Meet Debut Author Avery Beck

Good things come in ones and twos for Avery Beck. One supportive hubby. Two active young sons. Two Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest finals. Two books sold. And one career off to a great start.

Avery sold her two-time GH finaling manuscript to Samhain Publishing in November 2008. In January 2009, her editor bought a second story. Sexy by Design releases in digital download in May of this year, For His Eyes Only in November.

A transplant from Missouri, Avery has lived in Texas twelve years. She wholeheartedly agrees with a popular bumper sticker slogan, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” She’s a Nickelback fan who loves hazelnut coffee but can be tempted by a non-fat gingerbread latte on occasion.

I met Avery though the 2008 Golden Heart Yahoo! group. We call ourselves the Pixie Chicks. Avery also finaled the year before and is proud to be one of the 007s as well.

I invite you to learn more about Avery and her journey to publication.

Avery Beck

Avery Beck

•Avery, when you began writing five years ago at age 25 and set the goal of being published before you were 30, did you expect to meet with such success just a few months before your deadline? What have been the most surprising aspects of your journey so far?

When a large publishing house responded to my early submissions with personal feedback and requests for additional work, I believed I’d make it by 30. I know editors have to send out a lot of form letters due to the large number of manuscripts they receive, and I was thrilled to discover I had enough talent to stand out.

What I didn’t expect, though, was how long I’d sit “so close” (to a sale) without getting a contract. I made the mistake of limiting my submissions to one house, one type of story, and it wasn’t until I sought other options that I found the editor who loved my book enough to buy it.

I’d love to write for two publishers. I’m still working with the first house, but in the meantime, I’m finally moving forward, and that’s a great feeling.

•I read that you’ve completed six manuscripts. That’s impressive in itself, but you wrote those stories while mothering two very young children. How do you fit writing into your days? Or are you one who sacrifices sleep for your stories? Can you write amidst the activity around you, or do you need solitude and silence?

I write series (short) novels, so six in five years isn’t all that prolific. I’d like to write faster, but at the moment, the kiddos do limit my time.

I do need solitude and silence to focus, so I write at night when they’re asleep, usually from 8 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m. I’m making progress, though—I used to depend on Vivarin to keep me functioning that late, and now I can do it with a cup of coffee. Okay, a few cups …

•Finaling in the Golden Heart is a dream of many romance writers. You’ve done so twice. What was it like to get the first call in 2007? Was it just as exciting to hear the news in 2008, or did you feel differently the second time around?

It was a huge dream of mine. Getting the call in ’07 was insanely exciting. I’d left my house for the sole purpose of doing something besides going online and watching people announce that they’d finaled. I was in the car when my cell phone rang. Calls were supposed to start at noon—it was 12:08, and an out-of-state area code. I was breathless and grinning before I even said hello. Thankfully, my husband was doing the driving! I still have all the messages of congratulations I received that day.

In ’08, I was smart enough to stay home so I could hear the caller (if she called) instead of a bunch of road noise. Same scenario—out-of-state area code, lots of happy dancing—definitely no less exciting. I expected less the second time—I knew a GH final didn’t equal a sale, but that didn’t dull the thrill of the honor at all.

"Pixies" Rachel Grant, Kris Kennedy and Avery at the Awards Ceremony at RWA Nationals 2008.

Pixies Chicks Rachel Grant, Kris Kennedy and Avery at the Awards Ceremony at RWA Nationals 2008.

•You’re an ardent supporter of the contemporary romance. What is it about the category that you like most? Do you have plans to write in another category at some point?

I’m a big fan of classic, straight-up romance—no suspense or vampires necessary. I need the positive read and the happy ending more than the drama. I like that a lot of contemporary stories could actually happen to someone. They’re realistic in a lot of ways, and they’re modern, fun, fast-paced … I also can’t stand doing historical research, though I have read a few amazing historicals. I’ll just never write them!

