Were Here was seeing Allison break free of her fears to become the woman God made her to be.

I loved that about the book too. OK, I have to ask. What’s with the llamas? They were awesome! (For those who are wondering, yes, there are llamas in this story!) Where did the inspiration for that one come?
My husband, Rob, suggested the llamas. It was a totally random thought and I ran with it. I should tell you that before the llamas, Rob was always suggesting aliens …

Haha, now THAT would have been interesting! So, there are a few characters from Wish You Were Here that I would love to see have their own love stories worked out…just sayin’. Is your second book a continuation of WYWH or completely unrelated?
My second novel, which is tentatively titled Catch a Falling Star, is a standalone novel, also set in Colorado. However, I am hoping to get back to some of the characters in WYWH.

Since you write romance, I wanna know: What’s the most romantic thing your man has ever done for you?
I think romance is everything from holding my hand when we go for a walk to the “I miss you” cards tucked in my luggage when I travel to shutting down his medical practice for several days and taking care of me when I battled a life-threatening illness. In other words: My husband loves me with his actions. One of my favorite romantic things that Rob does is dancing with me in our kitchen whenever our favorite songs come on the radio.

Beth, that’s so beautiful! Makes me want to cry, seriously. So we’ll end with a fun question: You’re locked in a room for a week and only allowed 3 items (no people allowed!). What are they?
My family’s going to expect me to say my laptop. But I’m going to assume I’m relaxing for this week … so, I’ll say: My Kindle (that way I have my Bible and unlimited reading material!), my Praying in Color notebook & pens (this counts as one item), and my iPod w/ all my favorite music.

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Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.”

Her contemporary romance novel, Wish You Were Here, debuted this month (Howard Books.) Beth also wrote a book on late-in-life motherhood, Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood After 35 (Revell 2007), and is an established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International.

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Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after? Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong.

 The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

Beth has generously agreed to give away a copy of Wish You Were Here to a random commenter! Only U.S. residents are eligible. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments to be entered. Comments should be posted by Sunday, May 20, at 11:59 pm PST to qualify.

Your Turn: Where’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to and why was it the best?

51 comments:

  1. I would love to go to Venice! Such a fun interview you two! I'd have to say Thailand--Bangkok and Chiang Rai. A-mazing!!! :) And then number 2 spot goes to Rhode Island. My goodness that place is gorgeous!

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    1. Wow, Thailand must have been so cool! I've never been to Rhode Island either. I had no idea it was so pretty.

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  2. Great interview and congratulations, Beth!!

    I was able to fly over to meet my husband in Paris five months after we married. We hadn't seen each other since we got married, so you can imagine how wonderful the reunion was in one of the most romantic cities in the world at CHRISTMASTIME!

    I'd love to go back and visit.

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  3. Kitchen dancing. Yep, I see how that's up there on your list.

    You both rock!
    ~ Wendy

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  4. Venice is on my someday list.

    My favorite place to visit is any place I'm spending time with my Hubby. Some days this may be wandering the grocery aisles at Walmart, collecting shells at dawn on Sanibel Island, fishing together on Pine Creek, or just watching NCIS together in the living room. While places can be amazing, I find more joy in sharing them with someone I love.

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    1. AW, Lisa, this is soooo sweet! I totally agree with you. I've been to some pretty neat places, but the best memories are the trips I've taken with my man.

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  5. The best place I've ever traveled...London, hands down. More because of the people than the place, actually, but the place is amazing too. So much history around every corner. I also fell in love with Scotland, though...and Spain...and France...here in the States, my favorite place is the Smoky Mountains...where I'm going in a few days! Yaaayyy!!

    I, too, loved Beth's book...so fun seeing her here!

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    1. London IS awesome, as are Cambridge and Oxford. And Ireland and Scotland. Aw heck, Europe rocks in general. ;)

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  6. Good morning, everyone!
    Connecting with Lindsay is a highlight for me these past few months--and it's not just because she's a writer-editor like me. :O) More than that, we've become friends. When we get to ACFW, she better expect a HUGE hug!
    It's a delight to be visiting on her blog, which is one of my must-reads.

