Live Author Interview with Beth Fehlbaum
The evening started as normal with some general chit-chat, settling of nerves and getting comfortable. Soon the interview was underway! Here's how it went:
Dorothy....Beth welcome to womensselfesteem.com's interview of your book 'Courage in Patience'
Beth_Fehlbaum....Thanks! Great to be here!
Dorothy....Why don't you start by telling us where you are from and where you are at now...geographically speaking.
Beth_Fehlbaum....I grew up in the Dallas, Tx area and five years ago my husband and I moved our family to the East Texas area.
Dorothy....What inspired you to write your story?
Beth_Fehlbaum....I entered therapy 4 years ago to deal with childhood sexual abuse. I had kept it buried inside and under layers of fat for about 30 years.
So at age 38 I started therapy to finally deal with it. Through-out the process I had been writing stories & poems, kinda trying to deal with the pain and grief .
I felt about the way things had turned out, and one day my therapist suggested I try writing a novel. It took me about 4 months to pull myself out of my own head enough to be able to write about it from the observer's standpoint, but I was finally able to, and Ashley Nicole Asher, age 15, came into being.
Dorothy....Dr Matt who was the Doctor in the book...was he a made up character or is that a true part of your life?
Beth_Fehlbaum....The book is a work of fiction. I never had any therapy at all as a child. Yeah, he's a character only.
Dorothy....Ah...see how well you write...you had me totally fooled :)
Dorothy....How much of Courage in Patience is real?
Beth_Fehlbaum....I have the life experience to write a book like Courage in Patience. And of course I drew somewhat on my own life experiences. But the story is of Ashley Nicole Asher. for ex., my own parents were not teenage parents at all; they were married and I actually have an older brother. My parents did divorce, however they were in their late 20s when they divorced.
Dorothy....I understand more clearly now.
Beth_Fehlbaum....I was also entrenched with my family of origin until the last few years.
Dorothy....Who was your biggest supporter while you were writing your book?
Beth_Fehlbaum....My husband, therapist, and children are also fundamental supports in all aspects of my life. My therapist was probably my biggest
Beth_Fehlbaum....In terms of writing the book, that is. But that's mainly because he is the only person I shared the book with as I was writing it.
Dorothy....That is a very good thing...It is always nice to hear someone has had benefited from therapy.
Dorothy....What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Beth_Fehlbaum....Yeah, and I had tried to get help for the anxiety problems I had from the abuse I went through, but I wasn't really ready to deal with it and I did no t have the right conditions in my life until I was in my late 30s.
Beth_Fehlbaum....The hardest part of writing my book was writing the first two chapters which are the most detailed in terms of the abuse Ashley suffers.
Dorothy....The book, 'Iron Man' is quite a strong part of the story....where did you ever come up with that idea?
Beth_Fehlbaum....I am a teacher and I can't stand it when people are closed-minded about literature. I had the theme of living in the light of truth as the
path to freedom (in my book) and to me it seems that there are all sorts of ways that people lie to themselves. One way is when people pretend that just because they want the world to be a certain way, it will be so. And that's where the theme of censorship came in. I used "Ironman" b/c I am a huge admirer of Chris Crutcher (Ironman's author), and he gave me his blessing to use his book within my own as the point of contention for the censorship theme.
Dorothy....I commend you on that thought. I was very impressed with how the book unfolded into your story.
Dorothy....Where did you come up with the title, Courage in Patience?
Beth_Fehlbaum....Thank you. At the time, I think I was so guided by a "muse" of sorts that I don't even really remember it being a conscious decision-- some of the choices I made, that is.
Dorothy....I can understand that totally.
Beth_Fehlbaum....That's another one I'm not even sure I have an answer for. I was working on being braver in my own life, on being a more courageous person, and I can remember the ah-ha! moment when I realized the town needed to be called Patience, but other than that....
Dorothy....Again I totally understand....some things just are.
Dorothy....You also bring forth a lot of issues in regards to racism....did that come from your own experiences also?
Dorothy....How nice...you are correct in the fact that racism is a definite learned behavior.
