Beth Barany was one of my first author interviews back in 2012. I happened to meet her at a local event recently, where I found out the book I featured, HENRIETTA THE DRAGON SLAYER, is now a completed trilogy. Have a look:
Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can’t stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?
What if everyone you loved was threatened by a force you couldn’t see or fight?
Henrietta the legendary dragon slayer wants to return to her village for a heroes’ welcome. But an unknown sorcerer rides after her and her Dragon Stone and aims to destroy everyone she cares about. Can she claim her newfound powers sparked by the Dragon Stone and keep her loved ones safe, or will the sorcerer destroy everyone and everything she loves?
Franc will follow Henrietta anywhere. But on a mission to find allies among the Horse People, he is kidnapped and taken to the worst place possible — the stronghold of the evil sorcerer Eyvindir. Will he find the strength and courage to survive, and fight again at Henrietta’s side?
Paulette, the young fire witch, must stand trial for a murder committed out of desperation. In despair at her imprisonment and betrayal by her dearest friend, Jaxter, she escapes and flees to the frigid, forbidden land of Varangia to find a witch powerful enough to help her finally master fire. But what must she give up to gain the power to aid her friends?
Jaxter, now a king, must come to terms with the heavy responsibilities of ruling the Oro Islands, newly emerged from over 75 years of evil rule. This means doing right, even when it’s as difficult as placing someone he loves in a prison cell. Worse, the marauding Varangians press at his borders. He must find a way to defend his home, or none of them will survive.
Will Henrietta and her friends be able to stop the ruthless sorcerer from obliterating her, claiming the Dragon Stone, and ruling over the Five Kingdoms?
In our last interview (from 2012), you said you were working on a contemporary paranormal story for teens set at Sonoma Valley High. What, if anything, became of this story?
I finished the story and sent the first three chapters to my critique group. They poked a lot of holes in it, making many good points. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to resolve the problems they pointed out, so I set this book aside. It’s been waiting on the back burner ever since while I work on other projects that are more ready to be born. I’m not sure when I’ll go back to it, but I will someday. It’s still a project near to my heart.
Mine too. I’m sure every book is meant to come in its own time. HENRIETTA AND THE BATTLE OF THE HORSE MESA is the final book in the Henrietta the Dragon Slayerseries. How did Henrietta’s story develop in ways you didn’t expect?
When I started the Henrietta the Dragon Slayer series, I had no idea how it would develop. I only knew I wanted to create a wonderful adventure with a strong woman as the main character. What I didn’t expect was how Henrietta would grow from being a loner to being part of a group of people she cares very much about. I also didn’t expect the trilogy to take 13 years to write and publish. I had no idea how long it would take! Lastly, I didn’t expect that more Henrietta stories would want to burst forth, even today. You can read the first chapter of the award-winning first book in the series, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer here: https://author.bethbarany.com/free-excerpt-to-henrietta-the-dragon-slayer/.
Sounds like Henrietta went on The Heroine’s Journey! You’ve also said that it is important to give (and receive) critique that both encourages writers to trust their instincts while allowing them to pay close attention to the craft of writing. Is this still true, and in what ways, if any, can it be difficult for writers to maintain this kind of balanced mindset?
Yes, I think it’s still true that it is important to give and receive critique that both encourages writers to trust their instincts while allowing them to play close attention to the craft of writing.
It can be difficult for writers to maintain this kind of balanced mindset. As to what ways, if any, it be difficult for writers to maintain this kind of balanced mindset… It’s easy to take critiques as a deep jab to the soul and feel that you’re a bad writer, therefore a bad person. If you fall into that abyss, it’s easy to stop writing because you think, Why bother? What’s the point? Some writers get lost here, give up on writing, and never recover. Other writers get stuck on trying to write the way their critique partners suggest, thinking that those people’s feedback is gospel, and most be followed to the letter, even if the feedback is contradictory. I go deep into more ways in which writers twist themselves up in knots in this two-part series here: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2018/01/31/6-types-of-writer-pain-you-could-be-in-by-beth-barany/.
I think the first step to finding balance is to think deeply about what emotional impact you want your story to have on your reader. That is what we write toward.
It’s up to the author to think about the desired emotional impact they want each scene and the overall story to have. With that feeling state in mind, you can make character, story, and craft choices. And if you’re not sure if your choices in writing craft generate the impact you want, then you test your work on trusted readers and writing partners,
Sometimes creating the emotional effect you want means you break writing rules or sentence structure rules or grammar rules. If your choices serve the overall emotional impact, it’s our job as creative writers is to break those rule, in the service of telling an awesome story.
As a writing coach and teach, I help you find your voice and your creative process, all in service of creating fabulous stories for your readers. To that end, I offer classes, workshops, and other resources for novelists here: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/.
Excellent tips. What are some of your current projects?
Currently I’m working on a four-book science-fiction mystery series. I wrote the books a few years ago and have been revising them ever since so that I can release the series in quick succession. I’m still working out the specific release dates. More details here: https://author.bethbarany.com/coming-soon/.
As a passion project I am also writing TV scripts for Henrietta Dragon Slayer series continuing adventures. I wrote one script last year and plan to write another this year. My daydream is to produce these myself. Since it’s a passion project, I’m taking my time with it.
I’ve also been planning my next Christmas elf paranormal romance story in my Touchstone series. There are already five books in the series of magical tales of romance. More details here: https://author.bethbarany.com/christmas-magic-a-christmas-romance-collection-two-touchstone-series-books/.
Lastly, on the back burner I’ve been doing research into a paranormal romantic suspense series where I’m devising my own goddess religion and retelling of how the goddess-oriented societies got squashed in ancient human history. I have the first book in that series written and I am planning out nine more. (Two of the current Touchstone books are prequels to this series: Touchstone of Love and Labyrinth of Love and Roses.)
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy, paranormal romance, and soon science fiction mysteries. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.
For fun, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with a piano, their cats, and over 1,000 books.
When not writing or playing, Beth runs her own company helping novelists as a book coach, speaker, and teacher to help them write, market, and publish their books to the delight of their readers.
Get notified with Beth releases her books here: