Friday, October 16, 2015

Gritty...and successful

Young adult fiction writer, Beth Fehlbaum, is as gritty and determined as her young protagonists. Life hasn't been easy for this Texas author but she spares no effort in making it easier for others.

Beth is as as giving as they make them when it comes to the teens for whom she writes books and the YA authors with which she collaborates.

Beth Fehlbaum, founder of UncommonYA, teacher, wife, mother and author of Big Fat Disaster and The Patience Trilogy.

Welcome, Beth, to Magic of the Muses.

Briefly describe UncommonYA and what makes it unique.
Beth Fehlbaum
UncommonYA is a grassroots group author website. There is no cost to authors to participate, with the exception of “sweat equity,” and by that I mean members must contribute blog posts, share links to posts, and tweet/retweet the daily blog post link.

UncommonYA is multi-faceted:
·       It is a marketing support group for authors of traditionally-published edgy teen fiction who come together and support one another’s efforts
·       It is a resource for aspiring authors of YA fiction to learn from experienced authors, many who teach writing craft
·       It provides content to teachers, librarians, and teen fans of YA fiction.

We blog Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year. 

What does your group offer readers?
We offer the latest news about members and their novels, interviews with agents and editors, writing tips for authors of all ages, and special events such as contests.

Has UncommonYA evolved as you initially envisioned? Where do you dream it will be in five years?
I envisioned the site as being a place for fans of YA fiction to be able to learn more about their favorite authors and interact with them. One thing I really like about it is that in one place, readers can find book synopses, author biographies, daily blog posts, and I am especially proud that readers can find teaching guides, links to videos, and more, on one site. 

In five years, I hope to have predictably high daily traffic—right now our visitor count is variable. I would also like to see us expand our topics beyond primarily writing instruction and include more of authors’ personal viewpoints on current events and how those events relate to their novels.

How can authors become a partner in UncommonYA’s success?
Authors interested in joining us need to commit to blogging at least once a month if not more; they need to be active on social media and support everyone else’s work by sharing links, providing blog content, etc

In addition, they must be traditionally published. We set the parameter of being traditionally published because, while we acknowledge that there are quality books that are self-published, we prefer to have a gate-keeper of sorts. That gate-keeper is a book having made its way into a traditional publishing house and going through the intensive editing, revision, and professional layout that is standard in traditional publishing.  

In addition to running UncommonYA, you are an author. Of which personal accomplishment in your literary career (book or otherwise), are you most proud? (Aside from the creation of your author group.) 

I love my most recent novel, Big Fat Disaster, but my “heart” books are the three I wrote while in recovery from childhood sexual abuse. They are currently called The Patience Trilogy, but the name is likely to change when my new publisher releases them beginning early 2017.

The first book, Courage in Patience (1st edition 2008, Kunati Books), and the second book, Hope in Patience (1st edition 2010, WestSide Books) are out of print and the rights are reverted to me. The third in the Trilogy, Truth in Patience, has never seen the light of day. The publishers of Courage and Hope went out of business within a year, respectively, of the books’ publications.

I am most proud of The Patience books because they are the story of a teen girl’s recovery from childhood sexual abuse, and the books follow her journey from being broken into pieces to becoming whole. I was in therapy for six years, and, while the books are fiction, there are elements of the stories that I drew on my own life to write.

I cannot begin to express how joyful and peaceful I am that these three books have found a new home.

What’s really serendipitous about this development is that as this is happening, it seems that I am at last finding resolution with my mother, from whom I have been estranged since 2004 when I entered counseling. While the endings in the book and my life are not tied up with a neat little happy ending, they both have a HOPEFUL ending, and that’s more important to me than anything else.

HOPE does not necessarily mean that everyone ends up together, either. It means that hope has won over fear.

What personal literary achievement/s are you striving to reach within the next five years?
I would like to see The Patience books (again- considering a name change for them…) widely available; I will continue to write novels for teens that deal with issues traditionally left in the shadows, and I will continue to live my life authentically, even when it’s not easy.

Please offer authors and aspiring authors some sage advice.
Speak your truth.

UncommonYA’s link/s:

Your author link/s:

Other contact/purchasing links you’d like to share:
 Big Fat Disaster, Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience: Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

Gritty and successful has been brought to you by

Big Fat Disaster ~Beth Fehlbaum
 ", Raw, Real, and Incredible"

 "An emotional journey"

 "A realistic binge with a message of hope"

 "I loved this book!"

"Couldn't put it down"

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