Saturday, November 9, 2019

Author Spotlight - Beem Weeks


Hello, beautiful readers! Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Beem Weeks, a dedicated and incredible member of the Rave Reviews Book Club#RRBC) and the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (#RWISA). He is an author, editor, blogger, blog talk radio host, video producer, and social media director for Fresh Ink Group. He has written many short stories, essays, poems, and the historical fiction/coming of age novel entitled Jazz Baby. Beem has also released Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories and Strange Hwy: Short Stories. Apart from two years spent in Ft. Myers, Florida, Beem is a lifelong native of Lansing, Michigan, USA.

So, let's learn more about Beem and his writing!

What inspires you to write?

All sorts of things. Little snippets of conversation overheard at the grocery store, a story on the news, an obituary in the newspaper, simple ideas with a “What if?” tossed in the mix. Inspiration is all around. We just need to become aware of it.

What do you love most about writing?

The creativity of bringing a story to life is always an amazing feeling. At a certain point in writing, that flow will take over, and the story almost writes itself. I’m also a big fan of completing the story. Nothing beats the finished product.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing?

Finding time to actually write. I have so much on my plate these days, writing time seems scarce. When I do have a few hours, they’ll often come at the end of the workday, when I least want to stare at a computer again. I have ideas for a dozen short stories and three novels written in notebooks, on scraps of paper, and in partially written form on my computer. I just need to find the time, and to be motivated when I have a few hours. 

How do you craft your stories and characters? 

The characters are often ideas in my head. I’ll get a feel for certain personality traits for a character. From there, I’ll conjure some situations for this new person inside my head. I’ll usually come up with a short outline of the story from start to finish. Then, when the actual writing part begins, I’ll play around with it until I find the narrator’s voice, the cadence of that voice pacing the story, and the weave of the plot threads (Does the story make sense?). Sometimes this might take a few attempts. But often, all these items will fall into place and I’ll be off and running.

How much research is involved? 

That all depends on the story itself. Jazz Baby required long hours of research, spread out over months—and even years. That story takes place in the 1920’s. Since I came into this world many decades after that era, I needed to learn the details of a typical life in 1925. But it’s often the little things that matter most. I couldn’t have my characters listening to a car radio at that time, since those weren’t available until 1927—and even then, most people couldn’t afford such a luxury. I learned radios in cars didn’t become common until 1931. Upon learning this fact, I was forced to change a scene in the story—which worked out even better. Most of the time, I’ll spend a few hours on research, then Google anything specific as I’m writing. 

How long did it take from idea to finished book? 

Jazz Baby took eight years. However, I put it away for two years, leaving it alone for that entire duration. I never intended to release it. I did many rewrites on the story—which ate up most of that time. My short stories and short story collections took much less time. I can write a 2500+ word short story and have it ready for publication in under three days. 

Do you have any writing rituals or habits? 

Well, I’ll usually sacrifice a unicorn and roast it on an open fire. Just kidding. I have no ritual or habit—other than needing complete silence when writing. I lock myself inside my room and just write. There’s no special preparation, nothing that sets the mood.

What is your favorite theme or genre to write? 

I love historical fiction. Writing in a long-past era is like traveling through time—if done correctly. My short stories are written in various genres: sci-fi, spiritual, horror, coming of age, humor, young adult. I love to tell stories about people who feel like your neighbor or friend or former classmate. 

Which character you've created is your favorite and why? 

Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten is my favorite. She’s really the one who kicked things off for me as a published writer with the release of Jazz Baby. She’s just a strange mixture: complex, yet simple. Writing her really sharpened my skills in character development. After her, I’d say Vrable Tambor, from my short “Looking for Lucy”, is a close second. He’s a young boy, ten years old. His parents have separated. I just really connected with him, as my parents divorced when I was seven. I knew the pain and confusion this boy dealt with.   

What do you hope readers take away from your books? 

I hope they’ve been entertained, first and foremost. And I’d like the story and the characters remain fresh in their minds once they’ve finished the story. There are books I read years ago that still creep back into my mind from time to time. Good writing will do that. 

