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Jun 12 2016

Writing Superheroes: Betty Bolte

She takes Edna Mode’s advice: No cape, please! Read on and find out more…

superhero copy

According to Wikipedia, ‘a superhero is a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public.’ Sounds like a writer to me!

Join me as another one of these unsung superheroes invites into their personal ‘batcave’.

If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

My early attempts were rather too grand for my beginner’s writing skills. I wanted to expose a societal issue through my fiction, but didn’t have the storytelling chops to do it. I think I have a copy of one or two manuscripts hiding in a closet somewhere that will never see the publishing light of day!

 

Betty Bolte-July 2013All superheroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.

If I must reveal my secret identity, I’d say it’s my ability to integrate the setting into the action and characters of the story.

 

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

My partners include accuracy and insights into the historical details I weave into my stories. I love to find little-known and unusual events or details that add a different context to and understanding of the time period I’m writing about. Not only does it enrich the story, but it more fully develops the sense of time and place for the reader.

 

Where do you get your superpowers from?

I’ve learned storytelling skills from several entities. First, I have a BA and MA in English, which both involved reading and analyzing a variety of writing, from poems to novels. Second, I’ve taken a multitude of workshops and classes, as well as read dozens of books on all aspects of writing fiction. Third, I’ve honed my writing through careful reading of current novels. Fourth, through judging contests, for both unpublished manuscripts and published books, I’ve learned how to articulate what is  working and not working in fiction.

 

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

Currently, I and my hubby live on a 22-acre farm in south central Tennessee with two outdoor dogs and an indoor cat. The two-story house is surrounded by fields and trees, with a creek flowing across the front of the property. It’s our little haven!

 

What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?

I have several ways of fine-tuning my skills. Through critiquing manuscripts prior to publication, as well as continuing to judge contests, and recently I’ve started freelance editing for a few select clients.

 

Granted, you probably don’t get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?

That’s easy! Something in red, white, and blue since I write stories that deal with America’s history. Just no cape, please!

 

What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

Tracking down specific details of how something happened when people didn’t document the mechanism. Such as “they set up a hospital near the army camp” – how big? How far away? What was it made out of, or was it in a church perhaps? Or they might say, “we received word that…” – again, how? By messenger? Carrier pigeon? Note carried by a friend? Telegram? The answer varies so widely, narrowing down the answer can prove a challenge indeed.

 

What was the supervillain that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?

I’ve started writing a trilogy set in the 18th century, featuring the world of breeding what would become known as Thoroughbred horses and the races they ran. Determining the specifics of the extent of knowledge of how to care for, train, and breed horses proved a challenge. Eventually, I located a book from the 18th century, written by a farrier apparently, that details the answers to my questions, enough for me to build the world for the story.

 

What important lessons have you learned along the way?

Persistence is key to achieve any goal. Never rest on your laurels but keep striving to be better at what you do. Most importantly, write the next book!

 

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

Meeting Diana Gabaldon, author of Outlander and one of my favorite, in person at a conference, and having our picture taken together. Receiving an email offering publication of my novel, Traces, my first novel to be published.

 

If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

I don’t think I’d change anything, because I wouldn’t be who I am, know what I know, or believe in myself the same without all of the previous experiences.

 

What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.

Be confident in yourself because, although you can improve/change over time, at any given moment you are the best you can be now. Tomorrow may be different. I think that applies to my writing as well.

 

Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

My latest release is Evelyn’s Promise, the fourth and final book in the A More Perfect Union series of historical romances set at the end of the American Revolution. Her story is one of dreams and sacrifice and explores what people are willing to give up in order to follow their dreams, or their heart. It also introduces the three brothers that my new trilogy is based on: Ethan, Luke, and Bill Sullivan. But the best reason to read Evelyn’s Promise is because she and Nathaniel are such cool people you’ll enjoy hanging out with for a few hours.

 

What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

Next up is the trilogy I’ve mentioned, along with continuing a historical women’s fiction series I’ve started writing. Other projects are simmering on the back burners of my mind.

Thanks for having me stop by, Maria! I love connecting with my readers, so please feel free to stay in touch using any of these sites. Happy reading!

 

 You can find this superhero online at:

Website~Blog~Amazon ~~Facebook~GoodReads ~Pinterest

~Newsletter~Twitter @BettyBolte  


 

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