Getting to know Monique Singleton #author #psychological #suspense #fantasy #storyteller #amreading #amwriting #fiction #books

My guest today comes to us from Holland and has an intriguing background to draw on for her writing. Please help me welcome author Monique Singleton! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her stories, shall we?

USA Today Best-selling Author Monique Singleton writes compelling stories that mix fantasy with realistic psychological suspense and unique insights into the mind of the main characters.

As the daughter of a British soldier and his Dutch wife, Monique was born in an English military hospital in Germany. The family toured the world where she was exposed to different cultures in many countries. Finally settling down in the Netherlands she pursued a career in Art and later in ICT.

Monique started to put the scenes she had running around in her head down to paper. Scenes led to a story, the story to a book, and the first book to a series. In addition to her writing, Monique still holds down a full-time job as a business consultant. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse in the south of Holland with her two sloppy monster dogs, some horses, and a cat.

The cat is the boss.

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Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Monique: None of the characters actually arrived fully developed. They evolved during the different books. I don’t outline my books. I am what they call a “Pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. This means that subjects, plots, and characters can change during the writing process.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Monique: The main protagonist was the first idea. She was not a clear and precise character, not at the beginning. She grew with the story.

Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know? Why do you think?

Monique: I think the main characters are the most difficult to get to know. In Primal Nature that’s definitely the case for the main protagonist because she herself does not understand what is happening to her.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Monique: I did a lot of research with regard to locations, cultures (Maori cultures in the other books of the series) and also research on the riders of the apocalypse. Even with Fantasy, it has to be right.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Monique: I wrote one major draft but changed it a bit on the way. After that I went back and re-edited the draft. I guess that constitutes a new draft. All in all, I think there have been 4 or 5 releases. I still change things as I learn more about writing.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Monique: This was the first book I wrote. It took about a year to write, and another five years to pluck up the courage to publish it. Most books take me 4 months to write. Then the laborious editing process starts.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Monique: No specific rituals. I do usually read what I wrote last time and go on from there. I do not write sequentially. I write what comes to mind.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Monique: One of my overused words is “OK”, or “So.”

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Monique: Terry Pratchett. He was a fantastic author who regrettably is no longer with us. Though his genre was different from mine, he is a great role model.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Monique: No special place or time. I do a lot of reading in the bath.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Monique: I work 4 days a week as a business consultant in IT. I very much enjoy that as well.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Monique: Deciding to self-publish and taking the first step.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down with over dinner and talk to? Why?

Monique: Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, and so many more.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Monique: Success in writing would be if people enjoy my books and maybe some will take a step back and think of some of the social subjects I write about.

I would love to write full time. My ultimate fantasy is to see my work on film or on a streaming site.

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Monique: The stories ran around in my head for a long time. I have always been a very creative person fascinated by Fantasy. This resulted in scenes that formed in my mind that I just had to put down to paper. The Primal Series is about a flawed heroine. Someone with good and bad points. Someone like us.

Immortality comes at a high price: her sanity.

Known simply as subject 336, she was the unwilling subject of sinister and brutal experiments designed to replicate her enormous strength, healing powers, and apparent immortality.
It didn’t work out that way. Instead, they unleashed her primal nature.

Now they’re dead, and she’s lost.

From the sweltering heat of the Mexican desert, her journey leads her to the tropical jungle of the Columbian Amazon.

Against the backdrop of the Third World War, she fights her own gruelling battle to come to terms with what she is: a killer, a monster, or maybe worse.

The world is at war, and she is caught up in the middle.

Joining the revolution, her newfound talents sway the balance of war in their favour.

But is she a blessing, or a curse?

Buy Links: Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iBooks * Smashwords * Books2Read

Thanks for letting us take a peek at your writing inspiration and process, Monique. Your story sounds intriguing and inspiring.

Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Catherine Tinley #Author #Regency #Historical #Romance

My guest today lives in a place that is filled with history and romantic, so perfect for the author of historical romance. Please help me welcome Catherine Tinley! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her.

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Catherine: I’ve been writing for many years – writing for work, and writing for my own enjoyment. I first became an author in 2017, when Waltzing with the Earl was published.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Catherine: All my life, I suppose. It may look as though I had overnight success – Waltzing with the Earl was the first project I’d ever submitted to publishers. Not only did it get me my first ever publishing contract, it also won the prestigious RitaTM Award in the USA. In reality, I’d been building and honing my writing skills for years.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Catherine: Georgette Heyer is my all-time favourite author, and my first book was borne out of the frustration that I’d read all of her Regencies and Georgians too many times.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Catherine: An idea. That’s often the case, I think. I’d been watching the BBC Pride & Prejudice (yes, the Colin Firth version) and I wondered what might happen if a woman lost her place/ financial standing after she and a man were on the way to falling in love. Since then I’ve published seven books, with the eighth, Captivating the Cynical Earl, set for release in July.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Catherine: I write women’s stories. I write about strong women who face challenges, and overcome them, and find partners who are worthy of them. Although my books are set around 200 years ago, the themes are recognizable as issues affecting women and girls today. I like writing gentle, family-based stories, exploring relationships, and occasionally throwing people into unusual situations to see how they’ll cope. My recent book, Rags-to-Riches Wife, tells the story of a serving-maid, Jane, who is invited to stay with wealthy relatives. Readers seemed to really enjoy the fish-out-of-water and Cinderella tropes, and that book has recently won the RoNA award from the Romantic Novelists Association, which is wonderful!

