Bethany Macmanus 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. Bethany describes herself as “a suspense author who writes gritty characters into novels that keep God on His throne where He belongs.”
Janet: Wow, Bethany, that tag line from your website has my attention. Could you unpack it a bit for our readers?
Bethany: Sure! Early into writing full time, I found I have characters who aren’t afraid to show their imperfections. They may mouth off, be darkly sarcastic, or have a fatal flaw that makes them incredibly human. You don’t find that as often in Christian fiction. That’s why I also included the unapologetic line about keeping God on his throne. Because though my books hint at how dark our sin nature can be at times, God is Lord over all, and His sovereignty and the light we desperately need and crave becomes more clear against the backdrop. His truth shines forth.
Janet: Tell us a bit about your newest release, Nerve.
Bethany: Nerve was born out of the biggest trial of my life, when my husband’s nerve problem in his arms plunged him into a severe depression, which ultimately caused him to attempt suicide. The struggle for a diagnosis, having so many doctors say different things, different reasons for his problem, is what caused me to ask, “what if?”, and to imagine the premise for the book. You can read the blurb to get a good idea of the plot, but I’ll re-state it here.
Environmental photographer Lauren “Wren” Masterson discovers a very important medical invention has been stolen from her father’s house, two days after his death. Her father, Doctor Noah Masterson, had built it for her, in hopes her mysterious nerve problem could finally be diagnosed.
Lieutenant Justin Breck is the police officer assigned to the case. He has serious reservations, to the tune of knowing and having feelings for Wren two years ago. But Justin doesn’t know about Lauren’s nerve problem. How will he feel about her when and if he finds out? Does she dare to open her heart, and reveal?
And what will the thief do with the invention, now that its power is in his hands?
Janet: Did your experience working in the medical field plant some of the seeds that grew into this medical-themed romantic suspense?
Bethany: I think my overall interest in medical science helped with the research, kept me from stalling out when digging was producing no answers applicable to the storyline.
I’ve always been interested in the field. I remember having my own personal first aid kit as a child, one I could grab if, for instance, a friend fell off the zipline my very cool dad built for us in the backyard. I’d even bring it with me when babysitting, much to the chagrin of the baby’s mother. (Good to be prepared, right?!)
Janet: Good to be prepared, indeed! What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
Bethany: Mine is a message that’s good to hear again and again. Relationships work best when those involved in them are open and honest in their communication, and put God first.
Janet: Your other novels aren’t medical, but they’re all suspense. Has this always been your genre of choice?
Bethany: Yes, mysteries and suspense have always been my favorite, and even when I try to write something outside the genre, something criminal/medical/death-related always creeps in somewhere!
I read the Amanda Shaw books (Bethany House) growing up. They always had some element of mystery to them. I was also addicted to the Cooper kids adventure series by Frank Peretti, the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew (still am!). I’ve come to a point where it’s quite difficult for me to read outside my genre. I try, though…
Janet: What’s the best part of the writing life?
Bethany: Making my own hours and feeling like I’m going to a therapy session to work things out through one of my characters!
Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?
Bethany: I absolutely love Psalm 139. Knowing God pursues us and knows us no matter how far we run, how deep we hide, how tightly we lock our hearts—that’s what mystifies me about His love and power.
Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?
Bethany: I enjoy hiking with my family on the biking trails near our house. They have lots of hills and ramps and such. The kids (8 and 6, girl and boy) love it! For me, it’s perfect after sitting in front of a computer all day.
Janet: Together time and getting the body moving… good stuff! Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.
Bethany: I live in Houston and have for most of my life. For a brief seven years, early in my marriage, I lived in a rural area of Texas, where they make Blue Bell Ice Cream. While there, I missed the arts, the crowds, the food, the night life, the shopping… yes, can you tell I’m an extrovert and a city girl?! I also appreciate the mild winters we have here, those cool trails I mentioned, and the good economy. There’s a lot to appreciate in Houston, Texas.
Janet: Ooh, I heard of Blue Bell Ice Cream for the first time in a novel just last week. Thanks for visiting with us today, Bethany, and congratulations on your new release.
Bethany: Thanks for letting me come over! It was a pleasure and a privilege.
[Note: For more about Bethany Macmanus and her books, and to see other stops on Bethany’s blog tour, visit her website: bethanymacmanus.com. Bethany is giving away an ebook copy of Nerve with this interview. To enter the draw, leave a comment here on this post. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries, and the offer is void where prohibited. Draw closed at midnight, Friday, March 13. Winner: Cathy.]
It was created to save lives.
Now someone is using it to take them.
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?