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”

 

 

 

 

 

9 Things Amazon Secretly Launched that Can Help All Indie Authors with their Book Marketing

Check out this helpful post from the How to eBook blog with 9 things that Amazon secretly launched that can help all indie authors with their book marketing

How To Ebook

Amazon is always changing things up. And that’s why it’s important to always be watching for what’s new. Especially if we’re in book marketing mode (and aren’t we always?), making the most of Amazon is a great way to spend your time. So fair warning, some of the things I’m mentioning here are good, some are less so. But regardless, they will all affect all of us who are in the throes of promoting our books. And as a side note, many of these do affect indie authors more so than traditionally published.

read more: https://www.amarketingexpert.com/9-amazon-secrets-indie-authors-book-marketing/

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Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Flashback Vs. Backstory

Check out this great post from Kristina Stanley’s blog with the difference between flashback and backstory

KRISTINA STANLEY

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

Flashback Versus Backstory

flashback takes the reader from the current time to a previous time. This usually happens quickly, and then they are returned to the present.

A flashback is told as an action scene.

Backstory is the story that happens before your novel begins. Sometimes during the story, you need to inform the reader of something that happened earlier in a character’s life. You may have files upon files of information you store elsewhere that you use to develop your characters…

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The Clue to Character by Mystery Writer Daniella Bernett

Check out this great post from the Mystery Thriller Week blog with the clue to character by mystery writer, Daniella Bernett

Mystery Thriller Week

Clue image.jpeg

The Clue to Character
Daniella Bernett

Where would a story be without a character? Character is the engine that drives the narrative. For me, it is a magical process. Imagine having the omnipotent power to create and mold a person on the page. Not only do I get to conjure up the character’s physical attributes and such details as a birthdate, but I have the opportunity to develop his or her personality. Evil or noble? Intelligent or foolish? Witty or dull? Take a smidgen of this and add a pinch of that, and voilà a person starts to emerge. To be believable, the reader must be given intimate insight into the character’s thoughts and emotions, likes and dislikes. One has to understand the motives behind why a character reacts a certain way. Of course to be fully formed, the author must imbue the character with both admirable qualities and flaws…

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Not Your Mama’s Character Descriptions – From the Writers in the Storm blog

Margie Lawson

writing

Does your real or imaginary writing checklist include: Make Character Descriptions Fresh, Unpredictable, Multi-Powerful?

If not, it could.

Character descriptions can add power on multiple levels. You can treat the reader to something fresh, something they haven’t read before. You can slip in details that deepen characterization too.

Character descriptions provide an opportunity to:

  • write fresh
  • boost cadence
  • add a humor hit
  • strengthen emotion
  • slip in backstory or other story dynamics
  • share physical and psychological descriptions
  • deepen characterization for one or more characters, including relationships

Read the rest of this post HERE.

How a Career In Writing Can Make You a Better Person

Check out this post from the Novelty Revisions blog on how a career in writing can make you a better person

Novelty Revisions

There’s a lot we learn from spending a lot of our time writing.

We learn how to construct grammatically correct sentences. How to develop effective marketing strategies. How to persuade people to do things they might have never considered before.

But there’s much more to get out of a career in writing than a bunch of followers or a solid reputation as a literary mastermind or even a semi-decent paycheck.

Writing might actually make you a better person in the long-term.

It forces you to think about other people more than yourself

Most people are born selfish and stay that way their whole lives. I’m not saying none of us are a little bit self-centered depending on the circumstances — sometimes, thinking of yourself is the best option.

But being a writer means you can’t focus only on you, your thoughts, or your needs. You have to be aware of…

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The Benefits of Dictation

Check out this great post from the Story Empire blog on the topic of the benefits of dictation in writing.

Story Empire

Hello Story Empire readers! I’d like to fly – at least when it comes to writing – rather than plodding along. There’s one tool I now use to do just that: Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Good thing you don’t have to train this dragon to dictate well.

When it comes to writing a book, there is a faster way without a huge expense which also feels like flying. In my last post, I described how I was working to clear my own logjam with available time and one of those changes was to spend a little money to address my constricted writing time. I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking and set out to dictate so I could produce more words per hour than typing. To dictate well, it requires training Dragon – which sounds like the title of a couple of movies.

Training a Dragon is simple, especially when compared to the movie…

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