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Thursday, 21 February 2013

An Interview with RebelYve and an Exclusive on Liam Page!!!

Yesterday we said we had something special for you and we have...

When we asked Heidi McLaughlin, author of Forever My Girl-The Beaumont Series, for an interview we were beside ourselves when she agreed, as you can imagine. However, she suggested that we also interview her beta reader, known on twitter as RebelYve. As Heidi explained no one ever interviews the beta and they hold ALL the secrets!!
So get yourselves comfy with a cuppa, some choccy biscuits and see what RebelYve had to say, oh...and don't forget about that Liam exclusive!

First of all do we call you RebelYve or would you prefer something else?
You can call me Yvette, RebelYve is my twitter handle and you can follow me there - you can regularly find me tweeting with Heidi about The Beaumont Series  and Lost in You  which is her current standalone WIP.

Yvette, for those of us who don't know, could you explain what a beta reader does?
A beta reader is someone who pre-reads a story while it's still in draft form and provides feedback on their initial thoughts, what works well and what doesn't. It's someone who the author can trust completely to give honest feedback. A beta shouldn't be afraid to give both positive and constructive criticism. If something doesn't work whether that be the way a scene is written, or the chemistry between two lead characters, then it's down to the beta to point that out. And it's not about saying "I don't like this..." or "that doesn't make sense..." a beta needs to explain why they think something doesn't work and give reasons for suggesting changes. Very often, an author can be blind to things that can be obvious to others, because they wrote that chapter, it's their words on a page. A beta is that independent fresh pair of eyes that can pick up on these things. I would also say that a beta is not an editor and I don't necessarily correct spelling, grammar or punctuation. My number one priority to Heidi as her beta is to be honest and to provide feedback both good and bad. An author has to trust her beta and vice versa.

How did you become a beta reader?
Heidi asked me to be involved and pre-read her first novel and give her honest feedback. I started out as her pre-reader and as time went on, I became more involved. In all honesty, it's not something I would do for anyone. I need to really know the author and understand their vision so that I am able to give honest feedback.

How did you meet Heidi?

Believe it or not, online. We both had a mutual interest in a certain vegetarian vampire and ended up commenting on the same message board. We found out we had the same things in common and, more importantly, the same personalities and our friendship pretty much grew from there.

Which of Heidi's male characters is your favourite?
Hands down, Harrison. Don't get me wrong, I love Liam and Ryan (who is the lead male character in Heidi's current WIP, Lost In You); but Harrison has got that extra something about him that just has me swooning at his feet. I bug Heidi daily to send me some Harrison to keep my obsession at a premium!

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?
Wow, tough question. Not including any of Heidi's characters, I have a few and I'll be honest, it does change from time to time. At the moment, I'm crushing on Josh Bennett from The Sea of Tranquility, Will Cooper from the Slammed series and Jase Garrett from My Life Next Door. Plus I've got the fan favourites, such as Four (Divergent), Jay (Body Finder Series) and Gray (First Comes Love). I've just finished reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and I have a special love for Will Traynor. Those who have read it will know what I mean.

Are you interested in writing yourself?
In a word, no! I just haven't got the discipline to write every day. Plus, my working day is pretty long so I just wouldn't have the time. I live vicariously through Heidi's stories and that's good enough for me.

How long does it take you to read a book ?

On average about 3 days, depending on the length. I'm a fast reader, so can normally get through a book within a week.

As a beta have you, or would you, suggest that a particular scene shouldn't be in the finished book or suggest a different way of writing it?

Yes, all the time. That's one of the great things about the dynamics myself and Heidi have. If I don't think a scene is working, or if I think it can benefit from having something added, I'll tell her. Sometimes, I'll suggest a paragraph or wording to add and leave it up to Heidi as to whether she wants to make the change or not. It's one of the most important things of being a beta and a key role of being a pre-reader. You are, effectively, the test audience for the story. It's like piloting something - if there are changes you think could be made that will make it better, then you should suggest them, for sure. In fact, there is a particular chapter that Heidi sent me recently for Lost in You, that I felt needed to be changed and suggested Heidi revisited part of it. After some brainstorming, a revised chapter was sent to me the next day.

Can you tell us a few things about Liam Page that we don't already know?

I can actually give you an exclusive about Liam. You may know that Heidi ran a competition on her Facebook page to name Liam's band. After receiving hundreds of suggestions and narrowing it down to a shortlist of six which people could vote on, I can exclusively reveal that Liam's band is called... 4225 West. We're very excited by it and certainly feel it fits in well with the story.

How much can you tell us about Harrison James?

Hmmm, let me think. Harrison is not as he initially seems. The old adage "Never judge a book by its cover" definitely applies to him and he has all these hidden depths that just makes you fall in love with him. He's almost a dichotomy and definitely an intricate character and Heidi writes him so well. Whereas with Liam, what you see is what you get, with Harrison, you need to delve a little deeper to find out what makes him tick. Every time I get a new chapter I instantly fall in love with him more.

When not beta reading how do you wind down?

I read. A lot! Most of my time is spent on a train and I have so many books on my 'to read' list on my Kindle. I love the fact that you can lose yourself in a story. There are some books out there that stay with me long after I've finished them.

And finally...

Can we have Harrison please? We did say please ;-)
I'll make you a deal. I'll let you have Harrison when Heidi's ready to unleash him on the general public. For now, though, I'll continue to nurture him. You'll thank me for it, I promise. He's definitely worth the wait...

A huge THANK YOU to Yvette for taking time out to indulge us in our "interrogation"...coming soon an interview with the lady herself, Heidi McLaughlin.

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