Beyond The Break
We speak to author Heather Buchta about love, life, faith... and her new book for teens!
Hey Heather – welcome to Fervr! Tell us about your new book, Beyond the Break
Thanks for having me!
Beyond the Break is a teen fiction book about Lovette Taylor, a girl who is no longer allowed to surf or go back in the ocean after her older brother’s surfing accident.
But when a guy named Jake Evans moves into town, she begins to question all the promises she’s made to her parents, her God, and herself.
Sounds intriguing! So who did you write Beyond the Break for?
I wrote Beyond the Break for any teen who understands what it’s like to have the desire to do what is right but not always the strength to carry it out.
I wrote it for those who sometimes feel like a walking contradiction — the ones who know they don’t have it all together and are okay with that.
I wrote for those who are super passionate about their faith as well as for those who don't have much energy at all.
I wrote for those who see God wherever they look and for those who feel like looking for God is like being blind in a dark room looking for a black cat who isn’t there.
I wrote it for those who’ll never step foot in a church building but maybe need to hear just a little whisper of what God’s heart is like.
How did you become a Christian?
I was eleven. I had decided when I was eight that I didn’t believe a thing. I remember feeling sorry for people who believed in anything.
Then I was at a YMCA camp — they sang fun God songs and prayed before meals, that sorta thing — and I noticed a couple of counselors who really loved this whole Jesus thing.
There was one guy in particular who stood out. There was something crazy different about the way he talked and acted — he was so secure in who he was — and I just wanted what he had like nothing I’ve ever wanted.
I pulled the guy aside (he was probably 19 or so) and I asked him what he had and how to get it. Haha. Luckily, he didn’t think I was a lunatic. He told me about Jesus, but not in a weird way. Just in a very real and genuine way.
We talked for a really long time, and he explained a lot, though I can’t remember now what all that was. All I know is I prayed that night with him on a brick wall near a campfire, and that even at eleven years old, God took me at my word.
When I got home from camp, my favorite dog had been run over by a car. From day one, I learned that God was never about prosperity or giving me stuff or protecting me from chaos, but rather, He was about giving me peace amidst the chaos. And the peace was unlike anything I’d ever known. It’s what continues to rule me to this day, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What was your biggest challenge in writing Beyond the Break?
I never like to waste scenes, so if I write a scene that actually makes it into the book, the scene is in there for a reason, pushing the story forward in some way. If I take the scene out, the story no longer makes sense.
That’s when I know I have an essential scene. My story is tight from the start.
So when my editors tell me that they love the story, but that I need to cut the equivalent of 60 pages out of my book, it’s a mind puzzle that inevitably results in a lot of tears, hair pulling, loud overly dramatic sighs, and then more tears. Lol.
But it also results in a better book, once I can untangle all the mess and put it back together again.
What was your favourite part of writing the book?
When you start writing a story, it’s you as a writer calling all the shots. But as your story takes shape, it flips.
Your characters (if they’re well developed) sometimes take you on a journey, and you, as the writer, just feel like you’re there to record it. Sometimes those scenes are really fun and magical because you can’t seem to write fast enough.
You’re watching it unfold in your mind and just hoping you can keep up typing with the pace of the world unfolding in the lives of your characters.
Are you working on any more books right now?
Yes! Writers write. Good days, bad days, whether we “feel” like it or not…if we want people to read, we’ve gotta keep writing. Right now, I’m working on an old story that my agent has always loved. It needs a lot of work IMO, but it’s fun and sweet and very comparable to Beyond the Break.
How can readers find out more about the book & follow you online?
Instagram is my jam. I graze over Twitter about once a month, and Facebook about once a week, TikTok maybe a few mins before bed, but I love scrolling through Instagram any time of day.
I do have a website where I hope to be a little more interactive with anyone who reaches out. You can reach me here:
Find out more about Beyond the Break and download a free excerpt at Penguin Random House!