Musings on Why I Write #amwriting #amreading #inspiration #fiction #books #novel #mustread

I’ve been musing about the publishing industry, first about the entertainment value of novels and then about author income. I was asked by one reader what makes me keep writing, so I thought I’d muse on that topic today.

First, you should know that I’ve been writing since I learned how to spell and make sentences as a child. My older sisters taught me the alphabet before I even started going to school. In first grade, the teacher asked me to read The Little Red Hen to my class. I also remember sitting at my dad’s desk, typing on his manual typewriter the weather report. Which of course I wrote based on looking out the window of his studio office. He was a master photographer and I loved to sit at his desk and pretend to be his secretary or someone else who worked with words, like the weather person.

One of the reasons for this is a love of language that my dad instilled in me by playing word games while we drove around town for him to take portrait photos of children. He’d give me a word from a billboard we’d pass and ask me to spell it. Which I would do while searching out the word on the billboard before we passed it. I had to be quick sometimes to see it!

My parents bought a set of encyclopedias that they proudly displayed in our living room. I would pull out one that had a particular animal in it, like a horse or dog. Then I’d compile my own report, including drawing and labeling the parts of the animal. You know, ears, neck, tail, paw, etc. I used tracing paper to trace the picture in the book and include it in my report.

I also wrote short stories that featured a girl and her horse. I loved horses and actually still do. I’ve written some—probably pretty bad—poetry, too. When it came time to get a college education, I naturally chose an English degree. I’ve earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s in English. I’ve put that degree to work for my writing/editing career, too.

Mainly I’ve written and published over my lifetime a lot of nonfiction types of pieces: articles, sidebars, essays, newspaper columns. I’ve also edited a ton of nonfiction: self-help books, technical manuals and reports, an insurance underwriters guide. Once I even proofread a Civil War diary for the Friends of Ft. Ward, Virginia. Plus all the highly technical documentation while working for SAIC and supporting NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Space Launch System (SLS) Program Office. I didn’t even try to count the number of documents let alone pages! So I did my small part to help get this massive rocket off the launch pad this year by editing the manuals, specifications, and guidance documentation.

But now I write fiction for the love of it. I love to write a great story with a bit of history woven into it. I believe we need to understand our past in order to appreciate—really appreciate—where we are today. Or to avoid repeating past mistakes today. Not every novel I’ve written is set in the past. My contemporary series, Secrets of Roseville, is set in a small town in Tennessee in the present but there are some historical facts mentioned here and there.

Despite all the negatives surrounding writing and publishing in today’s market, I keep writing my stories. Why? Because the stories keep coming and I have fans who are waiting for the next book(s) from me. I don’t think I will stop writing for some time yet, although I am starting to think about when that might be. Years from now, not days though. I mean, writing is a big part of who I am. I’ve been writing all my life, essentially. It’s not the writing that wears me down but the marketing and publicity efforts required.

I appreciate every single person who reads my books. I write them for my readers after all.

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Musings on Book Piracy and Author Income #amwriting #amreading #fiction #books #novel #mustread

Last time I talked about my thoughts on the value of a novel from the perspective of its entertainment value. I suppose the fact that people do love to read means books and their authors are worth trying to scam and for unscrupulous actors to copy and sell for themselves. Should we be flattered??? I think not!

There’s an old saying among authors, money flows to the author not from the author. This is particularly true of those published by traditional publishing houses. Not so much for hybrid or indie published authors. However, all authors who write for publication do so for one of several reasons: to share their vision or viewpoint, establish their credentials, or to try to earn a living. They do not write so that others can copy, in whole or in part, and then publish their knock-off edition to unsuspecting readers.

Believe me, there are many piracy sites out there, most not even based in America so they are difficult or impossible to prosecute under U.S. Copyright Laws. Most authors I know feel like we’re playing whack-a-mole chasing down pirated copies. I ignore them now because most of the time if they’re offering a free version of my book, or at a low price, they don’t actually have the book but they’ll be happy to take the would-be reader’s credit card details. I don’t think they’re hurting my sales since I don’t believe they actually have the content they’re phishing with. I urge readers to buy their books from known retailers instead of shady websites with their own agendas.

Contrary to what many readers seem to believe, most authors are not millionaires living the high life. In fact, the vast majority of published authors do not make a living from their book sales. Just check out this summary by the International Authors Forum of the Authors Guild 2019 income survey and the full AG report here. The fact that the “median incomes have fallen to a historic low of US$6,080 in 2017, down 42% from 2009” should widen some eyes, I think. Put that next to this rather unnerving tidbit: “50% of full-time authors earn less than the federal poverty level of $12,488 (figure of 2019). Other data shows that 80% of all authors earn less than what most people would consider a living wage.” And those numbers are not getting better as the years pass. Trust me on that.

The romanticized view of a published author is that of someone living the good life, jet-setting about and doing book signings with lines of fans out the door. Or of the dashingly handsome author turned expert investigator because he writes murder mysteries, like Castle. (When does he find time to write the next best-seller?) Most authors I know live far more humbly and write nearly every day at home. In their comfy clothes. With a beverage of choice nearby, often a cup of hot tea.

In truth, I am a full-time author and I do not earn a living wage from sales of my books. I do have avid fans, which I’m forever grateful for! But it would take selling thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books to say I make my living from book sales. When you figure how much I earn per book—ranging from $0.30 to $1.75—and assume $13,000 to be above the poverty level, you get an idea of just how many books I’d have to sell. At the 30 pennies low end, my calculator says that would take 43,333 books; the high end, 7,429. But the average book only sells somewhere around 500 copies in its lifetime, so there’s that.

