Today I got to do a super fun interview with the fantastic, hilarious, and adorable Beth Hammond. She is the author of The Sound of the Stones, which is available to purchase TODAY. While I am pretty socially awkward, Beth via email managed to put me at ease, which is not an easy feat, and I felt comfortable asking her a few unorthodox questions. Thank you for your willingness to put up with my cheekiness, Beth!:)
Without further ado, let’s get to know her a little better.
Describe your life. In sitcom form.
Beth’s your typical middle-aged woman clutching to her thirties like a horse’s lips stretch for hay through a fence. But behind the frazzled hair and worn out legging she hides a gift. Armed with the ability to break out in random song with lyrics that fit any situation she battles her children’s teenage frustration, the marital rut, and her dog’s bad breath.
Middle-aged Weekly says: “Viewers will be gob smacked. It’s a show about nothing. Seriously, don’t watch it.”
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Three years ago I went in search of a specific book. *Cue dramatic music* It had to have just the right story line, just the right characters told in just the right voice. Say “just” one more time Beth and I’ll slap you. Guess what? I couldn’t find it. Did I read some great books while searching? Yes, but they were not the one I was looking for.
After finishing two series that were particularly fantastical I was left empty. You know that, “I just finished the most awesome book and now I have to face the real world again,” feeling? Yea, me too. I moped around for a week or so. The search for that one perfect book was still a futile mission. Then it hit me. Write the book Beth. What? Write the book? Yes, write the book. I looked at my husband and said, “I’m going to write a book.” There was not a thunderous, “ the clouds split and lighting came from the sky,” moment. There was just me, an idea, and the determination to write the book I always wanted to read.
Why YA Fantasy?
Fantasy because I just can’t think of a story worth telling without at least some bit of magical sparkle darkle. And YA because:
I’m that girl wearing a blanky tied around her shoulders, and wielding a foam noodle like a sword.
I’m still that girl in high school with valid, intense emotions, even if don’t understand them, waiting for adults to recognize that I am, in fact, NOT a moron.
I still channel that college girl who can’t believe she is adluting, and has a deep seeded fear that at any moment the world is going to recognize that she’s a fraud.
I’m that girl in her twenties having her first child and asking, “How am I going to raise this child when I still feel like one?”
I am that woman who stops in her tracks now and again and looks in the mirror thinking, “where has the time gone?” I still feel like those girls up there!
Tell us about your book.
It is approximately 82,000 words long, rectangular, weights 1.06lbs and smells like paper. Also, I may have a reference to a fart somewhere around chapter 6. What? Don’t look at me like that. I know what you meant.
The Sound of the Stones
The ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key. She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:
In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever-present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.
Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.
“The set of her jaw said angry, and her eyes spoke of fear. But behind the fear, pulsing from within and reflected in the way she held her shoulders, lived strength.” – The Sound of the Stones
Why should we read your book? What does it have that sets it apart from others in the genre?
“Don’t write what you think will sell. Write what you want to read.” – Beth Hammond
Ok Beth, why on earth did you just quote yourself? Well, I’ll tell me why. Because that quote embodies the reason I wrote “The Sound of the Stones”. I wanted to read a fantasy that had romance but didn’t use it as the main focus. I wanted to read a fantasy with a main female character that felt real. I wanted to read a fantasy that had humor sprinkled in as a spice to liven up the darkness. If you want perfection, I’m not your girl. If you want a sappy love story, move along and I wish you well. But if you’re looking for a fantasy that tells a tale reminiscent of classics like “The Never Ending Story” then we might be twins. Wait, what color shirt are you wearing?
Oh, and one more thing, if ridiculous humor thrown in at the most awkward moments makes you roll your eyes, don’t read this book. You’re welcome.
You did your own (gorgeous) book cover and illustrations. How long have you been an artist?
Thank you for the compliment. I have always dabbled in art from photography, chalk drawings, pencil work, digital manipulation, and even clay or other physical mediums. The thing is I never did anything with my love for art until I had children. I lived vicariously through them, and rediscovered the passion I have for creativity. The illustrations I did for both my cover and inside work in my book started as a diversion when rewrites and edits made me feel like slamming my head into the table repeatedly. Illustrating is my guilty distraction. My head thanked me for it. Oh, and you know what I suck at? Stick figures. I can’t draw a good stick figure to save my life.
If you were to turn your book into a movie, who would you cast in the main roles?
I…don’t know. That’s a horrible answer isn’t it? Ya think Beth? The people I see in my head, that live there and talk to me at the most inopportune times…they’re…them. So, for lack of a better answer I would scour the dankest, darkest joints hosting off Broadway plays, looking for unknown talent. I would cast “a diamond in the rough”. <- I heard the voice of the tiger from the cave of wonders scene in Aladdin when I wrote that. Don’t lie. You heard it too.
What are your current projects?
All of the things! Well, some of the things anyway. The second book to follow “The Sound of the Stones” is written and ready for revision. The third and final book is partially written and glaring at me from the screen of my computer.
I have a short fantasy coming out in an anthology this October called “Wren in the Mist”.
I’m producing a “Writer’s Edge” podcast for a writer’s group I’m in. We plan to release our first season in October to coincide with the release of our “Hero” anthology.
Last but not least, I’m working tirelessly to hone my skills in stick figure art. One day…one day I will draw a little stick guy worthy of my child’s paper.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading several things, the YA fantasy series “A Healer’s Tale” by Eric E. McClure, and “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch. I’m rereading “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon, and “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. Why so many at once? Because books.
Where can we find you on the web?
You can find me at:
Website – bethhammond.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorbethhammond
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BethHammond0o0