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During these difficult times, books have become much more important than just entertainment. Reading has replaced travel and novels have become powerful tools to fend off loneliness and isolation. Authors are in the unique position to help our country escape—if only for an hour or two—the stark reality of a changing world. Today we welcome bestselling author Jamie Beck as she explains what writing means to her.

Did you have any early experiences that influenced your decision to write?
As a teen, I dreamed about writing for film and television, but my parents discouraged that career. I became a stay-at-home-mother when my eldest was born, and I finally had an opportunity to try writing once my kids were finally in grade school for a portion of each day.
When did you know that you were going to write as your full-time career?
When I finished my second manuscript I knew I’d never give up until I got published. It took a third manuscript to get my agent. Due to the early rejections, I didn’t expect my career to go as well as it has. I’m very grateful.
Can you describe some notable milestones in your writing career?
Some of the “big” milestones in my career include finishing the first manuscript, getting an agent, the publication of my debut novel, hitting the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists, and getting a starred Publishers Weekly review. Each of these steps marked my growth as an author and helped to quiet the ever-present imposter syndrome voice in my head.
Beyond these milestones, the best part of this job (aside from fan mail) has been meeting so many amazing and talented writers through my participation in various professional associations.
How do you describe your newest book If You Must Know?
This book is a “beach book” in the best sense. It’s not angsty, yet it has a page-turning plot and a bunch of interesting, relatable characters. I think it’s entertaining and heartfelt at the same time.
If You Must Know marks a shift in your writing (from more romance-centric stories to a sister-centric story). How has your style changed?
That’s a funny question because most of my romance novels straddle the line between romance and women’s fiction. Originally, I had not set out to be a romance writer, but I always liked stories that had some romantic element. I published 15 “romance novels” because publishers require you to choose a lane, and at that time, contemporary romance was selling particularly well. However, flipping into women’s fiction (with light romantic and mystery elements) is putting me in the lane I probably always should’ve been driving in, so it doesn’t feel like a drastic or scary change in style. I did, however, return to writing in first person (like my debut) with this new series, so that has been fun.
What prompted this evolution?
Partly market forces and partly my own need to stretch. At 53, it was becoming more difficult to write a 20-something woman facing the challenges of dating. The shift to women’s fiction allows me to write late-30 and early 40-something characters, which comes more naturally to me. I also enjoy exploring family and friendship dynamics, and absolutely love having endless options for story arcs (as opposed to having to follow a traditional romance arc).
What are through lines that you have seen in your writing over the years?
All my books to date have focused on critical relationships and some type of redemption theme. I find damaged people to be very interesting and believe that there is good in most everyone, so I prefer to populate my stories with flawed people who must confront their inner demons in order to be happy. My new books will also focus on relationships and redemption, but the non-romantic relationships (or even the relationship with one’s self) will be more central.
Looking for a great summer read? Jamie Beck’s IF YOU MUST KNOW releases on June 1st. For more information about the author, visit her website at 

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