I’ve written one paranormal manuscript—though it features humans in the present time, so I call it a “contemporary with paranormal elements”—that I’m in love with. I really enjoyed the change of pace, and the story world is so fascinating that I’ll probably extend it into a trilogy—and hopefully sell it!

•Election Day 2008 will stand out as a high point in many people’s minds. That date will be etched in your memory for another reason, having been the day you received the news that you’d sold. I love to hear what it was like for a writer to receive The Call, so please share your experience with us. Where were you when it came? How did you react? What did you do to celebrate the BIG news?

My sale came as An Email, but that’s all right because it left me speechless. I’d been waiting a few months on my submission and had come across a post on my editor’s blog where she said she rejects 90-something percent of what she reads, so I feared for the fate of my manuscript.

I received the acceptance letter on election night when I sat down to check my mail after putting my kids to bed. My editor said she loved the story, along with those beautiful words, “I’d love to offer you a contract.” Swoon! I put my head on my desk and cried.

Then I told everyone I know, which was a blast. The Pixie Chicks were so enthusiastic and supportive. Some family and friends were under the mistaken impression that I’d be getting rich, and unfortunately, I had to set them straight!

•What’s been the biggest surprise about being a contracted author? How has your life changed now that you have an editor, deadlines to meet and promotion to think about?

I actually love deadlines. I work better knowing what needs to be done by a certain date. The only downfall at this point is the time promotion takes away from writing new stories. Luckily, I have those other five manuscripts already finished, and I’m sure I’ll find a balance soon.

•Your writing has a very distinctive flavor. How did your voice develop? Was it a gradual process, or did you start writing a story and think, “Wow! I found it”?

I was born with it. Seriously, I didn’t try to write the way I write—craft I had to learn, but voice just happened. I’ve always been a pretty strong writer, probably because I read two or three books a day growing up, so voice and story structure subconsciously made their way into my brain. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a contemporary writer within the same age range as my characters, so it’s very easy for me to get inside their heads.

I tend to believe an aspiring author should know her niche and where it fits in the industry, rather than toss varying submissions in every direction to see if one sticks (unless, of course, she’s very good at juggling several different genres—more power to her!)

My books are young, modern, lighthearted, explicit and sprinkled with humor, and of course, most of them are the classic, short contemporary romances I talked about before. It’s been that way from the beginning, so it wasn’t a matter of finding my voice so much as finding publishers that market such stories.

•Avery, here’s a fun question for you. Suppose a generous supporter offered to throw you a Texas-sized launch party in May with no limits on the number of guests or amount of the bill. Where would you hold your extravaganza? What would be on the menu? And suppose your supporter offered to fly in three romance writers of your choice as your special guests. Who would they be, and why would you choose them?

Well, this is Austin, so I’d have to say a huge party boat on the lake with gourmet Tex-Mex and lots of margaritas! As for guests, this doesn’t really answer the question, but I’d want all my writer friends flown in for the bash. I’ve met so many people I’d love to see regularly, but they live in different states and even other countries. These ladies have been such a source of support, and I’d love to get to know them outside the writing world. I’m sure we’d have a blast painting the town—I mean, the lake—even without the margaritas!

It’s been great having you as my guest, Avery. And now, in closing, is there a final comment you’d like to make or a question you’d like to ask?

Since we’re talking about my journey as a writer … at age 25, I realized I’d already been through the major milestones (college graduation, first home, marriage, baby) and had the rest of my life to do something with. People had always told me I should write a book, and romance is the only thing that can keep my attention for 300 pages, so Avery was born.

I’d like to ask you this: if you suddenly had all the time in the world, what would you do with the rest of your life? Any secret dreams you wish you’d pursued? (It’s not too late, you know!)

And thanks so much for having me here today!

Learn more about Avery

Visit her Web site: www.averybeck.com.

Read her blog.

Leave a Comment for Your Chance to Win!

I’ll choose a winner from those who leave a comment for Avery on 3/2-3 (and include an email address when prompted, which I don’t share), and will post the winner’s name 3/4.

Since Avery is a fan of the traditional contemporary romance, the winner will receive a wooden plaque that reads:

and they lived happily ever after . . .

