Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi, my name is Beth Daigle and I’m an author, writer and blogger. I am a life-long story-teller who found a passion for writing following the birth of my daughters. As a former marketing professional, writing was always a part of the job. When it came time to “get back to work,” after having children, writing became my focus and my joy. I now freelance for various regional lifestyle and shelter publications north of Boston. My first book, Musing Mediterranean, was published in July of 2018. It’s an entertaining tale of my first trip to Greece, Italy and Turkey taken with my Greek father, Italian mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, husband and two daughters. It was a momentous journey that brought about revelations of life, family, culture and my personal struggle with travel anxiety.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Musing Mediterranean came about quite by circumstance. The idea of writing a book had always been in the back of my mind and seemed the natural progression from years of article and column writing. Yet, I did not have a topic that struck me as book-worthy. I consider myself an experiential writer, so fiction did not call to me. Some had suggested I explore children’s books or the young adult genre. Those didn’t speak to me either. When I embarked on the two-week vacation, on which Musing Mediterranean is based, I kept a travel journal. About half way through the trip my journal was full. As I sought out a blank journal, I marveled at how much material I’d collected in such a short time. In that moment, it occurred to me that this should be my book. And so, it was.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
My creativity is inspired by many things, the first of which is humor. Musing Mediterranean was written with a thread of humor throughout, because I could imagine it no other way. I love to laugh and surround myself by people who make me do so. When I’m happy and entertained, my mind is most at ease and open to creative thought. Other creative people, art, music, television and all forms of entertainment also fuel me creatively.
How do you deal with creative block?
My only way of dealing with a creative block is to walk away. If I’m stuck, I will never become unstuck by staring at a blank screen. I find my best ideas come to me when I’m sleeping, walking, listening to music or otherwise daydreaming. As long as I allow myself time to get away from the block, I can usually push through it relatively quickly.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I would say the biggest mistake you can make in a book is writing the way you think someone else wants to read it vs. the way you hear it in your head. In order to be authentic and relatable, I believe it is critical for a writer to use their own voice and write from the heart. The most interesting stories come from those who aren’t afraid to tell it their way. Be true to yourself, but keep the reader in mind.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I’m all about clever, catchy titles and artwork. That said, no matter what your style is, my biggest tip is to bounce several ideas off of people you know. Make sure they “get it” and that the title gives some indication what the book’s all about. Don’t be so obscure that the title or cover art has no connection to the pages inside. Also, don’t get too tied to any one idea. Be open to suggestions and changes.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Oh! It’s a punch in the gut no matter how tough you are. No one wants to hear negativity about something they’ve put their heart and soul into. Rather than deflect it entirely, I like to give myself a moment to feel the disappointment and process it. If there is any validity to the critique, I do my best to note it and file it away for future work. If, I feel, the negativity is unfounded, I move on and accept that you can’t please everyone.
How has your creation process improved over time?
It took me five years to write Musing Mediterranean. Both because I was new to book writing and my children were young at the time. I always say I could write my next book in a fifth of the time, maybe less. By writing Musing Mediterranean, I found my voice and learned what parts of an experience help move a story along and what parts get readers stuck in the mud. My process is much tighter now with clear project milestones to help keep me on track.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best thing I encountered when completing my book was just that – I completed it! I never knew if I could accomplish something more than a short article or column. Persevering through to my book’s completion made me realize I was capable of something bigger – that made me proud. The worst thing through the process is having to cut parts that you know don’t belong, but are good nonetheless. The most surprising thing was learning how hard it is to write realistic dialogue. Finding the right voice for each of your characters can be challenging.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I believe it has to be a blend of the two. If you are not personally satisfied with your output, that will come through to the reader and they will find the story less compelling. A writer must believe in what they’re writing, but it can’t be entirely one-sided. If written entirely for oneself, there is bound to be a disconnect between the words and the reader. There has to be some level of service to the reader, otherwise why publish a book? If you want something purely personal, a diary or journal is as good as it gets.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Emotions are everything to the creative spirit. The highs and lows that every human being experiences contribute so greatly to each of our individual stories. Allowing those feelings to be present in our creative work is what differentiates one story from another. I don’t believe creativity can exist without emotion.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
For me, creativity breeds creativity. If I am drained, I seek out other artistic works from which to draw inspiration. I’ll visit an art gallery, read a book, flip through a fashion magazine or take a nature walk. When I admire other beautiful or thoughtful innovations, my creativity tank fills up quite quickly.
What are your plans for future books?
I plan to continue travel writing and will soon be traveling again with the same cast of characters. I hope to turn this new experience into my next travel book.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Let’s see, there are probably too many quirky things about me to list, but a few include: I’m a self-proclaimed TV junkie, I have a 13-year-old Miniature Schnauzer whom I’m ridiculously obsessed with, my older daughter will soon be attending college in New York City and I’m not sure who is more excited, her or me. I get excited when either of my daughters ask to borrow my clothes (or takes them without asking) because it makes me feel young.
Purchase my debut travel book!