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Catherine: None of the above :D. I just wrote, and read, then repeated that ad infinitum. I now use craft books and find them really helpful, but I rarely attend classes. Everyone walks their own path, and that has been mine.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today? Lady Cecily Thornhill appeared as a secondary character in two of my other books, and I thought it was about time she moved centre-stage for her own story to be told. I’ve matched her with Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, and given her only a month to melt his cold heart.

The cool, aloof earl
And the enchanting lady

For Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, emotional entanglements are the path to pain. But when his brother brings his new wife and her best friend to his country home, everything changes. Lady Cecily Thornhill is both vibrant and beautiful, and Jack finds himself increasingly captivated by her sunny nature. Yet he must resist her charms, for in a month she’ll be gone—unless his frozen heart thaws before then…

Excerpt:

There was a sudden murmur of female interest, drawing Cecily out of her thoughts. At the same time she heard Nell gasp beside her. All eyes were drawn to the door, where a new arrival had just been announced.

He stood just inside the room, a head taller than almost everyone there. His figure was strong, lean and imposing, his face starkly handsome. Or at least it would be, Cecily thought, if there had been any kindness in it. He wore the full evening dress required for events such as these, but had chosen a black jacket, giving him a faintly sinister air. It was moulded to his form, drawing the eye to the breadth of his shoulders, the narrowing of his back, the smoothness of his hips.

I’ll wager he needed two valets to get into that, thought Cecily dryly. And men accuse us women of vanity!

All around the room ladies were sitting up a little straighter, smiling a little more broadly, and chattering just a little more loudly than they had been. Cecily sighed. Sometimes she quite despaired of her sex.

Buy links: Available for pre-order now. Books2Read

Congrats on winning the RoNA award, Catherine! That’s fabulous! Thanks also for sharing your story with us.

I send out my newsletter on the first of every month, so please be sure to sign up below if you haven’t already. Thanks for your interest and I wish you all perfect day, however you define it, to read a good book! Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Helen C. Johannes #author #adventure #fantasy #romance #fiction #storyteller #amreading #amwriting

My guest today is a fellow member of Romance Writers of America and also a fellow lover of historical places. Please help me welcome Helen C. Johannes to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her inspirations…

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.

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Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Helen: Years and years and years. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember: essays, research papers, poems, stories, novels. Whatever I was studying and whatever struck my fancy, plus countless pages of instructional material in my career as a writing teacher. But my first and forever love is story-telling. Anything with suspense, adventure, danger, and romance.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Helen: Fairy tales, most definitely. I think I absorbed them through the skin from a book I had as a child. And Tolkien, whose world building inspired my own attempts; Shakespeare, who knew how to craft a plot true to character; Mary Stewart, who hooked me on romantic suspense; and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who knows how to pack an emotional punch, among countless others among my wide and varied reading.

I don’t know that they’ve influenced my style so much as demonstrated various aspects of story construction in a way that I could internalize the lessons. People joke about learning by osmosis, but I firmly believe that the best way to lay the foundation for learning to write well is by reading and, reading widely.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Helen: My first attempts to write to the market were romantic suspense (I finished 3½ manuscripts), but what truly fired my imagination was a fantasy story I’d begun in high school and never finished. When I dusted that off, I found it was better than I thought and still captured my imagination. After years of work applying all that I’d learned from workshops and critique partners, that fantasy romance became my first published book, THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE. I didn’t know at the time that I’d be turning it into a series, but it’s now Crown of Tolem #1.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Helen: In addition to reading widely, I credit a series of exceptional critique partners for helping me refine my prose. I have also benefitted from workshops, classes, and conferences, most sponsored by RWA chapters. As a teacher, I’ve been a mentor and a contest judge, and while those experiences have given me the satisfaction of helping others, I’ve learned so much more about my own work from spotting gaffes in the work of others. Successful writers don’t work in a vacuum.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Helen: Princess and the Pea and Star Wars. Yes, you read that right.

LORD OF DRUEMARWIN, Crown of Tolem #2, picks up where THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE leaves off. The quest for the Crown has been successful, sort of like in Star Wars: A New Hope, but we all know the war isn’t over, and the main players have to separate in order to confront their own demons (like Luke in the swamp with Yoda). My hero, Naed, new Lord of Druemarwin, must go home to rally his people to the cause and to reckon with what he’s learned about his family (his meeting-Darth Vader-in-the-cave moment). And then there’s the assassin stalking him. His bride-to-be, Lady Raell, has the Princess and the Pea experience, an outsider trying to join a family who looks upon her with distrust and even disdain. It doesn’t help that she’s already unusual among her own people, a woman skilled with blades.

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

Excerpt:

“Raell, now is not the time—”

Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.

“Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”

The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—

“Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * Apple * Kobo * Walmart * WildRosePress

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Helen! It sounds like quite an adventure!

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Julia O. Greene #Author #Fiction #Fantasy #Speculative #Contemporary #Romance

Today’s guest author hails from the Midwest and brings a fresh perspective to her stories. Please help me welcome Julia O. Greene to the interview hot seat! Take a peek at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her.

