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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bethany Macmanus: Nerve *Giveaway*

By Kelly Bridgewater

Today, I would like to welcome my fellow ACFW friend and writer, Bethany Macmanus. We met last year at the registration desk right before I volunteered to work for a couple of hours. We started a conversation because we both love suspense, either in reading or writing. So, of course, I was excited when I heard Bethany's new book was coming out. I contacted her for an interview, and she agreed.

*Giveaway Alert*
On the bottom of this blog, I have left a question. Answer the question in the comments section with your email address and you will be entered in a drawing to win a e-copy of Nerve by Bethany Macmanus.This contest ends Midnight on Monday, March 16, 2015. The winner will be notified on Tuesday, March 17.

Back Cover Copy: 
When Lauren “Wren” Masterson discovers her deceased father’s medical invention has been stolen from her childhood home in Florida, she never expects the officer assigned to the case will be Justin Breck, who asked her out two years ago.

He’s changed since then, seems like he’s hiding something. What happened to his openness, his no-holds-barred, carefree attitude? She wonders how this new Justin could possibly accept her imperfections, namely the persistent nerve disorder her father’s missing invention might cure.

Justin is learning the darker side of Doctor Masterson’s past life. The hard part? Proving it to Doc’s adoring daughter, while attempting to win her heart. He might have some history with her, but Doc’s lawyer, Connor Radcliffe, has more.
As bodies begin to drop around them, will Justin and Lauren find the invention before the thief uses it to kill Lauren?

Interview Questions and Answers with Bethany:

1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing?
I wrote poetry (mostly about cats) starting as early as my home schooling years in elementary, and won an award for “Where Does the Sky End?” This led to my first publication in an anthology.
In middle school, I penned a novella titled simply,“Lily” (cover complete with colored pencil illustrations). (Think Janette Oke with some Ted Dekker thrown in).
I put writing away in high school, knowing I would eventually pick it up again. Someone told me that writing doesn't pay the bills. I believed them, and went to nursing school. After five years of helping folks recover from wounds (diabetic ones, in particular), I was married and pregnant with my first child. After a brief flirtation with sewing, I started what was to be eventually titled, The Prisoner and the Heretic—another historical.
What has kept me writing? The God discoveries. The nudgings. You know what I mean? Knowing I can't NOT write.

2.)Tell us a little bit about your book, Nerve? Why did you write it?

Nerve won first place in the Daphne du Maurier contest, inspirational category (unpublished, 2013)
I wrote Nerve because in 2012, my husband developed exactly what plagues my heroine—a neurological problem of the upper extremities. It was a burning, prickling, throbbing, pulsing sensation. Several doctors gave him very unsettling diagnoses; from multiple sclerosis down to simple carpal tunnel syndrome. None were right. We were, of course, frustrated. This book is a way of letting off steam from that year, and at the same time asking, “what if?”

3.) What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

Honesty and openness lead to trust and a relationship that lasts, but a closed and denying heart lead to more loneliness and arrested development in relationships.
Surrendering every part of your heart to God is the key to letting Him fully into your relationships.

4.) What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

Having recently decided to go the indie route, I would love to expound on that, if I can. If you are willing to spend the extra time, have the extra-thick skin for constructive criticism, and are able to network with folks who have done the grunt work and have the experience...indie publishing can be quite lucrative and satisfying. I'm more at the “satisfying” stage, than the $$$ stage, but the key to indie really is...WRITE THAT NEXT BOOK. :) The money will come...eventually!

5.) Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what do you listen to?

 I always love this question, as I am surprised by what other authors say. I tend to be distracted by people, and that includes song lyrics. I will easily launch into an imaginative scenario, based on lyrics. To answer your question, YES! I do listen, but it has to be either instrumental (I like Celtic, but any classical will do) or I use, which has a delightful selection of both urban and nature sound effects.

6.) What is your favorite genre to read?  Why do you enjoy it?

I read suspense, of course! IS there any other genre? LOL Really, if you have an intriguing villain, especially in a historical, I will gladly pick up your book. I love finding out what makes people tick! I'm also huge on setting, and look for stories where the setting is largely a character unto its own.

