Today I’m spotlighting an author that I’m VERY excited to be spotlighting. Bethany Hagen is a debut author, whose novel, Landry Park, is hitting bookshelves all over the place and is definitely getting talked about. I saw the book on shelves at Barnes and Noble and Mysterious Galaxy and I kept noticing it. It’s dark cover, and interesting title kept jumping out at me. And guys, I have a book buying problem. So it ended up in a pile of books that I bought on one trip and I went home to read it.
And I loved it. While I’ve been mostly avoiding dystopian and the like because of my own hard work at writing my sci-fi novel right now, this book was beautiful and the characters incredibly compelling and I was definitely one satisfied reader at the end of the novel.
I knew I had to get Bethany on What A Nerd Girl Says. So I did! She’s incredibly sweet and answered a few questions for me, so let’s take the time now to get to know her!
About Bethany Hagen:
Bethany Hagen is the debut author of the dystopian novel, Landry Park. She loves to drink coffee and do karate with her husband, but she’s quick to assure us, not at the same time. According to her website, “I’ve been a model for a painter, stung by a sting-ray, stuck in a coma, and I used to dress up as a 1904 schoolmarm, but I got paid for it, so it’s not weird”. She also has a day job as a librarian, which makes this pizza delivery driver quite jealous. She’s also QUITE good at utilizing GIFs to their best ability on her blog.
You can Find her at:
About Her Books:
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.
To read my review of Landry Park, click this link.
Interview with Bethany
Nerd Girl: What was the inspiration for Landry Park? Why was it important to you to tell this story?
Bethany: The inspiration actually came from the city I live in and grew up in, Kansas City, Missouri. Working at a local history museum, I got to see exhibits and artifacts from the Gilded Age and the Edwardian Era–gowns and operas and garden parties. I also got to see fun Cold War era gadgets and pictures, relics from an age when people are both thrilled and terrified by the potential of nuclear technology. All of this added in with Kansas City’s historic (and very much still present) problem with poverty jostling next to unimaginable wealth, the story sort of came together on its own.
Nerd Girl: In Landry Park, Madeline struggles between the doubts she has about the way her world is run and the comfort she feels in her privileged lifestyle. How was this important to Madeline as a character and where she inevitably ends up in the end of the book?
Bethany: With Landry Park, I wanted to make sure that nothing was too easy for Madeline. Changing your entire worldview is hard. Like intensely hard work. Much harder than choosing between two rakish boys with dimpled cheeks and tousled hair. And in many dystopian novels, I think it’s fairly straightforward for heroines to accept that the world they once viewed as perfect is actually run by diabolical Goldfinger-types who want to blow up the moon. I didn’t want that for Madeline. I wanted her to struggle, to make mistakes, to feel weighted with guilt and uncertainty.
Nerd Girl: your novel has a lot of themes that are familiar to a young adult: romance, responsibility, family loyalty, commitment, rebellion and more. What is something you hope your readers get out of your novel once they’ve read it?
Bethany: I hope readers feel like it’s okay not to be perfect. I hope that Madeline shows that it’s okay to falter and fumble and still find your way through at the end.
Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? Were they inspiration for your own writing career?
Bethany: Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings were my perennial favorites, along with the works of Jane Austen and Gone with the Wind. They are absolutely inspirations for me — Austen, Bronte and Mitchell have this way of playing settings and characters off one another in a manner that I can only dream of doing (…but I try anyway). And I think my life’s goal is to write something as epic as LOTR. Or at least something that requires multiple appendices.
Nerd Girl: What can you tell us about what you are working on for the future?
Bethany: I’m currently working on editing the sequel for Landry Park (working title Landry Park II: Landry Parkier.) I’ve also been working on a YA Sci-Fi, a YA horror and a NA gothic during my free time. I would love to eventually write in every genre. (Except self-help. My self-help book would be like Step One: Drink More. Step Two: Sweatpants. Step Three: Internet until the pain goes away.)
Nerd Girl: What sort of advice/insight do you think an aspiring author should know that doesn’t get said enough?
Bethany: Step One: Drink More. Step Two: Sweatpants. Step Three: Internet until the pain goes away.
Just kidding! (mostly)
Nerd Girl: This is kind of a fun question that I ask everyone I interview: who is your fictional crush and why?
Bethany: Oh, the usual suspects: Edward Rochester, Darcy, Aragorn. My most recent fictional crush has been Gansey from The Raven Boys. Or maybe Stephen from Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London books. I have a soft spot for cops and British accents, so Stephen really nails the center of that Venn diagram for me.
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Thank you SO much to Bethany for answering these questions and having AWESOME answers, and for being part of this What A Nerd Girl Says spotlight.
For the rest of you, make sure to click the links above to learn more about Bethany and get your butt out to a bookstore to pick up Landry Park!