An Interview with Author Bethany James

The Big Game- Bethany James: pirituality and LoveBethany James is a poet, plus-size model, and emerging indie author. She is a lover of Avant-Garde literature.

Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?

The romantic and pleasurable attributes of life can be explored in this book. The Big Game: Bethany James was written by Bethany Camille James. I take poetic verse and explains a variety of topics like making love for the first time on one’s wedding night. Also the poetry book has a spirituality undertone. Spirituality can be visualized as the sensuality expressed in an emotional or physical connection between a man and woman.

I wrote about romance, with an undertone of spirituality, because the poet was crafting different love scenarios. Each piece of the book is like a short story about a different aspect of love. From the way one feel in a kitchen whipping up a special dish to the time you fell in love, there is something for each individual reader to relate to. I come from a raw place to creatively illustrate what romance truly is: a wide and diverse experience in life.

The spirituality undertone was expressed as contemporary haikus, free verses, song writing, and Quatrains. Each piece tells its own story and expresses values. My personal feelings on controversial subjects such as interracial dating and abstinence shine through and are relatable, however it is targeted at young adults (18-30). However, spirituality is correlated with sensuality and shows the feels for women and men alike when they are engaging the opposite sex.

I am unique in the delivery of the message that love and spirituality is universal. This was expressed in many ways. For example, I crafted the theme of the book to be The Big Game to help draw attention to the storyline in the final poem, We Found Love at the Big Game. Additionally, the subjects of the poetry was grouped into sections, by the cover caption, such as sports, recipes, and rapateria verbal beats. This work of non-fiction is a self-introduction to the author and my views on love in general. Lastly, this was a sample of future pieces or volumes to come.

What drove you to write this particular book?

This poetry came from a raw place within my heart. I have always been different. The Big Game – Bethany James : Spirituality and Love is a rare look into my views on romance. It is crafted to be a dialogue on many different aspects of romance. Additionally, I am trying to make it in the entertainment business as a Plus Size Model and writing this book is helping me show all the talent I possess. I made this book to help address many controversial topics, pleasure attributes of life, and break down barriers. For example, the barriers of censorship or a model that is not size zero.  By writing a unfiltered book about romance I am able to take a step in the direction of  advocacy and present ideas on spirituality and love in a new way. Finally, I am trying to start a series or volumes of my own poetic work.

What’s your writing regimen? Where do you do your writing?

My writing regimen is really spontaneous. I write whatever I feel exactly as it comes to me. For example, I have some pieces under my belt that I have been crafting for years. And, I am waiting to share them with the world. I am a full-time student, so I write when I have free time. There is not set day or time. Additionally, I do my writing anywhere “I can set the atmosphere.” Setting the atmosphere may be jut the right amount of light, quiet, and background music. I can write just about anywhere if the atmosphere is right!

Who are your greatest writing influences?

My greatest influence is Maya Angelou poetically wise. I loved her unkempt ability to express herself. I loved the way she use to say what she wanted, and demands that her creativity be respected. For example, I love the way her poetry still after her passing is touching lives. I look up to her in many ways. The poetry piece Abstinence- Still I Wait is a tribute to her writing style in my book. Additionally, I have “crossover” influence from Jill Scott. I wrote the piece Wedding Night after her songwriting rhyme scheme. I love Jill Scott’s ability to breath life into her performances, songwriting,  and pronunciation of words. I would say that these two icons are my biggest writing  influences.

Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?

My book is in the genre of Poetry. It is a familiar genre for me because I am a poet first and foremost. My book is very Avant-Garde I believe because I used a lot of different techniques. And, using free verses I took a lot of risks as a writer.

How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?

I came to self-publishing through the recommendations of my manager of Cover Girl World Management. I am an aspiring model, and the entertainment industry is cutthroat. However, I had talent as a poet, and have done many poetry slams growing up in Denver, Colorado. Long story short, my manager Cliff Adam recognized my talent for writing and wanted to have my work published! I invested in my writing because of his recommendations.

I never tried to get published traditionally. But, I have a game plan. I want to get recognition through public platforms and contests so that my poetry can get noticed. I feel that my only talent is poetry writing. I never felt growing up I was good at anything, so I feel that if a publisher sees my craft I can possible get the opportunity to be published traditionally one day. We shall see.

What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?

The self-publishing service that I used was BookBaby. Book Baby was a really good choice, and I feel that I have more pros then cons with this self-publishing service. The pros are they are competitively priced. I did my research on several other companies before I choose them. I found for a aspiring author other self-publishing companies did not offer me as many services as BookBaby. Nor did most companies give as much buy link distribution for the price of BookBaby. I would highly recommend them, but you need to have a good manuscript. Overall, I am very satisfied with the services that BookBaby offers.

Would you self-publish again?

I am pretty confident I would self publish again. I just published my first book on February 1st 2016.  It has been a wild ride. I am doing a lot of  work to market the book, take advantage of every platform I can, and ultimately build a brand.

Any words of advice for those looking to self-publish? Any big missteps/successes?

I would say set aside a budget to purchase reviews,  and get tons of reviews through platforms like Story Cartel and SPR. Reviews are like the word of mouth of book sales. I would say my biggest misstep was to spend most of my budget making changes to my manuscript. If you use BookBaby try to have your final manuscript be solid, and wait a while if you are like me just in case you want to add creative changes.

What’s next on the horizon for you as an author?

I would say my next horizon is getting my work recognized. I do not have to make the New York Times Best Sellers List, but that would be so amazing. I am my poetry. I do not write anything that I do not put my deepest emotions and secrets into!

Bethany on Goodreads