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Guest Author, Beatriz Williams

Today I’m very excited to welcome Bestselling author, Beatriz Williams to It’s Only A Novel.  Go grab a cup ‘o joe and settle in for a nice visit!


“Write drunk, edit sober,” Ernest Hemingway is supposed to have advised us (which begs the question: Hemingway was sober when?), but most writers don’t need the old man to break the shocking news of the link between creativity and chemical influence.

Now, let me get this out of the way up front: I’ve never written drunk. Not that I can’t put away a flute or two of bubbly with the best of them, but (unlike Hemingway) I have to drive kids around town to soccer and ballet, make dinner on a gas-fired stovetop, and put away the glassware in a soaring upper cabinet in between my writing bouts. So that sneaky sip of red wine before I toss the rest into a bubbling pot of Bolognese is about as close to the downward spiral of Jack Daniels-fueled creative mania as I ever get.

Coffee, on the other hand.

I never was much of a coffee drinker before I wrote my first novel. I went in for the occasional fluffy-topped peppermint mocha during the holiday season, but I wasn’t a regular, not like those people in the Starbucks line rattling off a dozen cryptographic instructions to the barista. Oh, how smug I was. No habits and addictions, not me! A clean liver.

But somewhere in May of 2009 the story and characters that became Overseas took over my brain, and all those orderly hours that had made up my previous writing routine went flying out the bedroom window at three o’clock in the morning, along with my sanity.

About a quarter of the way into the manuscript, I became so thoroughly obsessed, I couldn’t leave my computer alone. I had to force myself to feed my kids, to dress and shower, to stock the kitchen with a minimum of supplies, and all the while I was sleepwalking through the grocery store aisles, dreaming of Kate and Julian, grabbing the skim milk instead of the 2% and the arrabiata instead of the marinara. (Imagine my family’s delight.)

The third morning I crawled out of bed at seven a.m. after three hours of sleep, I knew I was in trouble. I had the worst hangover of my life, and I hadn’t even sipped a snifter the night before. My head was full of rocks, my limbs were made of sticks. Coffee, I thought, out of nowhere. I need a cup of coffee.

I must have mewed it aloud, because my husband, lost and bewildered, said: “Did you say coffee?”

“I need a cup of coffee.”

He must have thought I was crazy. We didn’t even own a coffee maker. But he looked a little more closely into my bloodshot eyes, and whatever he saw there made him grab the car keys and race to Starbucks, running every red light on the way. He brought back the largest, blackest, sludgiest cup of unsweetened Arabica he could fine, and I took a sip, and…


It was like magic. I was cured. An hour later, the spring was back in the step, the rocks had emptied out of the head. The kids made it to the school bus, homemade lunches in hand, and I sat back down in front of the computer with body and soul intact and words flowing like honey from my fingers. I finished Overseas in six weeks, followed by another month or two of editing sober enough to make Hemingway nod in his grave, and by the following Valentine’s Day I had a book deal.

Since then, I’ve written six more books, and drunk countless gallons of coffee to keep up with myself. I still like it black and bold, with a little sweet something on the side, and it’s sitting right here in a venti cup by the side of the computer as I type this very post. And do you know what appeared under the Christmas tree last year, wrapped up in festive Williams-Sonoma green, with a gold tag that read To Mommy?

Oh, yes. My very own coffeemaker.


Beatriz Williams lives in Connecticut with her long-suffering husband and four children. She is the author of Overseas and the upcoming A Hundred Summers from G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and of three award-winning historical romances under the pen name Juliana Gray. Her coffeemaker is named Rupert. She’d love to hear from you! beatrizwilliamsauthor & @bcwilliamsbooks


Beatriz is giving away a signed copy Overseas to one lucky commenter, so don’t be shy!






Elaine F., congratulations!  You’ve won an autographed copy of Overseas.  <g>

Beatriz will be in touch!

Nova C. - March 22, 2013 - 10:38 am

SO glad you finally got your own coffeemaker! blog entry is so good!

Victoria - March 22, 2013 - 10:39 am

Hi Beatriz! I absolutely loved Overseas, and can’t wait to read the next book – already on my TBR list. 😉 and I would love a signed copy of Overseas!

