The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived – The Fair Queen is now available on Audible as an audio book!
I want to say a huge, enormous thank you to the wonderful and talented Olivia Barnes-Brett, my narrator and producer, for putting together such an incredible book. I’ve listened to the whole thing and couldn’t quite believe that it was my story I was listening to. Olivia has given the story and the characters life, her voice is absolutely perfect for this tale of an enchanted middle-England.
If you’re a huge audio book lover, you can get the book here:
It’s free with a 30-day trial of Audible or your monthly membership credit, and if you already own the ebook it’s just £3.47!
Plus there might even be some free review copies available to my email list subscribers, so if you’re interested in listening for free in exchange for an honest review, then click here and sign up to Letters from the Fair Realm:
Happy Sunday friends, how was your week? I hope you’re taking the time to rest and recuperate before next week, you deserve to take it slow today and refill your cup, whether that’s reading a book, taking a nice, hot bath, going for a long walk, or playing your favourite music at full blast and dancing around your kitchen. (I’ll be doing all of those things, and going for a big roast dinner at the pub later, too!)
Today, I want to introduce you to an incredible woman who is not just a brilliant writer and a huge supporter of indie authors, she’s also a really inspiring human.
Meet Bekah Berge, author or Needlework and Sedendum, and one of the amazing authors I’m working with on Once Upon a Name!
Hi Bekah, thanks so much for joining me today! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi everyone, my name is Bekah Berge and I write YA and NA fantasy. When not writing, I am often found reading or trying out a new vegan recipe. I also have a rare chronic pain condition called CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) that can make life a little more complicated…
YA fantasy is my favourite genre, and I love trying new recipes! I’ve seen your posts about CRPS on social media and it sounds like such a tough condition, I admire you so much for facing it head on and still going after your dreams! So, when did you start writing and what inspired you?
I began writing a little over 10 years ago. I had been crafting stories in my head for years, but never thought of becoming a writer until one day when I decided to put my thoughts on a page. Over 400 pages later, I had my first book. It was awful with several plot holes, but I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to start writing another story. Now, over a decade later, I’ve written eight books and published four of them.
Wow, eight books! You’re a total writing veteran. What would you say is your favourite book or genre?
My absolute favorite book of all time is Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey. I love reading fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, rom coms, biographies, and a few classics. I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers, as well as anything set in or involving Egypt.
Enemies to lovers gets me every single time. I haven’t read Brightly Burning but I’ll have to check it out! I love getting book recs from the authors I interview, they’re always the best. Can you tell us about your first published book?
My first published book was The Whisperings in the Shadows, which is part of the Shadow Series. It’s a fun series for me to write because my hero and villain are the same person. You’ll have to read it to learn more.
Ooh, that sounds very intriguing! I can’t wait to read it. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings?
For me, inspiration often comes in the form of music. Other times I’ll be inspired by a piece of poetry or (strangely) when I’m cleaning. People would be shocked by how many storylines have come to me while cleaning the kitchen.
I get most of my ideas while doing mindless tasks like cleaning too, or out walking the dogs. Something about nature and no distractions, it’s my prime creative time. Are you a plotter, pantser or plantser?
Me too, I need a good, strong outline to keep me on track while my mind wanders off on a tangent! What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two short stories going in two different anthologies, as well as a few other projects that I’m keeping close to my chest for now.
Exciting! I can’t wait to read your story for Once Upon a Name, and to find out more about your upcoming WIPs! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Figure out your “why” with the story. Why are you writing it? Why should readers care? Why is the character making that decision? Why does it drive the story forward? Once you know your “why” I think the story blossoms into something really magical for readers.
That’s great advice, I definitely think motivation is really key to a story that grips readers and stays with them long after. So many books feel just slightly flat because the ‘why’ either isn’t there or isn’t credible enough.
Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Bekah! Before you go, how can we find out more about you and your books?
Visit my website CRPSBookshelf.com to learn more about me and my books. I am also very active on Instagram and all four of my books are available on Amazon.
Like Bekah’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/crpsbookshelf
Bekah is currently raising funds to help her with the cost of her treatment for CRPS at the prestigious Spero Clinic. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition or know someone who does, then you’ll know how challenging and debilitating it can be. If you can spare just a few dollars to help Bekah reach her fundraising goal, I know it will be so appreciated!
And, of course, you can buy Bekah’s books too! Her newest release, Needlework, is a dark fantasy about a music festival and two ambitious young musicians, with themes of mental health and overcoming traumatic experiences. It’s a slow burn romance filled with secrets and the looming threat of war, with fully-formed characters and beautiful, descriptive writing.
Once Upon a Name is still available to preorder for just 99c, and will be released in April 2022. Bekah’s story, Salty Sweet, follows Norenia Scarlettreasure as she enters into a cooking competition against some shifty and shady fairy creatures!
The title might be a little misleading, I guess it should read “why consistency is just as good as originality”. But when it comes to your writing and publishing career, especially if you’re an indie author, then consistency really is king.
For readers, a book that gives them a completely new perspective and a fresh take on the genre is amazing. But they might love it just as much as that other book that features all their favourite tropes and feels like a warm hug every time they reread it.
And which one can you write more quickly and easily, and publish more often? I’d say for most of us its the consistent book rather than the original book.
Consistency makes a publishing career
As an author, you might have a few truly original books inside you, and I absolutely encourage you to write them! But they can take years to finish because you need the right inspiration, the right headspace, and let’s be honest, we’re much more particular about these special books-of-our-hearts – the weird little WIPs we’re nervous to share in case nobody else likes them – than we are about the ones we know people will love because we’ve put the old, tried-and-true tropes to work.
Your readers love your writing, your voice, your world-building and storytelling. And their absolute favourite thing? When you bring out a new book. So give them what they want and consistently write and publish, don’t keep them waiting because your shiny, original story isn’t quite perfect yet. Get it perfect in the moments of inspiration and flow, when the muse is kind and the sun shines on your soul project.
But in the gaps between, write that comfort book. Employ all of your favourite tropes. Fan of friends-to-lovers? Write it. Secret royalty? Give it to us. And don’t feel bad if it’s not the most original, earth-shattering, mould-breaking story you’ve ever told. We all need those books that feel like coming home and putting on our oldest, cosiest sweater.
Original is overrated
You’ve probably heard that there’s nothing original left in this world, and it’s not far wrong. The rare book that comes out and shakes up the industry, turning everything that’s gone before it on its head, is all the more exciting because it’s just that – rare.
Humans love familiarity. We love comfort. Our brains are really stressed out by the new and different. There’s a reason why tropes are a thing, why so many stories follow the same old patterns and yet are still told centuries, if not millennia, later. It’s because we love them, they make us feel safe, they give us an experience we crave, which is to know how it’s going to end, how the story will turn out, and where the twists and turns will come.
Storytelling is the oldest method of spreading news, warnings and information. Hearing the same story, told in different ways, over and over again, is how we learn. So don’t shy away from retelling, tropes, and even prequels, sequels and tie-in series that fans of your other books will love.
It might be fan-service, but at the end of the day, we’re here to serve our fans, so why not give the people what they want?