I have a treat for you today! USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby has dropped by to spend some time with us. Bette’s women’s fiction novels are described as ““Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” I love her stories!
One of the nicest women you could ever know, I first met Bette Lee Crosby a few years ago when I was getting ready to publish my second novel, The Promise of Provence. Bette is a fine story-teller as well as a smart, experienced marketer and she is beyond generous at sharing her knowledge. Besides that, she’s never without that bright smile and her sunny Southern disposition.
One of the best things about being part of the writing community is the opportunity to become friends with someone like Bette. Now here’s a chance for you to get to know her better too:
PS ~ Was it always your desire to be an author or was there one time in your life when you realized this was the path you would take?
BLC ~ Actually I studied to be an artist. My very first job was as a packaging designer – working primarily with soft goods such as pantyhose. I asked one of the salesmen for copy to go on the back on the package and he told me to ‘just make something up’ – I did, and a new career was born. I ultimately went from design into marketing and found I enjoyed writing much more than I did designing.
PS ~ That’s a great story in itself! Do you draw from past experiences in your own life when you develop ideas for your novels?
BLC ~ Often I do. Sometimes my own life, sometimes the lives of friends who so generously share their stories with me. These incidents give me food for thought but I generally end up with a story that is still quite different from what actually happened.
PS ~ Your Memory House series has a clever theme linking each novel. Why do you think readers are so drawn to these stories?
BLC ~ I think most people would like to believe there is a bit of magic to life – things that seem like coincidence, but just might be ordered by someone much higher up than we are. Ophelia Browne of Memory House finds this type of magic in the memories other people leave behind. I have had so many reviewers say, “This makes me wonder if the memories you leave behind actually can be found by someone else…”
PS ~ Do you have a favorite character or particular story that gave you the most pleasure to write?
BLC ~ I have a great fondness for Ethan Allen of Spare Change. He is an eleven-year-old boy modeled after the way I imagined my mom was at that age. She came from a large West Virginia family and had a tough childhood. But she was a survivor who overcame the odds, which is how Ethan Allen deals with the challenges he encounters in the story.
PS ~ Your stories are filled with rich detail, emotion and humor, and such a variety of settings. How do you begin to plan these tales and are you a plotter or a pantser?
BLC ~ This is a question I often ask myself. I have tried both but I guess I have to say the pantser method is more in keeping with my style of writing. On the few times I did do a truly comprehensive outline, the characters drew the story in a totally different direction. The one thing I do before I actually start writing is really get to know my characters. I get inside their head and start to think the way they’d think, then I know when I stumble down the wrong pathway they will let me know quickly enough. When I try to make characters do something that is not of their nature, the action becomes stinted and almost impossible to write.
BLC ~ Reading, laying by the pool and thinking of new stories, dinner dates, movies and occasional dances with hubby, long walks with Sugar, shopping with girlfriends. I spend so much time writing and with all the side jobs that are part and parcel of publishing a book, that I tend to content myself with moments of pleasure whenever there is time. When you love what you do, it’s not the same as really working and with living in Florida it’s like I am always on vacation.
PS ~ Congratulations! The good news is out that you have completed you next novel, The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd. Would you tell us a bit about the story, please?
BLC ~ Since I just yesterday finished writing the description for this book, I will include it here. THE REGRETS OF CYRUS DODD…The Wyattsville Series, Book 4 Revenge, death, deception… These are the things Cyrus Dodd has to overcome if he is to give Ruth the life he’s promised her. The problem is he’s got a prideful nature and when a seemingly innocuous argument leads to a bitter feud with his neighbor, his life changes forever. The plans he has fall by the wayside and before he finds a way to fix it, he comes to understand the meaning of regret. In this early twentieth century family saga, two men come up against each other—both are iron-willed and stubborn. One will lose his farm; the other will lose his family. In a tale of betrayal, murder and revenge two West Virginia farmers will discover that being right does not necessarily mean being happy. Believing he has lost everything Cyrus Dodd is forced to start over. He promises Ruth that this time it will be better, but the truth is he doesn’t know if it’s a promise he can keep.
PS ~ Bette, that’s sounds like another fascinating story! I can’t wait to read it!
Thank you for all the wonderful stories you bring to readers around the world. Thanks also for stopping by and visiting here. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with you.
BLC ~ Thank you for having me, Patricia. I always look forward to the times when you are in Florida and we can get together for a face-to-face afternoon. It is so good to share thoughts and ideas about this fun crazy book business.
Ditto, Bette. Every visit with you is sheer pleasure … plus you serve delicious lunches! Some of the best times are when you host a group of writer/friends during the winter. Everyone has already begun looking forward to the next!
(Here are a few memories from past good times with … can you spot them (?) … Diane Capri, Jillian Dodd, Christine Nolfi, Karla Darcy, Steena Holmes, Leona DeRosa Bodie, and Bette’s always-a-good-sport husband, Dick.)