My Review of Nerve:

I was interested in Nerve by Bethany Macmanus because we both read and write suspense. When Bethany asked for someone to review her book, I jumped on board quickly. The book’s cover with the woman in the red dress sparked my interest. The synopsis on the book’s back drew me in and begged me to read the story. I expected a suspense with medical elements mixed in, and I was proven correctly. if you like medical mysteries like Candace Calvert, Harry Kraus, Jordyn Redwood, or Richard Mabry, then Bethany Macmanus book is right for you. 

As important to any story, the hero and heroine practically make the story. You'll fall in love with Police Lietutenant Justin Breck, the friend and boy next door, who got away. Justin will do anything to protect Lauren, and he is definitely capable of solving the crime, especially when his heart is on the line. As for Lauren, she is not your typical wealthy child. She wants to find her own way without depending on her father's money to support her. Lauren has a take no crap for anyone attitude, including Justin as he tries to wiggle his way back into her life. It was a nice change seeing Justin and Lauren fight, even though they wanted nothing more than to be together.

Macmanus’ writing was well done. There was an even amount of pace and dialogue. We understood the characters and could understand their personality and quirks by following the dialogue and internal struggles of Justin and Lauren, who were the main characters in the story. The pace of the story started off with a person sneaking into a Lauren's father's, Dr. Noah Masterson, house, then unfolding through the rest of the plot, dragging the readers along for a suspenseful evening of pleasure reading. I never once lost my place as I read the story.

The tension in the story dragged me into Justin and Lauren’s lives and kept me entertained. I loved the idea of a medical equipment being stolen that was important to diagnose nerve problems. The story had the traditional elements of hunting down the bad guys with interviews, watching suspicious characters, and going over the crime scene again and again. As I got to the last scene, I was hanging on every word, breathless to see what would happen to Justin and Lauren. As for the romantic tension, the feelings between Justin and Lauren was the relationship between a guy and girl who used to be friends but moved into something deeper.  The book’s climactic moment will keep the readers up all night, wanting to see how the plot ends. (Don’t worry. I won’t tell. You have to buy the book for yourself. Trust me. It’s good.) The story world takes place in Violetta, Florida, allowing the readers to imagine palm trees swaying above elaborate houses with the ocean within spitting distance. Macmanus does a good job at showing her readers the setting, anchoring them to the Florida town.

Bethany Macmanus’ Nerve is a thrilling romantic suspense with an original climactic idea, quirky characters, and a sappy romance filled with many twists and turns,  keeping the readers on the edge of their seat. 

I received a ARC of Nerve from Bethany Macmanus in exchange for my honest opinion. All the statements above are all my own.

Bethany's Bio:

Bethany lives in Houston with her husband, daughter, and son. After practicing as an RN for five years, Bethany left the nursing field to pursue a writing passion the Lord planted in her heart when she was a child. Nancy Drew mysteries were her guilty pleasure during those early years, so she naturally gravitates her pen toward the things that go bump in the night, and most of her plots have a psychological spin.
She’s allergic to cheese, Sulfa drugs, and people who stop in the middle of intersections while driving.

How to Connect with Bethany:

Twitter: @bgmacmanus

Where to purchase her books:
Barnes and Nobles

*Giveaway Question*  (Don't forget to leave your email address, so Bethany knows where to send the e-copy of her book!)

If you read suspense, what is the name of your favorite villain? What made him or her so great?


  1. Hmmm good question since I do read alot of suspense books. Not sure if wuthering heights is a suspense exactly or not. But I hated that Heathcliff. I only kept reading the book to see if anything good ever happened. Not so much. But miss Bronte kept me engaged until the end to find out. So I guess he is my all time favorite bad to the bone bad guy.
    Danajeweler at y mail dot com

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Dana. You will truly enjoy Bethany ' s book. As for Healthcliff, Emily Bronte does write a character worth wringing your hands over.

    2. I was equally freaked out by Heathcliff. One haunted man, he was...
      Thanks for stopping by, Dana!

  2. This is a tough question, but my favorite "villain" is Godfrey Cass of Silas Marner. Although it is not a suspense book, and he is not a real villain, his wrong actions caused most of the hurt in the book that made him the antagonist. He is my favorite probably because Silas Marner is my favorite book, but I liked how his secrecy part of the story intertwined with the main plot.

    1. *ducks head in embarrassment* I've never read Silas Marner, but after that plug, I definitely will! Thanks so much, Emily!! :-)

    2. Thank you for commenting, Emily. I can honestly say I haven't had the pleasure of reading this book. Sounds like an interesting read, though.