Greetings Peeps! This week’s Author Spotlight
For years, I suffered through school because I was dyslexic; I only read books that were assigned. After I finished two years of college, I took a speed reading class at Georgetown University and a whole new world opened up to me. My reading habit became expensive, and a friend introduced me to paperback romance novels. Then one day I said, “I bet I can write one of these.” My bowling team challenged me and off I went to write my first novel.
Needless to say, that book is still unpublished. WRW was beginning its chapter and I joined as a charter member. Have been a member of RWA since 1984, went to their conference at the Mayflower and found an agent. She suggested I get together with one of her other clients and we wrote a novel, An Obsession With Honor, that sold in one week to Warner Books. I am published in both fiction and non-fiction with five books in print.
Whenever I speak at libraries, conferences or book fairs, someone always asks questions about finding time to write or complain they don’t have enough time to write. Solution: You have to make the time!
My writing habits change as often as the seasons. My first routine changed as our children grew. Over the years, I no longer wrote longhand, I got a typewriter, then an electric one and eventually a computer. All the while I attended conferences and meetings and learned about writing and the world of publishing, from query letters to rejections.
Farragut North, was released in 2015, and is the sequel to Farragut Square. Suspense was a new genre for me–my other novels are historical.
I start writing by developing an inspiration or concept—the plot. I create two protagonists–give them names, families, a past, facial & bodily features, and a conflict. I do research, which is my favorite part of writing and I take notes. For Farragut Square, I went downtown on the subway, sat in the park and wrote down what I saw and heard. I called the local police station and took a tour, went to a gun range and learned how to shoot a 9mm Glöck. I use the Levenger Circle tablets to structure my novels and keep important information about the characters, keep a file folder full of notes next to me.
I never experience writers block, and let the characters help me subplot. I started writing at night when the children were asleep and wrote from nine until midnight or one a.m. I was up by six, and played mother, real estate agent, drove car pools, volunteered at the schools and kept house at the same time. My husband traveled with the U.S. Navy and was often out at sea on a submarine and there was no contact, except in major emergencies—which only occurred once all those years, when his grandfather died.
I enjoyed writing and I was committed to it. That makes the perfect beginning.
Bette McNicholas is a charter member of the Washington Romance Writers (WRW), DC. She is published in historical romance and romantic suspense, and recently contributed a chapter in A Mother’s Wisdom, a work of non-fiction.
Where to Find Bette:
Below, Bette and the rest of us Romance Authors at the annual authors library panel, Carroll County Public Library, Westminster, Maryland branch last Sunday, May 1, 2016