Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Interview with Betty Sullivan La Pierre




M&M: Betty, how many books have you written?

I have thirteen books published at this time. Eleven are part of the ‘Hawkman Series’, which can be read in any order, as each is a stand alone story. I also have two suspense thrillers (THE DEADLY THORN & MURDER.COM), which are not involved with Hawkman.

M&M: Tell us about your writing schedule?

I’m at the computer eight to ten hours a day, either writing or marketing. Writing is my passion, and I love being involved in plotting or trying to sell my books.

M&M: Okay we want to know about your latest book?

“THE LURE OF THE WITCH” is my latest release. Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning chapters:
Sarah Willis, a teenager, was reported missing to the Medford police by her father. When Greg Willis decided the authorities were dragging their feet, he hired private investigator Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, to find his daughter. Since Greg and Cathy Willis had been divorced for a year, Hawkman found it a bit difficult to combine the information and decided to have Sarah’s belongings brought to his office, much to the dismay of the mother.
When Hawkman began to dig into Sarah’s personal items, his wife, Jennifer, convinced him he didn’t understand the workings of a young girl’s mind, and needed her help. As they dug into the inner parts of Sarah’s computer, diary and notes, they discovered some disturbing facts which led them to a ranch in the Medford hills.

M&M: Who are some of your favorite authors and some of your favorite books?

That’s a hard question. Reading Mystery/Suspense is my favorite pastime and many great authors write in this genre. Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Brenda Stewart, and many more. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite, as they all have talents I can appreciate and learn from.

M&M: What writing organizations do you belong to and do you belong to any writing groups?

I’m not a joiner, having done this when my boys were growing up, you might say I burned out. However, I do belong to a critique writing group, which meets once a week at my home. We critique each other’s works. An author couldn’t get a good polished manuscript without such help. You can’t polish your own work, as you tend to skip over mistakes, and need other eyes to find your errors.

M&M: On the average how long does it take you to write a book?

A good year by the time I finish all the rewrites and have the manuscript as polished as I can get it. This has been true of all my books, except for the first one. It took me seven years to get ‘THE ENEMY STALKS’ ready and even after that, my first publisher, sent it back to me with helpful suggestions. Once I went through the whole work again and resubmitted it, he congratulated me, then published the story.

M&M: What one publishing lesson have you learned which helped you in other areas of your life?

You don’t give up. If you want to pursue something with all your heart, you don’t quit.

M&M: Is there something you would like to say to your readers?

Yes. Thank you. Without my fans and their wonderful letters, including great comments, I might have thought I lacked the talent to write a decent story. But when your books are snatched up, hot off the press, and readers request a new book within a short time, you can’t help but swell with pride.

M&M: What advice can you give the novice writer?

Let me repeat, don’t give up. Keep writing. Get with a critique group with multiple genres. You need input from all sides. Don’t be offended by their suggestions. Keep a tough skin. They’re only trying to make your writing better. Learn from your mistakes, and read everything you can get your hands on about the writing world. Read, read, read! You’ll learn something new with each article, book or short story.

M&M: Tell us how you develop your characters, the setting, plot and pacing?

I have an idea about my story before I start writing. Characters pop into my mind along the way. They’re usually a combination of traits that I’ve seen or studied in people. It’s usually not just one person’s characteristics, but several. Once my characters are in place, they take over and lead me into the story. Many times they take me places I don’t want to go, but they have a purpose. The plot forms as the story takes place, even though I know there will be a murder committed somewhere along the line, but when and where it happens develops within the story. Pacing was a problem for me at first, as I wanted to go right to the murder. I’ve learned to develop my settings, and describe my characters with more feeling. These are things you learn as you move ahead.

M&M: Okay now for the important questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, color, movie and music?

This is a great question. My favorite meal is oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, with a hot roll...yummy, makes my mouth water even thinking about it. For my dessert, anything dark chocolate. Blue is my favorite color. I’m not a movie fan, I couldn’t tell you the name of any of today’s films. But years ago, I enjoyed musicals, mysteries, (loved the Alfred Hitchcock productions) and the great wide screen Biblical stories. My favorite music is mostly instrumental without a vocalist. I like big bands, orchestras, guitar, and soft rock. I don’t care for the screaming and loud rock, or hip-hop stuff.

M&M: Do you believe in 'writer's block'?

I’ve really never suffered with it, but I’m sure many authors can get locked up. The middle of the book is the hardest for me. And that’s probably where it would strike if I let it. But I keep plodding along and soon it becomes clear what I need to do. I’d advise anyone who thinks he/she has writer’s block, to just keep writing, maybe use a different subject to distract your brain, let it relax. The mind needs a break every once in a while, and doing something different might help. However, don’t stray too far from the keyboard, as is will only hamper the problem.

M&M: What are you looking forward to in 2009?

Publishing another book, which I’m writing now. I love my writing life, and am very fortunate to have a husband and family who supports me completely. My husband has retired and does all the cooking, which makes it wonderful for me to continue working without having to break to cook a meal. Yes, I know, I’m spoiled rotten and love it..:-)

M&M: Tell us something about you that we don't know, such as do you love chocolate or do you have something special sitting on your writing desk?

You already know I love dark chocolate. But you might not know that I write very clean mysteries with a thinking private investigator. I keep the bad language to a minimum and you will never see the ‘F’ word in one of my books. I loathe the word. The only love making takes place between a husband and wife behind closed doors. No explicit sex. I want my readers to get engrossed in my plots and try to guess who the murderer might be. I like to keep them guessing and hope I surprise them in the end.

In closing leave us with some writing words of wisdom.

Live each day with a smile and think positive most of the time. Every once in a while you have to look at the negative to make the right decision; that’s okay. Always think of the ones you love before yourself and your needs will be taken care of.

You can find my books at my publisher: http://www.synergebooks.com/ebooks_mystery1.html
At my site:
http://www.bettysullivanlapierre.com/
And on:
Amazon.com
Fictionwise.


Betty I hope this was painless and thank you so much for allowing the interview.
Pamela

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