Monday, June 8, 2015

Bette Lee Crosby - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on USA Today Bestselling Author Bette Lee Crosby. She is the award-winning author of The Serendipity Series and The Wyattsville Series series.

Author Genre: Southern Fiction, Women's Fiction

Website: Bette Lee Crosby
Twitter: @BetteLeeCrosby
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures."

Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down."

"Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I am currently working on a sequel to Memory House called The Loft, Book 2 in the Memory House Series. Right now it looks like an August release date, and I will happily give you a teaser.

Now here is the teaser:

They say that somewhere far beyond what mortals see there is a scale of life; for each moment of happiness, a stone of sorrow is dropped onto the scale.

When the Keeper of the Scale saw that Annie Cross’s life had been weighted with sorrow for far too long he selected a stone the color of an early morning sunrise. It was round, worn smooth and without jagged edges. He gave a smile of satisfaction then dropped the stone onto the happiness side of Annie’s scale. That was the day she knocked on Judge Oliver Doyle’s door.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

Social Media is something you either like or dislike. I personally enjoy Social Media and my reach has basically grown organically. I end up talking to people about books and become their friend, then their friends stop by and say hi and the stone keeps rolling. Although I have never considered that I have a niche, I guess I could say it is because I've often connect with people who have like interests so the end result is that we are a group who enjoys much the same type of fiction. I don't think social media sells books. It builds awareness and hopefully that awareness will lead someone to look into your books. If a book sounds like something they might enjoy, they take a chance on it...from that point on, each book has to sell itself.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

A few years back I did a fair bit of personal appearances, and it was a great way to connect with fans. But now with everyone on Social Media, I am able to stay in touch with my readers on an almost daily basis. The best way for a reader to connect is through my website and signing up for my newsletter. I consider the folks who subscribe to the newsletter my fans, and so I do lots of special giveaways and promotions that are only advertised in the newsletter. It's my way of thanking the subscribers for being fans.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

It has taken a few years to kind of find myself with the covers, but I now have a style that I believe reflects the type of stories I write and I've been extremely fortunate in finding a designer who so beautifully captures the moods. He knows my style so I send him sort of a synopsis of the story and if I think there are one or two key elements in the story I mention them and he magically creates these awesome covers. The designer is Damon at - he is actually located in South Africa, but with the marvels of technology, it's as if he is around the corner.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I do belong to a private group of writers but we mostly talk about publishing industry news and marketing strategies. We don't actually confer on the writing process, scripts or dialogue

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Back in September of 2012 I ran my first Book Bub ad and gave away Spare Change for free. I had almost 50,000 downloads and it led to a ton of reviews. At the time my goal was to give readers a way to find me. It was very successful but I can't really say if that would work in today's marketplace. Since then I do sale events, but haven't really done free. Of course I am always happy to send reviewers a copy of any of my books in whatever format they want. I also do periodic giveaways for fans and followers.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

My reader list basically comes from the people who follow my blog and subscribe to my newsletter. I also have a few personal connections with reviewers that I've met on Goodreads, but I consider them personal connections and if I have a book I'd like to have them review, I send a personal note and ask if they might have time for it.

I like the idea of using your website’s sidebar to blog your ideas and information (especially the #southerncomfort badge). You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and helping other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your sidebar?

I have a wonderful Publicity Director who manages to keep me focused and the blog current. She is most certainly a technology whiz. I really do enjoy the stories I write - there is a piece of me in every book, so my goal is to share that with readers. As I said earlier, I connect with people I want as friends. Other writers and readers. So it's always fun to share things with friends. The funny thing about all of this social media stuff is that it is sort of like one great big friendship club. It's the best of all worlds.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

All of the above. I have some reviewers who want to see everything I write. Sometimes I submit to professional sources - Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, Readers Favorite Reviews, etc. And sometimes I e-mail reviewers who have read other works of mine - I give them the synopsis and ask if they would like to review the book.

Now to the important stuff. This cute little fellow keeps popping up in all the right places. Tell us about Sugar and how important he is to your writing day? Do you ever discuss your plots with him?

That cute little fellow is actually a pretty little girl (no self-respecting male dog would allow himself to be called Sugar - LOL) And sad to say, she is not the least bit interested in hearing about my plot. She is only interested in knowing how long before I quit working and feed the dog. Sugar is a true sweetie, she often sits on my lap while I am working. It is her job to watch for the mailman and bark.

As an aside, on the subject of dogs. While I was writing Spare Change I was babysitting a friend's dog named Scooter. He was the inspiration for the name of the villain in the novel - Scooter Cobb. Cobb was my friend's maiden name.

