Blog tour: Beneath a Bethel

Welcome to the blog tour for Beneath a Bethel by April-Jane Rowan! Published by Gurt Dog Press, it is a horror fantasy featuring magical teeth, a harsh snowy city and even harsher customs! Want to know more? Keep reading!


Hi April-Jane! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Beneath a Bethel! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you so much! Beneath A Bethel is set in a frozen town with a culture where teeth are replaced with magical, porcelain ones. It follows Angora as he becomes an outcast of this society and while trying to find a place to belong, he discovers the secrets of this custom.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: In the very beginning there was going to be a romance element between Angora and Barnaby but they had other ideas! There was no romantic chemistry between them at all, so that idea was scrapped very early on and instead it developed into a father and son bond. That bond felt more natural to them and fitted the story better. Angora talks a lot about his relationship with his father throughout the book, so his relationship with Barnaby becomes a mirror of that.

I found it much easier to stick to my original plan as this was a novella, but my characters and the plot tend to throw up more surprises when I’m writing longer work!

Was Beneath a Bethel your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: No, all my working titles are very basic and I normally choose the final title while editing. This one was known simply as ‘magic teeth’ so it was easy for me to find amidst all my folders of half-started projects on my laptop! Beneath A Bethel relates to the catalyst scene of the story, so it was a perfect fit once it popped into my head. Often I go through several titles before finding the right one.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Angora?

A: Oh, this is a really tough question! So, with the help of my partners, I came up with some ideas. A young Heath Ledger could work for Angora, and a young Geoffrey Rush for Barnaby. So not the most practical answers if a film was really being made ha-ha! Maybe if we had a time machine.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: The ghost scenes were some of my favourites to write; I just have so much fun writing body horror and gore. I also loved writing about Hendrik’s tea shop as in my plans it was just a regular tea shop but it soon became this magical place while I was writing. I wish I could visit it myself!

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: I had been planning a confrontation with Gillis near the end but that just didn't fit in the final edit. Otherwise, compared to other stories I've written, this one was pretty straightforward, which is always nice when it comes to editing! It only needed to go through three editing rounds before I sent it to my publisher, whereas some of my other stories have needed eight or nine rounds. I’m normally a very messy writer.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I have a novel coming out with Gurt Dog Press next year, which is an Historical Horror with faeries. It’s about two mortals that start the story by getting lost in the woods, only to find themselves trying to escape the fair folk. It also has one of my favourite faeries in it: kelpies! They have always fascinated me because they are so dark and mysterious, yet they always seem to have such minor roles in other media, which is a shame.

I’m also planning out the sequel novella to Beneath A Bethel at the moment. I’m excited to start sharing more about those projects soon!

What are you reading at the moment?

A: Now that Beneath A Bethel is ready to go out into the world, I’m re-reading Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier as I needed something comforting to de-stress! And also to distract me from worrying what people will think of it, ha-ha…

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: It can be a little daunting as a debut author, especially with how fast information about books is shared and opinions made. Though, on the flip side, it’s also wonderful to be able to connect with readers all over the world, especially when being published by an indie publisher. I’ve found social media in moderation is a good way for me to not get overwhelmed, especially during the first draft stage. Also, I try to focus on a few sites instead of spreading myself thin over every platform as it means I have no energy for talking with people.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Write what you love, even if you think it will never find an audience. Your readers are out there, you just need to find them, and the passion in your work will shine through far more than if you just wrote for a trend.

Thank you for your time!

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