Amazon best-selling author Becky loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it in America on a covered wagon headed west or in Regency England. Her Cotillion Ball Series features nine children from an upscale New York family prior to and during the Civil War.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? I’ve traveled parts of the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail and the Pony Express route, all in the name of research. At least that what I tell my friends and family when I try to coax them to come along.
What is the first book that made you cry? Old Yeller
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I briefly thought of it, but then realized people would start calling me by my pseudonym and I’d be looking around for the author. So I decided to stick with what I know.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? To a degree it did since I had to prepare a synopsis before writing the story instead of after. I thought it was hard to do after the fact and now I was expected to write one before I even put the first word down. But after working in this manner for a few books, I now find it very conducive to getting a book from start to finish without going down too many rabbit holes.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I was a shy kid and we had a project in high school English where we had to work as a team and prepare something on Pilgrim’s Progress. My group wanted to enact a play and the thought of standing up in front of everyone terrified me, so I volunteered to write the script. I made it humorous, and hearing people laugh out loud by my words was a truly magical feeling.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have about a dozen that I’ve started, some several times, a few that I’ve finished but am unhappy with, and a host of ideas still floating around.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Before I wrote my first book, I was inundated with research books. I spent so much time reading the research books, I couldn’t figure out how to write the story. I went to a writer’s conference and asked someone how you know when you have too much research. She asked me if I had a story to write. I nodded and she said “Write the damn story, then. Work in the research after you get the story line down. That advice unstuck me and now that’s how I write the book. Pick a time period, find an exciting piece of history to hook the story onto, and go from there.
How do you select the names of your characters? I have such a good time coming up with names for my characters! The Fitzpatrick family children are all named for herbs and spices—Ginger, Basil, Jasmine, Heather, etc. I’m in the midst of a Regency series where the girls are all flower names—Iris, Poppy, Lily and Violet. It’s my favorite part of writing.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? Yes, I do read my reviews. Of course I like the good ones best, but the bad ones usually tell me something about the book that didn’t quite resonate with the reader, so I keep that in mind with the next book I write.
For more about Becky and her stories, visit her website.