Of course, the best-sellers are outliers on this point. The celebrity authors like Stephen King, James Patterson (and his stable of co-authors), Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Susan Philips, and the like, have huge followings that they started cultivating decades ago. King has been in the industry for 50 years, according to his recent testimony at the trial on the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Of course they sell more books mainly because they have more fans. I’m building my fan base one reader at a time, so perhaps one day I’ll have a list-making, international best-seller, too. #FingersCrossed

One other thing to consider when pondering how much authors make. I publish my own books under my own imprint, so I have to pay professionals to create the covers, editors to review my text, and formatters to prepare the book files properly (I’m still learning this aspect but I’m not there yet). All that is money flowing away from me, not to me. So the amount I earn from sales has to fill in that deficit from my bank account, too.

Thank goodness my husband totally supports my efforts in every way possible! He really and truly is one of my biggest fans. I have more stories to tell yet, so I best get busy.

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Getting to know Jean C Joachim #author #historical #contemporary #romance

My guest today is none other than the amazing Jean Joachim! Please help me welcome her to the interview hot seat with a nice cup of tea. Let’s take a peek at her bio and then find out more about her…

Jean Joachim is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling romance author whose books have hit the Amazon Top 100 list in the U.S. and abroad since 2012.

Jean has 69 books, novellas, and short stories in ebook, print and audio. She writes fulltime, never far from her secret stash of black licorice. An avid bird and dog lover, she has a fondness for chickadees and pugs. A music lover, especially classical, she has two grown sons and lives in New York City. She’d love to hear from you, email her at: sunnydaysbook@gmail.com 

Author Social Links: Website * Twitter * Facebook * BookBub * Blog

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

Jean: An article I read in a local newspaper made me curious about boarding houses back in the day when logging was king in Sullivan County, where I spend my summers. On a lazy summer day a couple of years ago, a friend of mine, Michael, who’s a history buff, and I decided to trek up to Long Eddy and nose around. Sure enough, many of the boarding houses in that article are still there! Over lunch, Michael filled me in on the history of the place and time. I was fascinated. On the way home, I suggested to my friend that we should write a book about it together. Two years later, we did. And that’s how “Abigail’s Journey” was born.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story? 

Jean: So much of “Abigail’s Journey” was new to me. I’d never written an historical romance before. In addition to the information provided by Michael, I dug in and did a lot of research on my own. Books, Google, you name it. I read a ton of background material so I could place myself in the time period and feel what it was like to live back then. I developed the ability to go back in time and plunk myself down in a different time and place, and limit myself to things that were real then. Being authentic is very important to me, so I was strict about what I included in the book. I found myself so steeped in the time and place, the story flowed.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how? 

Jean: I did struggle with one part of the story I felt I had to do. I can’t be specific because it’s a huge spoiler. But it was something I had never done before. I worried I might be making the reader mad. They might throw the book across the room, but I did it anyway, because the story demanded it. In the end, it was the perfect twist to take the story in the direction it needed to go. It did not get any bad reviews, in fact the reviews were glowing. I breathed a sigh of relief. Once again, the story dictates where it needs to go, even if the writer doubts the shift.

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

Jean: No doubt Martha Chesney, the innkeeper and grandmother was the most akin to me. Of course, I’m near her age and have grown children and one son married, like she did. I’ve also been a writer and businesswoman most of my life, so I could identify with her hard work running the inn. And we shared an outlook on life and a sense of humor.

I enjoyed writing characters of different ages and making sure they weren’t stereotypical. I think Martha breaks the rules as does her granddaughter, Lizzy, a child of seven.  They keep the story fresh.

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

Jean: I did a ton of research. Michael is my summer walking buddy, so we discussed the book almost every day while we got our exercise. I also consulted books written about those days and did extensive research on the Internet. I looked up each and every food that they ate –what was available in the late 1700’s? And how was food made?

One interesting feature I discovered was that an oven was heated to a certain temperature, then loaves of bread were inserted. The heat stopped and the loaves baked slowly. This, like so many other things, was new to me. Did you know they didn’t have zucchini in the late 1700’s? Only squash. I found these details fascinating.

I even made a trip to an art museum where I viewed the paintings of the French aristocracy in the late 1700’s so I could study their clothing – for both men and women. Most of my characters didn’t have the money to dress like the French aristocrats, but the styles, colors, and fabrics were imitated in the Colonies. And how many pieces they wore and their hairstyles. I enjoyed the research as much as the writing.

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

Jean: I never keep count of drafts. I just write and revise until I can’t stand to look at it anymore! Seriously, you know when it’s at it’s best and is ready to go to the editor.

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?

Jean: Three months. It took that long because my co-author is not a writer and I had to teach him a great deal about how a novel is created, structure, plot twists and so on. On my own, I would have written it in six weeks. When I’m in the groove that’s about how long it takes me to write a novel. I don’t regret the time it took. The book has been well received and Michael and I are quite proud of it.

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

Jean: I like to write early in the morning, when I’m fresh. I make a giant pot of tea and keep it warm. I can drink as many as six mugs of tea while I’m working. I need a quiet place with few or no distractions to focus on my writing. I get totally into the story in my head, living it in my imagination to do my best writing.