Julia O. Greene is a pen name for Susan Stradiotto who is typically a fantasy and speculative fiction author. As the material she writes doesn’t serve the romance audience, she decided to pay tribute to her grandmother in her contemporary fiction. Susan lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with her husband, three children, and a crazy Bernese Mountain Dog named Delaunay. Stories of all kinds are her passion, and she has always been a voracious reader, lover of worlds, and hoarder of books. Her infatuation with well-developed characters sometimes rivals relationships with real people.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Julia: I’ve been a writer all my life but became serious about writing as a career in 2017.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Julia: This is a hard question to answer because I’ve been passionate about reading and writing ever since I can recall. But if pressed to say when I started honing the skill, I’d go with 2017.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Julia: There are several from different genres.

  • From women’s fiction, Lianne Moriarty.
  • From paranormal romance, J.R. Ward.
  • From fantasy: Jacqueline Carey and N.K. Jemesin.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Julia: In the eleventh grade, my English teacher challenged us to go all out on a creative writing assignment, and I believe that’s what started my love of storytelling.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Julia: Fantasy with tons of worldbuilding. My real inspiration here was a trip I took to Italy and Greece.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Julia: Fantasy and Romance, or really anything with a happy ending. While I adore conflict in fiction, I want the resolution to be good for my main characters. This life is so short, I really feel people need to seek out their happiness.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Julia: I’d have to say, “The Brute-Force Method.” I wrote, looked for feedback, researched the feedback I received, purchased craft books, and wrote some more. I learn every time I receive an edit back or feedback from a critique. Ongoing honing and learning are something that really jazzes me up about the process of writing.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Julia: The timeline for getting a book to market and what it means to adequately market a book. I’ve learned a ton since I published my first book in 2018, and it’s getting more and more fluid. I actually took a year off from publishing just to build a backlog of content so that I can continue writing while publishing and not lose that momentum.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Julia: The favorites I mentioned above plus Stephanie Meyer. I wrote a fan fiction about Alice and Jasper after reading the Twilight series. That, however, will never see the light of day.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Julia: When I wrote An Orchid Falls, it was inspired by a friend who actually went through a divorce. My aim was to give her the happy ending she deserved, even if it was in a fictional form.

Divorced. Single Mother.

Words that Calli never imagined she’d use to describe herself, but today, she would sign those fateful papers and bring the words to life—her life. Her career is going well enough. With the financial arrangements in the decree, she’d be able to maintain a solid middle-class status. Her plans for the future are set…keep on keeping on. Maybe one day, her mother could accept her divorce. Maybe one day she’d be comfortable alone. Maybe one day, her life would turn out how it was supposed to be with Bennett. But for today, she’d go to happy hour and celebrate her freedom with her friends.

The variable Calli’s calculations don’t include: restaurateur, Dominic Moretti.

Food. Fitness.

The two pleasures in life that Dom thrives upon. Moretti’s, his first love, his upscale flagship restaurant in Minneapolis, has grown to one of the most in-demand venues in the Twin Cities. When he isn’t traveling for business, he enjoys overseeing the floor as his alter-ego: restaurant manager, Nic Moore. In his other foodie ventures, he operates as the better-known Dom of The Dinner Shark on Food Network. All work and very little play keep his accounts bulging at the seams, and he thoroughly enjoys a city-boy bachelor’s lifestyle.

The secret ingredient he has yet to factor into his perfect recipe: Callista Lindley.

Excerpt:

Not stepping out of his arms, she turned her head and looked up at him with her big, deep browns—eyes he could lose himself in for hours if it weren’t for the pull of her lips. He leaned in and kissed her softly. “Merry Christmas.”

Buon Natale,” answered Calli.

Dom raised a brow. “Joyeux Nöel.”

Feliz Navidad.”

Fröhliche Weihnachten.”

Calli chewed the inside of her lip and looked around, searching with her eyes. A light went on. “Felicem natalem Christi.”

Dom dropped back his head and laughed. Coming back face-to-face, he asked, “Latin?”

“What can I say, four years in high school and two in college. Oh, I have one more. Feliz Natal.

“Ah, yes. Portuguese. I only know two more, so you almost had me. God jul?” He phrased as a question to see if she could guess.

She pressed her lips together and shook her head.

“Norwegian. Come on, living in Minnesota, you never learned that one?”

“Nope, sorry.”

“And . . . Glædelig Jul, Danish.”

“I guess you win.”

“But you have the romance languages, hands down. Speaking of . . . ” He brushed her hair away from her neck, inhaled her floral-vanilla scent, and kissed under her ear.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

Sounds like a delightful story! I may be a bit biased since my cat’s name is Calli, short for Calliope though. Thanks for sharing with us, Julia!

Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Jenna Jaxon #author #historical #romance #HistoricalFiction #suspense #GetReading #Storytelling

My guest today shares several of my favorite things! She reads and writes historical romance/fiction, for one. See how many other similarities you see as we get to know Jenna Jaxon. Let’s take a look at her bio and then we’ll dive in.

Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.

She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets–including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, a Sharpei-beagle mix (Sharp-eagle), and a very curious bunny.

When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna equates her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Jenna: I have been a writer practically since I learned to write. In third grade I penned my first masterpiece, a story called Miss Priss Finds A Kitten. I’ve loved writing ever since and relished all my creative writing assignments in high school and college. But I started writing romance in 2009, after six months on a gluten-free diet gave me a huge boost of creativity. I finished a book by Kathleen Woodiwiss titled Everlasting, set in my favorite period—Medieval—closed the book, said aloud, “I could write something like that,” sat down and began to write the book that would become Time Enough to Love. I haven’t looked back since.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Jenna: I began writing in 2009 and my first short story was published in 2011, followed by my first novel in 2012. But I consider myself always learning how to better my writing. Of course, I’ve been honing my writing skills all throughout my school days, including a 400-page dissertation for my Ph.D., so the short answer is “a very long time.”

