Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Betty.
1. Tell us about your latest book, Valley of Obsessions.
VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS is close to my heart because it chronicles much of my trip to Egypt some years ago. I wasn’t writing novels at the time of my trip to Egypt and, of course, couldn’t imagine that my observations and emotions would eventually see the light of day in print. I wish I could make the journey again and dig deeper into this magnificent country’s history and life today.
The paranormal aspect of this story happened to me and is described at the beginning of the tale.
The story is basically about a young woman who enjoys a successful career as a paralegal in a Houston law firm. She embarks on a trip to Egypt with a close friend and eventually discovers she would like to change her life, to live in Egypt, and become a contemporary Egyptian. The question becomes – will the country that has captivated her since childhood embrace her, or will it lead her down dangerous paths filled with deception and betrayal? As the young woman follows her dreams, she is surrounded by suspicious characters. Someone wants to end her fantasy. How far will he go?
2. Sounds intriguing, Betty. What’s next?
What’s next has actually just been released this past month. I co-authored The Common Thread with CC Smith. We are very excited about this book as it is written in an unusual format. The protagonist conducts a live radio talk show in which he examines social awareness and/or consciousness about conflicting issues. This is a timely book that captures much of what’s happening in the world now.
3. Timely as well as much needed. I note you have published fiction novels as well as short stories. I’ve published one short story, and I have to tell you, I found that more arduous than writing a book. Do you have a preference for writing one over the other?
The difference between a short story and a novel is interesting because I write them differently. This became apparent after a couple of stories were published in L&L Dreamspell’s anthologies. Most of my short stories are written from a first person point of view, from a more personal attitude toward the story. My novels are third person or omniscient points of view.
As far as preference, I don’t have one. I have devoted a lot of time the past few months to promotion and find myself attracted more to the short story – something I can begin and finish in a shorter amount of time. I have to admit though I’m itching to get back to a longer tale.
4. Are your books more character driven or plot driven?
I’d say about half and half. The characters are important and we all know the reader must feel something for them, otherwise who cares? However, the plot is so interwoven with the characters, they become one for me.
5. Nicely put. Are you a pantser or outliner?
I am definitely a pantster. Having said that, I do keep a shorthand pad by the computer where I list descriptions of my characters, adding tidbits as I go. Then, too, there are times I stop to do the old wagon wheel plot gimmick. It has gotten me out of trouble a few times. It also works, of course, for characters.
6. I’m also a pantser although on my steno pad I keep a timeline and after I’m finished I do a chapter-by-chapter outline to make sure everything is flowing. What do you like most about writing? What do you dislike most?
Writing likes: I am transported to another world, a world foreign to me in reality but available in fantasy. It allows me to explore emotions of other people and to be more tolerant of various viewpoints. I can also set my own working situation and realize more freedom in my environment.
Dislikes: I don’t dislike any part of writing, but a downside is the solitary position it puts me in at times. I find I have to force myself to go out in the day hours and pull myself away from the computer.
A year or so ago, I would say book signings worked best for me. I have several bookstores where I will always agree to do a signing as I love the personal one-on-one with readers. This is difficult to replace. However, with the advent of so many additional tools on the internet, I find I can reach many more readers (and authors, of course). So, I’m moving toward internet promotion.
8. What inspires you as a writer?
Reading other writers’ work and this includes new authors as well as established ones. Another great source of inspiration is accomplished with research. Hours can be spent researching a subject which leads to another subject and on and on. Often I find an idea evolving from a totally unrelated subject.
9. What advice would you give a beginning author?
I would suggest s/he have a voracious appetite for reading, reading the classics, reading best sellers, reading all genres, and reading advice from writers who have been in the trenches. I would also suggest they develop a thick outer skin to control sensitivity. Once that one story or book is published, the blanket of worry lifts and creativity flourishes.
10. Tell us about your part of the country.
I live in Texas, am a native Texan, and you know what we all say…Texas is God’s country. I live in a suburb close to Houston on about 3-1/2 wooded acres. I have many spots that encourage creativity. Another advantage to living in Texas, it is so large that one can find an area he likes whether it’s farming, ranching, professional status – you name it, we’ve got it. Come see us.
11. That’s one state I’d love tovisit. The Dames love animals and I note you have a Maltese – beautiful dogs. Tell us about him.
You hit my soft spot. My Maltese, Keeper, is nine years old, so he’s getting up there, but he is so loving and he loves unconditionally. The family jokes that he’s tied around my leg because where I go, he goes. I don’t know what I would do without him particularly when my husband is out of town. He has had to travel more in his job lately and Keeper is my salvation. He is also very demanding – he wants me off the computer when he wants me off, he wants my husband and I to go to bed when he’s ready for bed, etc. He’s definitely not shy.
We had a Doberman who passed away about eight years ago and I still miss him. Pets are so special.
12. I totally agree with that. What’s your favorite Southern saying?
That’s a hard one. Once in awhile, I will throw one out that my husband has never heard – he’s from Chicago, so there are a lot of Southern sayings he hasn’t heard. Now that you have asked me, I can think of only one I can repeat: “A watched pot never boils.” I use this a lot.
Something I need to remind myself of a lot due to my impatient nature. Thanks, Betty!
For more information about Betty: http://www.bettygordon.com