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

Jean: Oh gosh, yes!! My most overused are “just” and “that”. And when I think I’ve conquered those, new ones come along! It’s a never ending process to weed out the overused words. Thank God for good editors.

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

Jean: I got a classic education in American literature in college. Writers I most looked up to are long gone. They are Sinclair Lewis, Jane Austen, and Louisa May Alcott. I’m also a huge mystery fan and admire the writings of many mystery authors, most notably Agatha Christie, Harlan Coben and Ruth Rendell. 

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

Jean: I now have a small office in my bedroom. I usually write there. But I read and revise sitting on the sofa. Always with a cup of tea nearby.

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

Jean: No, I don’t. I write fulltime. This is a luxury for me and I enjoy it so much after many years spent in corporate America.

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

Jean: My greatest achievement, I believe, is that I keep coming up with stories and characters who are so different. I do marvel at the breadth of my imagination. I feel lucky to have a fertile imagination because I’m never bored. I can even zoom out in the dentist’s chair and mentally go into a story I’m thinking about. Now that’s a gift!

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Jean: Of course, I love a good romance first and foremost, but mystery comes a close second. I also enjoy a good biography because I can be nosy and like to peek into the lives of others.

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?

Jean: I consider the fact that I am able to write, publish, and sell my books a huge success. I spent many years working at day jobs and not having the confidence to write. I had stories, but never believed I could be talented enough to put them on paper. I have published over 65 novels and novellas. If you had asked me twenty years ago if I could ever do that, I would have laughed you out of the room. Being able to spend my days doing the work I love is success for me.

Abigail Chesney has it all; a husband more loving than she could have dreamt, three healthy children, and a house on thriving farmland. She’s happy in her little world until it crashes down around her.

Losing almost everything tests Abby in ways she never expected. Can she learn to accept what she can’t change and trust strangers? Relying on help from the people of Fitch’s Eddy, a tiny Catskill logging town, Abby discovers her own strength. Will Fate’s cruel blows crush her?  Or will love give her a new reason to go on?

Abigail’s Journey – travel back to Colonial America in 1786, with this heartfelt, sweet, historical romance, where the flavor of the past leaps off the page. 

“Abigail’s Journey” is a genuinely original, deftly crafted, impressively authentic, and exceptionally entertaining historical romance…” MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

Buy Links: AmazonUS * AmazonUK * AmazonCA * AmazonAU * AmazonIN

This sounds like my kind of historical romance, Jean! And I too had researched the foods available in the 18th century so am aware that zucchini wasn’t part of the diet. But they did import a lot of interesting foodstuffs from other countries, which surprised me. Thanks for stopping in for a lovely chat!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

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Musings on Novel ROI #amwriting #amreading #fiction #books #novel #mustread

I’ve been pondering the value of entertainment in all its forms. I mean, we have many options on how to entertain ourselves or to be entertained by what others do. This musing began while thinking about the huge amount of book piracy or more likely phishing scams out there, but that’s a topic for another day. The existence of book piracy suggests there is value in books, enough to run a scam to try to get potential readers’ money or personal info, depending on the scam. Anyway, back to my topic for today: entertainment value.

You all know I write books, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise they are my go-to for entertainment as well as research and education. I also enjoy movies, plays, musicals, concerts, etc. But which gives you the most or best kind of return on the investment into tickets and travel and meals to enjoy them?

I think by far the price of a book provides more hours of immersive entertainment than any other option. I love settling in with a favorite genre novel to lose myself in the world the author created. Historical romance, classical fiction, historical fiction, romantic comedy, cozy mystery, all sound good to me! I love the depth of the written story, the immersive quality of being in that other world, the one dwelling in your own imagination and thoughts, that you can’t get from watching a movie or play. The various media affect the type of experience, for me at least.

I know I can only read one or maybe two smaller books each week because each takes several hours to read and enjoy. I tagged on “enjoy” because while I know how to speed read or skim the text that’s not enjoying it for me. So for the $3-15 spent on a novel, I probably receive entertainment for something like 4-8 hours depending on the length. Of course, the price of a book is the cost of one copy of the story among many, the cumulative of which money received by the publisher offsets the expense to create the book in the first place. In other words, for the publisher to make it worthwhile to create the book, they have to guesstimate how many copies they need to sell to see a profit. Most books do not make a profit although there are some that are best sellers that do. Again, that’s a topic for another time…

Compare the 4-8 hours entertainment value of a book to the length of a movie or stage performance, which typically last 2-3 hours, at prices far higher. I mean, movie tickets for a matinee are $9 in my area, with regular prices starting I think at $16. Going to a play or concert, etc., is many times that. Being entertained by others means having to pay the entire “cast of characters” for their efforts, so it makes perfect sense that ticket prices are significantly higher than the cost of a single copy of the book. (Although I question the spike in the price of performance tickets lately.) It also depends on how many tickets are sold as to the cost per ticket in order for the production company and talent to make a profit off the event. They must calculate how much they need to earn to make it worthwhile to hold the performance. Nobody wants to work/perform for little to no compensation, after all. Even if donating funds to a charity, you need to have funds to donate, right? But the ROI for live performance yields a shorter span of entertainment value.

