Today we have an extra treat, as Betty Dravis, one of our Dames, joins us to share some exciting upcoming events.

1.    Betty, good morning, and thanks for joining us.  A little bird told me that you have a new book coming out…SOON.  What can you share about it?

Betty Dravis: And a good morning to you, Laurel. It’s my pleasure to be here; thanks for inviting me.

The answer to this question is: YES—the second book in the DREAM REACHERS series is out. DREAM REACHERS II launched on May 15th and is doing quite well. As you know, I write this series with poet and author Chase Von. We interview people from all walks of life, asking questions about their lives and how they reach their dreams; later we publish them with lots of fantastic photos. We’re both pleased with the reception our books are getting. I can’t begin to tell you how great it feels to get emails from people describing how inspired they are by all or one of our Dream Reachers.

2.    I loved the cover of your first Dream Reachers book…can you share anything about it?  And can you give us a peek at your newest book cover?

Betty Dravis: I’m glad you liked the first cover. Chase and I felt like we couldn’t go wrong, putting the gorgeous actress/pop star Darcy Donavan on the cover. It was a hard choice because there were thirty-seven high-achievers in the first book… As you can see, the cover worked; in fact, it went on to win the coveted Covey Cover Award in June, 2010.

I’m happy you asked about the current cover, Laurel. We’re thrilled with it! Well, this time around, in order to relieve ourselves of the high anxiety of choosing from the thirty-three wonderful Dream Reachers in this new book, Chase and I decided to choose from photos instead. Thus, when Katherin Kovin Pacino sent a very special photo that perfectly conveyed our intentions in writing about DREAM REACHERS, we went with her as our cover girl.

As most of you know, Kat is not only a fine actress and singer, she is also the step-mother of the very famous actor Al Pacino. I knew the moment I saw this photo of Kat stretching to reach the stars–which is symbolic of her dreams, of course–that this was our cover! I showed it to Chase and he agreed. Our gratitude goes out to Kat for commissioning cinematographer Mario Prado to create this photo for us…and to Mario for his enormous talent. In addition to Kat reaching with all her might for the stars, she also appears to be floating up to the heavens. A masterful photograph, Mario!

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, several photos must speak thousands… In order for you to see for yourself, I’m sharing a montage depicting both covers and the co-authors.

3.    E-books are very popular now, and I understand that you have brought two of your books to this format.  Can you tell us what led to that decision?

Betty Dravis: OMG, Laurel, I was wondering if that would come up yet. I’m a little reluctant to talk about the two e-Books because they’re due for launch in a few days and I don’t want to ruin the publisher’s timetable… but I’m certain she won’t mind, so here goes…

When e-Books first came out I was adamantly against them because I love print books so much. A lot of my friends were breaking into publishing by starting with e-Books since they were easier to do. That fact alone made me suspicious of them. My thinking at the time: Print books are the tried and true method and have been the standard for many years, so they must be better. There was a bit of snobbery involved because I already had three print books under my belt when some authors were only doing e-Books while waiting for a more traditional publisher to recognize them. But since then I’ve changed my mind…

Author John Locke, my Internet friend who has made a name for himself by selling millions of e-Books, helped bring me around…as did another author friend, Cheryl Kaye Tardif. The deciding factor was when my son bought me a Kindle… When I started reading and finding excellent e-Book values online, I started devouring e-Books myself and that was it! That was when I told myself to GO FOR IT… a sort of “author’s coming-of-age,” so to speak. (laughs)

It was easy choosing which of my books to bring to this format because two of mine were out of print. 1106 GRAND BOULEVARD and THE TOONIES INVADE SILICON VALLEY are still listed on Amazon because they’re still selling on the secondary market, but since they remain my two best-selling books to date, it was a no-brainer to bring them back as e-Books.

Fortunately for me, at about the time I arrived at that decision, two publishers approached me about my books. One wanted to do e-Books strictly and the other was interested in my unpublished novel DEAD WOMEN DON’T TALK BACK for print format. I talked to Publisher Wendy Dingwall of Canterbury House about DEAD WOMEN and we ended up putting that serial-killer thriller on the backburner, opting to go for the two e-Books instead. And now here we are a few months later and the e-Books are about ready to launch. (laughs)

4.    Wow, these covers are amazing.  Can you tell us more?

Betty Dravis: Yes, I’m delighted by both the new covers. I was originally a tad put-off knowing that we couldn’t use the original covers because of new ISBN numbers (or some regulation). I loved both original covers for various reasons, but after Canterbury’s graphic designer came up with these two (see above photo) I had to dance with joy. Thanks, Tracy Arendt, for an outstanding job. Love them! Love them! Love them!

