Beth Anderson is my second Mystery We Write Blog Tour guest. She, as a noted Chicago area crime writer, has authored several books.
I'm delighted to have interviewed her.
Vivian: Tell us something about your educational background that has made you a better, or more caring, writer.
Beth: I graduated Cum Laude from Benedictine Business Management College. I had to do a lot of writing for the business courses I took, and the grammar had to be perfect. Initially I had to be very caring with my writing because I wanted straight A’s just for my own satisfaction. After that, I found it impossible to do less than my very best with my novels because I want it known that my name is on that book and I care very much about how the book reads. I want all my readers to finish any of my books knowing they’ve just read a great book. Think about it. You might make money, you might not. Personal ego is good up to a point but is probably the most unimportant thing.
Your readers are everything. Without them, you’re just a lone voice in a very large world full of voices. It’s in your best interest to care about everything that goes into your book, including the best formatting and the very best editing you can get for it.
Vivian: What keeps you writing?
Beth: Well, it’s sure not the money, is it? I think what has kept me writing, except for a couple of times when I had to cope with some overwhelming personal problems and could not write anything, is that I just want to give my readers the feeling, when they’re done with the book, that this is a book that deserves a great review, and I hope they will review it. Some do, some don’t, but I always try my best to give them an exciting, fun read.
Vivian: True, we don’t keep writing for the money, rather we don’t quit because of the lack of money. Nope, that’s certainly not the answer.
What is your most recent book, and what inspired you to write it?
Beth: My most recent book is Raven Talks Back, due out in May 2011 at Amazon and B&N. I think the town of Valdez, Alaska, where the book is mainly set, was my original inspiration, because to me it’s a very beautiful, haunting place, especially in the early morning fog.
Vivian: I believe I shared with you that I’m going to Alaska in September 2012 as a speaker for the Alaska Writers Conference. I can hardly wait.
How did you manage to come up with the idea for your novel?
Beth: The ending came to me in a dream one night years ago. I knew someday I’d put it into a book because it was so vivid and frightening and I had no idea why I’d dreamed it, other than it belonged in a story that would come to that point. That scene is almost at the end, where Raven suddenly knows for sure who it is that she’s been seeing in the visions she first started having when the first murder occurred.
Vivian: Are you a member of a writing group? If so, how do any writing groups benefit you and your writing?
Beth: I have a crit group of four excellent authors. My criteria when I started it was that anyone who wanted to join had to have done the work to get through an entire book on their own no matter what shape it was in, because we could always whip it into shape, but the desire and determination to have written an entire book is something you can’t give to anyone. I also wanted to keep it very small so we’d have enough time at our meetings to really do some heavy duty critiquing when we had to. And we’ve had to, plenty of times.
Some who wanted in the group were very put out by that criteria, but we’ve stuck to it and now three of us are multi-published and the fourth member most certainly will be.
Vivian: What advice would you have for a new author?
Beth: Make. Sure. Your. Grammar. Is. Top. Notch. If it’s your first book, forget your ego and have it looked at by someone who knows what they’re doing, because first-timers seldom really know what they’re doing, and their competition is every other author in the world who DOES know what they’re doing.
Vivian: Would you please give a brief excerpt from your book?
Beth: How about my bio and my Raven Talks Back book blurb?
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 at http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com .
Coming: May 2011 from Krill Publishing: Raven Talks Back, book #1 in the Raven Morressey series.
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.
To find Raven Talks Back go to Barnes& Noble Nook and Amazon. The ISBN for her eBook is 978-09821443-9-8.
Thank you, Beth. I hope more people discover your books.
Regan Taylor hosts me this week.
Next week Pat Browning will be my guest.
All other blogs participating in the Mystery We Write Blog Tour:
Marja McGraw's blog