Bethany Turner has been writing since the second grade, when she won her first writing award for her essay explaining why, if she could have lunch with any person throughout history, she would choose John Stamos. Do-gooders all around her chose Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, but it was Bethany’s ode to Uncle Jesse which walked away with the prize. More than 25 years later, her writing is still infused with pop culture and off-the-beaten-track ideas.
Bethany is a born and bred Kentucky girl who relocated to Colorado in 2001, three years after meeting the love of her life in a chat room, back before anyone knew that wasn’t always a good idea. Thankfully, it worked out in this case, and she and her husband are the proud parents of two boys. In 2014 Bethany walked away from her career as a bank vice president to step out in faith as a writer. Since then, God has not only opened doors in the publishing world, but has also called her to full-time ministry serving on a church staff. She is an innovative systems administrator for a rural church that is passionate about reaching the unchurched.
Bethany’s debut novel for Revell is a romantic comedy which stays true to her pop culture roots, and will be published in October 2017. Her home on the web is www.seebethanywrite.com.
Bethany is proud to say that John Stamos regularly ignores her on social media, even to this very day.
Welcome to the blog, Bethany. I’m so excited to have you here today. I LOVED meeting you at ACFW recently and can’t wait to talk about your book! Congratulations on today’s release of your debut novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. 😉
Thanks so much for having me, Savanna! It’s hard to believe this day is finally here!
When did you first get the idea for this story?
A few years ago, there were some books released which fell squarely into the genre of erotica, and yet they took over the mainstream. The author of the books became very rich, very quickly, and it seemed that everyone had a very strong opinion about these books, on one side or the other. And the thought popped in my head, “How would the world react if that author suddenly announced that she had turned her life over to Christ? How would she balance her reputation, and the reputation of those books, with her new desire to contribute good and light to the world?” And then it went a step further as I wondered what it would be like to be a Christian man falling in love with a woman with that stigma attached to her name.
I love that! I’m so intrigued!! 😉
Did you come up with the title? If not, can you share with us the previous title you had picked?
I didn’t, actually. Credit for the title, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, belongs entirely to the team at Revell. My original title was “Middle Ground,” and while that certainly isn’t the catchiest of titles, it always seemed right to me. Sarah Hollenbeck is on the search for middle ground in all areas of her life. With her newfound salvation, she tries to leave her previous life behind in favor of a Christ-centered life, but a complete 180 just isn’t the most realistic thing to pull off overnight, no matter how sincere your faith. But, once they threw The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck at me, it was very much an a-ha moment. Yep. That’s the title. When it’s right, it’s right.
That’s so neat! I always love hearing what titles an author came up with. It adds another level to the story.
Do you relate to one character more than the others? If so, can you explain why?
On one hand, particularly as it relates to the spiritual issues, I relate to Ben Delaney. Like Ben, I was raised in church and am extremely settled in my faith – not in a mundane way but in an “it’s who I am and all I’ve known” sort of way. And, like Ben, though my faith is secure and my relationship with the Lord is strong, I’ve had my moments of shouting at God when things don’t go the way I believe they should, before ultimately returning to that first love. But personality-wise, I am Sarah Hollenbeck. Stubborn, passionate, and armed with a movie reference for every occasion.
Can I just stop and give you a hug?! 🙂
Many readers enjoy picking their favorite quotes from novels. Do YOU have a particular favorite quote from “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” that you can share with us?
That’s so hard! If I have to pick just one, I’ll go with, “Not being completely alone together had been rule number one and had obviously been treated with all the seriousness of that law in Michigan that says a woman can’t cut her own hair without her husband’s permission, or the one in South Dakota that makes it illegal to sleep in a cheese factory.” So absurd, and so Sarah Hollenbeck.
Ha! Love it! I just “met” Sarah and I already like her. 🙂
What will you do to celebrate your new release?
It’s a busy day! In addition to tons of online celebrations, of course, there will also be a local release party. I’ve just got the best, most supportive family and friends surrounding me, and they’ve been with me since the beginning on all of this. I’m excited to spend time with them and just have a great time! It’s not every day that my dreams come true, so I intend to make the most of it.
That is wonderful, Bethany! We’re so glad you could swing by here and chat for a few. Hope it’s a great day in every way! 🙂
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
As of this moment, I actually don’t have another publication lined up – but I do have the next manuscript completed. It’s a romantic comedy about a woman who meets a stranger in a coffee house and they make plans to each achieve their dreams and then meet back in the same place, ten years later. That’s all I’ll say at this point, but it was a fun one to write, and I look forward to sharing it when the time comes. For now, I’m just going to thoroughly enjoy every moment of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck being in the world!
Ahh, that sounds like fun! Praying for your writing journey, Bethany. And congratulations again!! I’m looking forward to reading your book soon! 🙂
Bethany has graciously offered to give away a copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends October 10, 2017. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