Friday, May 14, 2010

FRIDAY FREESTYLE, Beth Fantaskey Visits the Oasis!

OASIS for YA is excited today! We have our FIRST OFFICIAL AUTHOR INTERVIEW!! AND...

...BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter to win Jekel Loves Hyde!!
(Info for entry at the bottom of this post.)

She's a mother, college professor, avid traveler, and writer of the dark and paranormal of high school. Her writing has been described as 'ingenious' and 'suspenseful'. Please welcome the author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and Jekel Loves Hyde.

How long have you been writing? Was it always a passion or was it a craft you slowly grew to love? 

I didn’t start writing until I graduated from college.  I was an English major more interested in reading than writing – and, not surprisingly, without job prospects – so on a whim, I applied for a position as a political speechwriter.  I got the job, and I’ve been a professional writer for more than twenty years now.  Somewhere along the way, I moved from speech writing and public relations to journalism, and then wanted to try fiction.  In some ways it’s been a gradual evolution – but I will say that the first time I got a paycheck for writing, I remember thinking, “Wow... I’m a writer.  That’s amazing.  This is what I want to do.” 

Any insider tips for stress-release after a grueling day of writing, editing, or waiting for news?  

My secret weapon is reality TV.  I am addicted to “Top Chef,” “Project Runway,” and my very (fierce!) favorite, “America’s Next Top Model.”  (In more desperate moments, I have even been known to tune into “Shear Genius.”)  I don’t know what it is about those shows, but I get completely absorbed in the contestants’ dramas and put aside my own worries for awhile. 

Can you tell us a little about your writing process and how long it takes you to write your novels? 

Probably because writing has always been my job, I continue to approach novels like I would any other assignment.  I sit down at around 9 a.m. and start working, striving for a chapter or two a day, which usually takes me until about 3 p.m. – which happens to be when I need to pick up my kids at the bus stop, anyhow. 
I tend to write manuscripts with about 60 (sometimes short) chapters, so that allows me to work through a draft in about 40 working days.  When I have a looming deadline, I press to work faster, though...  

What is the best writing advice you can pass on to other aspiring authors? 

Practice every day.  I know I became a better writer because I’ve always had jobs that required me to keep typing.  I think writing is a skill that you can improve upon, just like you would get better if you practiced a musical instrument or a sport every day. I still feel like I’m learning a lot just by working. 

We know you love sampling ketchup from around the globe. Did your passion for red liquid contribute to all you writing about vampires in Jessica's Guide?
(We won't tell anyone. Promise. *Wink, wink*.) 

That’s too funny!  I never thought about that.  But it makes sense... especially since my favorite ketchup is from Eastern Europe.  Coincidence??  Perhaps not!

As mom to two girls only 13 months apart, how do you juggle sharing time with them with being an author and college professor?  

It helps that both girls attend school now during the day, and my husband is a college professor with a flexible schedule, so he definitely does a lot of child care.  I also only teach when I feel like I can fit it in.  (I took this semester off.) That said – our house is usually a disaster.  Dusting is definitely my last priority.  Along with updating websites, I guess!

Congratulations on the recent release of Jekel Loves Hyde. Your prologue and first chapter give a wonderful sneak peak into the books workings. Your writing is amazing. How did you find your style? 

Thanks so much for the congratulations and the nice compliments... you are way too kind!  

Since I write in first person (so far), my style is really based in my characters’ personalities.  I “hear” their voices in my mind and just try to turn them loose on the pages.  For example, in Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, when I wrote from the point of view of Lucius Vladescu, an arrogant, European vampire prince – who communicated only in letters – my style shifted compared to when I wrote from the point of view of the heroine, who’s a typical American high school girl (turned vampire princess).  The characters really dictated my style.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (your first book) seems very different from Jekel Loves Hyde (just released May 3rd). Where do your ideas come from? 

Jekel Loves Hyde is definitely darker and edgier than Jessica’s Guide, because the heroine in Jekel Loves Hyde has suffered a lot in her young life.  Her experiences give the book a more serious, intense tone.  I’m really not sure where my ideas come from, though.  When a book is done, I swear I look at it and go, “How did that happen?”

Please tell us that you have something else in the works. Can you give us a hint? 

Right now I’m working on the sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. The story picks up after the “mini sequel” on my website and will tell what happens next to Jess and Lucius – as well as Mindy and the new Italian surfer vampire, Raniero. Is he as “mellow” as he appears?  Hmmm....

Sounds intriguing and, uh...mmm...

BONUS QUESTION: You're stranded on a desert oasis...what one book would you want with you? 

That’s tough...  I am loyal to Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers,” but I think I would choose “The Count of Monte Cristo,” because I have a small crush on Edmond Dantes, and I would find some comfort in reading about his years of isolation – and (ultimately) triumphant return to society.

The covers to your books are beautiful. They lend a fantastic view of what's between the pages.

From Beth's website:
Jessica’s Guide is the story of an average American girl who learns that she’s destined to become a vampire princess… and betrothed to marry a handsome, charismatic – but dangerous – vampire prince. Jekel Loves Hyde is a modern twist on the classic tale about a chemical formula that unleashes monsters in those who drink it. 

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office.  But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, this good girl is tempted to peek inside, because the contents just might be key to winning a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away.  As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity.  Maybe his 
life.  As things heat up in the lab though, Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and will compel her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad. 

We'd like to thank Beth for spending this time with us and for sharing herself with us that we may share her with you. Best of luck in all you do, Beth.
Sheri, on behalf of the Oasis Team.

Want more of Beth Fantaskey. Visit her website, blog, view her book trailers (Jekel Loves Hyde below), or best of both books!!  But if you enter our GIVEAWAY and are the winner, you'll already have Jekel Loves Hyde!!

Enter by filling in the form below. 

Winner will be chosen by random counter on May 31st. Thank you for entering.



  1. Great interview, thanks for sharing Sheri and for giving it Beth.

  2. Waiting on pins and needles for Amazon to deliver my copy.

  3. Great interview and the book sounds SO interesting!!!

  4. Loved the 'not so typical' questions Sheri! BRILLIANT!
    BETH - the combination of the advice to write/practise EVERY DAY and the ketchup fad, has given me an appetite to eat burgers every it possible that I TOTALLY misconstrued the advice?

    The book looks SUPERB!


  5. OH - I forgot to say

  6. Lovely intreview, I thought Jessica's Guide was fantastic (and totally not what I was expecting) thank you for the giveaway!

  7. Great interview! I've had my eye on this book for a long time! I can't wait to read it!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  8. 5 entries. (I think I post this in comments? lol).

    Great giveaway! Thanks so much for sharing & wonderful interview.
    ambience.of.rain {at}

  9. I'm about a 1/3 of the way into the book and it's great! If you aren't the lucky winner, you must pick up a copy!


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