Monday, November 5, 2012

Beth Kanell, All That Glitters

AUTHOR: Beth Kanell
BOOK TITLE: All That Glitters
PUBLISHER: Online (Wattpad)

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

Mysteries! I’m first of all a storyteller and have been since I was about ten years old. I love discovering the twists of plot, the growth of characters, and that delicious suspense of knowing you’ve got the evidence, but it hasn’t yet come together with a solution – and every extra minute of waiting makes the situation riskier!

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

What if Nancy Drew walked into your life today? What would be be wearing, driving, saying? If you were in Vermont, the way I am, Nancy Drew would look and sound like Felicity Franklin, college freshman, whose friends all call her “Lucky.” She’s trying on a new “urban” self in college in Boston, but she gets called home in an emergency: Her dad’s been shot, and her mother’s been arrested on suspicion of assault and maybe murder. Good thing she’s a pre-law student – but that might not be enough to untangle the situation, and her friends Michelle and Sandy are on the spot with her, all with cell phones and computers and connections humming.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing novels since my kids were small, but it’s only since they grew up and left home – that is, the past ten years – that I’ve brought my novels to publication. I’m also a long-time journalist (about 30 years or more) and a dedicated poet.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
My mother taught me to treasure a person’s story above all – and to savor the mix of adventure and relaxation that come with reading a lively mystery.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

I always know the beginning and the ending – and then I pull my hands apart, beginning in one hand, ending in the other, and look at the complicated strand that connects the two, and follow where it takes me.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
I need three parts at once: the plot, the characters, and the “issue.” In All That Glitters, Lucky Franklin needs her friends more than her family – but her family still needs her, even though she’s left for college. How do you balance your worlds, and how do you make your own space for growing and changing? Of course, that’s all in the background; the suspense for Lucky is, who’s threatening her dad? And why? And what criminal enterprise has been hiding in her parent’s two bookshops (one new books, one used) in the state’s capital city?
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

I’m one hundred percent on Lucky’s side – but I can’t help feeling sorry for her former boyfriend Roger, who’s determined to always live in Vermont and is doing his best to let Lucky go, for the career as a lawyer that means so much to her. That warmth when they connect in small moments makes me think there’s something almost irresistible tying the two of them together. On the other hand, it doesn’t take much to see what a disgusting guy Sean Perkins is, and the way he’s taken advantage of both of Lucky’s parents. And I’m terrified of the brutal guys who seem to be jerking Sean’s strings.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I write in the hours when I’m not “needed” by my paid work, my husband, my grown kids, and my garden. The hard part is stretching the day to make sure those writing hours appear! A lot of the time, they come in the middle of the night, and it’s tough to get up on time the next morning.
Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

Touring “behind the scenes” in the State House in Montpelier, Vermont, with a “girlfriend” (a retired executive who takes great photos!), made up a lot of the starting research for this book. Climbing into attics and up back staircases in other structures, checking out parks and a cemetery, and searching for data on some current “hot” controversies in Vermont make up the rest of the research, which I continue to do as I write. It takes me about a year to complete a first draft, and the way I’m writing All That Glitters, readers can see each chapter as it’s crafted.

Describe your writing space.
I have a small room at the far end of the house, over the garage, and the walls are lined with brown butcher paper so I can outline scenes directly on the walls – and pin up photos, news clippings, postcards, whatever feeds into what I’m writing. Along the top of the wall is a string of white “holiday” lights, to twinkle at me in encouragement. I love silence for writing, and some fresh air coming across the desk.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a workaholic! Either I’m writing, or I’m editing, or I’m connecting writers together – and the rest of the time, I’m reading, gardening, or fitting in a walk along the ridge.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?

Terry Tempest Williams, John Barth, Carla Neggers, and “Carolyn Keene” are all part of what I’m doing now. Better add some poets, too, like Anne Marie Macari and Adrian Blevins (women writing some of today’s great poems – they’ll be “famous” in a few more years), as well as Robert Frost.

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

To me, the hunger for stories (“narrative”) is part of being human. So in whatever form the readers choose, books are always going to be among us. I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring!
What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for

All That Glitters will wrap up this fall in first draft, and my newest completed novel, Cold Midnight (a murder mystery), should come out in November in both print and e-book form. Look for my earlier two novels: The Secret Room (2011) and The Darkness Under the Water (2011). Up ahead, The Long Shadow is getting revised and may become a 2013 title along with the finished version of All That Glitters.

What is your marketing plan?

I’m very excited about the plan for All That Glitters, because it begins with readers who are already following the story as it’s written (more than two thousand “reads” so far!).  The plan also includes a launch party in the state’s capital city, along with the two delightful “real” booksellers who became Lucky’s mom and dad in the book, plus outreach via a network of women execs – more on that, later. For the many readers who loved Nancy Drew when they were kids (and maybe continue to re-read those early books), I hope Lucky Franklin will give them lots of adventure and fun. And this is number one of a series of eight detective adventures planned for her!

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Soak up every kind of experience that appeals to you, and take notes in some form for each of them. (Sometimes my poems are my “notes.”) Then make time for yourself alone, to listen to what’s calling you from all that wide wonderful world. Write with passion and precision, and tell a good story.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Come visit at, and read Lucky Franklin’s detective adventures at

Synopsis for All That Glitters:  Nancy Drew for today? If you loved the old series, or have longed to see a "girl detective" that makes sense today -- at college, smart, driven to solve mysteries, tech-savvy, and with friends who'd (almost) die for her -- you'll enjoy the adventures of Felicity "Lucky" Franklin. An emergency call from her mother takes Lucky speeding back to Montpelier’s funky little capital city, where her dad’s been shot and her mom arrested on suspicion of assault, maybe even murder. As a severe November snowstorm grounds the city, Lucky and her friends Michelle and Sandy get threatened by what looks like some kind of drug ring – or is it? And is there some kind of secret room involved in what the criminals are up to, even in the building where Lucky’s family lives and works? Good thing Lucky and her friends are used to grabbing information off the Net, and documenting evidence as they go along. Lives are at stake, and the distraction of Lucky’s former boyfriend Roger (tracking the criminals!) can’t get in the way of solving the crime and making sure the police know Lucky’s mom is innocent. At least, that’s what Lucky hopes!

1 comment:

  1. Nancy Drew gave so many people their start on reading mysteries!