July 2010


Beth Kendrick earned her Ph.D. in psychology before pulling a professional U-turn to pursue her dream job of becoming a novelist. Her books include Second Time Around, The Pre-Nup, Nearlyweds, and Fashionably Late. She lives in Arizona with her family and a pair of unruly rescue dogs. You can visit her website at (Interview by Annmarie Ottman)

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  1. 1. In Second Time Around, four friends leave their old lives and jobs behind and attempt to start over and live out their dream careers. Do you think, given the chance, most people would love a second chance to start over?

    Absolutely. I first had the idea for this book at my 10-year college reunion. I was sitting at a bar with some of my former English major buddies, and we were bemoaning our lack of career direction, and somebody said, “We all should have just gone to law school.” First line of the book: “We all should have gone to law school.” That whole night’s bar tab should have been a tax write-off for “research”! Lots of readers have emailed me with really inspirational stories of how they re-invented their lives and careers. In fact, I think that one do-over isn’t enough; we have new goals and new paths in our 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. We shouldn’t be expected to map out the course of our entire lives when we’re 21.

  2. 2. What career would you change to if you had a second chance?

    Clive Owen’s personal assistant.

  3. 3. How did you get your first break as a writer?

    My agent called my squalid grad school apartment on a Tuesday at around 5:30 EST and she said: “Great news! An editor at Pocket wants to buy your book. She’s putting together some numbers right now, and I expect the final offer tomorrow.” This is the part where a normal human being would whoop for joy and/or shed a tear and/or throw up in a wastebasket. But here is what I said: “Tomorrow!?! But what if she changes her mind overnight? What if she gets fired first thing in the morning? What if she gets hit by a bus?” There ensued a long pause on the other end of the connection, and then my agent sighed and said, “Oh Beth, you’re such a writer.”

  4. 4. What is the biggest lesson you learned from Judy Blume?

    “Eat it or wear it.” (see: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing)

  5. 5. Is there any character you have written about that you can personally relate to?

    I’ve created lots of characters who are similar to me in terms of circumstance and background, but the characters I most identify with are probably Stella, the young “trophy wife” from Nearlyweds and Brooke, the former Southern belle in Second Time Around, even though I’m not at all like either of them on the surface. Stella and Brooke embody that feeling we all sometimes have that we don’t really fit in with our peer group and we can’t meet the expectations that the world has of us.

  6. 6. Which one of your novels is your personal favourite?

    It’s always the one I just finished.

  7. 7. How do you find the inspiration for your novels?

    My muse lives in my bathroom. I’m sure of it. I can’t even tell you how many story ideas I’ve had while applying mascara or washing my hair.

  8. 8. Do you ever think about what happens to your characters after you finish a book?

    I always end my novels on a hopeful note, because I do envision the rest of the character’s journey and I want the reader to be able to, as well.

  9. 9. What is your next project?

    Right now, I’m on the home stretch of finishing my next book (working title: The Bake-Off Book), which is about two long-estranged sisters who enter a high-profile national bake-off in the hopes of winning publicity and some serious prize money. The catch? Neither one of them can bake at all. (They entered using their great-grandmother’s secret recipe that’s been handed down through the generations). This book has been a blast to write, except it turns out that I can’t bake, either, so I’ve been doing a ton of research. I just finished up a two-day intensive baking workshop where I spent the better part of six hours trying to create and roll out pastry crust. Okay, for those of you who don’t know much about pastry crust, let me just say this: HOLY COW. It is no joke. (True story: so when I finally finished baking my pie, the instructor tasted the finished product, paused for a moment, and then said, “There are two types of pies, and you were trying to make the other kind.” You know that line’s going in the book!)

  10. 10. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

    Start drinking now. (I’m kidding. Sort of.) Seriously, join RWA and/or find a writing group. Writing can be so solitary and isolating, and you need support from other people who know exactly what you’re going through.

  11. 11. Do you still feel an adrenaline rush when you see one of your novels on a bookstore shelf?

    Heck, yeah! In fact, I saw Second Time Around at the grocery store last weekend, and I practically started hyperventilating right there in the toiletries aisle. You know you’ve arrived when you’re in the grocery store!

  12. 12. What is your favourite mistake?

    Becoming a novelist. Writing was supposed be a fun little hobby to help me de-stress while I was pursuing my “real career” in grad school. Yeah. Whoops.

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