Bethany Turner: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

rp_Turner_Bethany-769x1024.jpegChatting with the fabulous Bethany Turner today about her new book that has made a huge splash on release, peaches, and her original title for the novel! Be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.


The Writer


Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)

Driven, Witty, Loyal

What’s your favourite season, and why?

Definitely autumn! First of all, it’s beautiful – especially here in Colorado. The trees turn such vivid colors, and we start getting snow on the mountains. But more than anything, it’s about the temperature. No more sweating when I’m sitting still. No more bugs. No more getting a sunburn in the time it takes to walk to the mailbox! (In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of summer…)

What is the best part of your day?

As much as I treasure time with my family and friends, I would have to say first thing in the morning, after my husband has gone to work, when our kids are still sleeping. I have that first cup of coffee and spend a few minutes alone with God, and something about it truly does feel holy.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

You know, I miss good television. I miss appointment television, when sitting around the TV together was actually quality family time. Our attention spans weren’t so short that we couldn’t sit together through the commercials, and we discussed what we thought would be the outcome of a cliffhanger, rather than just binging on to the next season. I miss that.

Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?

Well, now that the previous question has gotten me thinking about television I miss, I kind of want to say Murphy Brown! But I suppose I should choose a real one, so I’ll say James Corden. I’d like to think that the fact that I am not a singer wouldn’t stand in the way of him including me in Carpool Karaoke. I could sing along with everyone else’s songs. That should be good enough.

You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?

A peach. There’s not much in this world that is as irresistible as a fresh peach. (Unless this particular fruit market also sells cinnamon rolls.)

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, though I didn’t know at the time that it was Christian, necessarily. The first with awareness of the fact was probably Left Behind.

What is one author and/or book you always recommend?

My go-to for the last year or so has been Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. A dear friend and I traveled to Nashville for the ACFW conference in 2016, and she was reading it on the plane. She kept saying, “You will have to read this when I’m done.” She ended up gifting me my own copy, and I have since purchased an extra copy to hand out to someone when the right opportunity presents itself. That book was eye-opening and heart-altering for me.

What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?

Tyler Hawk, from my sweet friend Mikal Dawn’s debut novel, Count Me In. Tyler is such a fantastic combination of sweetness and strength.

The Book

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Becoming a Christian is the best thing that has ever happened to romance novelist, Sarah Hollenbeck. But it also puts her in a quandary. Up to this point, she’s made a very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

What was the working title?

From day one, it was called “Middle Ground” and I was pretty sure I would never think of it as anything else. I can take no credit whatsoever for coming up with The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck – that was 100% the fantastic team at Revell – and it wasn’t until they came up with that one that I was able to say to myself, “Oh, they’re right. It isn’t called ‘Middle Ground’ at all!”

Describe your book in 5 adjectives

Funny, Sexy, Timely, Redemptive, Unique

Which character took you by surprise?

Sarah’s best friend, Piper. When I began writing, Piper was a likable supporting character, but I had no idea that by the time all was said and done, she would become so much of the heart of the story. A friend read an early draft and said, “I want to be a friend like Piper.” It was around that time that I began realizing how special Piper is. By the time my editor came back to me and said, “We want more Piper,” I knew that she was so much more than just a likable supporting character.

What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

2:45 a.m. is the latest I am certain about. And that was to finish it. I went back and found my Facebook post from May 28, 2014 that says, “2:45 am. The End. We’ll see if the feeling remains tomorrow, after a little sleep, and when I haven’t been surviving on nothing but coffee and Fleetwood Mac while staring at a computer screen for 19 straight house, but right now I am more proud of this manuscript than anything else I have ever written.” (For the record, the feeling did remain the next day…and to this day, actually.)

Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?

I didn’t struggle with any of their names, actually. It really was as if they were all born with those names. However, Sarah Hollenbeck has a pen name which she has to choose in the book, and that one was a bit trickier. The name is Raine de Bourgh, and I wrestled with that one a great deal. It needed to be awful, of course, and befitting a tawdry romance author. And it comes about in the most ridiculous of ways. Raine de Bourgh was just absurd enough to do the trick!