All that said, judging which form of entertainment to choose comes down to cost, time, and perceived value which is strongly tied to personal preferences. I’ll happily read in my favorite genres for hours but please don’t ask me to read thriller or spy novels. I’ll watch the movie or play, etc., based on the book to get the quicker payoff, thank you. Which also brings up the point that many of the other forms of entertainment are spinoffs or interpretations of a well-written, well-told story in a book. And how many times have you heard “the book was better”?

What do you think? How do you calculate the ROI on your entertainment spending?

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Getting to know Mary J. Wilson #author #sweet #contemporary #romance #YA

Okay, folks, I’m going to make a small confession: my next guest author is in Skye, Scotland and I wish I could be there, too! What a beautiful place and so inspiring! Let’s meet Mary Karlik who writes as Mary J. Wilson and find out more about her inspiration and her writing process.

Mary Karlik combines her Texas roots with her Scottish heritage to write happily-ever-after from Texas to Scotland.

Honoring her Scottish roots, Mary is writing her new series under her mother’s maiden name, Wilson. This Sweet Contemporary Romance series is set in the Celtic music world of Scotland.

You can find her Texas roots in her indie published, Contemporary Young Adult romance Hickville series. She brings her two worlds closer together than ever in her latest novel—Hickville Crossroads—when a young, up-and-coming Scottish teen heartthrob goes undercover in a Texas high school to research his latest role.

She is traditionally published in Young Adult Fantasy with her Fairy Trafficking series set in the magical world of Scotland. The audio version of Magic Heist, the second in the series, was nominated in 2019 for the One Voice Award for “Best Fiction Novel UK Voices Only.”

Mary is currently studying Scottish Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, Scotland. She also earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, has a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University, is a certified, professional ski instructor, and a Registered Nurse. 
Mary is an active member of Contemporary Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, Young Adult Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook * Instagram

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

Mary: Jenny got a raw deal in the last book and I wanted to give her a happy ending. I’m moving into the adult world of Romance and since my new contemporary series is set in Scotland, I thought it was the perfect way to wrap the Hickville High series as I segue into the new world of contemporary Scotland.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Mary: I am always working to improve my writing. But the skill I worked on the most was making sure my Scottish characters sounded Scottish. I don’t use “dinna” and “canna” that many authors use. I spend a lot of time in Scotland, I’m working on a degree in Scottish Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, and while I do hear those words, it’s not the standard. To make my characters sound authentic, I tried to capture the cadence of the speech. I also used common phrases that are different from the US. For example, Scotts will say half six rather than six thirty, or at the weekend rather than this weekend.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Mary: Yes! The ending is always my biggest struggle. I wanted to have a big black moment resolution, but it was kind of over the top. I added the epilogue to tone it down a bit. I’m still not sure I got the resolution quite right.

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

Mary: I knew Jenny from the previous book, so she was the easiest. But I also found Frasier easy. I knew I liked him the minute he appeared on the page. It was almost like he was there in my imagination waiting for his chance to appear.

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

Mary: I am very lucky because one of my closest friends husband is a movie producer. They were great at answering questions about behind the scenes movie stuff as well as legal issues with child actors.  It was really her husband who gave me the idea. He mentioned that when they were shooting Spiderman, they put Tom Holland in an American high school. As far as the Scottish location goes, one of my closest friends is from Alford near Aberdeen. It was only natural that I use that small village as Frasier’s home town.

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

Mary: Is one million a valid answer? I am a hard core pantser which really means I write a really bad first draft and then revise, revise, revise, and then revise. I have no idea how many times because I’m not that organized.

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?

Mary: HAHA! I have no idea. Maybe 4 months. I should know these things. I write fast first drafts and then everything slows. I think 4-6 months is usually the time it takes me. Again, I should know this.

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

Mary: I have a play list. I always write with music. I am very distractable and the playlist helps me focus. I also write the same time every day and I keep track of how many words I’ve written. I set goals for myself based on the previous day’s word count. I usually try to beat the day before, even if it’s by one word. Sometimes, I really have trouble focusing so I have to set a timer for like 10 minutes. If I can write for 10 minutes without getting out of my chair to see if my sock drawer needs straightening, I can take a 5 minute break. Usually, I end up getting into the groove before the 10 minutes are up. If I’m really struggling, I will ask a friend to sprint with me. I’m really competitive so always manage to write during a sprint. The most important ritual I have is “BUT IN THE CHAIR. FINGERS ON THE KEYBOARD.” I write Monday–Friday and sometimes on the weekend. It’s my job and I treat it like one.

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

Mary: Atmosphere, stomach clinches, and loads of others.

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

Mary: My close writing friends like Pricilla Oliveras and Madeline Martin. It’s been fun to watch their journey. Not only do they work hard to write great books, but they are generous, joyful people. That’s what I want to emulate. And then there are role models I don’t know but love their work like Emily Henry and Jenny Colgan. I am currently obsessed with Emily Henry. Her descriptions are so unique and fun it’s hard to describe. Jenny Colgan is a fun read. I enjoy her Little Book Shop Series, but I love the Muir series. She is a master at creating a world you want to visit.

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

Mary: I write and revise in my office at my desk. I’ve tried writing outside but it’s too distracting for me. My eyes are so tired after 8–10 hours in front of a screen, I listen to audibles more than I read. I listen while I’m doing chores or driving anywhere. I also listen while I’m running or walking unless I’m having trouble with a plot, then I listen to my playlist.

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

Mary: I am very, very fortunate that I do not have a day job. I did for many years. I worked as both a nursing instructor and as a hospital administrator. Those jobs were great, but my passion has always been writing.