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Jenna: Two authors have had a great influence on my writing style. The first was Kathleen Woodiwiss, whose books I devoured as soon as I began to write. The second was Jo Beverley, whose books I stumbled upon while reading an anthology of romance novellas that included a novella by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Ms. Beverley’s works (and I read them all as quickly as I could get them) showed me the depth and breadth of characters and made me fall in love with the Georgian period.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Jenna: Strangely enough, I began writing because I became gluten intolerant. Once I realized I had to go on a gluten free diet in the summer of 2008, I was diligent about it. Six months into the diet I felt a huge rush of energy and creativity. At the time I was teaching theater and had already directed a production in the fall semester. So I had no creative outlet for all this energy to flow into. Reading Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Everlasting (her final romance) prompted me to begin writing and the rest, as we say, is history.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jenna: I jumped right into writing historical romance (I was a history major in college, so that was rather easy to decide.).

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Jenna: A Countess of Convenience is the first book of my new Captivating Countesses series. Each book of the series will feature a heroine who first appeared in book 3 of my House of Pleasure series, Only A Mistress Will Do. One of the major secondary characters of the book was Dora Harper, who was betrothed to the hero (but does not end up marrying him). So many people wanted Dora to have her own book, I started thinking about her story soon after Mistress was published. But there were several other women in the book whose stories begged to be told, so I came up with the series title, and began creating romances for each of the four heroines. The heroine of A Countess of Convenience is Judith Harper, Dora’s sister-in-law who we hear is ill and bed-ridden in Mistress (we don’t actually see her at all). But Judith whispered to me that she had a story to tell, so I listened, and she became one of my countesses. Dora’s story will be the next in the series, the romance titled Almost A Countess.

Following a tragic accident, an unconscious Judith Harper is returned to her childhood home only to awaken to a horribly changed world: her husband is dead and her child has been given to her in-laws to raise.

As Judith regains her strength, she makes plans to reclaim her child, but to her dismay, the law of the land might not grant her guardianship unless she can show herself to be the better choice, which means she may need to marry again and quickly. Not only is Judith not ready for another husband, but she is newly widowed and will be part of a scandal should she wed before her year of mourning is up.

Still, if she hopes to have her daughter with her once more, she will have to make a marriage of convenience, but to whom?

John, Lord Haxby has loved Judith since childhood, and because of that he let her marry another eight years ago. Now she is free of her odious husband, he hopes he can persuade her that he is the only man who can make her truly happy. However, he discovers Judith is more than interested in Lord Fitzhugh, the man who saved her life. Can he stand aside once more and watch the love of his life make a grave mistake, or will he step up and show the woman he loves he is not a convenient solution to her problem, but the perfect solution?

Excerpt:

“Why have you come here?”

“To apologize to you, John.”

“Apologize for what, my dear?”

“For teasing you earlier.”

Of all the things that might’ve come from her lips, those words were the last ones he’d have imagined. “Teasing me?”

“When I asked if there was something I could do for you.” Her voice had dropped so he could scarcely hear her.

“Ah.” As if the fire suddenly blazed anew, sweat popped out on John’s brow and his cock surged forward as if eager to answer the question. “I believe I take your meaning. Think nothing of it, my dear.”

By God, he wished he could think of anything else.

“But I shouldn’t have flirted like that, John.” She stared directly into his eyes. “We have already discussed the…possible necessity of our marrying. In asking that, I may have given you an erroneous idea about my…feelings for you.” Abruptly, she dropped her gaze.

Of course, he’d assumed she’d meant an amorous tryst but had known the offer had come from her nervousness or a need for some kind of physical contact. But since she’d brought the subject up… “Then why did you ask, Judith?”

Her tiny gasp filled him with his usual protective instincts, and it was on the tip of his tongue to tell her not to worry, it was all forgotten. Yet something held him back, some part of him that wanted desperately to hear her answer.

“Because I wanted to know what it would be like to kiss you.”

Buy links: Amazon

It’s always intriguing to have an off-stage character start telling their story, so much so that you have to write the book. Thanks for sharing your book with us, Jenna!

Happy reading, folks!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Kedar Patankar #author #fiction #warfiction #historybuff #environmentalist #scriptwriter

I have a guest author today who is also a screenwriter. Please help me welcome Kedar Patankar all the way from India! Let’s take a look at his bio and then find out about his works.

Kedar Patankar is a writer of movie scripts (with one of them in pre-production right now, & another in the dialogue-writing stage), a web series, a novella, short stories & a blog.

Every month, he leads a team of enthusiasts (he calls the group ‘The Trash Talk’) to clean plastic trash from centuries-old forts. Every month, he also visits a remote village to teach ‘spoken English’ to about 40 kids to help them gain confidence & enhance their future prospects.

He has spent twenty years in the USA, obtained two master’s degrees from a top US university, worked in high-tech world of computer chips in Minneapolis and Silicon Valley, and now lives with his family in Pune, India.

Website * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer? 

Kedar: I have been playing with it since early 2000s. (movie scripts, story ideas, blog, etc.) but self-published my first novella in 2015.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?  

