Retired public health nurse Beverly Wells lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, about as far from cowboys as one can get. Distance hasn't put the slightest dent in her western historical romances, though. Her humorous, sensuous stories usually incorporate a lesson learned or raise awareness of a heartfelt issue...and readers love Bev's work for precisely that reason.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I remember, vividly, the day I started playing with dolls. My babies were sick or hurt, so I’d cuddle or soothe them, patch up their booboos, or tended their ailment. I have a picture of me (age 8) in a nurse’s cap, blue cape with a red cross on it and a plastic stethoscope around my neck. Where all this nurturing and helping came from I have no idea, or maybe I do.
I’ve always had a great love for all animals (well maybe not slugs or opossums) and I must confess, dogs are on the top of the totem pole by far. When I was three or four I found a hurt dog outside and tended his wounds, so possibly it all began then. I’m not sure, because if that were so, then why didn’t become a vet verses a nurse? I’ll never know for sure, but I do believe that incident started my medical career off with a running start. In high school, I seriously toyed with the idea of lawyer or better yet a math teacher. I thrived on Trig, Algebra, Geometry, even Calculus. I know—my husband cringes on that one too. But I held strong, entered nursing and worked in several different facilities until most of my career was devoted to Public Health focusing on homecare and clinics, then including the Medical Reserve Corps for Homeland Security. I’ve enjoyed meeting those in need along with their families and helping them over or at through the hurdles. It was a wonderful, rewarding career that has enriched my entire life, but hey, now I’m writing novels and short stories to my heart’s content and lovin’ this new chapter in my life. After all, think about it. I now can help my reluctant heroes or distressed and fearful heroines recover or help them heal their wounded hearts and souls. This was meant to be.
Do you prefer to write short stories or novels?
I thoroughly enjoy writing full length novels. Why? Because I get to include the full scope of emotions, deep and visceral, of both the hero and heroine. I get to extend the gamut of ups and downs with twisting turns that allow my reader to take that crazy, spinning journey right there along with my characters and hopefully experience exactly what they are feeling. However, having said that I’ve now written two short stories that were included in two different anthologies for PRP and I really did enjoy writing them far more than I ever thought I would. Will I do more of them? Absolutely, because although they aren’t as in depth emotion wise (of course they’re not, the words are limited) I loved being able to create a few more stories in between the long-haul ones. I did find the beauty of writing short stories is that the research isn’t quite as intense or involved, simply because there is hopefully a bit less that has to be investigated. And I really like being part of anthologies with other authors so the readers get an assortment of entertaining stories.
What was the title of the first piece of fiction you wrote? What was it about? Was it published ?
Upon One's Honor, a historical romance, was the first novel (years ago) I ever attempted to write. Set in 1773, Brianna, disguised as a lad, flees London with her beloved horse to escape her dastardly uncle who craves her inheritance as well as her virginity. Once aboard the ship bound for America, she’s not only faced with deluding a very perceptive Captain and his cunning Scottish first mate but must decide if she’ll remain loyal to Great Britain or join forces with the Captain and become an American rebel.
Oh did I think I had the book of the year. Little did I know how wrong I was. So no, the book was not published—thank the good Lord. I was working full time, raising a family but thought I could write. I’d had no training, I had no idea what POV(Point of View or being in that character’s viewpoint—for readers who might be as unaware as I was) meant, OR that I could not head-hop (change POV) every other paragraph, OR that 895 pages was a tad too long to be acceptable (since 250 to 350 pages was standard). I must be honest here and tell you and if you can’t stop laughing then I’m so sorry if your side aches or you pee your pants, but this is the truth. I did in fact send that monstrosity to two top publishing companies. And bless their hearts, though they rejected it in an instant, both wrote wonderful comments and encouraged me to join RWA and a local writing chapter, and actually one said that if after I learned what POV was and tightened my prose they would be happy to review it again. I don’t know about you, but I still get tears in my eyes as I can still laugh of how utterly stupid and naïve I was and so very untalented. I then realized I’d no formal literary training except English in school so where was I coming from? People went to college and studied how to write. What was I thinkin? I also should say I did write to two of my favorite authors at the time(I had many) Joanna Lindsay and Dorothy Garlock and asked how to go about learning to write. They both wrote back—my idols forever—and also encouraged me to join RWA and other writer groups.
I did join RWA, helped form a local chapter and learned of my gazillion errors, much to my horror, and put that first baby on the self. Dear Lord, it’s still in its box in my office. A rewrite?—maybe someday?—don’t think so. Darn I did so love Brianna and Seth though. Maybe I’ll think it over some more.
Pick one of your PRP books. How did you come up with that idea?
Since it was to be a Valentine’s Day’s story I thought of how youngsters get so excited about decorating and making such cute cards for friends and loved ones. I knew right then I needed a youngster in my story and one who needed something from Mr. Cupid. Behold—a little girl, who lacked a daddy. I wanted to keep this (my first short story I’d ever written) lighthearted and a sweet romance. It just all sort of fell in place. One scene flashed before my eyes as I was writing the synopsis. I so enjoy Animal Group Terminology and knew I had to have a scene where the tall, tough sheriff played a game with Tori in naming various animal groups—just a darn cute, laughable scene. Yep. Next I had to have her daddy less. So a loving aunt with custody. But where’s the suspense or some kind of intrigue so that it’s not easy for the sheriff to fall for the aunt and vs.? Voila! A woman on the run, a sheriff sworn to uphold the law, and one little girl’s pleas to Mr. Cupid for a new daddy! I had to hold down Tori a bit so she didn’t totally steal the limelight from Claire or Zach. Such fun writing that one. It all simply came together.
Do you have a hobby? How do you relax?
Over the years I’ve enjoyed doing cross stitch, macramé, and painting carved wooden duck and loons. But my true enjoyment has always been flower gardening. Getting down and good and dirty and making pretties truly relaxes me. If I had ten hours a day to do it and my body could take that long being hunched over and/or on my knees I’d be in my glory. Here in the Finger Lakes Region of NYS, spring is absolutely beautiful with the array of brilliant flowers while the fall offers a spectacular showing of vivid colored trees that it nearly takes your breath away, only to be followed by soothing earth tones for the next few weeks. I must also include playing the piano and trying to play (WIP) the Celtic harp as both relaxes me and seem to take me to another zone. And last but not least, just talking to, petting and walking our dog, Jamie, warms my heart so much that I can attest he’s the best relaxation I know.
Live, laugh, love. Thanks for joining me.
Discover more about Bev on her website, BeverlyWellsAuthor.com.