Author Spotlight: Becky Dean
June 3, 2022
We are excited to feature author Becky Dean and her debut young adult novel, LOVE &OTHER GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Delacorte Press), out on June 14. Enter to win a signed copy, below!
|Cover: Designer Ray Shappell and artist Libby Vanderploeg
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
It’s always hard to know where to start! I’m a lover of stories, adventures, and travel. I live in Texas now but grew up in Southern California, and SoCal still feels like home. I’m a science-fiction and fantasy nerd who also loves Jane Austen, and I enjoy reading and writing but also working out and hiking. I’m kind of eclectic, just like the books I write!
Like many authors, I read voraciously as a kid and teen, and have been writing stories since I was in second grade. I always wanted to be an author but forgot about the dream for a while until after college, when I started to think about it again. That’s when I started seriously writing to pursue publication, and YA is just what came out! It fit my voice, and it was the types of books I loved to read. There are so many more options for teens now than when I was that age, and I feel honored to have my books be part of that.
Congratulations on your young adult debut, Love and Other Great Expectations! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
Thank you! The book is about a girl who’s competing in a literary-themed scavenger hunt that takes her to the locations of classic novels throughout Britain. She’s a soccer star who just found out she can’t play anymore, and she’s struggling with the idea of losing her dream and what to do with her life. This was the fifth full book I ever wrote. The first four were all some variation of science fiction or fantasy, and I thought I’d give contemporary a try because I enjoyed reading the genre. My favorites have always been road trip stories, probably because as a fan of fantasy, I love the basic quest model. I combined that with my love for British literature and travel, and the concept was born. In terms of the main character, I personally think a trip like this sounds amazing, but I thought it would be much more fun to write—and the scavenger hunt would present more of a challenge—if the protagonist was absolutely not a reader!
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My road has definitely been of the long and winding variety! I’ve been writing seriously for over twelve years, and in that time have written lots of books—maybe 12 or 15? I’ve kind of lost track! I participated in Pitch Wars (with this book) back in 2015, signed with an agent, then ended up leaving that agent and querying again. I wrote a few more books and queried those before finding my amazing current agent. I’ve earned over 300 rejections from agents and publishers in the last several years. At one point, my current agent and I had four books on sub with various editors. So after all that time, it was amazing when we received two offers on two different books within a couple of weeks! My next book after Love & Other Great Expectations will be the start of a science fiction series and is the one that got me the offer from my current agent.
Did you have a playlist or song in mind when you wrote the book? If so, can you share it?
I am actually terrible at music in general and jealous of authors who can listen to get inspired or create perfect playlists! I have to write in silence, but I also just don’t listen to a lot to know what might fit.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m in the process of writing my third YA travel romance, which will release in summer 2024 with Delacorte Press. It’s called Hearts Overboard and is a rivals-to-lovers story set on an Alaskan cruise, full of banter and bears. (With occasional breaks for editing the second one, Picture-Perfect Boyfriend, which is out next summer.) I’m also working on the fourth and final book in my YA science fiction series that releases in 2023 with Aethon Books (written under the name B.L. Dean).
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The biggest thing that kept me going over the years was the writing friends I made, so my main advice is to find a community! I know that’s not always easy, but whether it’s through a local writing group or the many online groups that are options or attending a writing conference, put yourself out there (yes, even introverts—if I can do it, you can too!) until you meet at least a couple other people who can encourage and support you and who understand the writing life. Also, keep trying. Perseverance really is key, especially if traditional publishing is your goal.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Some people might guess this based on the fact that I write travel-themed romances, but I’ve been to over 30 countries. I’m addicted to traveling! Which is dangerous, because I usually come home from every trip with three new story ideas, and I’ll never have time to write them all.
Where can people find you online?
Becky Dean is a fan of adventures both real and fictional. When she’s not writing or traveling, she can be found drinking tea, watching science fiction shows and Jane Austen adaptations, or quoting The Lord of the Rings. Though she lives in Texas with her husband, she remains a Southern California girl at heart.
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