Congratulations to the winner, Louisa Cornell.


HEA plaque

You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook!

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by your blog hostess, Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and March 31. Make sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On April 1, Keli will choose one person who will have her choice of five covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your “firstborn” in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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22 Responses to Meet Debut Author Avery Beck

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Avery. It’s great to have you here. I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing as we prepared for your interview.

    Like many writers, my dream is to see my name on the cover of a book. Unlike you, I didn’t begin writing with the goal of publishing a novel until my daughter was in high school. I hope to be published well before I qualify for senior discounts. Since I’ll reach the half century mark this summer, I’d better get busy. 🙂

    I’m so impressed that you set your goal at such a young age–and reached it. Congrats!!

  2. Sherrinda says:

    Great interview! I am always impressed by those who write with small children at home. I’ve got 3 teens still at home and their activities keep me busy after coming home from a full time job.

    If I had all the time in the world, I would quit my job and write, and write, and write. It would be a dream for me to really have some quality time to focus on my writing. I haven’t given up my sleep time to write since I have to get up at 5am every morning for work, but I sure admire people who do.

  3. Anne Barton says:

    Hi Avery! First, I’d just like to say I’m *very* psyched about the Tex-Mex margarita boat party. Can’t wait! 🙂

    I really loved your excerpt of “Sexy by Design” and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it. I didn’t realize you already had a title for your second book. “For His Eyes Only” sounds great.

    Congrats on the fabulous start to your publishing career! 🙂

  4. Avery Beck says:

    Thanks Keli, for the congrats and the invite to this blog!

    Sherrinda, that’s a dream of mine too. 🙂 I don’t work outside the home and I still can’t write during the day. I eagerly anticipate the day they are both in school full-time!

    Hi Anne! There will definitely be a party, even if it has to be a cyber-one. 🙂

  5. Great interview, Avery! Like you, I got little kiddos and I think it’s awesome that you’re able to write at night. And even though you write series (like me) six is a great pace. 🙂
    Congrats on your sale and your GH finals. I hope everything works out with the first publisher too. 🙂
    So, tex-mex. Is that like burritos and stuff?

  6. OH yeah, my dream is to write and read all day, with lots of chocolate on hand. 🙂

  7. C.J. Redwine says:

    What a fun interview! I loved your story of getting the news on election day. I can’t wait to read your novels!

    Of course, I’ll join with the other writers and say that my not-so-secret dream is to be published. I’ll even add to that and say that I really want to walk into my local Books-A-Million and see a display with my books right in front of the door. =D

  8. theresaragan says:

    Great interview, Avery!

    Hi Keli!

    Avery, congratulations on your sales! You’re on your way! I’m with you on needing a quiet space to write in. It’s tough writing with kids. I only have a 16 year old left at home, but the three older ones call me often…and I mean OFTEN. 🙂 And my husband works from home so it’s like having another kid here. I have to put a sign on my door when I really need to focus.

    Can’t wait to read all of your best-sellers!

  9. Hi Avery,
    I’m SO thrilled for you for all your recent success. You’ve sure worked hard enough. I’d wanted to be published by the age of 30, too. But I never did what I had to do to reach that goal (ie: WRITE). It wasn’t until I really started putting my nose to the grindstone a couple of years ago, that my dream happened at the ripe ol’ age of 43.

    Congrats on all your great news.

    :)Becky

  10. Hi, Avery! Cool story about getting the news on election day. 🙂 I love the part where you say you’ve had to set people straight that you aren’t rich now. LOL, do I ever understand that one! People at my husband’s work were asking him if he was going to retire. Um, ROFL! He sets them straight, and so do I.

    I’d do exactly what I’m doing. Twenty-five was the magic number for me too. It’s when I first began to write seriously. But then I let life and rejection get me down and I did other things for a while. Thank goodness I got back to it. 🙂

  11. Avery Beck says:

    Wow, I step out for a while and come back to a hoppin’ party!