Kedar: About 15 years.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Kedar: Known International Authors like John Grisham, Arthur Conan Doyle, along with a couple of Indian authors like Ranjit Desai and Inamdar.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing? 

Kedar: My paternal and maternal grandfathers were great story-tellers.  I grew up reading and listening to a lot of stories.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Kedar: Started with light-hearted script about an arranged marriage followed by a script about an immigrant family in London.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why? 

Kedar: I like to write a variety of genres including drama, historical, comedy, etc.   I am most interested in creating unique worlds and unique characters which are relatable.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Kedar: Working in partnership with experienced writers helped. Also books like Story by Robert McKee are great sources.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing? 

Kedar: That it’s very difficult to get noticed since there are so many people out there able to self-publish.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today? 

Kedar: My grandfather who was in Indian Army told me these stories about soldiers posted at the border. That is the inspiration behind this novella.

March, 2011 – In the pine forest that marks the No Man’s Land along the volatile India-Pakistan border, leopards roam freely across enemy lines, instigating fear into a pair of rival soldiers who are each guarding an illegal post & trying desperately to follow the strict orders they’ve been given: Don’t shoot.


Lt. Sharma is a 25-year-old Indian rookie, fresh out of military training school & longing to return home; Captain Khan is a war-weary Pakistani veteran whose only desire is to be left alone with his thoughts. When the men are suddenly forced to acknowledge one another’s presence, their nerves begin to fray and their tempers fly high. Sharma & Khan launch into a fierce duel of wits and egos that can only end when one of them dies.

Buy links: AmazonUS * AmazonIN * Apple

McKee’s book is on my keeper shelf and I’m overdue to read it again to refresh my take on what he has to say. Thanks for the reminder, Kedar!

Happy spring and happy reading, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Suanne Schafer #author #womensfiction #historicalfiction

Life experiences can inform an author’s work in many different ways. Today’s guest author has used hers as well. Please help me welcome Suanne Schafer! Let’s find out about her background and then move right into the interview.

Suanne Schafer was born in West Texas at the height of the Cold War. Now a retired family-practice physician whose only child has fledged the nest, her world travels and pioneer ancestors fuel her imagination and her writing. Originally, she’d planned to pen romances, but either as a consequence of a series of failed relationships or a genetic distrust of happily-ever-after, her heroines are strong women who battle tough environments and intersect with men who might—or might not—love them.

Suanne’s short works have been featured in multiple magazines, literary journals, and anthologies. She has two published novels with a third on the way. A Different Kind of Fire explores the life of a nineteenth century bisexual artist living in West Texas while Hunting the Devil explores the heartbreak and healing of a biracial American physician caught up in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Suanne is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Besides stints as a travel and medical photographer and a family practice physician, she served as an editor for a mainstream/romance publishing house and fiction editor for an on-line literary magazine.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Suanne: I was planning my post-retirement life and wanted something to do that would keep me mentally challenged once I left my medical practice. I became nostalgic for long summer days at my grandparents’ West Texas ranch when I’d hole up on the back porch and read Tarzan books by the hour. I figured if Edgar Rice Burroughs could write nearly eighty novels in his thirty-nine-year writing career, I could crank out a novel. So I re-read all twenty-seven Tarzan books as well as the one finished posthumously by Joe Lansdale, and Tarzan Alive, a pseudo-biography of Tarzan by Philip Jose Farmer. Then I started writing. I quickly learned writing wasn’t as easy as I assumed. I did a Google search for writing schools and came up with Stanford University’s Novel-Writing program https://continuingstudies.stanford.edu/writing-certificate/writing-certificate. It was a good choice for me since it was all online. I “met” people there I am still in contact with, and we often exchange beta-reads and editing. I retired from medicine in 2015 and have been writing full-time since.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Suanne: I wrote for about a year before starting the Stanford program. I completed it in 2½ years. The program is quite comprehensive, and I’m convinced it saved me years of random attempts to learn about writing. That said, I believe we authors should perpetually attempt to improve our skills.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Suanne: My favorite books include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The Gabriel Allon spy series by Daniel Silva

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The clarity of these authors’ prose and their subject matter all appeal to me.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Suanne: I started with a female Tarzan book about an anthropologist working with the Maasai in Tanzania. Reading it now, it is wayyyyyy too long, has tons of point-of-view shifts, unresolved plot bunnies—it’s so bad, I can’t get past chapter one.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Suanne: I started out wanting to write romances but had difficulty with the happily-ever-after—maybe because I was in the midst of a divorce. Now I write women’s fiction with elements of thrillers in which the protagonist is pushed to her utmost and intersects with men who might—or might not—love her.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Suanne: As mentioned above, I completed the Stanford program. I am also fortunate to have discovered SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors). This is an incredibly supportive group of authors with both online and in-person critique groups. One of the members can always be counted on for a beta-read or be available to critique.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Suanne: I wish someone had warned me how mind-numbing and emotionally debilitating the process of querying is, and once a book is published, how difficult promotion is.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Suanne: Hunting the Devil came from my experiences raising a biracial son and traveling to Africa.

When Dr. Jessica Hemings volunteers for a medical mission in Rwanda, she becomes entrapped in the maelstrom of Rwandan politics and the enmity between Hutus and Tutsis. Her Tutsi features plunge her into the Rwandan Genocide. Dr. Cyprien Gatera, Jess’s superior and a Hutu radical, commandeers her clinic, slaughters her patients and her adopted sons, then forces her to treat his wounded. She escapes and survives three weeks in hiding before finding refuge at Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania.