Author's Book List
Memory House - Memory House Collection

Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Passing through Perfect - The Wyattsville Series Book 3
It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been—a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love; happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Previously Loved Treasures - The Serendipity Series Book 2
FROM A USA TODAY AUTHOR OF WOMEN’S FICTION BEST SELLERS comes an Award-Winning 20th Century historical mystery. In a Southern family saga rich with magic and mystery, recently widowed Ida Sweetwater finds the granddaughter she never knew she had and turns a group of haphazard strangers into family.

Struggling to make ends meet, Ida turns her cozy home into a boarding house and goes in search of used furniture. This quest leads to the Previously Loved Treasures shop and Peter Pennington, a delightfully strange proprietor who anticipates people’s needs. In addition to bargains, Peter hands out sage advice. When a pocket watch belonging to one of the residents goes missing for a second time he warns of danger—but will Ida’s granddaughter listen and will she heed his advice?

Previously Loved Treasures is an uplifting story that resonates with Crosby’s heartwarming albeit quirky characters and the joy of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Pay-it-Forward philosophy.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Blueberry Hill

Based on the actual events that took place in her family, Crosby calls this a memoir of sorts. She looks back to a time when the sisters were young enough to feel invincible and foolish enough to believe it would last forever. But, when her runaway sister disappears the family is thrown into a turmoil that ultimately changes everything.

This is a family saga that is both up-front and personal. In it Crosby bares her soul in a heartrending tale of smoking addiction, regrettable decisions and inevitable outcomes.

Blueberry Hill is a sad-but-true story of family matters, love and tragedy. It is one that will touch your heart and stay with you long after you have closed the book.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

What Matters Most - Memory House Collection
Louise Palmer is a woman solidly set in her ways. She wants nothing more than to have life remain exactly as it is and, after thirty years of marriage, she’s certain husband Clay feels the same …that is until an unexpected inheritance changes everything.

When Clay announces an intention to quit his job and move to Florida, her life is thrown into turmoil. He’s determined to go. She’s determined to stay. And, she’ll stop at nothing to prevent the move. The result is a hilarious string of hijinks that will have you laughing out loud.

In order for the marriage to survive, Louise and Clay must both discover what matters most. Before it happens, their love will be tested, family relationships will fall apart and the friendships Louise treasured will change dramatically.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Spare Change - The Wyattsville Series Book 1
In a family saga now available on Kindle, Spare Change has been compared to John Grisham’s The Client. Eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction novels, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with this beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts.

Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he’s not too sure he can trust her. She’s got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions—one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Cracks in the Sidewalk
Claire McDermott’s grandchildren are missing... After years of writing letters, hoping to find the children and bring them back, she receives a reply...a dog-eared gray envelope stuffed in her mailbox, but will it bring hope or simply put an end to the waiting?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

The Twelfth Child - The Serendipity Series Book 1
Abigail Anne Lannigan searched for these things all her life, now, when she is at the tail end of her years, she teams up with a free-spirited young woman. A nobody from nowhere, who suddenly moves in across the street. Their unusual friendship comes under suspicion when a million dollars goes missing and a distant relative, claims embezzlement. Abigail knows the truth of what happened but, unfortunately, she'll never get the chance to tell.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Jubilee's Journey - The Wyattsville Series Book 2

When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two orphaned children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and what detective is going to believe a kid?

Jubilee’s Journey, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series, is a saga of discovering lost family and finding love that reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the cozy heart-warming characters of SPARE CHANGE.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Wishing for Wonderful - The Serendipity Series Book 3
When seven-year-old Eleanor wishes John Gray will one day fall in love with her, Cupid vows to make it happen. It does; but then Life Management fouls things up and they both marry other people. Now that they’re single again, they’ve got a second chance at love, but there are problems. Big problems.

After a disastrous love affair, John’s daughter is coming home and she’s got a boatload of emotional baggage. In order to give Eleanor and John the happiness they deserve, Cupid must first find the girl’s perfect match. Not an easy task since she’s addicted to handsome scoundrels with sexy smiles. This time Cupid will need more than an arrow to the heart; he’ll need a bit of magic, a sizable miracle and a tail-wagging dog.

This revised version of Cupid's Christmas takes a humorous look at Father-Daughter relationships and is an uplifting book for women. It is a magical mystery that is flat out fun – Wishing for Wonderful an award-winning novel now available on Kindle is for the both the young and young at heart!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO - iTunes

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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