Name: Beaux Cooper
Where are you from:
A little about yourself, i.e. your education Family life etc.:
I’m married with two dogs and two cats who are basically our children. I love to travel and get maddening bouts of wanderlust in intervals. I’ve lived in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and now Wyoming and plan to live in many more states before I’m done. Education is important to me and I will likely be a lifelong learner – currently I am studying mathematics at my local community college with intentions of transferring to university for a science related field.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The best news for any writer, really – I’ve just been picked up by a publisher! My debut novel, Dust, is scheduled to be released Spring 2016. Tirgearr Publishing is an independent publishing house that boasts a great community of authors, editors, and artists who have all been supportive and welcoming to this rookie.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a school system where the literary arts were taken very seriously. That being said, I have been writing stories and creating plays since I was five years old. As is common with most writers, for as long as I can remember I’ve dreamt about becoming an author. The thought of someone halfway around the world or in the future long after I’m gone reading something I had written blew my mind. Granted, this was before the internet became a thing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose I’ve always considered myself a writer, but have yet to place the title of “Author” before my name. That will come the day Dust is released and I assure you, there will be quite the happy dance to follow.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dust has been a few years in the making. Many of the struggles Austen, my main character, faces were pulled directly from my own life and marriage. While she picked up a pitchfork I picked up a pen and together we have grown. Coincidentally, I began writing about Wyoming two years before ever knowing we would move there!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’d like to pretend I do things on purpose, but I don’t. I’m a fragment sentence kind of girl and I’m sure it drives some English teachers nuts! I also have a severe addiction to the overuse of the comma. Lists and choppy writing, to me, can help show a reader the emotions of a situation – because like our minds in real life we often don’t think in perfectly manicured sentences.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Dust was really hard to pin down. Titles are usually my favorite things to create so when I got to the point of crowning this book I was shocked to find that nothing was coming to mind. I struggled with it for months and even ignored it until I absolutely had to give it a name. The day I printed out the complete first draft I slapped a “temporary” name on it. The more and more I looked at it, the more I fell in love. It just fits.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many messages that come out over the course of Dust. I think the most common theme throughout, though, the one in which all the other messages correlate to, is this unwavering need we each have to be authentically ourselves.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
One of the reasons we moved to Wyoming was so that I could write this book. I was determined to do Wyoming justice by experiencing much of what she had to offer. The environment Austen finds herself in plays a large role in her transformation so you’ll read about it a lot. The wind she feels, the stars she sees, the dust in her teeth are all authentic to eastern Wyoming. I have spent hours beneath the bluffs and on the plains in hopes of portraying just a grain of the beauty and chaos found here.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The owners of the ranch Dust is set on have been inspired by my grandparents who have been a beacon of advice for my marriage. It has been an honor being their granddaughter and having the opportunity to learn so much from their 60+ years of marriage and friendship.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
My bookshelves are filled with books from a bygone era. Adventure, westerns, and frontier stories bursting at the seams with men of honor, men of dubious natures, and women of virtuous strength. Authors like Rex Beach, Zane Grey, and Robert W. Chambers have been major influences over my writing for Dust.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ll admit it, I’m a book adulterer. I have six books open at the moment.
- John Halifax, Gentleman by Miss Mulock, 1856 (my copy is from 1906) (Book)
- Smoke Bellew by Jack London, 1912 (my copy was published October 1912) (Book)
- Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (Book)
- Treated as Murder by Noreen Wainwright (Kindle)
- Save Me by Kristyn Kusek Lewis (Kindle)
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (iPhone)
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I haven’t really paid much attention to modern authors, probably as much as I should have. I enjoy playing book roulette in antique stores where I seek out the books published between 1880-1940. No dustjackets, no synopsis. It makes for its own mini-adventure. I highly recommend this era of literature to anyone. The language is beautiful, intelligent, and the stories thick with adventure, love, and, often, espionage. It’s an era when stories were written for the sake of a story rather than some gruesome, graphic murder or overly obvious sex scheme.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently, I am working on a paranormal comedy based in a flower shop, children’s series involving more herbalism, and the follow up books to Dust. There have been a few thoughts about reviving some old writing as well as tossing together a book of everyday poetry. And, as always, I spend a bit of my time keeping up with blog posts.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The state of Wyoming and her people have really opened their hearts and lives to me throughout this experience. This state is unlike any other I have ever lived in and without physically being here to see all that she can offer I would never have been able to write so authentically. There has been an eagerness of the people to share in their heritage which they are so rightfully proud of. It has been life altering.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would view myself exceedingly fortunate if I could make a living off of my writing. However, it has always been about the pursuit of the story for me. I would love for writing to remain a piece of my life and so will always make time for it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fortunately for me, I’m just getting the deep editing process started so any changes I want to make I still can.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I feel like it’s always been there. I have a creative nature and writing has always been a great outlet for me.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Since we are just beginning the editing process I can’t offer any complete sneak peeks at the work, but as soon as we have a clean copy, I’ll let you know!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing about the landscape around me while avoiding clichés is really difficult. You have to get creative when you write about grass and the wind and the stars and the moon. The landscape is so incredibly important to the story that it needs to be done right. It’s the only part of Dust I felt pressure over.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Zane Grey is my favorite author for western and adventure – I love how noble his characters are and how, at the time of publishing, he wasn’t afraid to get a little honest and dark at times. His descriptions of the land made me fall in love with Arizona.