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

Mary: Writing the book that is currently with my agent. It is the first book in my new series and I love it more than any book I’ve written. I think it’s the best I’ve ever written. But the best before that is Hickville Crossroads.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Mary: Romance! Romance! Romance! I love a happy ending.

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?

Mary: Hmm. To be honest it’s writing the best I can. But not because I’m all woo woo it’s about being the artist. It’s because if I write the very, very best I can, I have a better chance of people reading my books. At the end of the day, I want to write books that take people on a journey, books that make them feel excitement, sorrow (sorry but I have to have a black moment), relief, joy, and happiness. If I can make someone smile at the end of the book and at the same time anxious to read the next one, that is success. Should I mention my secret, bigger-than-life dream? I want people to feel the joy and passion I have for the music and traditions in the Scottish Gaelic culture. Eeek Spoiler.

Frasier Anderson is one of the hottest teenage actors in the UK, but he’s virtually unknown in the US. Now he’s landed the leading role in a big-budget Hollywood film that could make him an international star.

So how do you prepare a Scot for a role as a Texas high school student? Embed him in a Texas high school. He only has to follow three rules:

No drama. No girls. And no telling who he really is.

Jenna Wiley is smart, funny, and has a few no-drama, no-dating rules of her own. Her friendship with new kid Ethan Smith is perfect and might even lead to something more. Except for a few things that don’t add up. Like his mom being afraid to have company. Or their house, which looks more staged than lived in. Or his sister, whom nobody talks about.

It all comes to a boil when Frasier’s biggest secrets hit the tabloids and the paparazzi swarm Hillside with Jenna in their sights.

Buy Links: Amazon * Nook * KOBO * Apple

Thanks for stopping by, Mary! I think your new book sound intriguing, mainly because I’m into Scotland and music, too.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Writing and Wrapping Up A Series #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

Writing a series of stories is common among novelists. Most of the time the stories are merely set in the same world with some common characters so you can read the books in any order. When I set out to write the Fury Falls Inn series, I had no idea how challenging it would be. I knew I wanted to write six stories, the first one introducing the ghost haunting the inn followed by Cassie’s four brothers coming to the inn, and then ultimately the sixth book bringing the family all together.

One little known fact: when I finished writing The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn, Book #1, I had absolutely no idea what Mercy had done to the family. I mentioned it frequently in that first book, but even when one of my beta readers asked me, as in after I’d written The End, I still had no clue.

Days later, I was watching some movie—I don’t even recall which one—when Mercy suddenly whispered in my ear the truth of what she’d done to break up the family unit. I was shocked! But then I realized just what a treasure trove of storylines could spring from that revelation.

Then the real planning and strategizing began. I had to define each of my characters, both who they are and who their family was. I needed to understand the backstory of everybody in order to write their current story. I needed a timeline of who was born when, who married whom and when, who died when and how. All the minutiae of a person’s life that could impact their future choices and decisions.

The six books in this series are closely coupled stories, spanning June through October 1821, so you’ll want to read them in order. I researched the happenings in north Alabama during that same span of time in order to weave in historical details to give the stories authenticity. I went to Burritt on the Mountain living museum to research the architecture of buildings of that time period, and visited Constitution Park in downtown Huntsville to learn more about the history of Huntsville, too. I even bought a detailed book and accompanying sketch of what downtown Huntsville looked like then, what businesses were in which buildings, so I could more accurately depict the city in my writing.

This is my most popular series to date! If you haven’t read these books, you might want to give them a try. I had one reader demanding Book #4 immediately after she’d finished reading Book #3—unfortunately I was still writing that story so she had to wait. But you don’t have to! You can buy all 6 books now and binge read through to the end. In fact, that’s why I’m releasing Books #5 and #6 on the same day—so nobody has to wait any longer to read the conclusion of the Fairhope family saga. Enjoy!

Happy reading! I’m off to celebrate my book launch tomorrow!

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.

The final 2 books Legends of Wrath and Homecoming release tomorrow, August 9! Binge away!

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn

Under Lock and Key

Desperate Reflections

Fractured Crystals

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Meet Reggie Fairhope – Character Interview #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

One more character interview is coming your way… and that is to introduce you all to the lead character in Homecoming, Reginald “Reggie” Fairhope, the patriarch of the Fairhope family. The most frequently asked question I’ve heard about Reggie is why hasn’t he returned to the inn? Let’s ask him that and a few other questions. Ready?

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Reggie: They are the most supportive and loving parents I’ve ever known. Even if they both are powerful witches in their own right. They made sure to teach me and my brothers and sisters how to use our might in all its forms for right. They loved each other with a purity of heart not often witnessed through actions toward one another.

Betty: The burning question round-about the inn is, why has it taken you so long to start the trek back home. What’s been occupying you so that you felt you couldn’t come sooner?

Reggie: The short answer is that Beck was being Beck and insisting, or trying to, on doing everything his way instead of how I’d requested the furniture to look. I didn’t trust him to not mess with the design and even the mystical aspects of the pieces. He likes to put too much of himself into his work, if you get my meaning.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Reggie: No, that’s one skill I never got around to developing. I wish I had because maybe then I could have done something—anything—to intervene when my nephew drowned. It wasn’t that I hesitated for my own sake but I hesitated out of fear for my family. The repercussions of using my magic out in the open against an unknown adversary stayed my wand. If only I knew what—or who—I might have been able to change how things played out for little George.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Reggie: That’s easy. Not protecting my wife and daughter from harm. But I’m heading home now to see to things. My sisters in marriage will need to be packing their trunks… And if I catch that no-good devil hunting my family he’ll pay a dear price. That’s a promise, not a threat.

