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May 12, 2011

Meet Harriet, Mother of Bethany Maines

Posted by Anonymous
With a black belt in karate and a penchant for exotic travel, Bethany Maines isn’t too far off from the female spy in her books BULLETPROOF MASCARA and COMPACT WITH THE DEVIL. Below, her mother discusses their early family reading tradition (which didn’t involve spies or ninjas), and spills info about Bethany’s latest project.
Photo: Bethany and her mom taking a break from reading.
mom+me1980.jpgDid you read to your daughter as a child? What did you read?
Our family didn’t have a TV (by choice) until our children were in late elementary school so I was the family reader. Reading time was family time and my husband joined Bethany, her older brother Lyle, and me on our reading adventures. 
We read everything from Babar and Winnie-the-Pooh, through a variety of series like Trixie Belden and Dig Allen Space Explorer, all the Anne of Green Gables books as well as Tolkien and Mark Twain.
In fact we read through the Tolkien trilogy three times over a period six years. My husband had never read them and his birthday was the same as Bilbo’s and Frodo’s: September 22. So, on September 22, when Beth was three and a half and Lyle was six, we started THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and probably finished all three books some time after Christmas. I’m sure the first time through, the kids didn’t get all of it and I know, in parts, I just gave my husband the abridged version, but they loved the story and the language. It became a family tradition for Dad’s birthday two years later and two years after that.
How old was Bethany when she started reading?
Bethany was five and I had been working to help my son with his reading. He is Dyslexic. Beth had been hanging around watching and finally I realized I couldn’t slow her down any longer. I remember asking her, “Do you want to learn to read today?” She thought she might like that and an hour or so later she was officially a reader. 
Did you have any book or reading rituals in your house?
We always read and we always talked about the books we read. We still do.
When did you know she was going to be a writer? Can you remember Bethany writing as a child?
Bethany started writing about the time she started reading but she was also an excellent visual artist so I just tried to encourage her creativity however it emerged. She wrote stories and kept journals throughout her childhood. In fact, she is not only a writer, but she has a degree in graphic design.
Do you read advance copies of your daughter’s work?
I’ve read various versions of her books.
Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is always the next one she is working on. She currently has a book in the works about Orcas Island. While we’ve been there often in the past, she and I went up to Orcas last summer for a dose of local color and background. We had a great time waiting for the ferry, eating mussels and drinking wine.