Walter Moers is the top of my list for adult fantasy – I stalk his release dates religiously. His illustrations and imaginative storylines are epically entertaining.
I’m not afraid to admit I enjoy young adult fiction. My favorite author/illustrator duo there would be the team behind The Edge Chronicles, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Absolutely stunning artwork and a series I can read over and over again. They inspire me.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I try to get out of my little town and into the wilds of Wyoming as often as possible. I’ve spent some time observing ranchers and their communities and sat out under the stars surrounded by near pitch black. Research is a great excuse for exploring! I hope to get over to the west side of the state before Fall gets into full swing around here.
As for promotion, I’m all online at the moment, but once Dust is released I see some travel in my future.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Tirgearr Publishing will provide me with a cover artist and I’m truly grateful. It is their policy to take into consideration the author’s input on the design because they understand how intimately well the writer knows their work. I can’t wait!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
In the beginning it was writing the landscape. I so badly wanted it to be authentic to Wyoming, but that’s near impossible when you’ve never been and you’re currently sitting in Oregon. When we moved to Wyoming that all changed. You really need to visit a place if you’re going to write about it. There is so much you would miss if you don’t. For me, it was the wind. I didn’t know wind until I came here.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
This whole book was a learning experience for me, really. Much of what is written in Dust is a compilation of lessons I’ve learned in my own marriage, advice I’ve been handed down, or experiences I’ve had. Writing is an amazing tool to learn what you know and how it applies to your life.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day. And write freely. Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like in the end because that isn’t the point. Write because it is what you love to do and write about the most mundane things. Challenge yourself to make these things interesting. Write about the clock on the wall or a feather on the sidewalk. Tell a story, create something around nothing. These types of exercises will only make your writing better. It is a craft and it needs to be practiced.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I think the most important thing I learned from writing Dust, the thing I want my readers to walk away with a firm understanding of is that you don’t have to settle for being one thing in your life. When we watch TV or read books we see characters as this one thing – it’s part of the bit. We are only given a snapshot of this one period of the character’s life rather than the full story. This can be confusing, so don’t let it convince you that all you will be is what you are today. There is always time and room for growth and change – embrace it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember my favorite story from second grade – it was in an anthology textbook for reading and the imagery was absolutely stunning: I’m Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love witty, subtle humor. The kind performed on the sly that isn’t in your face. British humor is an excellent example of this. They have such a soft way of delivering awkward situations that make it so it isn’t Meet the Fockers painful to watch or read. On the flip side, potty humor gets me every time.
I’m a glutton for punishment when it comes to video snippets of soldiers surprising their loved ones and those unexpected tears of joy that follow. In writing, there is only one author that has squeezed a tear out of me, Charlotte Bronte and her Jane Eyre.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to be able to go back in time and tell my younger self so many things. Younger-me has a lot to learn and little to be afraid of, although she doesn’t know it.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
There won’t be a headstone for me. I want to be cremated, scattered to the winds, and let go. I don’t want anything to encourage my loved ones to mourn my passing. Instead, I want them to remember to live and be free.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Exploration, dining out, astronomy, and learning – all things that swing in and out as my number one hobby beyond writing. All part of that self-mantra about being more than one thing in life.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We only have Netflix and Hulu in our house, so I watch that whenever I can get a lazy moment. Currently, my shows are Castle, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Longmire, Hell on Wheels, and Downton Abbey.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m a chips and salsa-holic. It’s my go to binge snack food and I go through spurts. My favorite color is green (all shades) and I am a country music fan through and through. The violin is my favorite classical instrument to listen to.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’m working toward being a scientist. Likely focused in geology and archaeology. I plan on applying to the astronaut’s program with NASA in about 10 years once I get my education squared away. Living that mantra to the max!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find me here: