Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Please tell us about FORBIDDEN SON.
High school dropout Honey Belle Garret never thought of herself as poor white trash—just poor. In the summer of 1964, her world changes forever when sinfully sexy and very rich, Tripp Hartwell III offers her a ride in his convertible. When Tripp proposes marriage, it is the happiest day of Honey Belle’s life. Then, unbeknownst to Tripp, dire threats from his father force Honey Belle and her family out of town and into silence. Hidden in another state, Honey Belle determines, successfully, to make something of herself. She keeps a scrapbook of news clippings about the young man she had to leave behind. Seventeen years later Tripp is not only a lawyer like his father but a Vietnam War hero and a United States senator. Before anyone can question the strong resemblance between him and a new congressional page, Honey Belle has to tell Tripp the truth. And he must come to terms with the knowledge that he has a son by the woman who stole his heart and then mysteriously disappeared.
“Have I changed so much that you don’t recognize me, Tripp?” This wasn’t at all the way she had rehearsed the scene in her head. She didn’t blink an eye—afraid any reaction might betray her uncertainty.
“Look, miss, I don’t have time for twenty questions. I meet a lot of people, if—”
She wanted him to remember, to remember her, to remember—what? That seventeen years ago she had walked away from him? That she hadn’t had the courage to stand up to his father and fight for her position in the life of the man she loved. That for sixteen years she had raised the son he never knew existed. She should never have left Tripp. So much guilt, for so many mistakes. She had no one to blame but herself.
She lifted her eyes to his. “Seventeen years ago, in Charleston, South Carolina, I asked you to take me for a ride in your shiny white BMW.”
The silence of the office closed in around her.
Ah. Sounds intriguing. What’s your next project?
Currently, I’m working on a full-length historical romance that takes place during the Sapoy Rebellion in India. I’m also working on a novella which is a contemporary military romance that takes place in Afghanistan. I’m enjoying the research for both books, but often find myself lingering over the interesting facts (procrastinating, actually), instead of working on my page counts.
Oh, my goodness, I do the same thing. That’s one reason I love researching. Do you plan to return to the Old West?
The Old West is my favorite era in history and to write. I have five historical westerns plotted out. My problem is deciding which book to work on next. I do have a full-length western and a novella releasing in 2013; MCKENNA’S WOMAN from The Wild Rose Press and COWGIRL COURAGE with Avalon Books.
What one tip would you offer writers?
Just one tip? (she says with a smile). Actually, the best tip I can give writers—especially beginning writers—is to read…read…read in the genre they plan to write. While plot and characterization is always the meat and bones of a novel, there is also a formula to each genre. Westerns tend to be plot driven, while contemporary romance leans toward character driven. By reading, writers can see where the plot twists are, how many scenes in certain genres, how much or how little romance in certain genres; how action tags enhance a scene; and how all those elements formulate into a good publishable story.
Is there a special place you like to write?
My office is a converted bedroom which looks out over a spring-fed creek. Some writers enjoy listening to music while others seem to concentrate better when surrounded by noise in coffee shops. I like silence and the calming effects of watching the wood ducks or otters and even the occasional gator that swim by. Maybe someday I’ll write a story that takes place in a swamp.
LOL. I don’t know about a swamp, but I agree--silence is golden for me.
How do your story ideas come to you? (Which do you visualize first, characters or plots?)
Ideas come to me in different ways. Sometimes the title of the book pops into my head first, other times, I dream the story, and at other times a character’s name comes first. Whichever happens, if I’m near my computer, I type the information in my ‘idea’ file. Quite often when I do this, ideas seems to flow. I just go with it until I run out of juice. Then I return to whatever I was doing. Unless it’s washing dishes or vacuuming, then I find excuses to stay at the computer.
Is there anything you haven’t been asked that you’d like to share with us?
Many writers ask how I built my fan base. The answer is simple—develop characters that readers want to invest time in, write plots that make readers laugh or cry, or keep them turning the pages. Give readers that ‘aaah’ moment when writing ‘The End.’ The ultimate goal is to write books that will cause readers to clamor for your next novel.
Posted by Barbara Bettis at 5:17 PM