Beth Carter was a Feature Author in July 2017. This month she is back to tell us about her new book, Chaos at Coconuts, the sequel to the award-winning Thursdays at Coconuts.
Uncaged: You were a Feature Author in Uncaged in July, 2017. How was your experience with the magazine?
I was thrilled to be featured in Uncaged nearly a year ago. This literary magazine is top-notch. I always appreciate the professionalism of the staff, answering questions about my work, the writing process, and most of all, the chance to connect with new readers and fellow authors!
Uncaged: You’ve just released Chaos at Coconuts, the follow-up to the wonderful Thursdays at Coconuts. Can you tell readers about the series?
The main theme behind my Coconuts series is friendship, although there’s plenty of romance, humor and suspense. I love my girlfriends and working through all of life’s complications together. With my Coconuts series, my plan is for readers to laugh, cry, and cheer for the unbreakable bonds of friendship. I also love a happily ever after and page-turning thrillers, so I incorporate plenty of plot twists, surprises, and giggles along the way.
My main characters, Suzy, Alex, and Hope, have known one another since high school and are now in their late thirties. They each have chaotic personal and professional lives, so their weekly (or more!) Happy Hour ritual at Coconuts is their form of friendapy. They tell each other everything and I mean everything! Suzy is a wedding planner who often has neurotic brides and fun, themed weddings. Her son, Jon, brought home a shocker from Europe in THURSDAYS, and in CHAOS, he delivers even more of a bombshell. Alex is a bank marketer involved with a sexy, bad-boy cop whose ex is stalking her, plus she has a marketing intern from hell. Hope is a high school counselor who advises both at-risk and honor students. She grew up with hippie parents, hates her frizzy hair and looks, and deals with a monster tornado barreling toward Hilltop High. In Book 2, Cheri Van Buren arrives on the scene via a limo and paparazzi. The three best friends aren’t sure whether they’re threatened by the gorgeous, wealthy socialite or if they’ll invite her to their tightknit group.
THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS won a RONE Winner for Best Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit and I was named “Best Debut Author” by BTS Books in 2015. Happily, I’ve received over 230 reviews for this novel. CHAOS AT COCONUTS picks up where THURSDAYS left off (but both may be read as a standalone.)
Uncaged: Are you planning on keeping this series going?
Yes! My Coconuts series will be a five-book series. I’m about one-third finished with Book 3. I’m not a plotter, which is a struggle with a series and probably slows me down, but I enjoy being surprised by my characters. It makes the writing process more fun. I do use bullet points for major scenes now and have character bios. Plus, my readers are a great resource! I’m trying to write faster. A few readers have seen me out shopping and informed me I should be writing!
Uncaged: What’s coming up next that we can look forward to?
Last fall, I released a holiday novella, MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO. I love writing Christmas stories and may write another one this year, but I’m focused on Coconuts Book 3 (title not yet revealed.) I also have some non-fiction projects vying for attention.
Winner of a 2015 RONE Award, Named Best Debut Author, and a 2017 RAVEN Award runner-up, the author’s novels include: THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, CHAOS AT COCONUTS, SLEEPING WITH ELVIS; MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO (A Christmas novella); and SANTA BABY, a novelette. Carter’s four children’s picture books are: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?, SOUR POWER, THE MISSING KEY, and SANTA’S SECRET. Her work also appears in four six-word memoir collections and numerous anthologies. The author splits her time between her home state of Missouri and sunny Florida where she is often found writing at Starbucks—if she isn’t shopping at T.J. Maxx.
Chaos at Coconuts
To most, Coconuts is simply a bar. But for three best friends, it’s their oasis. That is, until everything comes crashing down.
Socialite Cheri Van Buren makes a splashy, paparazzi-filled visit to Coconuts. Secretly dabbling in disastrous online dating, the wealthy caterer desires normalcy away from the society pages. A few girlfriends would be nice too.
Hope’s life is routine, if not dull. The most exciting part of her day is counseling students until a monster tornado heads toward Hilltop High. Now she’s in shock—and not just from the devastating twister.
Alex oversees a marketing intern from hell who appears intent on stealing her job. Her relationship with her sexy cop boyfriend isn’t so sexy, especially after his ex-wife stalks her.
Suzy’s new marriage is challenged by her surly teen stepdaughter, a unique Halloween wedding, and her son’s ever-changing nuptials. If that isn’t enough, the family discovers an astonishing revelation requiring a giant leap of faith.
Will the women overcome the chaos or will it tear them apart?
“Who the hell is that?” Alex jumped off her bar stool to get a better view as a shiny, black stretch limo stopped in front of Coconuts.
Her two best friends, Suzy and Hope, swiveled their heads in an obvious attempt to follow Alex’s gaze. Hope’s eyes widened as she waved a salsa-laden chip in the air. “Looks like we have a celebrity in Crystal City.”
Suzy craned her neck around the fake palm tree near the front. “Nah. My money’s on a Branson entertainer.”
The threesome observed the hubbub as Gus, the flip-flop wearing server, inquired about refills. The women nodded affirmatively without taking their eyes off the scene. Soon Gus plunked fresh drinks on the table—a chardonnay for Alex, a margarita for Hope, and a merlot for Suzy.
Alex concentrated on the entrance, so she wouldn’t miss a second of the commotion as a driver opened the passenger door. A toned leg wearing expensive red-soled heels appeared underneath. Photographers leapt out of the bushes and dozens of cameras flashed. Alex rubbed her hands together. “This isn’t a local. This is going to be good.”
Uncaged Review: This is a sequel that I was looking forward to all year and the author didn’t disappoint. Set after the events of Thursdays at Coconuts, this book hit the nail on the end on almost every level for me. The three ladies I fell in love with are back, and this time the author added a wonderful new addition with Cheri and I really am looking forward to more about her. The author ramps up this story with a tornado, a whacked-out ex-wife and a teenager you’d like to throttle. Add in a few twists and turns, and the amazing friendship shared by these women, and it’s a recipe for success.
Even though you could read this as a standalone, I highly recommend you read Thursdays at Coconuts first as you will get the full-on background of the ladies. I was only upset that the book ended too soon, but the author assures us there is more to come, if there wasn’t, I’d probably pitch a tent and camp out in her backyard until she changed her mind. Reviewed by Cyrene