I’m also crazy about the fascinating video trailer created by Kelly Komm, a Canadian designer and fellow author. I’m not supposed to share this too far ahead of book launch (because it might spoil the surprise element), but Kelly already posted it on her site, so what the heck…? Betty’s Channel

5.    Since you’ve been so busy, I can imagine what your days look like.  Could you share a few tidbits?

Betty Dravis: I’m sure you know all about busy days, Laurel, being an author yourself, but this time has been the busiest I’ve ever been. This is the first time that three of my books launched so close together, so I’ve been doing multi-tasking like I never dreamed possible… I’m doing everything: helping the DREAM REACHERS publisher write the press release; posting book details on Amazon; sending thank you notes and book announcements; making lists of special book requests, etc. All that while trying to spread the word around the world that DREAM REACHERS II is out…

As for the e-Books, I don’t have as much to do for Canterbury House because they’re bigger and more structured, but I did commission the trailer, gave input to the designer, did the original formatting of the manuscripts, checked and approved the new covers, selected photos, etc. for Wendy. There are a myriad of details with all three books… The busy process is still going on… This also includes public relations and great interviews such as this… The actual FUN part of the process is when I get to talk about myself and my books… Thanks for making this interview happen, Laurel. Your questions make it easy for me. (laughs)

You ask about busy days, so I must also tell you that I review for Midwest Book Reviews and am a top Amazon Reviewer, so I have to work a few reviews into my work schedule. It never ends…


6.    When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?

Betty Dravis: Fun? Honey, it’s all fun… Luckily, I enjoy all the above and I manage to laugh and joke around with all my social network friends and fans and keep a happy balance between my work and play. I have a special friend who lives in New York that I email with on a daily basis too… Now fun off-line is another matter. I have personal outings, of course. I especially enjoy having lunches out with my son and daughters from time to time…and shopping, Subway, Applebee’s and trips to Tahoe with friends. (laughs)

7.    I know that you regularly show up on social networking sites, like Facebook.  Which marketing/networking tools work best for you, and why?

Betty Dravis: I mentioned a bit about social networking above, Laurel, and I must say I’ve tried most all of them from Goodreads and Shelfari to MySpace. After experimenting for years, my favorites are Facebook, Amazon Author Central and Twitter. As for blogs, I adore this WordPress site “Dames of Dialogue” and my personal website at http://www.bettydravis.com I am fortunate to be one of the Dames and, by the way, I dedicated Dream Reachers II to my co-Dames (you, Maggie Bishop, Christy Tillery French and lovely Caitlyn Hunter). I love you creative ladies and recommend your books highly.

You also ask why I prefer particular sites. That’s not easy to answer, but with Facebook I enjoy the ease of commenting and posting photos and links to favorite places.  The caliber of the people I meet there is awesome and I’ve met many of my best interviewees there. In addition to celebrities I’ve met and interviewed, can you believe that the darling actress, Kim Darby, and I share comments on her site? Her most famous role was as a teen in “True Grit” with John Wayne. Nope, never know who you’re likely to meet on Facebook. (laughs)

I also enjoy blogging on my own site and on DOD because those two seem to attract more views than others I’ve tried. And I adore Author Central because Amazon is so author friendly and gives us lots of help in promoting our books.

8.    I’m curious about one thing, Betty.  As you accomplish so much and stay so busy, do you sleep?

Betty Dravis: Oh-hahaha, Laurel! Do I ever sleep!!! That’s one of my best-kept secrets and the reason I can work long and hard. I have always gotten eight hours of sleep each night and an hour’s nap in the afternoon. If I happen to work late, as I did last night–until two a.m.–I simply tack eight hours to my bedtime and get up then. So this morning I got out of bed at ten a.m. instead of the usual eight. The reason I laughed so hard at you for asking this question is because I could ask the same of you. I hear that you’re up at five a.m. each day tackling over seventeen various blogs… Laurel, do YOU sleep? (laughs)

9.   Ha-Ha!  Let’s not go there (laughs).  Let’s talk about family and friends, since I know that you thoroughly enjoy your connections with others.  What can you share about how they add to your life?

Betty Dravis: Oh, Laurel, my family doesn’t simply add to my life, they ARE my life. I raised my six children alone and they mean the world to me. They and their children and now their children’s children give me hundreds of reasons to get up each day. Like a good book, they make me laugh, they make me cry and they make me wait… Love them! Love them! Love them!

10.    When you’re creating your colorful and quirky characters, do you have real people in mind?  Or do they spring completely from your imagination?

Betty Dravis: As for creating colorful, quirky characters, I must say that a lively imagination and a good memory are two important traits for all writers. Some of my quirkiest characters spring from my imagination, but even then I see some traits in those characters that come from my memory (in other words from real people I’ve known throughout my life). I think that every word an author writes springs from a combination of all we have seen, heard and experienced throughout our lives.

11.    What led to the creation of your very first book?

Betty Dravis: The first book I wrote was 1106 GRAND BOULEVARD, even though it was the third to get published. Since it’s a highly dramatized version of my sister Billie’s life, it was easy to write from a chronological standpoint. Following Billie Jean through a roller-coaster ride of seven marriages as she seeks her true love was not an easy emotional task, however. (laughs) Yes, it was a hard, rather bittersweet book to write because of reliving the good and bad in her life as well as our family history. I enjoyed weaving my family members into the plot, though, and the sweet memories relived with them were welcome reprieves.

12.     Do you have any pets?  If so, what can you share?   

Betty Dravis: I don’t have any pets at the moment, but my housemate has a cat named Tigger who is fun to be around. I get a kick out of some of the antics that crazy cat gets up to. I tend to ignore him because he’s not my responsibility, so when he comes around me when I’m at the computer, I just keep right on typing. You would laugh to see what he does when I’m engrossed in a particular scene and don’t reach down to pet him: Well, that little rascal reaches up and slaps my hand…very firmly. Then he has my attention! (laughs)

Thank you for joining us here today, Betty, and best of all good things in the upcoming weeks as you launch your new books.

Visit Betty at her website:  Betty’s Dreams

Betty:  Here’s that cake you wanted!  LOL