Betty: What is the most wonderful thing that has happened to you?

Reggie: Meeting the love of my life, Mercy. She brought a light and a joy to my heart.

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Reggie: I’d not leave the inn to have furniture made. I’d find somebody closer to home to make it so that I could prevent the death of my wife. But then of course you have to ask, would I have ever had the chance, the one I have now as I head toward home, to see my sons again if she hadn’t died and Cassie asked them to come? We’ll never know, of course. I just have to be grateful for that chance even as I confront the sadness and grief waiting for me.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Reggie: I’d like to think I’m not afraid of anything but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I fear losing my family. With a witch hunter preying on them, I feel like I need to be home as soon as the oxen can drag the furniture home. Which should be very soon, thank goodness.

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Reggie: I used to play a mean game of eight ball but it’s been a while. I used to best my older brother, Beck, on a regular basis when I was a much younger man.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Reggie: That’s a good question… I love both my brothers and my two sisters equally. But I guess if I had to pick one it would be Scarlet. She’s such a firecracker and smart as a whip. She won’t let anyone take advantage of her or her family either. I’m so pleased she’s making the trip back with me, too. I think she’ll fall in love with Alabama.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Reggie: The Fury Falls Inn is my home and always will be. They’ll have to bury me out back because I’m not leaving again.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Reggie: Sitting on the back porch of the inn, watching the cloud shadows dance across the mountains and sipping on some fine whiskey. If Mercy could be at my side, then my life would be perfect.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Reggie: I don’t get much time for reading. When I do, I prefer to read a history or biography. I like to learn something when I read.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Reggie: With a rousing discussion with Sheridan over the day’s menu and orders necessary. That really gets my blood flowing. He’s not only an excellent cook but a good friend after all these years working together. I’m so happy for him to be reunited with Pansy, his wife, after so many years apart, too. A happy ending to what could have been a tragic love story.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Reggie: Most everyone I meet is a friend in some way. We’re all on this earth together so we have to find a way to get along as best we can. It irks me no end when people willingly hurt each other. My blood boils just thinking on it. And trust me, you do not want to see me when my temper gets away from me. People die. So, please, just shake my hand and be on your way if you have a grievance with me. It will be better for everyone concerned.

Um, okay. Well… Thanks, Reggie, I will spread that word around. I’m sure you’re relieved that the inn is almost in view now and looking forward to seeing Cassie again.

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.

The final 2 books Legends of Wrath and Homecoming
will release on August 9 and are up for preorder now!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn

Under Lock and Key

Desperate Reflections

Fractured Crystals

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Introducing Rachel Barnes from The Perfect Neighborhood by Author Liz Alterman #author #editor #storyteller

I’m happy to welcome to the interview hot seat a character from Liz Alterman’s mystery The Perfect Neighborhood, Rachel Barnes. Before we find out more about who Rachel is, let’s first take a look at Liz’s bio. Here we go!

Liz Alterman lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. She spends most days repeatedly microwaving the same cup of coffee and looking up synonyms.

Author Social Links: Instagram * Twitter

Rachel Barnes, mom in her early 40s whose child disappears on his walk home from kindergarten.

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Rachel: My childhood was largely unhappy. My parents fought constantly—primarily about money. Fortunately, my older sister, Darcy, was my rock. My earliest memory is of us sitting beneath the dining room table with her hands covering my ears, shielding me from our parents’ arguing.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest achievement? Why?

Rachel: My greatest achievement is my son, Billy. He is a kind-hearted, curious child who loves baseball and nature.

Betty: If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?

Rachel: If I could change one thing, I would never have allowed Billy to walk to and from kindergarten without an adult. My husband, Ted, convinced me that because the school was just a few blocks away and because Billy walked with his friend Oliver, he’d be safe. When I disagreed, Ted argued that “fresh air and a little independence” is good for a child. I still didn’t like the idea. We got Billy a cell phone so we could track his location. But on the morning of the day Billy went missing, I’d taken that phone because he’d been dawdling, playing a game at breakfast when he was supposed to be brushing his teeth. If I hadn’t let Ted get his way, my son would never have gone missing.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Rachel: My greatest fear is that we’ll never find Billy, that I’ll never see his sweet smile or hear his easy laughter again. Everyone in Oak Hill, our usually-quiet, safe town, knows that I’m living a parent’s worst nightmare. Our neighbors have helped search for my son but no clues have been found yet.

Betty: How much of your true self do you share with others?

Rachel: I tend to be very guarded and private. As a real estate agent, I try to project the image of the perfect lifestyle. I don’t want anyone to know the truth—my marriage has been in trouble since the beginning. But since Billy disappeared, I’ve been unraveling and I’m unable to keep up the facade. Only my sister, Darcy, really knows that I’m spiraling, and there are even some secrets I haven’t shared with her. 

Betty: Are you close to your family? Do you wish your relationship with them was different in any way? If so, how?

Rachel: I wish my relationship with my husband, Ted, was different. We got off to an unusual start. He hired me to sell his home after his wife, Jane, died. I could tell he was lonely. We spent more and more time together. When the home didn’t sell immediately, I convinced him to stay and make some changes. Before I knew it, I was pregnant. His son, Evan, from his first marriage, didn’t welcome me with open arms. My relationship with Evan has also been strained. I wish that were different, too, especially as I wonder if he had anything to do with Billy’s disappearance.