Do you ever hate something you've written? 

Sure. Most writers have those things they’re not happy with. These are the pieces that never meet the readers. They stay in a file on my computer. Sometimes I’ll cannibalize them and take scenes or lines of dialog from them and add them to a current work. But mostly they stay hidden from public eyes until I can re-write them. I have three such items in that file at the moment. 

How do you overcome any nagging self-doubt that inevitably creeps in? 

I’m not arrogant or cocky where my writing is concerned. But neither am I filled with self-doubt. All I can do is write the piece and let readers determine if it’s good or bad. I am blessed and fortunate to have mostly positive reviews for my work. But I have also received some not so positive words concerning my stories. As with any creative endeavor in this life, some will like it while others may not. In those rare moments where I may feel self-doubt creeping in, I just sit at my computer and write my way through it.  

Do you read all the reviews left for your books? 

I read each and every review I receive. Most have been encouraging. 

Why are reviews important? 

Reviews allow the author insight into readers thoughts on their work. It’s a good way to know if the author is connecting with readers. 

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

Know what you’re doing. If you don’t understand proper punctuation, sentence structure, or the difference between showing what is happening versus telling the readers what’s going on, reach out to others who may be able to teach you these things. Nothing kills a good story quicker than mistakes. If the tense or the POV keeps switching up, I won’t bother finishing the story. I have a Kindle full of half read stories. Be sure of every word you are releasing into the world. 

What can you tell us about what we will see from you next? 

I am currently hard at work on several projects. I hope to have a stand-alone short story (5000 to 8000 words) ready for release around Christmas. I’m still working on my second novel, another historical fiction piece, entitled The Secret Collector. That may be finished by spring—though I make no promises to that. There are also four other short stories in various stages of creation. Hopefully those will meet readers in the new year.  

Do you have any other words of wisdom to share with our readers? 

Take your work seriously, but at the same time, have fun with the entire process. If you find yourself frustrated or angry during the run from writing to release, take some time away, clear your head, and change your attitude. And always be sure to share only your very best with the world. If it’s any good, your work will most assuredly outlive you. 

Thank you, Beem! If you enjoyed this interview, check out his newest release, Strange Hwy: Short Stories.



 If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find.
You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man,
•A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss.
•A winged man, an angel? Demon—?
•Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
•Danny’s death, stifled secrets.
•Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
•Dead brother, open confession.
•First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole!
You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.
See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.

Do you want to learn more about Beem? Find him here:
    Twitter 
   Facebook
   Website

18 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Yvette. I am truly humbled by your kindness, and honored that you would share my words with your readers. I am grateful.

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    1. It is my pleasure, Beem! You are such a great writer, and the world deserves to know you. :-)

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  2. Insightful words from a talented author. Thanks for sharing this, Yvette.

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  3. What a fabulous interview with Beem!! I loved all the questions and the answers! Sharing!! Thank you for hosting, Yvette!

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    1. Jan, your support and kind words always put a smile on my face and in my heart. Thank you for stopping by.

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  4. Such a joy to read, Yvette and Beem. I had a little giggle at the unicorn reference. lol Happy writing to you both! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to visit, Natalie. I truly appreciate your support.

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    2. The unicorn comment got me too, Natalie! :-)

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  5. I enjoyed this interview! Historical fiction is time consuming to write with the research but so satisfying to read and think about living in that era.

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    1. Time consuming indeed. That's the big speed bump for novel number two (also Historical Fiction)! But it's getting there. Thank you for visiting, Denise.

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    2. I am not into historical fiction at all, Denise, which is why I'm stumped on my next novel since it covers a 400-year span. I'm working through it, though (I think...lol!). :-)

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  6. Beem, there is always stuff going on inside your head. Its a good thing you have somewhere to release it. LOL.

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  7. Hi, Yvette! I loved reading and learning more about beem and his writing process. Great Q & A! Thanks for hosting!

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