I was very excited to do this month’s interview. I’d read Beth Yarnall’s book, Rush, over the summer and let’s just say I was late going back to work on my lunch break because of that. So when I saw her name listed I jumped at the chance of getting to know more about her book. So grab your cup, sit back and enjoy.
Welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Beth Yarnall and I’m a teaholic. I’m also a wife and mother of two sons. I love to read, knit, and go to antique swap meets. I live in sunny Southern California where I was born and (mostly) raised.
We won’t hold your tea fetish against you here at Coffee Time, besides I’m a big time lover of Earl Grey. So tell us more about your book. Rush is a romantic suspense about of Miyuki Price-Jones and Lucas Vega. Where did you get your inspiration for the story?
I was watching TV late one night when I came across a Home Shopping Network type of show that sold adult toys. I imagined the two women who hosted the show probably got a lot interesting mail and from there the story grew. I gave my heroine, Miyuki (Mi), a stalker and a religious group trying to shut the show down. With all of that going on she needed a bodyguard of course… cue my hero, Lucas.
I’ve seen some of those late night shopping channels and thought it was great that you gave Mi a very interesting job. Have you ever held a job that interesting?
I wish! Probably the most interesting job I had was when I worked for Estee Lauder in a very posh mall. I met a lot of celebrities and their families. Some of them were nice some of them not so much. Our favorite was Mrs. Martin, Steve Martin’s mom. She carried a photo of Steve in her wallet. So sweet.
How cool is that! It’s great hear about celebrities with loving families. In Rush, both Mi and Lucas have difficult family relationships they have to overcome. Is there a certain message of healing you hoped to convey?
Family helps shape who and what we are. You can let tragedies in your past take over your life or you can learn from them and move on stronger than before. Lucas and Mi find that even though they come from very different backgrounds, they have a lot in common. Together they learn to cope with their pasts so they can build a future.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the different ethnic backgrounds of Mi and Lucas. Is there a reason you wrote such a diverse cast of characters?
I live in Southern California, which is very ethnically diverse. All of my stories feature people I would see in my everyday life. I feel lucky to be exposed to so many different kinds of people. I guess you could say that write what I know.
Well you write it very well! Now, on to hero of the story. Lucas is a large man and ex-Navy Seal, yet he was gentle when it came to Mi. Why do you think the idea of such a strong man being delicate with the woman he loves strikes a chord with women?
I think it’s the dichotomy. It’s like those photos of shirtless, muscled men cradling tiny babies in their arms. The image of a strong, capable, sexy man being gentle and tender is very appealing. Lucas could very easily hurt Mi and yet he’s completely incapable of harming her. It’s just not in him. In fact he finds the possibility of it horrifying. I found that aspect of his character very interesting especially given his past.
It was one of the characteristics about him that drew me into his character. That and he was pretty darn sexy! You have great sexual tension between Mi and Lucas. What components do you think are necessary to create sexual tension in romance that makes a reader care about the characters and not just the sex?
They say the key to great sex is the mind. Letting the reader into the characters’ heads plays a big role in creating great sexual tension. Yes, there are the touches, the looks, the flirting, but it’s the characters’ thoughts and feelings about what is happening that really brings it home for the reader. And all of it should begin and grow from the moment they first lay eyes on each other. Sexual tension should be layered and built up slowly to make it believable. And when the hero and heroine (or whatever combination you prefer) finally act on their feelings for each other well, that’s a kind of magic, isn’t it?
It’s the magic of the best kind! I get drawn into a couple quickly because of the tension between them. Okay, from sex to suspense. The suspense in Rush comes from the fact that Mi’s being stalked by an ex-con. Do you work hard to get into the head of you villains and how so?
I work hard to make my characters as real and believable as they can be. The villain is the hero of his own story with his own motivation and goals. I try to remember that as I’m writing.
That’s a good way of putting it. It’s true that villains do believe they are just in what they’re doing. It’s easy to forget that sometimes when you’re drawn into wanting the hero to always win. On your website you mention a glamorous history in hair styling and makeup. Did some of that come through in Rush?
Somehow a hairstylist always manages to find his/her way into my stories, including Rush.
Do you have a favorite scene from your book? Which one and why?
One of my favorite scenes was one of the hardest to write. It comes near the end of the book and is a real dark moment for my characters. The emotions are so raw and honest I wasn’t sure at first if I’d taken it too far or not. Those are the kind of scenes that stay with me as a reader. I hope I managed to pull it off, that the scene is one readers will remember long after the final page is read.
Having read it, I think you did a great job of conveying emotions. When you feel the emotions of the characters as if you’re there it makes it hard to put the book down. Hence, my late returns to lunch. Why should readers consider reading Rush?
Personally, I like to read fast paced books that hook into you and pull you through till the end. I wrote Rush with that in mind. Also Lucas and Mi have enough chemistry to start their own laboratory. I got physically warm, writing the two of them together. No joke. But the main theme of the story is redemption and learning to rely on someone else. Lucas and Mi couldn’t have achieved their happily ever after with anyone else.
Outside of romance, do you enjoy reading other genres?
I like mysteries, thrillers and non-fiction.
I see why romantic suspense would be a good fit for you. Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
Right now I’m working on a paranormal, romantic suspense. I just finished a short story and I have a full-length mystery coming out next year.
That’s fantastic! Even with the family you’re making the time to keep writing. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Read. Write. Read. And when you can, take online classes and join a local writer’s group. Always be working on your craft and never give up. It will happen for you if you’re tenacious and prolific enough.
Great advice, Beth. Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I’ll be signing copies of Rush at the SoCal RWA conference on March 17th. If you’re a writer I’ll be giving a workshop on description at two of my local chapters. I hope to see you there!
I hope some of our readers can make it out and meet you in person. Last fun question, if money were no object what hobby would you pick up?
I’d travel the world… first class!
I’d be right there with you! Thanks for the fun interview today Beth! I hope some of you decide to check out Rush and if you’re in Southern Cali, stop in and meet her in person.
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