There, Jess vows revenge. She searches for Gatera with the help of Michel Fournier, a French lawyer-turned-war-correspondent, and Dr. Tom Powell, her long-time ex-lover. When an unknown informant passes information to Jess about her nemesis, she returns to Rwanda, despite warnings from the Belgian Secret Service that Gatera plans to assassinate her. In their final showdown, Jess must decide if revenge is best served cold—or not at all.

Excerpt:

Jess’s hands were filthy. But that didn’t matter. She had no treatment, no surgical instruments, no antibiotics. Despite years of medical training, she couldn’t save the boy. He was doomed to a painful death. She ran her hands over his head. His whimpers lessened at her touch. The Hippocratic Oath flashed though her mind. Do no harm. If she stayed to care for him, she risked recapture. He was too big for her to carry. Transporting him to safety would inflict more pain without improving his prognosis. Yet she couldn’t abandon him. Though he had little time left to live, he shouldn’t suffer. Only one option remained.

She wiped tear streaks from the boy’s face. “I promise you’ll join your family soon.” Visions of her year-old twins flashed before her. No! If she thought of them right now, she’d go insane. She shoved those memories into the deepest vault of her mind and slammed the door.

Jess closed her eyes, placed her hand over the boy’s mouth and nose, and pressed firmly into his round face.

Go-away-go-away-go-away!

The raucous cry of a go-away bird jerked Jess back to the present. She opened her eyes. Looked down. Her hand remained clamped over the boy’s face. With her other hand, she felt for his pulse. Nothing. She slumped in relief. A lifetime had passed—literally—in a moment. She lifted her hand and stared at her shaking fingers. Trained to save lives, she’d just—

Buy links: Amazon * B&N

 Thanks for sharing that riveting story, Suanne! It sounds like a heart- and gut-wrenching read that will illuminate what it was like during that time.

Spring is right around the corner and I can’t wait! Grab a book and a cold beverage and head outside as often as possible. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

On Knowing Martha Washington #research #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

Last week I mentioned that I would be interviewed by Cynthia Brian on the Be The Star You Are! radio broadcast. If you missed the live show, you can still hear the replay at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/126745/soil-and-leaves-becoming-lady-washington-cyberbulling-rising. It was a quick and interesting 30-minute conversation and I hope you’ll listen to it, too.

One of the questions Cynthia asked me was about how I could know so much about Martha if she burned her personal correspondence with George. She also said that Becoming Lady Washington read like an autobiography, a huge compliment to my mind.

Answering her question thoroughly would take a little while, so I gave a shorthand answer during the show. But I wanted to share here with you all a little more about how I went about really getting to know about her life and times, her attitude and concerns, and everything going on in her world.

The first thing I did in order to begin finding out more about this truly remarkable woman was to buy two biographies about Martha to read. They both provided good information, but I relied on Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady far more because it was so well researched and documented.

Two important references for getting to know Martha Washington: “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington and Martha Washington: An American Life

Then I created a timeline table where I listed key events by date. These events came from Martha’s life but also George Washington’s. I even included events I discovered by researching Dolley Madison’s life because Martha and Dolley’s lives intersected several times. Every source I used informed this timeline, too. My list of references is 7 pages long in 10-point font, by the way. It includes book titles (physical ones on my shelves and online archives), articles found online, information from National Park websites and other sites for historic places, and government sites with related information. Every time I found an event that impacted her life I added it to the timeline along with the source.

One of the most important books for really knowing how she thought, felt, reacted, acted, etc., was “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington edited by Joseph E. Fields. Although only 5 letters between Martha and George survive today, the collection of correspondence in this volume includes letters between Martha and many other friends and relatives and business contacts. This is where I could really get inside her head, so to speak, to hear her voice in the cadence of the words she used and to glimpse the concerns and desires she held dear.

I hope you’ll listen to the interview linked above and also read Becoming Lady Washington to also get to know and understand our first First Lady.

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Introducing Liz Barrett Foster #author #editor #EatLikeaWriter #nonfiction #pizza #books #fiction #ChildrensBooks

Recently I answered an interesting weekly question over at Eat Like A Writer regarding how the pandemic has impacted my writing. (You can read all the responses here.) Little did I realize I might meet a kindred spirit! Please let me introduce you to a fellow author who also loves all things cooking! Let’s take a quick peek at her bio and then I’ve asked her to answer some questions based on her own website, Eat Like A Writer. Ready?

Liz Barrett Foster is the editor of Eat Like a Writer (eatlikeawriter.com). She’s an award-winning journalist, editor and author. Hailing from Michigan, she lived in Los Angeles for 19 years before landing in the south. A journalism graduate from Cal State Northridge, she’s written for an array of food and beauty magazines, authored a nonfiction pizza book about pizza and self-published a children’s mystery book about peanut butter.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Liz: English was always my favorite subject in school. I was on the staff of my high school newspaper, took creative writing classes, and even earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism. However, I don’t feel like I learned to write in school. I was taught the fundamentals of grammar, sentence structure, and the rules of good journalism in school, but it wasn’t until I was working my first magazine job that I finally started getting a real writing education.