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Originally I spent a fair amount of time delving into my leading man, Ben Delaney’s, previous love story. Before he and Sarah ever meet, she has experienced the worst a romance has to offer, and he has experienced the best. We ended up cutting most of that, because it really was such a wonderful relationship that it almost threatened to become the central romance of the story. And of course that couldn’t happen, because what Ben and Sarah have is so spectacular and extraordinary. So Ben’s past is told in much less detail in the final copy – but we certainly learn enough to help us understand what a fantastic man he is. And there is no doubt that the entire backstory went on to shape who he became.

Thanks Bethany!

Here’s another fun video I had a hand in 😉 This time it’s Sarah’s thoughts on Ben Delaney!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Bethany’s Author Alert
Read the first chapter
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Buy from Amazon: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck or Koorong

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23 Responses to Bethany Turner: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

  1. It is great to have a best friend to confide in who will help and cheer you when you are down.

  2. How she understands me and prays with me and for me.

  3. I love that my best friend and I have common interests, so talking to her is great!

  4. My best friends are also my sisters. They have always known me, and we have shared life experiences that make our friendships deep and richly layered.

  5. I love that we can pick up as if no time had lapsed between our visits.

  6. No matter the time or the miles between us, we can pick up right where we left off. She is always someone I can reach out to.

  7. What I love most about my best friend is a judgement free zone every time we talk.

  8. I just finished this book and la-la-la-LOVED it!! I literally laughed about something on every single page….which was a little surprising due to the ‘taboo’ subject matter, but the author pulled it off seamlessly. I would have never thought this was Mrs. Turner’s debut novel as it was written perfectly. Fingers crossed Piper will get her own book. Her friendship with Sarah was a just as enjoyable as Sarah & Ben’s to read and I liked how she was loving, kind and brutally honest when she needed to be.

    No need to enter me in the contest, as I already have the book tucked away on my shelf. Just wanted to stop by and gush over how great it was. Also, seeing such a beautiful face and hearing that saucy Aussie accent on her book videos made my day. Pointing at you, Rel!!!

  9. I love that having a best friend means you always have someone to share memories and a history with.

  10. My best friend is the one who encouraged me to start writing again! Without her I wouldn’t being doing what I love!

  11. My best friends are my sisters, and I’m grateful I can confide in them knowing they will keep my confidence and will pray for me.

  12. Its nice to have a best friend that no matter where life has taken you, you always feel close to them.

  13. Because we live in different states now, my friend (one of my college roommates) and I go for years without seeing each other, but we do keep in touch. This summer we were able to visit for a few days and it was like those almost forty years just disappeared. She is easy to talk with. Being sisters in Christ gives us a strong bond.

  14. Best thing about having a best friend… wow. I have so many “besties” in so many different areas it’s hard to pin that down. My fellow Mom BFF, my high school BFF, college BFF, hubby BFF, fellow writer BFF… each of them contributes to my life in their own unique way, depending on the life circumstances and/or characteristics that brought us together in the first place and give us something to bond over now. To me the awesome thing about having a best friend is that there is no limit to how many you can have, allowing each one to shine in their own way.

  15. She understands. I love my husband dearly, and truly he is numbered among my best friends, but there are the occasional things that only a girlfriend–especially one of 22 years–can understand.

  16. What a cute video! Reading this book now!

  17. I met my closest and dearest friend when we were in 10th grade. Since college, we have almost always been a short drive away from each other – 2 hours max. Our first born daughters are 4 months apart and are now best friends. It’s that one friendship that you know will always be consistent, regardless of where you are in life.

  18. I have had different best friends for different seasons of my life. I am so grateful for their advice when I am struggling, or just being there to laugh over something with me. Right now I talk to one of my sisters (besides my husband) the most! :)

  19. I love that she knows me so well and I know her. And we don’t have to talk every day!

  20. That I can be myself around him (my husband( and he knows everything about me yet still loves me.

  21. I love that I can always trust and depend on them. And they never fail to make me laugh!😁

  22. My closest friends live in different states. I love that we still share and stay close, even though we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. We pray for each other, laugh together, and cry together.

  23. My best friend is always there for me. We live next door to each other and spend a lot of time together.

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