Unfurl the sails! Man the braces! Jack is back and he’s more clever than ever. Join us today as Author Barbara Bettis joins us on deck for an interview!
Jack: “Lady Barbara.” Sweeps a gallant bow. “It’s a pleasure to have ye aboard.” Pops open a jug of rum. “Drink?” Bows head. “I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’d forgotten me manners.” Downs a dram and pounds the stopper. “Where was I? Oh yes, I’ve got a compass that points to what I want most. Where does your compass point to, eh?”
Barbara: “East; no, West; no, North; no, South….”
Jack: Head spins.
Barbara: “Yep, sometimes I seem to go in circles. 😉 But usually I try to keep an Easterly, onward course. In other words, my compass points to optimism . I’m not a “cock-eyed optimist” nor Pollyana. But sometimes our paths run up against obstacles and we lose direction. I like to always make the best of things and keep pushing forward.
Jack: Closes one eye. Opens it. “Cock-eyed optimist, eh? Would Pollyana happen to be one of the wenches in Tortuga? No? The name of Cotton’s parrot?” Follows Barbara’s head shake. “No? I can never remember names, but wenches and parrots are treasure, to be sure. Speaking of treasure, I’ve got pieces of eight in my pocket. If ye could have eight pieces with ye at all times, what would they be?”
Barbara: “A photo of my family all together; a couple of my favorite inspirational Bible verses; a pen and notebook for ideas; an iPad and a solar battery charger J; my phone; tea, coffee, and chocolate (of course!) Wait. That sounds like I’m being stranded on a desert island, doesn’t it! And you know all about that, right Capt. Jack??”
Jack: “Aye. There be nothing like having your own effects and a stash of rum too.”
Barbara: “Let me replace my pen and notebook with my health (I can write on my iPad). There were go.”
Jack: “I’ll drink to that. To the sun and rum.” Removes stopper and raises jug. “And the braces. There’s nothing like a good wind.” Takes a swig. “When has the wind taken hold of your sails?”
Barbara: “She’s been in my sails for as long as I can recall. I remember writing a play for us to perform when I was in second grade. But the wind turned me in the direction of romance about eight years ago. I didn’t listen to her for awhile, but finally I gave in a finished my first book.
Jack: “Aye, she can be a right stubborn wench. Hard to harness when the sea writhes like a lover.” Shakes head. “Where was I? Oh, yes. Were there times the Kraken tried to pull ye down to Davy Jones Locker? If so, how’d ye escape?”
Barbara: “As a newspaper reporter/editor, I’d developed a thick hide.”
Jack: “Pirates have to protect their hides from wenches in Tortuga and Elizabeth Swan, Commodores, Governors, the Kraken, bloodthirsty heathens. Ye get the idea…”
Barbara: “I do. When I published my first fiction, I found my new skin as tender as a newborn’s. Why is it we can get a dozen terrific reviews but when a bad one comes in, that’s all we remember? When a Kraken digs in now, I turn to my friends and my crit partners—and my sense of humor—to throw him off.
Jack: “I can do this.” Raises hands and wiggles fingers. “Or this.” Flails arms and runs across the deck. “Of course, there’s always an undead monkey roaming about.” Glances at the ratlines and aims his pistol. “During a broadside, what do ye do to mend your sails?
Barbara: “I get away from writing, go to movies, read outside the genre in which I write. And I read straight history dealing with the eras in which I write. I usually end up finding ideas hidden there in real events or real people.”
Jack: Draws closer and whispers, “I’m real enough, mate.”
Barbara: Laughs. “My fascination with Mercadier, a mercenary who was a right hand to Richard I, led me to my series featuring mercenaries.
Jack: “Mercenaries are just pirates without a ship, m’lady.” Preens. “I’ve got a very nice ship as ye can see and a compass that points to what I want most.” Withdraws compass, flips open the lid and watches arrow spin until it points at Lady Barbara. “Once your coveted course had been charted, how long did it take ye to make port, eh?”
Barbara: “From the time of my first query, it was about two years. I really lacked confidence and had to learn to persevere.
Jack: “Perseverance is key, especially when you’re thrown in jail or shackled to a ship about to be devoured by a beastie. Which reminds me, pirates have a code, more like guidelines anyway. What code do ye live by?”
Barbara: “My ideas usually start with the characters, then a situation. Often I picture a scene in my mind with a character or two and the plotting spirals from there. What challenges face them? How do they react to the challenges? I usually complete a chapter or two of preliminary story which allows me to know the characters a little more. Then I complete a story summary which some might call a synopsis. I do a write-through of three or four pages telling what will happen and how the story will end. Then the real writing begins. After I get the characters set, I do a character outline but not before. I don’t do detailed plot outlines. This is the process I’ve followed to date, but it may change.
Jack: “Being flexible has saved my life on occasion. Improvisation is key. And now, we come to my final question, Lady Barbara. Who is your all-time favorite pirate?
Barbara: “I only know one pirate—You 😉 ”
Jack: Winks. “I knew we were going to get along well the moment I laid eyes on ye, m’lady.”
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
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Award winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.
She now lives in Missouri, where she’s recently retired as an English and journalism teacher and plans to spend more time creating heroes to live for.
Ahoy, Lady Barbara! Every tar what sets foot on a ship has a story. What story do you have to tell?
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Thank you for sailing with us today, Lady Barbara!
Wishing you all fair winds,