I was working at a beauty publication called Dayspa in Los Angeles. My managing editor, Linda Kossoff, would go through my stories with a red pen, marking what needed to be moved and changed. We would then sit down together, before I made the edits, and she would explain why she made the changes to my work. It was in that job that I learned how to make stories tighter and words flow better. I still believe it’s important for editors to show writers what they change, and why, so writers can learn from their mistakes.

Betty: That’s a very good point. A good editor will explain the reasons behind the edits so that the writer can learn from them. It’s a conversation, in essence. So, what type of writing did you start with?

Liz: As a teenager, I used to write a lot of poetry, mostly about boys. You can imagine. Every time I fell in love (which seemed like every other day back then) I wrote a new poem. More poems surfaced with every new heartbreak. I saved most of the poems in a binder, and I pull them out every few years to remind myself of those early days of writing.

Betty: I think I have a folder around somewhere that has some early writings in it but I haven’t had the nerve to pull it out in years. So, good for you! Looking back can be a scary business. What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Liz: That’s a good question. So much has changed over the years with social media entering the picture, etc. But, I think if I would have understood the benefit of creating a brand around my writing from the beginning, it could have opened a few more doors for me along the way.

Betty: Having a brand is supposed to help readers find you. So is having an established genre or field you write in so that readers know what to expect. What prompted you to switch from writing about the beauty industry to writing about food?

Liz: I wrote about beauty and food simultaneously for several years after I moved from Los Angeles to Mississippi. But, I started to feel pulled in too many directions. I enjoy both industries, but they are very different when working with public relations professionals, operators, magazines, etc. I realized that to focus my time and energy, I would need to choose one. Since I was the editor of a pizza magazine at the time and had established a lot of connections in the food and restaurant industry, I chose food.

Betty: I think I would have done the same, honestly. I love cooking and baking and tinkering with recipes. I’m curious. You’ve written two books to date, one nonfiction and one a children’s picture book. How is writing nonfiction different from writing a picture book? Do you prefer one over the other?

Liz: These two books were completely different in every possible way. I worked with a traditional publisher on the nonfiction book and self-published the children’s book. The nonfiction book went through many, many, many changes, edits, revisions, etc. There were also rounds of photo and recipe gathering, nondisclosure/permission contracts to sign from everyone included in the book, and generally a lot of fact checking throughout. With the children’s picture book, once I had the story written, it was mainly a back and forth with my sister about the illustrations, which she drew by hand. I enjoyed the feeling of control I had with the children’s book, since I was self-publishing, but it was also a lot of pressure to get everything right, all on my own.

Betty: What inspired you to write Pizza: A Slice of American History?

Liz: I used to be the editor-in-chief of PMQ Pizza Magazine, the nation’s No. 1 pizza trade publication (yes, there’s a magazine all about pizza). Working in the industry for several years, you get to know a lot about pizza, and you meet a lot of pizzeria operators. The pizza book kind of fell in my lap, as luck would have it. A pizzeria operator I knew had been approached by a publisher about writing a pizza book. He, in turn, suggested that they contact me. I had not considered writing a book, but was flattered, and, of course, did not turn down the opportunity.

Betty: When opportunity knocks, it’s best to answer! I’ve written nonfiction work-for-hire books years ago, some of my first nonfiction. But I always wanted to write adult fiction. You chose a children’s picture book as your next project. What inspired you to write The Peanut Butter Bandit?

Liz: The Peanut Butter Bandit was a story I had in my head for several years. My husband Benjy loves peanut butter. I was always finding spoons and forks in the sink with peanut butter on them. When I’d open the peanut butter, sometimes I’d find marks from a fork scraping the inside. I started calling Benjy the peanut butter bandit. Finally, I decided it would make a cute children’s book, with the kids wondering where the strange marks were coming from in the peanut butter. I teamed up with my sister Shannah Barrett for the illustrations and we released the book just before Christmas 2018. (Buy your copy here: https://amzn.to/3dhZtoy)

Betty: The Eat Like a Writer site combines food and writing topics. What is your goal for the site?

Liz: You always hear how you should write about what you love, right? So, I sat down and really thought about what I enjoy. I looked through my social media photos to see what I post about, looked through my book collection, etc. I started to see a theme. I enjoy food, writing, and how other people start/grow their careers. All I needed to do was blend those ideas together. I realized that writers don’t really get a chance to connect with readers (or other writers) in a personal way very often. Why not connect them through the universal language of food? Eat Like a Writer was born. My goal is to continue to showcase the world’s writers, giving them an outlet to connect with readers in a more personal way with travel stories, recipes, and exclusive recommendations.

Betty: What are you currently working on with your writing?

Liz: My mom calls me Bizzy Lizzy because I always seem to be working on something new. That’s the nature of this business. When the Coronavirus came to town, many journalists had to shift their focus. I lost a couple of my biggest clients. For a short while, I wrote about the pandemic and how restaurant operators were navigating the situation. Now, in addition to Eat Like a Writer, I’m contributing regularly to the National Culinary Review and two websites: the food-focused Mashed.com, and Stacker.com, which breaks down expert analysis.

Betty: What advice do you have for others who are debating whether to write a book?

Liz: I think that if you have a story in you that needs to be told, you should absolutely write a book. If, however, you are thinking of writing a book to make money or become famous, sleep on it. No matter how many gurus try to tell you otherwise, writing a book is not easy. I spent almost the same amount of time on my children’s book as I did my nonfiction book, neither of which made me rich or famous. They did, however, give me a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. I was able to send the ideas and stories that were swirling around in my mind for months or years out into the world. Ask yourself why you want to write a book. Be honest with the answer. Think about why you enjoy reading, and what you expect to feel when you finish reading a book. The answers to those questions will set you on the right path.