Dorothy....Parents do create their own little monsters, don't they?
Beth_Fehlbaum....I think I have a deep-core of anger at injustice and it just pisses me off sooo much to see it when people are treated unfairly. I teach in a program that is bilingual and when another teacher and I were moved to another hallway that previously had not had the bilingual program in it, the attitudes from some of the kids was nauseating. I was quite nasty to quite a few kids that year. But things have greatly improved now.
Dorothy....You do have a passion within you Beth...I wish more people would be so passionate about the unfairness in our world to date.
Dorothy....Where did you get the idea for the cover of your book?
Beth_Fehlbaum....Actually I did not have anything to do with the cover. AND-- that's NOT me on the cover! most people think it is, I guess b/c of the hair looking kinda like mine does in the author pic in the back. I always tell people, "Honey, my upper arms have NEVER been that skinny!"-- anyway, my publisher,
Kunati Books, has an awesome creative director, Kam Wai Yu. Kam does all the covers & book trailers for Kunati books. So he came up with the cover.
Dorothy...That is interesting!
Dorothy....As you said earlier...people will believe what suits them.
Beth_Fehlbaum....I mean, I LOVE it! Actually, the weird thing is, it's not that far off from what I imagined it would be!
Dorothy....That's always a good feeling.
Dorothy....Do you plan on writing another book?
Beth_Fehlbaum....Yes, I'm working on the sequel, Hope in Patience, right now-- not as much as I'd like to be, but I do work full time & all that. But I am exploring further Ashley.
Dorothy....It is very suitable to the story.
Beth_Fehlbaum....Ashley's anger from being abandoned by her mom.
Dorothy....Oh great. You are one of my new favorites.
Beth_Fehlbaum....Thanks, I think so, and people have already expressed an interest in knowing what happens next, so...
Dorothy.....I look forward to the sequel.
Beth_Fehlbaum....Thank you! That's very gratifying to hear. It makes me want to buckle down and get to it harder than I have been!
Dorothy....Have you had to do much traveling to promote your book?
Beth_Fehlbaum....I am only now taking a break from the author tour I started in September & continued through Nov. I start again in Jan., then I plan to kick back and work more on the sequel. I have done mainly local signings but did one overnight trip and several 3-4 hours of driving-each-way trips. I enjoyed meeting people.
Dorothy....How long did it take you to write Courage in Patience?
Beth_Fehlbaum....About six months of hard writing, once I got started, then several months of editing while I was still working on it even when it was being shopped around. I learned SOOOO much through working with my editor, James McKinnon of Kunati. It's helped me immeasurably as I am writing the sequel.
Dorothy....Your editors are exceptional.
Dorothy....I noticed that before I reached the second chapter....You can pat their backs for me also.
Beth_Fehlbaum....James is great. When I received his first set of notes I was thinking, "OH MY GAWD, how did this even make it this far!?!" And thank you I will pass your kudos on to James.
Dorothy....One last question Beth....Is there any message that you would like to get out to your readers that have found themselves in abusive homes?
Beth_Fehlbaum....Whew! I would encourage them, if they are teenagers as Ashley is, to ask someone they trust for help. I never asked for help as a teen, and I think it would have made a world of difference (on all things mental and physical, if you get my drift) if I had. Trust is such an issue for abused people, obviously, and they assume no one will believe them. Well, I am a teacher now, and I can assure young people, you do have people in your lives who work with kids because they love them, and you do have people who care about you beyond what you learn or how well you do your homework. Reach out, because there is hope. Recovery is NOT easy, it is like a walk through hell at times, but I promise you it is worth it.
Beth_Fehlbaum....I would say that to abused people of any age-- because even if you are no longer actively being abused, it leaves scars on you that require the help of a competent mental health professional. Don't try to be your own brain surgeon.
Dorothy....Beth thank you so much for sharing your time, your thoughts and attending this interview. I do look forward to part 2 of Courage in Patience!
Beth_Fehlbaum....Thanks, Dorothy! Good night!