Ashley - March 22, 2013 - 10:41 am

Fun interview :) I have a Mt. Dew addiction, personally. Beatriz’s books look great – thanks for the giveaway!

Jenna Czaplewski - March 22, 2013 - 12:29 pm

I loved “Overseas,” and I’m so excited for “A Hundred Summers.” I’m also a fan of that strumpet’s books, too! 😉

Debbie Haupt - March 22, 2013 - 12:33 pm

Oh Beatriz, I often wonder of the “drug” of choice for authors. I know that some of you go into a frenzy when the “muse” is strong and the “force” is with you. But I loved the way you describe your “addiction”. You may remember that you did post FB pics of a certain kitchen after one of such bouts of creative madness. :)

What ever works for you I say do it, because you have such a unique voice in the industry. I’ve never quite been so ensconced in a novel like I was with Overseas, I literally couldn’t put it down, even this month when I re-read it for discussion questions it was hard to put it down between weeks so I wouldn’t put up any spoilers.
It was my top pick for 2012 and I know if I did a top pick for a decade it would be up on top too.

And then there’s A Hundred Summers where I fell in love with your writing all over again. Well I can’t really say too much, but in a month when the review is published I can say more.

from you biggest (really) fan

amy - March 22, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Like you, I did not drink that much coffee when I was younger. My coffee addiction began with my second daughter. two girls 20 months apart – i needed coffee. It is great!! By the way….Groupon has a deal 5.00 for a 10.00 starbucks card :)

Rebe - March 22, 2013 - 1:57 pm

I’ve always loved the aroma and hated the taste of coffee! Maybe one of these days I’ll pick up the addiction, lol!

Elaine F. - March 22, 2013 - 5:55 pm

Beatriz, I read Overseas with the Barnes and Noble fiction book club, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Anxiously awaiting your next one!

Ann Ellison - March 22, 2013 - 9:37 pm

The book sounds like a good read. I would love to win a copy.

kara - March 22, 2013 - 10:19 pm

Enjoyed the historicals, can’t wait to read Overseas

Darcy - March 22, 2013 - 10:35 pm

Beatriz, I’m so excited about A Hundred Summers! You’re on the top of my to be read pile. :) And as for coffee…. I’m right there with you. Pumpkin spice lattes in the autumn – yum!

Beatriz Williams - March 22, 2013 - 10:44 pm

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments, everyone! Glad to see I’m not alone in my addiction. And I am so thrilled and grateful to all of you who have read Overseas and taken it to your hearts – it was a joy to write, and I can’t thank you enough for the comments and support.

Beatriz xo

Nicki Salcedo - March 22, 2013 - 10:55 pm

I had my first cup of coffee after my third child was born. I was like “Now I get it!” But one cup keeps me up for 3 days. I like steamed milk with almond. I love tea. I think I’m due another cup of coffee in about a week. We’ll see what happens when I’m on deadline. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Cee - March 22, 2013 - 11:10 pm

My mom never drank tea or coffee around us when we were growing up, so coffee was not something I looked upon favorably. It was the odd gas station treat (Quik Trip cappuccino) and has now become something I enjoy more frequently, 1-2 times a month. And surprisingly, I didn’t drink it at all while in med school. Go figure!

Sheri de Gromm - March 23, 2013 - 6:29 am

Looking forward to reading – give me a venti latte chased with diet coke and I’m good to go for hours. Repeat with same every 3 hours or so!

Donna Durnell - March 23, 2013 - 10:52 am

I think I started drinking coffee before I was weaned – well, that’s probably a bit of an overstatement, but I don’t ever remember NOT drinking coffee. Never have cared for Starbucks, however; it’s just too strong/bitter/ick. And I’m not fond of flavored or ‘funny’ roasts. Just give me a plain Folger’s. (or Jacobs!)
Have not read Overseas , but I would sure like to. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

Amanda - March 23, 2013 - 12:39 pm

I loved Overseas! As I read, I kept dreading the ending…and thankfully, was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Would love to have a signed copy to add to my collection!

Hallie Sawyer - March 24, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Ha! Love it! I waffle between coffee and green tea myself. I chug a pot of black then feel guilty and then have a few cups of green tea the next. All I know is that I need a cuppa something to help me write. I wait to pour the wine when I kick back to read.

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