    Jessica–for the most part, Tex-Mex is just Mexican food, but not authentic Mexican food. Personally, I don’t care if the enchilada is authentic, I’ll still eat it. 🙂 And oh, how I’d also love to have my fill of chocolate every day as I write…but we all know that would have dire consequences! (Especially when combined with the enchiladas!)

    CJ–Amen to the bookstore display!

    Theresa–dang, I have fantastic illusions that the kids will leave me alone when they’re teenagers. Don’t burst my bubble!

    Becky–I still don’t believe you’re 43. 😉

    Lynn–from what I hear about Presents, your hubby may be able to retire eventually. 🙂

    Thanks so much for coming by, ladies! You are all such great reminders of the best parts of this business.

  12. I do hope the rumors are true. 😉 But I won’t count on it.

    Congrats again on your sales!

  13. Excellent interview, Avery!

    I’m with those who can’t imagine writing as much as you do with little kids to care for. I did write when my kids were little, but nowhere near 6 books in 5 years. Egad.

    Congratulations on your sales to Samhain. May your career soar!

  14. Avery Beck says:

    I have to confess that most of the words in those 6 books were written in the first four years, before publishing industry cynicism set in. It seems the closer I got to selling without actually doing it, the harder it was for me to believe anything I wrote would get a “yes” instead of a “you’re good, but…”

    I just kept on keepin’ on, as all published authors advised me to do. 🙂

  15. Hello, Avery!! Waving the Mad Pixie Wave !! I am so excited for you and I am a bit in awe of ANYONE who can do something like getting published while raising small children. It really is the most important and toughest job there is (raising the kids, that is!) It’s all I can do to keep my dogs/cats fed, watered, up on their shots, bathed and dressed. (Yes, dressed. I have a chihuahua and two dachshunds who refuse to go outside without their coats on.)

    I love the “when are you going to be rich?” questions. They really don’t know, do they?

    If I had all the time in the world and could do anything I wanted I would write, write, write! My only real fear is that I will slip into senility before all of the stories in my head get down on paper. My goal was to be published by the time I was 50. (I started late!) BUT, I achieved the half-century mark in December so I will settle for Keli’s goal – publication before the senior discount at the movies!

    While I would want to spend all of my time writing, I would spend as much of the money I earned writing to turn our local animal shelter into a huge no-kill facility with its own vet clinic that would supply free or low cost medical care to pet owners who can’t afford it. So many older people or people on limited incomes have to give up their pets because they can’t afford the medical expense. Nobody should be deprived of the comfort and companionship of a pet because of money.

  16. Avery Beck says:

    Hi Louisa, the shelter is an awesome idea! I know so many people who could use something like that. I hope you get to do it someday!

  17. Kelly Gay says:

    Hi Avery,

    Great interview! Gratz on all your success!

    Kelly — who is now craving a margarita and it’s way too early in the morning for that! 😀

  18. Susan Mason says:

    Hi Avery,

    Loved your interview. I just checked out Samhain’s website and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know why but I thought they did mostly erotica. But it looks like they have a huge variety.

    Will your books ever be in a bookstore, like Barnes & Noble, or are they only available through the internet?

    Anyways, congratulations on the start of what looks like a very promising career! Best wishes,

    Sue (another Pixie)

  19. Kit says:

    Hi Keli!

    Hi Avery, Congrats on all the successes. Awesome photo too.

    Keli, fab interview as always!

  20. averybeck says:

    Hi Kelly and Kit! Thanks for coming by!

  21. Keli Gwyn says:

    What fun to see so many Pixies dropping by to visit with Avery. And welcome, Cindy.

    I held the drawing, and the winner of the HEA plaque is Louisa Cornell. Congrats, Louisa! I’ll be in touch.

  22. Avery Beck says:

    Sue–sorry I missed you earlier! Yes, Samhain publishes all genres of romance, from sweet to erotica. The May release is digital, but the book will be released in print sometime next year. Thanks for stopping by!

    Congrats Louisa! 🙂

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