Betty: If you could change yourself in some way, what change would you make? Why?

Rachel: If I could change something about myself, I’d have been a better, more attentive mother to Billy. I’d have put down my phone and focused on him instead of prioritizing my work. After we had an incident with our au pair, I should’ve put a lot more thought into who I let watch Billy. Cassidy, the teen I hired to babysit in the afternoons, is a nice girl but very distracted recently.  She was late to arrive on the day Billy disappeared and I wonder how much that played a role in his disappearance. I’m haunted by the ways I’ve failed my child.

When actress and model Allison Langley leaves her former rockstar husband, Christopher, it’s all her Oak Hill neighbors can talk about. The gossip comes to an abrupt halt when five-year-old Billy Barnes goes missing on his walk home from kindergarten.

Billy’s mother, Rachel, blames herself for being at work and letting her only child walk alone. Cassidy, Billy’s teenage babysitter, was also late to arrive on the afternoon he disappeared and blames herself for his disappearance.

As the clock ticks down, police are unable to find any trace of Billy, forcing Rachel to ponder the enemies she’s made in their well-off suburb. Could it be one of her neighbors who stole her son? Would they abduct Billy to hurt her? How easy would it be to take a child while the parents or nannies are distracted?

When another child goes missing, the town is put under a microscope as the police try to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Will they be able to find the two children, or will it be too late? What secrets lie at the heart of this tragedy, and how far will one go to keep those dangerous secrets buried?

Buy Links: PenguinRandomHouse

Oh dear, Rachel! I do hope they find the kids. Thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by and tell us about your story.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Meet Silas Fairhope – Character Interview #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

I’d like to do something a little different this week and that is to introduce you all to the lead character in Legends of Wrath, Silas Fairhope. Silas is the youngest of the four brothers in the family. Like me, he’s a writer and knows how to address a topic to a given audience. So, let’s put a few questions to him and see what he has to say, shall we?

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Silas: For years I’ve thought of them as mean spirited and unloving. Until I came to the Fury Falls Inn at my sister’s request. That’s when I discovered the truth behind their seemingly uncaring actions that sent me away from home to fend for myself for years. Now I understand how much they cared and loved all of their children, even if it appeared on the surface that they didn’t.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Silas: My oldest brother, Giles, taught me how to swim when we were younger and still living at home. Me and my brothers would go to the lake down the road from our house and spend all afternoon splashing around and jumping in off the rope swing. What a fine memory. Up until the day my cousin drowned and everything changed.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Silas: I think not seeing what was happening to my family, or at least not fathoming the causes. I was still young, just entering my teen years when the tensions began and the relationship began to fray.

Betty: What is the most wonderful thing that has happened to you?

Silas: That’s easy. Being reconnected with my sister, Cassandra, and my brothers. I’ve been on my own, feeling a bit lost and floundering about in search of something I couldn’t define. Turns out, that something is my family. It’s good to find a home again.

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Silas: I wouldn’t change the past because the situations we confront and the choices we make all define who we are. Changing the past would undo the lessons learned from them. Still, I do sometimes wish my cousin hadn’t died. I miss him and his easy grin when he was about to do something stupidly daring.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Silas: I didn’t realize it until I came to the inn at Cassie’s request. My greatest fear has to be living alone for the rest of my life. I thought I handled the isolation from my family but I was fooling myself. I can see clearly now how I hid that truth from myself for years. Acting as if traveling around the country could fill the void left by my sister and brothers.

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Silas: I enjoy a game of cards now and then but who has time to play when you’re on the move every day of one’s life? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing the sights of America and meeting fascinating people to write about for the newspapers. I just don’t have a lot of time to play games.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Silas: Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I adore my sister. I’ve missed her beautiful smile and her sense of humor. I was so glad to hear from her even if her news was so sad, that our mother had died. She didn’t tell me until I arrived just how our mother had been murdered, so that was a surprise. But I’ve always felt close to her on a different level. Now I understand the connection is more than simple affection but has magical undertones to it.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Silas: Of all the places I’ve visited, I’ve enjoyed the mountains most. If I could have a cozy mountain cottage on a pretty piece of land, I’d live right happily I think.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Silas: With a good novel, of course. I like for a story to transport me to places I can’t travel to on my own. I can pretend for a short period to visit other countries, for example.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Silas: A good adventure tale is always enjoyable to read. I thoroughly enjoyed Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was excellent. Anything along those lines will entertain me for hours.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Silas: I put down a few lines each morning in my journal to help me focus on priorities for the day.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Silas: I don’t really have any since I’m on the move so much. Perhaps now that I have what I’d like to think of as a home base here at the inn I can also begin to make a few friends. We’ll see.

Thanks, Silas, for taking time away from your writing and travels to talk with me for a few minutes. Your story, Legends of Wrath, really answers many questions posed during the earlier stories in the Fury Falls Inn series.

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.

On sale during July 2022!