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    1. Aw, Beth, you're too sweet! I'll gladly hug you right back!

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  7. Great interview, Lindsay & Beth!

    My favorite place to visit is France. I'm part of an exchange program with Le Bourget, which is just outside Paris. Every two years our cities exchange visits and I've been able to live in their homes and them in ours - it makes you realize how alike we truly are and is soooo much better than visiting a city while staying in a hotel room.

    I hope I win Beth's book!!! :)

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    1. How neat, Gabrielle! I've only been to Paris, and wasn't super impressed. I'm hoping to go back with my husband, though, so maybe it'll be more romantic this time around. :)

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    2. Seeing a city through the eyes of the those who live there is the best way to do it. People may travel through my little community in Minnesota and not see much past the McDonald's and Perkins out on the highway, but if they come along with me and see the heart of the town and my love for it, they will see so much more! I hope you get back to Paris some day, it really is a wonderful place.

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    3. Thanks, Gabrielle. Actually, my husband and I are hoping to do a Europe trip next spring. We want to hit London, Paris, and Rome. We'll see if it happens!

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  8. Kristin ElizabethMay 16, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    Okay, I seriously loved going to the Barrios in Rocky Point and being with those people. I joined two other ladies and we took clothing, toys and non-perishable food stuff. Those people were so grateful and the smiles were so big. My heart melted. Then we were surprised with some of THE BEST STONE COOKED BREAD EVER! I would drive back just for the bread. The experience was heart wrenching to see such poverty and at the same time so eye opening to see how those beautiful people rose above it. There was no anger. There were only gorgeous smiles surrounding us. And they loved oranges. The only perishable item we took. Oranges were like a true delicacy.

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    1. You have such a sweet and generous spirit, Kristin. I love how you are always thinking about others.

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  9. I would love to go ANYWERE abroad. Especially Ireland. Great interview, Lindsay. Great answers, Beth.
    pat at ptbradley dot com

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Pat! Ireland IS gorgeous. I loved Glendalough, where there are monastic ruins out in the country. Bea-u-tiful!

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  10. Love to travel. Hmmm, most favorite place? Too many to chose from.:-) Great interview! Enjoyed the book launch soiree last night, Beth!

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    1. The book launch was so neat, wasn't it? Thanks so much for visiting, Paula!

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  11. I love, love that your hubs dances with you!!! *swoon* And Australia would be awesome to visit. Don't enter me because I'm ordering your book.

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    1. Isn't the kitchen dancing the stuff of a good romance novel? I agree with your swoon! And yep, I'd love to visit Australia too.

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  12. My husband dances with me...for about 2 seconds before I dissolve into giggles because we're so bad at it. :-) Great interview. Love the llamas. :-)

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    1. Aw, that's still so cute!! And aren't the llamas fantastic? Thanks so much for visiting!

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  13. The best place I ever traveled...been to quite a few places, but the best was when the whole family was together--me, hubby, 6 kids (ages 3-12), 3 weeks, 6500 miles, and 1 van as we traversed from FL to CA and back again. So many fun things along the way!

    Loved the interview and Beth, you've got yourself a real keeper there! I think the most romantic things are the simple expressions of love for one another. So, enjoyed the soiree last night.

    brendon8@bellsouth.net

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    1. Oh my goodness, that must have been quite the trip! I'm sure you made lots of amazing memories. Thanks so much for visiting, Brenda!

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  14. Your hubby is so romantic :) I wouldn't mind hearing more about the "Praying in color" notebook.

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    1. Doesn't that sound intriguing, Ginger? Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today.

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  15. Dropping back by -- just celebrated my daughter, Amy's, birthday with lunch at Old Chicago's.
    Brenda's van trip sounds like quite the adventure. Our family did a road trip from Florida to Colorado (and back again) when my first three kiddos were younger. Of course, the AC broke on the return trip!
    And the Praying in Color technique ... I love it. Here's a link to Sybil MacBeth's website: http://prayingincolor.com/sybil-andy-macbeth

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  16. Oh, Beth, yes, our a/c died in Las Vegas on the return trip! I had forgotten all about that (mis)adventure. We spent an extra night in Flagstaff waiting for repairs. Ah, the memories...

