Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{August 18, 2011}   Interview with Beth Barany–Author of Henrietta the Dragon Slayer

Beth Barany has been gracious enough to stop by the blog and answer a few questions concerning her novel, Henrietta the Dragon Slayer, and her writing style.  So, without further ado, I give you Beth:

Henrietta the Dragon Slayer is a great fast-paced adventure novel!  What led you to write it?  What were your inspirations, if any?

Thanks Shana! I love writing fast-paced adventure novels, and reading them too! I was led to write Henrietta the Dragon Slayer because I wanted to read an adventure story about a strong young woman. I was fascinated by fairy tales and folk tales as a kid but was frustrated that they were always about boys. I wanted to go on adventures like Jack did. Where was Jane?! So, when I could I started an adventure tale about a young woman who kicks butt as good as any male, and has flair, too!

Is there a particular character within the series that you identify with the most in Henrietta the Dragon Slayer?  Why?

That’s got to be a trick question, right? I love all my characters equally. I do identify the most with Henrietta though. She’s the one I wrote about first. I do have to say that Paulette wanted to take over the story; I had to work hard not to let her. I will be writing about her more in Book 3 of The Five Kingdoms series, The Volcano Witch.

Are any of your characters or situations based on aspects of your own life?

Not directly. I’ve never been a dragon slayer, LOL. I do have three other siblings that I grew up with. My sister wondered if I’d based Paulette on her. I told her I hadn’t, at least not consciously. I have had the experience of leaving everything familiar to me for a new life; I’ve lived abroad three times–twice in Paris, France, and once in Quebec, Canada. I love to travel so have my characters do a lot of traveling. I also love medieval cities so my cities are based on places I’ve visited and lived in. Henrietta’s drive and passion could be said to be modeled off my own, at least that’s what my friends say. :-)

I also changed schools a lot as a kid. Would you believe I went to three different kindergartens, three grade schools and three high schools?

There are many wonderful themes running throughout your novel.  Which theme means the most to you as the author?

I think that would be the theme of friendship. Henrietta learns how to go from being a loner, and running away from the world, to learning how to rely on friends and care again. I don’t know about others, but I had to decide to be more engaged in the world, and lean on my friends when I needed them, instead of acting like I could do it all myself.

 What do you hope readers take away from your novel?

 Well, I hope they will have a great time reading the book, and want to hang out more with Henrietta and her friends. I know I do!

 What is the writing process like for you—is it difficult to come up ideas for novels, does it just come to you?

Ideas come fast and furious, but not every idea is worthy of a novel. I tend to latch on to one idea and mull it over for a while before I dive into writing. I’m currently working on the sequel for Henrietta The Dragon Slayer. But while I was on a break from this series I was working on a contemporary paranormal romance. I can only work deeply on one novel at a time.  

 Do you have a special place that you like to write, or any special rituals that you go through before/during the writing process?

This is one of my favorite topics. I like to listen to classical music while I draft. Or sometimes I like to write outside in the sun by hand. But I haven’t done that in a while. Mostly, all I need to do is decide I’ll write, and plan that it will be a for a set time and I can write anywhere, anytime. The hardest part for me is to plan to make it happen. I’m so busy with running my business that I have to set firm boundaries around it and writing, my other business!

Do you have a playlist in mind for your novel?  If so, what music would you recommend a reader listen to while reading?

As I mentioned above I like to listen to classical music, specifically, baroque. My favorite album is Simply Baroque 2 with Yo-Yo Ma and Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Baroque is known to help us learn. I know that it helps me focus and be calm, and day dream. Love it!

In contrast, though, when I’m editing, I sometimes listen to music that captures the warrior spirit of Henrietta. Then I listen to Evanescence, or dance music like Step Up 3, or strong women vocalists like Florence & the Machine, Christina Perri, and Lady Gaga.

Do you have a favorite author or novel that you recommend your fans read?  What are you reading right now? 

I always recommend Diane Duane, Elizabeth Moon and Sharon Shinn. Right now, I’m taking a break from reading fiction as I’m writing fiction. (Although my husband reads aloud to us at night a mystery or thriller. I love going to sleep to the sound of his voice.) Which leads us right to you next question!

You left the novel open at the end for a sequel.  Will there be a sequel—and if so, what can readers expect from the next novel and the remaining books in the series? 

Yes, there will be a sequel, called, The Dragon Stone. It picks up very close to where Henrietta The Dragon Slayer ends. In The Dragon Stone, Henrietta only wants to return home to heal her mentor but must come to terms with the magic that starts to flow through her from the dragon’s stone, the Dracontias. And she’s always been suspicious of magic. She discovers she must somehow use the magic stone to save a kingdom under attack by a powerful and evil wizard who steals people’s souls and covet the Dracontias for himself. How can she protect herself and her loved ones when the wizard comes after her through the people closest to her? And how can she save her kingdom from being overrun by the hordes from the North?

In the following books (I plan a total of five), Henrietta and her friends must confront the evil wizard by bringing together the five kingdoms against the powerful and evil wizard who wants all the kingdoms for himself.

Thanks for having me here, Shana! And thanks for your review.


Thanks for stopping by the blog, Beth!!!



To read my review of Henrietta the Dragon Slayer, click HERE.

This novel can be purchased at:

Amazon US

Amazon UK





et cetera
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