Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spotlight Author with Heidi Betts

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday rush! ;-) I myself have been doing just that. Although I have yet to wrap one gift, I have most of my shopping done and have a call into Santa for the rest. I have one last interview for the year. Today I have invited Heidi Betts to share her books and her story with us. So grab some hot cocoa and take a break from the baking, wrapping, or shopping you might be doing and sit with us for a minute.

Heidi Betts, National Bestselling Author, what does it feel like when you hear that?

Not as nice as it might sound to hear “USA Today Bestselling Author” or “New York Times Bestselling Author.” LOL Seriously, though, it’s a little strange being in that in-between place where my books have done really well in some areas & I’ve been involved with some great anthologies that have hit all the lists, but I can’t claim any specific status for myself. But it’s nice to know that readers enjoy my books enough to make them as successful as they’ve been, and also that my editors feel I’m selling well enough to stick that on my covers.

You write about Vampires as well as contemporary romance. Is it hard to shift gears from one genre to the other or does it help keep the creativity flowing?

You know, it is hard to shift gears, now that you mention it. LOL I love everything I’m writing, & being able to write across the board definitely keeps things fresh. But having to jump from one type of story straight into another isn’t easy. It often takes me a while to clear my head of vampires so I can work on a Silhouette Desire, or vice versa. And there will be times when I think of something really funny or sexy I could write…but have to tone it down because it’s for category. Or, once again, vice versa; you’d be surprised how many times I’ll be doing something in one of my Desires that I think might translate well to a straight contemporary.

Tell us about your latest releases as well as any upcoming releases you may have for your fans.

At the moment, I’ve actually got two wonderful new Christmas releases on the shelves. One is THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS from Kensington Brava, which came out in October, but is still available--& totally appropriate for the holidays! This one is a hot & sexy collection of three connected novellas about vampires celebrating Christmas in their own unique ways. You can find the back cover blurb & an excerpt at my website: The other Christmas-themed book I have out right now is INHERITING HIS SECRET CHRISTMAS BABY for Silhouette Desire. This is actually the last book of a 6-book continuity series titled “Dynasties: The Jarrods”—but I assure you that it very much stands alone. You don’t need to read any of the other books before reading XMAS BABY…though XMAS BABY may make you want to go back & read more about some of the other characters.  XMAS BABY also marks my return to Silhouette Desire after a three-year hiatus. (It was only because other deadlines kept me busy, I assure you, because I love the line & am delighted to be writing for them again!) You can fine the back cover blurb & an excerpt for this one on my website, as well:

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panzter?

I’m a little of both, actually. There are times when I spend a lot of time plotting, & I find that when I take the time to plot out a story & write up a detailed synopsis ahead of time, it helps me stay on track better while I’m writing. But there are also times when I wing it a bit more. I might have a general idea for a story & decide to jump in & see where it takes me. I do okay with this, but it can slow me down later & cause more bumps in the road as I’m going along.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

It always depends on the story. To steal a line from Anne Stuart, some books practically write themselves while others have to be dragged kicking & screaming into submission. On average, I can write a Desire in about 3-4 months & a single title in 6-7. But it all depends how well the story flows, how much life decides to intrude, how many other things get thrown in my path.

Oftentimes writers describe writing a love scene like being an intruder in something so very personal. Do you feel this way and how do you get through the dreaded love scene?

I don’t feel this way at all. I’ve never even heard that before! To me, storytelling is storytelling; it’s not about me, it’s about the characters. I’ve written lots of stuff that I would never say or do, but that my characters would. I also don’t dread love scenes. Granted, they tend to move more slowly for me than other scenes in the book, but that’s because of my own personal hang-ups about how I describe things, making sure I get everything done in the right order (& don’t have my hero closing the deal before he’s even gotten his pants unzipped), & how many times I repeat certain critical words like “kiss,” “lips,” “legs,” etc. Otherwise, love scenes are just one more aspect of the story, the same as the opening or the black moment or anything else.

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

I wish I’d created Harry Potter. Or the Twilight characters. LOL From my own books, though, I honestly do not think I could pick a favorite. They’re all special to me in different ways & for different reasons. My current favorites always tend to be from the story I’m working on at the moment, too. Or sometimes from the story I’m about to start!

