Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novel. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her first novel through Amazon with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Ta Ta for Now! is also now available through Smashwords at Barnes and Noble.com, on the Nook, and the Sony eReader. Her second novel in the series, xoxoxo, will be released on March 2, 2012.
Hello and welcome to YA author, Bethany Lopez.
XOXOXO is your latest release and is also book two in the stories about Melissa. Can you tell the readers about Melissa? What sort of a heroine is she?
"Melissa is a freshman in high school and the eldest of five children. She is a typical teen, who loves hanging out with her friends and wants to find love. I think Melissa is a positive role model for girls. Sure, she makes mistakes, just like anyone else, but she is confident, and is always growing and learning."
Do you think it’s important for young adults to have good role models in books?
"Absolutely! I have two teenage daughters and I want them to read about strong and independent characters, rather than weak and dependent ones!"
What qualities do you most admire about Melissa?
"She is very loyal to her friends and to her family. No matter how crazy they make her, or how much she sometimes wishes they weren’t around, she truly loves and supports her family."
Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
"This one was funny… I asked my daughters who they would like me to invite for dinner. My sixteen year old said Brian and my fourteen year old said Jimmy, but I think I would invite Ben!"
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?
"I am in the Air Force, as well as being a writer, and that career has been wonderful for me. I also would love to be a Chef!"
If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
"I would have submitted more to beta readers and critique groups, just to get a feel of what they responded to."
Thank you, Bethany.
Melissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn’t over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, andJimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can’t help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.
First New Journal Entry:
I know, I know, I know… it has been a really long time since I have written anything. In fact, it has been so long, that I decided to get this pretty new journal to replace my other one. That one is old news anyway! When I noticed that the last entry was in October, and it is now April, I knew that I needed to start fresh.
A lot has changed in the last six months. Jess, Jimmy, and I have been inseparable. My parents call us the Three Musketeers (Such an old person saying). I am glad that Jess and Jimmy never actually dated because now we are the best of friends! Brian and Layla are still hanging out and are annoyingly sweet to me whenever we run into each other (which seems to happen all of the time!). Megan has started seeing Mark, and he is at our house all of the time now. I can never seem to be in the living room or kitchen for five minutes without them running in and taking over the TV or grabbing a snack. Nothing has really changed with Mikey or Monica, and Mom is still pregnant. She looks like she is about to burst. It seems like she is always in pain and eating weird food, like grits with maple syrup. I feel bad for her!
Have I mentioned that I really do not want to have kids, EVER!!??
Jess, Jimmy, and I completed our first semester of freshman year, and we did so great in our Photography class, that we were asked to join the Yearbook staff second semester. It is the best class ever! We are in charge of getting great action pics of the freshman class. So, we spend a lot of time going to events and takings pictures for Yearbook. It has been so much fun, and it has really kept our social calendar full. We get invited to all of the best parties and have been to every sporting event. We are always there to hang out and back each other up, and I couldn’t imagine having better friends than Jess and Jimmy.
I am not going to lie… I took the whole Brian and Layla thing pretty hard. I mean, I really liked Brian and thought that we were going to have a shot at a great romance, but the whole fiasco with the dance and my parents really messed things up. Then you throw in the Layla thing, and I was totally bummed for a while. Jess and Jimmy did everything they could to cheer me up, but with Brian on the swim team and Layla joining freshman track, they are often the subject of our photos. I see them everywhere! And whenever I see how he is with Layla, I am reminded of how great Brian is! Plus, she is in my Physical Science class… Ugh! We have been friendly to each other, and I really don’t have anything against her anymore… It just makes me sad more than anything. I can’t help thinking, “What if?”
Christmas was a lot of fun. We had the festivities at my Uncle Lou’s house this year. He lives on Runyon Lake in Fenton, and we had family members travel from all over Michigan to get together at his place for the holidays. It was sooo much fun! I love going to Uncle Lou’s. He has this great house with so many beds in it that you could sleep in a different bed every night! Everyone just shares rooms and space and kind of snuggle together like a gigantic slumber party. I don’t get to see my cousins that often, but when we do get together we have a blast - especially at Uncle Lou’s! Even though it gets pretty cold at Christmas, we all go outside and make snow angels and snow men. I have this new totally cute set of gloves, hat and scarf. They look like they are crocheted with pink yarn, but they actually have a thick and fuzzy liner, so they keep me warm while looking totally fab! I bought this beautiful charcoal grey coat to match, and I have to say, they look really good together.
There was one day where it was cold enough that the shallow end of the lake froze, and my cousins and I went out and tried to skate around on it. Boy, did my Mom and aunts flip out when they saw us doing that… My Mom still brings it up when she gets mad at me! (“What if Monica would have seen you and tried to go out there? You could have been seriously hurt if the ice had broken!) Blah, blah, blah… nothing bad happened, and we had a great time!
Dad and my uncle’s went out on the last day and built an igloo for the little kids to play in. They just made a big mound of snow and then tunneled into it and hollowed out the inside. The bigger kids went out when they were almost done and decorated the outside to make it look like bricks. It looked pretty cool, and I got some awesome pictures of the kids going nuts as they played in there.
After the holidays, Jess, Jimmy, and I would go sledding on a big hill down the street from Jess’s house. I know, sledding is for little kids, not high school freshman, but we had the best time. We would take turns going down together, and we would laugh until our sides hurt. We had such a great time, that for the first time, I was not happy to see the snow start melting. Of course, that only lasted for a minute until I felt the sun on my cheeks. I started imagining flowers blooming, walks at Henry Ford Mansion and Greenfield Village, sun dresses, shorts, tank tops and flip flops, and I immediately felt anxious in anticipation of spring… Not to mention Spring Break, which begins next week!
It is 11 o’clock now, and I have school tomorrow, so I need to get some sleep. I have caught up, for the most part, from the last entry, and will fill in the rest tomorrow!