Beck Medina is a writer from California. Her debut novel “A Fantastic Mess of Everything” (book review), a romantic comedy based on an anxiety ridden college senior, was published in 2016. Currently, she is working on her second novel “All the Stars on Fire”. To categorise Beck as just a writer would be an understatement as her interests span a wide range from improv comedy to cross fitness training. She also has her own indie-publishing press named 1537 Press. Let us learn more about her writing and other interests from Beck herself.
- Let us start from the very beginning. How did you get interested in writing? When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
I started writing when I was eight. I wrote song lyrics and poetry, then progressed toward screenplays and novels. I liked doing everything. I wanted to be a songwriter, screenwriter, and actress growing up. I got into comedy writing after high school so when I moved to LA six years ago I thought I was going to be a late night talk show writer. I was still writing poetry and short stories then, but novel writing as a career (especially YA/NA) didn’t hit me as a possibility until “A Fantastic Mess of Everything” last year.
- What was your motivation to self-publish “A Fantastic Mess of Everything”? Did you reach out to publishing houses? If so, what was their response?
I chose to self-publish because I was impatient and it’s more important to me that people read my work than to get published by a big publishing house. I made the right decision. There are more benefits as an author (and to readers!) to self-publish, even if it there’s more investment and risks for the author. “Fantastic Mess” would probably still be on someone’s desk right now if I went the big publisher route.
- You own an indie publishing company 1537 Press. Will you be helping debutante novelists with publication?
I started 1537 Press to publish my own work. I’ve thought about it, and it would be a fun venture. But that possibility is a ways away.
- “A Fantastic Mess of Everything” has been categorised as New Adult genre. What do you feel about categorising books into various genres? Does it restrict an author when their work is categorised to narrow airtight categories?
I find it restrictive for readers more than authors. I think Rainbow Rowell was the one who said “young adult fiction is just adult fiction in disguise,” and I agree with this one hundred percent. I’d call “Fantastic Mess” is contemporary fiction, or even a contemporary romantic comedy before I call it new adult. Just because it’s about a 22-year-old doesn’t mean that her feelings and problems are limited to 22-year-olds. I think there are things in it that everyone can relate to.
- Talking about “A Fantastic Mess of Everything”, many of the protagonist’s (Millie Alvarez) interests are similar to yours, be it a love for science fiction or high intensity workouts. How much of Beck Medina is there in Millie Alvarez?
Millie is definitely an exaggerated version of me. She has more anxiety and is way more resistant to change than I am. But everything else is pretty spot on. I’d gone through so much in my early adult years and really needed to understand my issues more thoroughly. I really got to know those parts of myself that I think I typically neglect through helping Millie tackle her problems. Or at least come to a place where she can learn and move on.
- In “A Fantastic Mess of Everything”, you have stressed a lot on sci-fi writing through Luke Danielson as well as Millie’s blogs. At some point, do you see yourself writing a sci-fi novel?
I was struggling with a sci-fi novel about a woman who creates an operating system with a mind of its own (it’s the one Millie shares with Sam in the book) when the idea for “Fantastic Mess” came out of left field for me. I missed the ball on publishing her sci-fi stories under Millie’s name now that I’m onto my next project. Maybe for an anniversary edition of “Fantastic Mess.”
The next few books I have outlined are steering more toward sci-fi and fantasy. One is a YA science fiction about two high schoolers who find a time machine in an abandoned unit in an apartment building. I’ve been working on that one during breaks on my current project.
- Personally, I loved the characters and the climax of “A Fantastic Mess of Everything”. Can your readers expect a sequel?
I’m not opposed to a sequel. I’ve played around with ideas. One was set a little into the future as Fran plans her wedding. Another involved Millie working closely with Luke Danielson. But I have at least four books I plan to write before I put more thought into that. I’d have to have the right premise before I strongly considered a sequel.
To be continued…