Give us a glimpse into your writer’s life.

There are never enough hours in the day, & every time I think I’m on top of things & may actually manage to get ahead of the game for a change, something happens to throw me completely off. I’ll be zipping along, knowing I’m going to meet my deadline, then—boom!—revisions for the last book arrive. Or copy edits or line edits or galleys. If I could work on just one book at a time, from the writing process straight through production, I don’t think I’d be nearly as crazed or neurotic as I am.

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

Ha! Those are sort of three different topics & way too general to answer all at once. I think my main piece of advice for anyone interested in pursuing romance writing seriously would be to join RWA & learn the ropes that way. Join National & then a local Chapter; attend meetings & maybe a few local or national conferences. You can really learn a lot if just sit in & listen, absorbing information like a sponge, & all the rest will come when you’re ready. And don’t be so eager to do the agent or publisher/submission thing that you forget to learn the craft first; I see a lot of people jumping ahead when that’s really the most important part.

What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment, what do you read when you have time?

I always have more than one book going, so because I love her, because it’s Christmas, & because I’m currently working on my own Brava & like to stay in that hot & sexy mindset, I’m reading Lori Foster’s Yule Be Mine, a collection of previously published Christmas novellas. Also because it’s Christmas & because I love her, I’m reading The Christmas Clue, a Harlequin Intrigue by Delores Fossen. And the novella “I Will” by Lisa Kleypas. I’ve never read this one before, but I love her, too, & another of her Christmas novellas, “Surrender,” is one of my all-time favorites (I re-read it almost every year for the holidays), so I know this one won’t be far behind.

Where can we find out more about you and your books, Heidi?

Although you can always do an Amazon search, the best place to find me & learn more about my books is probably my website, I try to keep it updated with all of the newest book information. Or my blog,, where things are even more up-to-date…not to mention fun! I also have an awesome giveaway in the sidebar & on the Newsletter page right now, as well as holding frequent giveaways on the blog, so it pays to drop in & see what’s going on. 

Heidi, thank you for stopping by and lending us a few minutes from your very busy schedule. She took a break from a deadline she was in the midst of to do this interview for me. Thank you and good luck on your deadline. Have a wonderful holiday.

And to all of my readers. Happy Holidays to you. I will be taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays myself. But make sure to return for another great year of interviews in January. I kick the year off with author, Marie Force. I am working on some new ideas for the blog as well as some exciting contests. So make sure to pop in when you can. Until then my friends, take care and Happy Holidays.




Destiny Booze, Novelist said...

Great interview, Heidi. I love the line about some books writing themselves and some having to be dragged into submission. So true!

Heidi Betts said...

Thanks, Destiny. Sadly, I can't take credit for the quote...I'm almost positive I heard it from Anne Stuart at an RWA conf. many, many moons ago. But it's so good, I repeat it all the time!

Diana said...

I enjoyed your interview and definitely recommend Bite! Very very awesome book!

Heidi Betts said...

Thank you SO MUCH, Diana! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed BITE. :-) Wonder how many folks will read it this month as part of their holiday reading. LOL

Sheri Humphreys said...

Enjoyed the interview. Thank you. Sheri

Heidi Betts said...

Thanks, Sheri! It was a fun one. Altho, maybe you should be thanking Micole; she's the one who came up with the questions. :-)

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview! I can highly recommend both books (okay--I would recommend all of Heidi's books). Both are fabulous!

Laura J.

Anonymous said...

Yay Heidi!! Nice to see that you escaped from the Dungeon!! While you're minions will play!! mwahahahaha!!!!
Great Interview!!! I learn something new everytime you do one!!


Heidi Betts said...

Thank you, Laura! You know I bring you with me everywhere I go just so you can be my lead cheerleader. :-D

Heidi Betts said...

Thanks, Hollie! Glad you enjoyed the interview.

Yes, I chewed thru the restraints & got away...but just for a little while. ;-)

Mary said...

That was a great interview, I rally enjoyed learning more about Heidi. I highly recommend her books, they are great! :)

GladysMP said...

I love reading author interviews and getting to feel like I know them. It is especially interesting reading about how they get inspirations and some of the struggles they go through. You gave a very good interview here. Thanks!

Micole Black said...

Thank you GladysMP. I am glad you enjoyed it.