Beth Anderson, the interview you’ve been waiting for!

Book blurb for RAVEN TALKS BACK by Beth Anderson:

Raven Morressey is living the good life. Nice home, husband, three healthy children, and it’s finally summertime, when life is again lovely in Valdez,
Alaska. All this explodes one morning when builders, digging up her back yard, uncover a recently murdered headless, handless female body covered with scarification—hundreds of colored designs cut into the skin to resemble tattoos. As if this isn’t enough, where the corpse’s head should have been is a large rock with a face painted on that resembles an Alaska Native mask.

Raven’s eight year old son, Timmy, is the first one to see the body and is suddenly unable to walk or respond in any way. On that same day, Raven hears the voice of her long dead Athabascan father coming from Timmy, who is unaware of the ancient hunting chants he sings in his sleep and the words he suddenly speaks in Raven’s native tongue—a language he does not know.

Jack O’Banion, Valdez’s Chief of Police for the past few years, faced with his first murder case in Valdez, begins his official investigation. Everywhere he goes he finds nothing but deception. The town seems to have closed into itself and nobody will tell him anything that might help him solve this case. Then one murder quickly morphs into two, then three, and the Alaska State Troopers are hot on his back to find the killer now.

Between Raven’s voices and the visions she develops, and Jack, whose career as well as his contented life in Valdez are on the line, they both feel they have to find the killer and restore some sanity to the town—not to mention their own lives, which are quickly unraveling out of control.

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Author Bio

Beth Anderson is a multi-published, award winning author in several genres including romance and  mainstream crime fiction. A full time author, she lives in a Chicago, Illinois suburb. She has appeared on Chicago’s WGN Morning Show, The ABC Evening News, as well as numerous other radio and cable television shows. She has guest lectured at Purdue University and many libraries and writers’ conferences. She loves music, particularly jazz. Her website and blog are both at http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com 

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Links to my author pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

http://www.amazon.com/Beth-Anderson/e/B000APMRR4

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Raven-Talks-Back/Beth-Anderson/e/2940012515
407/?itm=1&USRI=beth+anderson

Website and blog:  http//www.bethanderson-hotclue.com

Publisher’s Website: Krill Press  http://www.krillpress.com/books.html

RAVEN TALKS BACK ISBN #: 9780982144398

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Jennifer’s Questions:

Question:  How do you write? Do you outline? Or fly by the seat of your
pants? Do you like silence or rock out to a certain soundtrack?

I do a lot of background research and full lead character bios from childhood up to the time the story starts.  Then, when I’m ready, I start writing, getting a feel for the characters and the story. This is where I do my most re-writing. I’ll go along for three or four chapters, then I’ll start outlining the rest of the book, but that’s a very sketchy process for me. I’ll write it all out on paper, then transfer scenes onto little cards so I can move them around if I have to, and then work on a card per chapter.

My books always seem to wind up around 90,000 words or a little under. It’s just the right length for me and I seem to instinctively wind up at The End right about where I’m supposed to, word-wise. My stories have a lot of subplots in them, which you would have to have for a book that length that moves very fast. I do edit chapters as I go along, then re-edit them as many times as I have to. I know a lot of writers don’t do that, but that’s how I learned and that’s the way I stay in my personal comfort zone.

I rarely have to do full rewrites because of that, because I know where the book begins and where it’s going to end ahead of time. Even starting out, I know whodunnit, although I have changed that as I go along, depending on how the story evolves. But it usually evolves as I want it to. I don’t let my characters take over the book, especially secondary characters. It’s all in clearly knowing what you want to happen at the end, and what the leads’ problems are before you begin. By that I mean what they want. Then I work out how they go about getting it, which leads to the end.

I work in dead silence and in a darkened room as much as possible. The only distractions I want are my dog and my two cats if they need something
crucial, like treats. I have a sign on my door that says, “If you’re not bleeding, don’t come in.”  Sounds like a mystery writer?  Well, yes, that’s what I am.

Question:  Got anything to brag about? (Awards? Upcoming releases?)

With my previous books with an online publisher, I’ve had a lot of smaller awards, which meant a whole lot to me. They’re all listed on my website’s
various book pages. My first three NY books were Count on Me, a Harlequin Superromance, All That Glitters, from Ballantine’s Fortunes label, and
Diamonds, Dorchester/Ivy. At that time, early to mid nineties, internet publishing was unheard of and we didn’t focus so much on getting Internet
awards. Everything was done for us, even promotion by the publishers in some cases. After a few years of not writing much at all  because of personal problems, the publishing world was beginning its upheaval which is in full bloom now, and I moved on eventually to Amber Quill, published three books with them and started learning the POD/e-book routine.  Yes, I was there at the very beginning.  That’s where all the awards came from, and I love everyone of them because clearly, someone at all those places on the Internet loved my books.

