This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Bette Lee Crosby has two books that are USA Today Bestsellers. Her latest book Passing Through Perfect is book three in her Wyattsville Series, and today she's telling us a little about her writing and how she gets into the mindset of her characters.
I write in the morning when I am less distracted by outside influences. I find that to create an authentic voice I have to be in the mindset of the character I am writing about. I go for a five mile walk, come home, have breakfast and then go to work. I like to work in silence and I try not to get on the internet until at least mid-afternoon.
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When you are writing do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Yes, I use my mom. Although she is gone from my life for more years than I care to count, she still inspires me. My mom was a storyteller. She never wrote anything, but she told stories that have settled in my brain like bits of magic. Almost every character I create has bits and pieces of my mom in them. Ethan Allen, the eleven-year-old boy in Spare Change is the type of kid I imagine my mom was. Sweet, tough, and ready to take on all comers. I loved writing that book because I saw her in every scene.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction Book of all time and why?
I have to say Gone with the Wind. I love that Scarlett O'Hara is weak at times and strong at others. While she can do little to control her passion for Ashley Wilkes, she fights tooth and nail to save her precious Tara. She is a complex character who despite popular opinion, does as she will.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I start with the premise of the story. I know how the story will start and where it will end. The journey that takes me from beginning to end happens along the way. After I live with the characters and get to think as they would, I find the story changes.A few times I have drawn up an outline for the next four or five chapters of a story I am working on, but it inevitably changes, so I mostly fly by the seat of my pants now. I learn to think like the characters I am writing about and then let them take me where they will.
I spent the first eight years just writing and honing my craft. I entered a number of writing competitions and when I began winning year after year, I finally worked up enough courage to approach a publisher. When that first book started to gain traction, the publisher increased the price of the book and that’s when I decided to set up my own publishing company. I want my books to be affordable enough for everyone to buy them.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we make tons of money.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Don’t emulate another author because their book was successful. Be your own original self. If you try to fake it, your readers will know. And if you write a novel because you think you’ll become rich and famous, it will be nothing more than words on paper. Pour your heart into what you write and write because you have a story to tell, and because you can’t imagine getting up in the morning and not sitting down to your computer.
What are you working on at the moment?
A prequel that ties all of my Historical Southern Fiction titles together. The book is called Memory House and in it the protagonist gathers lost memories from the touch of things.