The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Bette A. Stevens


It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with Maine author, artist Bette A. Stevens

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Bette A. Stevens:


Bette Stevens author 2016

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I’m a writer inspired by nature and human nature and tend to write stories and poems about those things that touch my heart and soul. You might say that I write initially for enjoyment and personal satisfaction. However, whether it comes to poetry, children’s books or adult fiction, I definitely write for my readers—hoping to share the things that inspire me and the lessons I have learned in life, without focusing on what readers want to hear.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

First of all, keep a journal and write about all of those things that inspire you, even if only in a small way. Next, talk (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) to relatives about ancestors and about their own lives—jot down notes about these family stories.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

watchmanOne of my recommended favorites is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (published posthumously/2015). To date, the 5-star ratings are at 32 percent on Amazon. Here is an excerpt from my review:

Powerful, Relevant & Thought-provoking!

I’ve read both of Harper Lee’s novels and loved them! Mockingbird three times over four decades. Watchman last week… In my opinion, Watchman is as relevant and controversial today as it would have been when it was written. Atticus Finch has not evolved into a demon/hypocrite; he’s just become human like the rest of us. Well-written, thought-provoking and timely

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

You bet! Reviews are gifts from readers. Although most of the reviews for my books are excellent, I appreciate the less than outstanding ones as well. After all, not every reader is going to enjoy everything that every writer publishes. Critical reviews help me take a closer look at what I’ve written and discover how certain aspects of the story or of my writing affect my readers. They’ve inspired me to take a closer look at my writing. Book reviewers rock!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Secrets in books? Sure, secrets are part of the mystery and magic of storytelling. You know, it’s that show-don’t tell tool that writers use to draw readers into the story and keep them turning the pages—the magic that makes readers want more even after the story ends. Those secrets are as varied as the readers who find them. After all, most of the books I’ve read are full of hidden secrets.

Do you Google yourself?

In 2010, I Googled my name before self-publishing my first book. Know what I found? To my surprise, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette Stevens (Windswept House Publishing/1997) was on Amazon as an out-of-print book. I had no clue that it was even listed on Amazon. I also discovered that there was another author by the name of Bette Stevens and decided right then that I would use Bette A. Stevens to distinguish myself when publishing my own books. Since that time, I Google my name a couple of times a year. Every now and then, I find an article on line that I didn’t know existed (sometimes even a review)—one that I can reblog on my website or use in marketing. So dear writers, don’t be shy. Google yourself every now and then!

What is your favorite childhood book?

mgHands-down—The Real Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes is top on my list. The pages of this book held treasures that lured me into the world of words. The playful rhythms, the delightful rhymes, the silliness of it all, made me fall in love. And, once I fell in love with words, I never fell out of it.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I was a shy child and teen and spent a lot of time reading and checking out books at the local library. Knowing what I do now, I would have joined the year book staff and the newspaper staff in high school. I also would have kept a personal journal during my teen years and entered a writing contest or two.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Generally, it takes about six months to complete the first draft of a book. I would add another six months for beta reader input, revisions and editing before sending a finalized draft off to a professional editor. Meanwhile, I reread chapter by chapter, making notes on the print manuscript to compare with the editor’s notes/suggestions before making final edits—then, rereading once again and having a literary friend (one who has not yet seen the manuscript) read it before publishing.

About Bette:

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

Find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

Connect with Bette:

WEBSITE/BLOG http://www.4writersandreaders.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

FB FAN PAGE https://www.facebook.com/authorbetteastevens.officialfanpage?ref=hl

Bette’s Books:

Inspired by nature & human nature bas books 2017

“A writer inspired by Nature and human nature!”
Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale (Children’s Literature/ages 5-11)
“This story about a monarch butterfly is a true gem and will inspire children for years to come.”

THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!
Integrates Math and Language Arts (Elementary-Middle School)
“Awesome and Creative!”

PURE TRASH (Short story adventure/MG-Adult)
“Filled with images and flavor only better provided by and ice cream cone”

DOG BONE SOUP (New England coming-of-age) MG-Adult)
“A fascinating literary study of poverty and family dysfunctional in the 1950 & 1960s… adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry”

 

 

 

 

 

78 thoughts on “The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Bette A. Stevens

  1. A great interview Bette. I so agree with keeping a journal and writing about things that inspire you, even small things. I recently visited a school and gave the students that very same advice. The teachers liked that too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Don. It’s nice to learn a little about Bette. …”hoping to share the things that inspire me and the lessons I have learned in life, without focusing on what readers want to hear.” is such a great answer. TGIF hugs to you both.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Fabulous interview, Don and Bette!
    Bette, I love what you would tell your younger writing self. I wish I had talked more with my relatives about ancestors and their own lives. In high school I was on the newspaper and yearbook staffs, which really helped develop my writing skills and love of writing. I also appreciate that you Google yourself and read your reviews. You’re such an inspiration!
    Thanks so much for this series, Don.
    Hugs to both of you ❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful review, Don and Bette. I love the recommendation to your younger self to ask for family stories and write them down. What a wealth of knowledge and experience. A wonderful author whose books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Don for doing this excellent interview with Bette.
    Bette, it is wonderful to hear you talk about your background, shyness, what you wished you had done and now how and what you love doing.
    I feel a warm connection with you as I recognise the shy girl and today draw on nature and events I come across daily. A newspaper story, a tale I overhear at a surgery, children walking to school.
    Life itself, just as you.

    Loved your last books and read them with relish.
    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful interview. Bette’s sweet nature comes through clearly, as does her creativity. It’s interesting to think about what we might tell our younger self. Thank you for the visit. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fantastic interview you two! I was pretty shy as a kid too, but did join the Yearbook staff all three years of high school and the newspaper staff in junior high. It’s amazing how the things we loved as kids carried over into our adult lives. Bette’s love for writing and also inspiring others shines through in this candid “behind the scenes look.” Loved it!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fun to get to know you better and learning from your writing process. There is another author with my name and I never thought of adding my middle initial. What a great idea and so obvious now that I’ve learned it from you! Many blessings to you, my Maine friend.

    Liked by 2 people

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