My new release is RAVEN TALKS BACK from Krill Press, which focuses entirely on mysteries.  It’s available in Kindle and Nook and print at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com and in bookstores.

Question:  Any cool stories about meeting other writers or industry professionals that have influenced or helped you? We like to hear the silly
stuff. Ever stutter at an agent? (I have.) Ever sidestep an editor? Or have a margarita downing contest with one? (Pleading the fifth on that, myself.)

Yes.  I can tell you about the single person who helped me the most, and for the life of me I can’t remember her name because I hated her, LOL!  I had been working on my own for a few years, maybe four or five, trying to learn how to put a book together in readable form, which always looks so easy to the unpublished person while she’s reading a book.

I finally got to the point where I felt I was ready to start going to conferences.  My first conferences were RWA even though I already pretty much knew my real love was going to be mystery.  So, I sat down with this agent at a St. Louis conference, expecting her to fall over dead with delight at my brilliant prose and dialogue, and started my five minutes with her.  She lifted my three chapters, flipped through it, her eyes barely hitting the pages and flung them back at me.  “Your dialogue is horrible,” she said.

In my defense, she was famous for doing things like that and eventually got out of the business. However, I did take it to heart. I started focusing on
my dialogue, went back to the mat and learned how to do it naturally, and in doing so, developed my voice.  When I submitted to Harlequin  Superromance, although it took an ungodly long time for it to go though their channels, I had the head editor (at the time) on my side because, she said, “My writing was strong and clean and my dialogue was wonderful, fast and easy to read.” I had found my voice.

So an agent, whose apparently sole intent was to send me crying out of the room, succeeded only in my ultimately nabbing a contract, and my career was launched.

Moral of this story:  Don’t cry in front of them. Take it like a professional and if you’re lucky enough to get ANY feedback, take it to heart and start working on the weak spots because they might become your strong spots. In other words, if you are having rejections and you think you don’t have any weak spots, take another look. We all have weak spots at the beginning.

Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing me to post on your blog today!  Onward and upward, all of us!

Beth Anderson http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com

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8 Responses to “Beth Anderson, the interview you’ve been waiting for!”

  1. Vivian Zabel Says:

    Interesting post. The formatting made reading a bit more difficult, but the message was clear.

    Thanks.

    Vivian

  2. jenndicamillo Says:

    It took me a minute to get the formatting fixed. Looks great from my end now. You were quick to check in. I had barely posted the interview. It’s an awesome interview. I’m so glad to be part of the mystery we write blog tour, and to have such distinguished writers in the mix coming to my humble blog.

    Thanks, Beth, for doing an interview with me.

    And thanks, Vivian, for posting a comment so quickly. It’s great to see someone post comments. Hopefully, it will give lurking visitors the courage to throw in their two cents, too.

  3. Vivian Zabel Says:

    Now it’s not only interesting and keeping my attention, but it looks good, too.

    Thanks, Jennifer and Beth.

    Vivian

  4. Anne K. Albert Says:

    Great interview, Jennifer and Beth. I especially love the part about our weaknesses becoming our strengths. How true!

  5. Beth Anderson Says:

    Re the weaknesses to strengths thing, it takes a real committment in time to develop that. In prior blogs, and probably future ones, I always tell beginning writers to take a college course in grammar if that turns out to be your weakness. I did that before anybody ever told me I needed to, because I knew my grammar was lacking somehow. I could feel it when I read what I wrote. I enrolled in a nearby college and slogged through two semesters of it, hating it the whole time but yanno, you have to face it, if you’re not good at something, get good at it at any cost if it’s something that’s going to affect what you want to do with the rest of your life.

    Vivian and Anne, thanks so much for stopping by on a Saturday! That’s usually my busiest day, trying to run here and there doing things so I can relax a bit on Sunday, then back to the tar pits during the week. I appreciate that anyone would stop by anyhow, but on Saturday, double thanks. 😉

  6. Marilyn Meredith Says:

    Loved this interview. I write short too. When I’m done I’m done. I have a sign that says I’m working but ndoesn”t work too well. will have to try yours. Marilyn

  7. Beth Anderson Says:

    I’m a few days behind, Marilyn, but thank you for your comment. I appreciate it a lot when anyone comments. You do write short and tight, that’s one of the things I love about your writing. No extra words at all, and that’s so wonderful to read. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  8. Jackie king Says:

    Beth and Jennifer, Loved this post. Sorry I’m late in commenting. Lately I’ve been like the cowboy who jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions. But I often feel scattered. Glad to see that you’re very organized, Beth. How I envy you.
    Hugs to all,
    Jackie

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