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    1. Flagstaff is only about 2 hours north of where I live in Phoenix!

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  17. I haven't really travelled except in books and have been many places though the many wonderful authors I read! So, until I ha e the opportunity.... Keep them coming!

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    1. I know, aren't books the best for that? Love it! Thanks so much for visiting.

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  18. Glad I enticed you to the "Dark Side!"

    Can Steve and I double date on your trip to Australia?

    Congratulations on publishing such a wonderful book!

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    1. I'm glad you enticed her, too, Roxanne! Otherwise I probably wouldn't have met her. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. Yes, Roxanne, you did entice me to the Dark Side -- and held my hand when I wanted to bolt back across the middle line!
    :)

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  20. Stopping by after I saw the link on Beth's blog. I loved Baby Changes Everything and Wish You Were Here. Fun reading the interviews and getting to meet new bloggers and learn more about Beth's writing process. I loved being at the edge of Victoria Falls. The clouds from the falls and the roar of the water. Magical.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Stacy! Welcome here! And I agree...there is something magical and soothing about flowing water.

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  21. Hi, Lindsay. See you Saturday at the Susan Meissner workshop. The best place I ever visited was Stanley Lake in Idaho. Hubby, the three dogs, and I camped there in our new-to-us motorhome. The views of the snow-capped Sawtooth Mountains and the lake were spectacular. In May, it was sunny and mild in the mornings and would cloud up and rain or snow in the afternoon. We took walks in the forest in the mornings and would return to the motorhome for hot chocolate and books in the afternoons. It was a quiet and lovely retreat. Dana McNeely

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    1. Dana, that DOES sound lovely! Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you Saturday.

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  22. Okay. Don't laugh. My folks moved to the mission field in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, when I was 1 year old so I grew up "traveling." So my BEST place to travel was to America... because that was home where my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins lived; those family members I only got to see every 4 years. And that was where I could get Bubble Yum and Hubba Bubba and chocolate chips, real butter, APPLES, magazines, and Red Hots. I could actually go to a store and buy something off the rack, something I didn't have to order out of the Sears catalog and hope that I didn't grow too much in the 6-12 months that it took for a shipment to reach us (if it even arrived at all - customs agents often felt that the items in our crates were better doled out to the nationals then passed through to us). I loved knowing that my Grandma Hood would have her Noah's Ark cookie jar stuffed with her famous molasses cookies and ice-cold NON-POWDERED milk waiting for us when we came. I loved knowing Grandpa Hood would sweep us up and love us with his whisker kisses. I loved painting with Grandma Shyver's in her studio and eating Cheerios and salted green apples with Grandpa Shyvers early in the morning. I still do that today. I loved the smell of America - even after 26 years here, I can still catch a faint, lingering aroma of the way it smelled to me when I first stepped off the plane - a bit like apples and french fries and cherry blossoms.

    I've traveled a lot in my life and I've lived in many places, but there's something remarkable about traveling home, isn't there?

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    1. Becky, what a beautiful description! It sounds like you had a wonderful childhood, and yes, there is no place like home for sure!

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  23. We are creatures of habit and fond of family traditions, so we visit this place every year. It is called Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina, about an hour south of Wilmington, almost to Myrtle Beach, SC. We go the week of July the 4th, with almost all of my husband's family. It's now multi-generational, as my inlaws are 79 years old. I think at last count there were about 85 of us attending. I love the beach, the houses that we rent year after year and the rich tradition we are celebrating and teaching our children to celebrate, as well. -Heidi

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    1. That sounds amazing, Heidi! And to have so many family members there would be so cool. Thanks so much for stopping by today. :)

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  24. would love to read this fabulous novel...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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    1. You are so welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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  25. Cute interview! The book sounds like such a good read. I'm so glad God was in control of all those "nevers" ;)
    jnbischof at hotmail.com

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    1. It IS a great read, Joanne! I'm glad he's in charge of our lives and pushes us toward the "nevers" sometimes. He definitely stretches us, doesn't He?

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