Good advice indeed! Thanks so much, Liz, for swinging by to tell my readers more about your fun and interesting Eat Like a Writer site! I hope everyone will visit and see if it’s a site of interest to them as well.

Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Laurie Alice Eakes #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #fiction #amreading #books

A good romantic suspense is a fast and entertaining read, and I think my guest today can offer up some stories that fit that bill. Please welcome Laurie Alice Eakes! Let’s get to know a little about her and then we’ll dive right into the interview.

Laurie Alice Eakes thinks maybe she got her storytelling from her great-grandfather, who used to tell her sister and her stories of Beansy and Peasy. Or maybe she was always an early riser and lying still telling herself stories was the best way to stay out of trouble.

Whatever the root, the only career she ever truly wanted was to be an author. Knowing that was impractical, she received a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, taught English, managed a medical office, and worked in the human resources department of a soulless corporation. A month before she was laid off from this job and before her husband began law school, she sold her first book. Family Guardian won the National Readers Choice Award, and was the beginning of many sales and honors for her books, including as a finalist for the Rita Award, with her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Mountain Midwife.

Alice now writes full time from her home in Chicagoland, where she lives with her husband, two well-behaved dogs, and four mostly well-behaved cats. Her husband fears they are the crazy cat people of the neighborhood, but Alice doesn’t care if they are.

Website * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Alice: I have written stories since I was able to write, so don’t know when to give it a date. I sold my first book in 2005. I sold my most recent books as of last Friday. I signed a contract with Harlequin for three more romantic suspense books. Due to some personal things going on, I haven’t gotten a new contract for a while.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Alice: This is difficult to answer. Either three years or three decades. I started writing while teaching school, decided I didn’t know what I was doing, and went looking for other writers. Many stops and restarts followed as life priorities took over.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Alice: This makes me a nerd, and I will start with Charles Dickens. He taught me how to end chapters with a cliffhanger. So did Friday afternoons on the soap operas I wasn’t supposed to watch. Other than that, though deigning to say I write like them is being kind of prideful on my part, Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverley, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart…

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

My own brain prompted me to start. A few teachers along the way encouraged me to keep it up and keep trying.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Alice: I started with short stories and poetry, much of which got published in school literary magazines. Then I moved on to creative nonfiction that got published in anthologies, and some articles for magazines. I wrote my first novel sometime in the 90s, but kept rewriting it instead of doing much with it.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing?

Alice: As to genre? Suspense. Whether writing historical, contemporary romance, or women’s fiction, I want some kind of suspense. As far as part of the story, I love to write the meeting between the hero and heroine. Something about that moment is magical. Or maybe it’s the first kiss. Talk about special in a romance!

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Alice: All of the above. Mostly I learned from books and in grad school, where my mentors were people like Barbara J. Miller and Victoria Thompson. They taught me how to take an idea and turn it into a novel.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Alice: How to manage my career and that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. I can’t really say more in a public forum so as not to bruise a few toes I’d be stepping on. I adore my current agent.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Alice: Kimberley Cates and Jessica Douglass (writing names) encouraged me a great deal. Others followed. Those two are the most special, esp. Linda/Jessica, who told me to finish something.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Alice: I like playing the “What If” game. I look at a situation and think “What if that car that was carjacked held someone really, really important?” We have a problem with carjackings where in Chicagoland the car is taken and used to commit a crime, then abandoned. I kept hearing the stories on the news and…. Voila!

A kidnapper with deadly intentions

…and a US marshal who must come to the rescue

The carjacking that ended with Kristen Lang running for her life—and her federal judge mother kidnapped—was a nightmare. The ransom, however, is worse: Kristen in exchange for her mother. Deputy US Marshal Nick Sandoval will do almost anything to safely recover the judge—except trade Kristen. But can he shield the woman he’s falling for and bring her mother home?

Excerpt:

Carjacking was all too common. People stole cars to commit a crime, but they didn’t usually hurt the vehicle owners. They left them beside the road. It was unpleasant but not life threatening if they didn’t fight back.

But these men were taking her and her mother, not the car. They had deliberately wrecked her.

She yanked one arm free and struck out for the man’s face. Missed. She kicked one kitten heel into the man’s shin. Connected. He grunted, then picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. Tires, a barely dented bumper on the SUV, wet pavement, Mom’s designer heels spun past in a nauseating blur. In another moment, she was going to be sick.

The man tossed her in to the back of the SUV. Her head hit the side. Stars exploded before her eyes. Dazed, she lay still for a fatal moment—a moment in which her mother landed beside her.

“Tie her up,” one man commanded.

He leaned into the back of the SUV and grabbed Mom’s hands.

Kristen surged up and bashed her head into his face at the same time Mom shoved both stilettos into his middle. He staggered back, fell against his companion, sending him reeling, but still held Mom’s hands.

“Kristen, run!” her mom cried.

Kristen ran, kicking off her pumps and speeding along the shoulder of the Eisenhower. Above the roar of traffic, she heard the slam of the SUV’s hatch—with her mother behind its tinted windows.

Buy links: Amazon * Harlequin

I think I’m hooked! What about you?

Thanks for sharing Laurie Alice! Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.