Updated: May 11, 2021
Hello! I’m Bruce K Beck. I grew up in a small city in North Carolina, USA (where I recently returned for a high-school reunion and exorcism of old ghosts). New York City has been my home since 1975, and it has helped me shape a life that’s included teaching, cooking, photography, and lots of writing. But I only finished my first novel—YOU’RE SURE TO FALL IN LOVE—in the spring of 2017.
When did you realise that you wanted to write and publish a book?
Five years ago, when I closed my restaurant and came home to lick my wounds, I considered many options for the future. I had two cookery books published a while back. And I had written hundreds of recipes through the years for my students, newspapers, magazine articles, etc. I started blogging and YouTubing. Fine, but I felt called to tell stories. I had such vivid memories of the summer of 1976 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, that at first I thought I wanted to write a memoir.
Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start? Research? A single idea? Tell us what got the ball rolling.
As I did a little research I learned that memoir requires a deep commitment to the facts—to the very best of one’s ability. And it occurred to me that real life doesn’t always unfold in an interesting or logical or dramatic way. And I realized that if I wanted to tell my truth I’d have to make up the facts.
Once you had started, how long did the process take?
I told myself that I had always been a writer—and that was largely true—but I had only attempted fiction once, without success. I had to put my idea on hold while I tried to figure out the craft. I spent at least six months with Joanna Penn (thecreativepenn.com) and all her amazing guests on the Podcast. And only then did I feel ready to roll. Once I actually started to write, YOU’RE SURE TO FALL IN LOVE was finished in about three months.
What were the things along the way that both helped and hindered you during the writing of this book?
The only hindrances were my lack of experience. That’s typical of new endeavors. The helping situations were myriad. The generosity of the indie publishing community, online, is astonishing. There are people out there who will share all their hard-won knowledge. Most of it’s free. And the extras we decide to pay for are oh-so-worth-it.
Did the process of writing this book come naturally to you? Did it run smoothly? Or was it an uphill battle?
It was the preparation that seemed daunting. Once I started to write, it felt simple and natural. And now that I’ve completed the trilogy and nearly finished Book I of the next one, I’m even more relaxed—and eager—about the process.
Set the scene. When you sat down to write, where were you? What did you need to help you? Did you have a routine with your writing? Tell us what was conducive to a successful writing session.
I listened closely to my online gurus. I started to schedule my writing sessions on my Google Calendar: every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00. Without fail. And as many other time segments as possible in the course of the week. Like many other writers, I feel my most productive in the morning. I rarely sit, except at Starbuck’s now and then. My laptop is perched on a stack of favorite books in my kitchen. It’s where I live. It’s where I write. The morning sessions are sacred, but I also jump into an unfinished scene in the afternoons, sometimes. Or transcribe something I jotted into Evernote at a coffeeshop after the gym. When my brain is in gear, I have to take notes, no matter where I am. I can write and cook dinner at the same time, sometimes. I can also write at night after too many glasses of wine, sometimes. But those precious morning hours are always the best.
Did you enjoy the process and is it something that you plan to do again?
I had brunch last winter with an old friend I hadn’t seen in ages. He’s a successful writer of biographies. He asked me how I feel about writing, and I told him I love it. He said he hates it; that he sees it as a chore and he’s always looking for ways to avoid it. It occurred to me later that that’s not so far from my experience of food writing! So maybe that’s why I have only the two food books (plus a new one, a companion to the novel). But fiction? It feels like what I was born for.
Whilst you were writing the book, what inspired you? What made you keep at it and not push delete?
From the very beginning the characters got into my head and spoke to me. And then my job was to take dictation as quickly as possible, so as not to miss a thing. I fell in love with each and every one (even the villain), and there was never any question in my mind about honoring them and finishing the work.
Now the book is written, finished and published, is there anything looking back that you would have done differently?
I doubt there’s anything I could have done differently. I had to walk through the whole process and make the silly mistakes along the way. There’s a learning curve in every worthwhile effort. I’m just glad I had the sense to seek out smart professionals and follow their advice (for the most part). I won’t beat myself up for the time wasted on dead-ends, and I don’t think anyone else should self-flagellate either (unless, of course, it brings them pleasure).
Did you find the cover design part of the process difficult or enjoyable? And what were the feelings and emotions of handing your creation over to someone else to have the cover designed?
I found the cover design process among the most joyous parts of it all. It forced me to be very specific about the book I was writing. I realized at day one that if I couldn’t tell Tim exactly what the story was, then I probably didn’t know myself. And when he sent me his first visual impression of my creation, I was thrilled. I was lucky, of course. No, not just lucky but careful. I did my homework. I chose the right designer. But even for writers who choose the wrong designer there’s value and education, I think, in the process.
Is there any advice that you would like to offer anybody reading this who is currently writing, or thinking of writing a book?
I try never to give advice, but I’m always happy to share my experience. I’ve done all sorts of things through the years that I’ve been paid for, because I did them well enough. Some I’m proud of, and some, not so much. But my greatest joys are—consistently, through the years—being in love, and writing from the heart.
Check out the amazing novel by Bruce K Beck. A beautifully written story that is book one of The Love Trilogy.
You can follow Bruce K Beck at
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