Friday, June 20, 2014

An interview with Beth Vogt, Author of Catch a Falling Star

An interview with Beth Vogt, Author of Catch a Falling Star 

Is there ever a point when you should let go of a dream? Shouldn’t you be content with what God has already given you, even if your life isn’t what society considers the norm? In Catch a Falling Star (Howard Books/May 7, 2013/ISBN 9781451660272/$14.99), Beth K. Vogt tells the story of Dr. Kendall Haynes, a successful family physician with a thriving practice, helping others just as she always planned. However, at age 36, her dream of a husband and family has not come true — at least not yet. 

Q: Is there a message you hope readers walk away with after finishing Catch a Falling Star?  
Everyone experiences life not going according to their plans — the outcomes range from humorous to tragic. What I’ve learned — what I hope readers discover as they turn the pages of Catch a Falling Star — is God is in the plans, the dreams that come true, and he’s also in the plans that elude us. Kendall finds herself on her 36th birthday without the husband and family she longs for. Do think society sometimes adds undue pressure on our expectations and/or interferes with our faith in God’s timing?  
I certainly believe the church community can add unrealistic pressure on us when life doesn’t go according to plan — or some prescribed, “right” way to walk out the Christian life. Several years ago I read an article by a respected Christian leader who chastised Christian women for waiting so long to get married, reminding them they shouldn’t delay starting a family so they could have a career. He was assuming these women were turning down marriage proposals right and left. There are lots of reasons women are getting married later, and sometimes it’s because Mr. Right doesn’t show up when you’re 21 or 31. And then the question — the challenge for the church community — is: Where do older singles, both men and women, fit in the church?  

Q: What was the inspiration behind making your lead characters a little older than most couples in love stories?  
My stories are often sparked by some real-life circumstance, and this was the case for Catch a Falling Star. I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend who was in her mid-40s. She has a successful career, lots of friends, a very satisfying life in so many ways — and yet some of her dreams haven’t come true, including in the area of marriage and children. And she’s not the only person I know experiencing this. I wanted to examine this issue within the context of a contemporary romance novel because it’s relevant — and because I believe romance doesn’t just happen in your 20s.  

Q: Catch a Falling Star looks at more relationships than simply the traditional love story. How do the experiences of singleness, adoption and the loss of parents connect the characters together?  
All of these relationships fall under the umbrella of “life not going according to plan.” Relationships rarely do; they require hard work. Commitment. Trust. Prayer. Patience. Sacrifice. This is why I say there is more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.  

Q: Your male lead is in the Air Force, much like your own husband was in the Air Force. Are there other parts of your life written into the story?  
Griffin Walker, the male lead, is an Air Force A-10 pilot who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. My husband graduated from the Academy with an astronautical engineering degree (Yes, I’m married to a rocket scientist!) and then went to medical school. I did inflict a particular medical condition on Griffin I’ve had to deal with. Poor guy. Kendall Haynes, the female lead, is a family physician in solo practice in Colorado Springs, just like my husband. The theme of adoption was developed because I’ve watched a close friend embrace the ministry of adoption in her life, and I do believe adoption is a God-given ministry. 

Q: One of your themes in Catch a Falling Star looks at how people respond differently to disappointment and unexpected circumstances. Which character do you most identify with in these situations and why?  
There’s a bit of me in Kendall. I can say things straight-up, but behind that character quality can be a heart that is unsure of my own worth. It’s something I wrestled with for many years . . . I hit my knees over and over again in prayer about who I am in God’s eyes. One of my favorite Scriptures that talks about how much God values us is “Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands . . .” (Psalm 49:16a NASB).

 Q: Have you ever had to give up on a dream yourself?  
Yes. Everything from letting go of a nonfiction book idea I believed so strongly in because it helps strengthen mother-son relationships to having to realize I couldn’t resolve a long-standing relationship conflict, at least for now. I choose to trust that God is in both of these situations, that he is still working even when I can’t see it.  

Q: How has God surprised you in your life with plans of His own?  
I believe God’s best is often behind the door marked “Never.” My original life plans included never marrying anyone in the military and never marrying a doctor. Um . . . I married an Air Force physician. At one time I said I didn’t want to have children; we have four children, including our “caboose kiddo,” who was born 12-and-a- half years after our third (and supposedly last) child. And I also said I was never going to write fiction — but God turned a season of burnout into a bend in the road. I’m getting ready to turn in my third contemporary romance novel.  

