Hi Becky! Thank you so much for venturing to other worlds with me. I’m really excited about the interview, especially as we approach the anniversary of your ACFW Genesis Contest win. To get started, please tell me a bit about where you’re from.
I grew up in Southern California, but moved to Texas to attend college at Baylor University. Waco, Texas, was a big change from So Cal, and I always planned to move back to California, but God had other plans! I met my husband at Baylor, and we now live in Austin, which is a fun city. I miss my family, the beach, and the cooler summers, but California is invading our part of Texas, so at least I now have In-N-Out and Trader Joe’s! Plus, it makes a nice vacation to visit my family.
Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I love to travel, and have been to about twenty-five countries. My “Places to See” list is almost as long as my “Books to Read” list. Unfortunately, I’ll probably run out of time for both!
I’m one of those rare writers who hates coffee. If something even has a hint of coffee taste, I won’t touch it.
I’m a huge sports fan. I can spend all weekend doing nothing but watching football. My husband and I have season tickets for Baylor football and basketball. The rare times the Dodgers are on TV in Texas, I’ll stay up way past my bedtime to watch. And my newest obsession is American Ninja Warrior, but I have to record it since it’s on at the same time as Monday Night Football!
I’m amazed at how much we have in common. Okay, I’m not a world traveler, but I do hate coffee. And I’m definitely a sports fan, especially if my kiddos are involved. Of course, I love to read too. [big smile] I also enjoy watching film adaptations of my favorite books. What is your favorite film adaptation of a book? Why?
I’m obsessed with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies! I won’t admit how many times I’ve seen them. I first read the books as a child, and they remain among my favorite books as well. I’m not a total purist who objects to the length and number of films and additions to the plot. Instead, I choose to appreciate the stories in a different form.
What I enjoy about the movies is how completely they sweep you away into another world. The scenery, the settings, the costumes and makeup—every detail convinces you Middle Earth could be real. That’s what I love about book and movies, the chance to visit another place or time and get lost in a story. These movies do that for me every time.
Plus, the themes of ordinary people doing brave deeds are classic.
Wait. Middle Earth isn’t real?!? Really? I *think* I already know the answer, but what is your favorite genre to read? Write?
I mostly read YA [young adult] books, and especially love speculative fiction. Space travel science fiction and classic fantasy are my favorites within that genre. As for writing, I began with young adult fantasy and science fiction. But recently I’ve discovered contemporary YA might fit my voice better, so I’ve been exploring that a bit. I love writing for young adults, though. I enjoy the faster pace and the issues of becoming the person you’re meant to be. Plus, it feels like you can experiment more with crossing genres. Whether it’s reading or writing, I prefer books with a lighter tone and a happy, or at least hopeful, ending.
I definitely love hopeful endings, but the darker the journey the better, for me. What spiritual themes do you prefer to emphasize?
I love stories of journeys, whether that means an epic fantasy quest or a contemporary road trip book. I think this comes out in my writing. Journeys are where we find ourselves, where we’re tested and our faith is challenged, and where we hopefully see God work in ways we couldn’t have experienced if we’d never left home. My stories tend to reflect this, often with themes of discovering who you were made to be or learning that God has a bigger plan for your life. God definitely has a sense of humor—it seems like I don’t realize until I’ve finished a writing book that whatever my main character learned was actually something I needed to learn too!
So very true. Tell me a bit about your journey to publication.
Like many writers, I started writing when I was young. My mom still has notebooks full of my old stories. But by high school, I had stopped and it took until after college for me to think about writing a novel. And then I spent far too long thinking about it and reading books on writing, before God finally told me to stop thinking about it and just write, already! I’ve been writing seriously for about five years and have finaled in a few contests. Then last year, I won ACFW’s Genesis Contest, which was a huge honor and surprise. Right now, I’m searching for an agent. I would obviously love to find representation and be published, but I trust that it will happen in God’s time. For now, I can have fun writing without a deadline and telling the stories that grab me.
No matter how long the journey, God is in control. I’ve no doubt. What advice do you have for fellow writers (published and unpublished)?
Keep learning, keep writing, and be patient. Lots of people tell you the publishing industry is slow, so you have to learn patience. That’s certainly true, but I have an easier time accepting that. For me, the big thing is constantly learning to be patient with myself. It takes time to learn the craft of writing. It takes time to write a good book. But I have high expectations of myself and often wish I could “get there faster” or write a masterpiece overnight. You can’t fake hard work, so my advice is, if you love writing, keep working at it so you get better and always enjoy the process!
Becky Dean writes fiction for young adults. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has served as president of the Central Texas Chapter for almost four years. She won the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest, and was a double semi-finalist in 2011. For her day job in state politics, she has written articles and op-eds which have appeared in numerous state and local newspapers. When she’s not reading and writing, she loves to travel, be outdoors, drink iced chai lattes, and watch science fiction shows on TV.
To get to know her better visit…