This week we sit down with blogger and aspiring author Bethany Kays. Bethany has a very serious message to share with us regarding her work. She also tells us a bit about herself and her inspiration. Please enjoy today’s installment of 20 questions.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first realized I wanted to be a written when I was 15 years old. I started writing poetry to cope with the sexual abuse I was secretly enduring.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It has taken me a year to write my first book. The book is titled : Not My Secret – Overcoming the shame of sexual abuse
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
During the last year I have been unable to work due the debilitating affects of a muscle disease. I write mostly in the evenings for a few hours at a time as I can only sit up for short periods of time.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write things backwards! I my husband has to come behind me and switch words in sentences. I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia. When I first started writing my husband noticed it right away. Thankfully I have him to help me edit.
Q5) How are your books published? (traditional, indie, etc.)
My book has not been submitted to a publisher yet. It is still in the editing phase.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
The ideas for my book come directly from life experiences. I write about the sexual abuse I endured and steps I have taken throughout my life to overcome it.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book?
My first book I started a few months before my 43rd birthday. It started as a blog. I wanted to see the kind of reception my writing got before I proceeded in writing my book. Each blog post I planned to make a chapter in my book. I completed what I wanted to be in my book but have continued writing the blog since so many women have responded so positively.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I am not writing I am spending time with my husband and daughter. I used to love to hike, cycle, ride horses, and water ski. Since my muscle disease my life has changed dramatically. I find joy in different things now. I enjoy sitting outside in nature and reading a good novel.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
My friends think my writing is very inspirational. Everyone seems to know someone who has been sexually abused in their life. My friends have sent my writings to their family and friends so that they can feel not so alone in their experiences. My husband reads what I write every day. He says he loves it and that he learns more about me every time he reads my writings.
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising thing about my writing has been the outpouring of support from people I don’t even know. So many hundreds of women have reached out to me to share their stories of abuse. So many women and men have asked me to write more on different subjects that they think could help them. I started a blog by just writing about myself. That changed when I decided to write a book because I wanted my experiences to be relateable to anyone who has suffered abuse.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
What I hate most about writing is being interrupted. I love writing when it is completely quiet. It is inevitable someone will call me or the dog will need to go out just when I am finishing a thought that I cannot then continue after being interrupted.
Q12) How many books have you written?
I have just written one book but I have written poetry since I was 15 years old.
Q13) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers?
Q14) What is it?
Reading is important.
I get something out of every piece of writing that I read. I don’t have any other suggestions because I don’t want someone to change their style or who they are when they write.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
I get daily emails and messages from the blog that I write. Most are women who have experienced abuse. Most are sharing stories that they have never shared with anyone else. I feel honored to be the person they feel safe to share their secrets with. I receive about 25 messages a day. I read and respond personally to each one. No one should have to carry the burden of abuse alone. If reaching out to me helps even one person then I consider my writing a huge success.
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
My preferred reading audience are women who are trying to overcome abuse of any kind.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
What makes a good story is character development. I love being so immersed in a book that I lose track of time and space.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be a mother when I grew up. My dream came true when I had my daughter. I have also always dreamed of publishing a book. I am hoping that dream will come true soon as well.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
My book has not been published yet but hopefully it will be soon.
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
I titled my story Not My Secret…Overcoming the Shame of Sexual Abuse. I did this because, IT is not my secret. It was something that was done to me, against my will that I don’t need to hold on to for anyone. It is a secret others wanted to be kept to protect their own shame.
To overcome the shame you first must realize and fully comprehend that the shame is not yours.
A shameful act was done by the abuser. Therefore, the shame remains on them.
The very first step in overcoming the feeling of shame is placing the burden of shame on those that committed the act against us. We must transfer the shame we are feeling back to where it belongs, on them.
About Bethany Kays:
Bethany Kays has her degree in Early Childhood Development. She has also been a chaplain for 8 years. Her first book:Not My Secret…Overcoming the Shame of Sexual Abuse will be available soon. She writes a blog which can be found at bethanykays.wordpress.com. She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.