Q: How was writing your second novel different than the first? Are there any lessons you learned the first time around?  
In some ways writing Catch a Falling Star was easier because I had learned the fundamentals of writing a novel. But in other ways it was more difficult because my mentor, author Rachel Hauck, challenged me on a daily basis to up my game, to push past my writing abilities. I also learned how important it is to lean into God as I walk the writing road so I can keep the right perspective on both the praise and the negative feedback. One of the things I do now is listen to the song “Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong each morning before I begin writing. 

Visit Beth Vogt’s website at to learn more about her books, sign-up for her newsletter, and read her blog. Readers can also follow her adventures on Facebook (AuthorBethKVogt) and Twitter (@bethvogt). 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Reading List: What's On Yours?

Oh Summer.

Pause for affectionate sigh.

Pools. Water balloons. Late nights catching lightening bugs, grilling out, and movies at the park.

Just feeling the sun against my face makes summer quite glorious, but reading--books on my beloved summer reading list--is like the cherry on top of this season.

This year I have some lofty reading goals, but hey, shoot high, right? The kids are even chiming in to create their own list--I'll share it too!

Not only am I aiming high, I'm shooting wide and seeking to read a variety of genres, and topics. This writer's got to be well rounded.

So without further ado, meet my new poolside friends....

1: Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze /Nonfiction/Instructional
2: The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall (Releasing in August! Stay tuned for a Review!)/Historical Fiction
3: Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson /Nonfiction/Instructional
4: Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green/ Historical Fiction
5: Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts/ Historical Fiction
6: The Jewel Series Anthology by Hallee Bridgeman /Romance

7: Divergent by Veronica Roth /Young Adult/Scifi/Fantasy

8: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling /Young Adult/Fantasy (I have to re-peruse this book nearly every summer!!!)
9: Iscariot by Tosca Lee / Historical Fiction/Biblical Times
10:  Sisterchicks on the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn /Women’s Fiction/Comedy/Friendship

11: Home Maintenance for Dummies by James Carey & Morris Carey Jr. (Yeah, if this book doesn’t help me fix things, then it’s back to youtube instructional videos, lol).

WHEW…but wait, there’s more J ….

Books I will be diving into to continue to sharpen my writing skills:

1: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
3: Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction by Jeff Gerke

Now For the Kids:

The kiddo's reading list is a bit different, more interactive, and filled with variety. It's more like a Creative Story Kids Summer Camp, lol. It includes books to read, movies to watch, book reports to write/draw/create, and stories to create.

Goal: Choose and complete 10 of the 15 items on the list before school starts.
1: Watch the Lion King & create a book report--drawn or written.
2: Research an animal or historical event of your topic & create a fact sheet from what you learned.
3: Cut out pictures from a magazine. Glue them on a sheet a paper, and make up a story using the images on your paper.
4: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
5: Pick a writing prompt from our 642 Things to Write About and fill a page with what you have to say.
6: Read a book, magazine, or comic book your choice
7: Watch: Honey I shrunk the Kids, because I LOVED that movie as a kid!
8: Watch Mary Poppins, just because it's fun.
9: Find a recipe for your favorite food. Plan a time to create this food. Eat it and discuss how it turned out...good? or bad? What could you have done differently?
10: Read: A book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
11: Watch Ratatouille, and spend time reading through recipes from around the world using the internet. Make a few if you're feeling up to it! ;)
12: Compare & Contrast two movies on this list. This can be done in written form, or diagram.
13: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
14: Watch the Parent Trap (the original with Haley Mills), and create a list of all the other tricks the twins could've done to the fiancé.
15: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice

When creating a summer reading list for yourself or you kiddos, include both fiction and nonfiction books, movies & documentaries. Make it FUN, and give incentives along the way as they mark off their Summer Reading List, like popsicles, a crazy game they've been asking to play or stickers. Be creative! ;)

Asking yourself a couple of questions can help you create that perfect summer reading list. Questions like these:

1: What interests you/them?
Do you like mystery? Romance? Both? Do your kids like a certain cartoon character?
Letting kids pick books/magazines/comic books that interests them helps foster a love for reading. Being forced to read things is never fun. Ugh. Anyone remember how awful some of those books were in High School?
2: What would they/you like to know or what places would they/you like to go?
Often times picking up nonfiction books on how things are made, travel destinations, or a specific historical event can be a lot of fun for you and your kids. Remember, kids really do love to learn, especially when you're excited about it.

Hopefully, these tips help you create a list that's just right for you and your family, but if not, feel free to copy ours.