The first 4 books in the Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series set in 1821 Alabama in a haunted roadside inn are reduced! The final 2 books, Legends of Wrath and Homecoming will release on August 9 and are up for preorder now!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn – $.99

Under Lock and Key  – $1.99

Desperate Reflections – $1.99

Fractured Crystals – $2.99

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Getting to know Karla Huebner #author #ficition #magic #realism #fantasy #ArtHistorian

My guest author today has a unique background and thus a unique world view. Please help me welcome Karla Huebner to the interview hot seat! A quick peek at her bio and then we’ll find out the answers to several burning questions…

Karla Huebner has lived on a boat and worked in factories, offices, theater, publishing, oil refineries, private investigation, and adolescent drug rehab; most recently she has taught Art History at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Her short fiction has appeared in such places as the Northwest Review, Colorado State Review, Magic Realism, Fantasy Macabre, Weave, and Opossum; and her prize-winning book Magnetic Woman: Toyen and the Surrealist Erotic is available from University of Pittsburgh Press. Her novel In Search of the Magic Theater is just out from Regal House and will be followed by Too Early to Know Who’s Winning (Black Rose, 2023). Her as-yet unpublished story collection Heartwood was a finalist for the 2020 Raz-Shumaker prize.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Instagram

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

Karla: The germ of it came to me when I was in my late thirties contemplating making some changes in my life, such as going back to school, and so it occurred to me that someday I might write a novel about a woman at midlife who makes big changes.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Karla: I wouldn’t say I struggled much with this one, but whenever I was writing in Sarah’s voice (versus Kari’s), I felt a bit like I was choking. Her rhythm is choppier. She’s not a very happy person.

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

Karla: All of the characters came easily into my head—sort of like channeling spirits—but for readers, I think some people will find Kari easier and others will find Sarah easier. Or who knows, maybe some readers will feel the male characters, who aren’t narrators, are easier to know. I doubt that, though. I think people will relate more either to Kari or Sarah depending in part on age (Kari is nearly twice as old as Sarah) and in part on personality.

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

Karla: The one small bit of research I recall doing for this involved learning more about the repertoire for cello plus guitar. I remembered hearing a lovely piece on the radio, but couldn’t remember who composed it–and never found out, but did come up with a reasonable set of composers whose work Sarah and Joey could play. Oh, and I also did a very small amount of research on peyote.

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

Karla: This was definitely a one-draft novel. I changed a word here and there between writing and publication. No real second draft.

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?

Karla: Other than that it was several years between having the initial vague idea and writing, it took about three months to write In Search of the Magic Theater. I’d say that’s both typical and atypical for me. In part it depends on how ready I am to write a particular story, and in part it depends on whether I have enough free time to write for at least several hours most days, or have to write in stolen moments here and there (for example, late at night after teaching and working on scholarly projects). I’ve now written four novels and one novella that each took about three months, whereas I’ve finished one novel that I wrote in bits and pieces over ten years, I’ve got three others that are fairly close to done after ten or more years, and you don’t want to know how many more are underway. Some might have been three-month novels if I’d had the time to focus on them, while others just gradually accrete.

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

Karla: Probably thus and indeed. I also have a tendency to begin sentences with Well and So, but mainly in my personal writing, not when writing fiction (or so I imagine).

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

Karla: I’m not really much of a role-model person as an adult, although there are lots of people (writers and non-writers) whom I admire. When I was a kid planning to become a writer, I’d say my author role models were Marguerite Henry, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, and Shakespeare (!). I don’t write much like any of them today!

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

Karla: Nope, I move around. Different rooms in the house, different cafes, the library, friends’ homes when visiting. Airplanes, trains, occasionally buses if the ride’s not too short or bumpy. My camping trailer. Wherever I am, so long as the surroundings aren’t too distracting. It’s helpful to have internet to look things up, but that can be distracting.

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

Karla: I’ve usually had a day job, although for many years I made sure they were varied and didn’t take too much thought. Then I became an art historian, which is a pretty enjoyable occupation for those lucky enough to get a job in the field, which I was. However, being a professor doesn’t leave a lot of time or mental energy for writing fiction.

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

Karla: Ask me again in ten years.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Karla: In genre fiction, I’ve always read a lot of mysteries. Otherwise, I gravitate toward magical realism and to authors who don’t really fit any particular genre—Colette, Italo Calvino, Heinrich Böll, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Muriel Spark, Javier Marias, Toni Morrison, André Alexis. I’d like to add more living writers to that list. Oh, and I’m a great fan of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, which I guess you could call paranormal magical mystery-thriller humorous escapades.

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?

Karla: Well, inner joy at having written things that I’m very pleased with is key, but also finding readers—ideally lots of them—for whom my work resonates. Since I’m not content to write solely for myself, success for me does ultimately mean publishing and finding my audience and even earning money.

Why, the rather staid young cellist Sarah wonders, should her aunt rent their spare room to the perhaps unstable Kari Zilke? Like the nephew in Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Sarah finds herself taking an unexpected interest in the lodger, but she is unable to stop at providing a mere introduction to Kari’s narrative of mid-life crisis and self-discovery, and develops her own more troubled tale of personal angst and growth, entwined with the account Kari herself purportedly left behind. Generational tensions, artistic collaborations, and even a romance steeped in Greek myth follow as Kari and Sarah pursue their very different creative paths in theater and music. And while Kari seems to blossom post-divorce, Sarah must grapple with the question of what the role of mothers, fathers, aunts, mentors, and male collaborators should be in her life as a young musician.

Buy Links: RegalHouse * BookShop * Amazon * B&N

A one-draft book is quite an accomplishment to my mind, Karla! Way to go! Thanks for stopping by to share your story and your inspiration with us.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!