Saturday, July 22, 2023

Q&A with Jamie Beck




Jamie Beck is the author of the new novel The Beauty of Rain. Her many other novels include Take It from Me


Q: What inspired you to write The Beauty of Rain, and how did you create your characters Amy and Kristin?


A: The inspiration for this story grew out of a horrible health year that culminated in a life-saving emergency surgery and nine-day hospital stay, all of which forced me to take a hard look at my life and priorities.


Today I am more intentional about how I spend my time, and try not to put things off for “some other day” now that I’ve a heightened awareness that “later” might not come.

Also, Amy’s character is very loosely inspired by a woman in my county who lost her three children and her parents in a house fire early Christmas morning roughly 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve listened to her TedTalk and other interviews, and I think of her every Christmas.


Finally, although I did not intend to base Kristin on myself, as I was writing the story, similarities bubbled to the surface. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising, given the inspiration for the story’s main theme.


Q: How would you describe the dynamic between the two sisters?


A: I hope readers find them to be relatable and loving sisters. In my mind, they’ve enjoyed a healthy, supportive relationship notwithstanding normal sibling rivalries and personality differences.

Of course, Kristin is the more “responsible” sibling who too often takes on a parenting role with her sister, which isn’t uncommon for first-borns. Amy is easy-going and fun-loving—or she was until her world fell apart.


In this story, they both use their different strengths to complement and reshape the other for the better.


Q: Without giving anything away, did you know how the story would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: The story ended differently in my original outline. About halfway through the draft, it became apparent to me that I needed to change my ending to drive home the story’s theme. It wasn’t an easy choice, but I don’t regret it despite knowing I took a risk.


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: Technically it is a riff off a Dar Williams song title, but it also fits the story because sometimes beautiful discoveries and experiences happen after enduring less pleasant or even painful trials.


Also, the story begins with a car accident in the rain that becomes a pivotal part of the plot, so that also worked well with the title.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m currently working on a story about a woman with mild anterograde amnesia, and the themes in that story center on what it means to build a meaningful life (which is not at all what she, or many, starts off believing it means).


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Only that I hope readers enjoy The Beauty of Rain, and that it gets them to reflect upon whether they are, in fact, living the life they really want. There’s no point in wasting time waiting to make changes. Start today!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Jamie Beck.

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