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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chatting with Bettye Griffin

One of the first sets of African American romances that I've read included authors Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill and Bettye Griffin.

So, imagine my honor when I got a chance to interview Bettye Griffin for my blog. She is a story teller who weaves romance and reality together so well.

Take Closer Than Close for example. Here's novel about a woman who falls for a man who makes a lot less money than she does.

Griffin isn't just about romance, but she writes women's fiction as well. Just check out 2010's Trouble Down The Road.

Griffin has taken control of her work, independently publishing her novels and reissuing fan favorites like A Love of Her Own, through her publishing company Bunderful Books. Her newest title, Isn't She Lovely, will be released in February.
Griffin offers details and insight into her new novel and being an indie author.

1.        What is Isn’t She Lovely about?

Nothing answers that better than the back cover copy (which actually won't appear on the book, since as an eBook it has no back cover, LOL):

"In the years since her husband left her, Tracy Pegram has struggled to support her children, working full-time and taking part-time college classes to advance her career. Then her son is injured by a hit-and-run driver…and when she learns the irresponsible driver is the son of a millionaire politician, she wants blood.
Illinois Attorney General Keith Norwood’s promising political career stalled after a horrific road accident killed his wife and her mother before his eyes. Illinois voters felt he should tend to his traumatized young son, who also witnessed the crash, and he lost his party’s nomination for governor. Now, four years later, he is running again and leading in the polls when his wayward son, Josh, runs over a child and flees the scene in a panic. In an attempt to protect Josh, Keith and his lawyer offer a private settlement to the injured boy’s mother.

Tracy is livid at the candidate’s attempt to buy his son out of trouble, but when Josh Norwood asks to apologize to her son, she sees into the heart of the troubled teen and opens her home and heart to him. Before long she recognizes a tortured soul under the rigid public persona of Keith Norwood as well, but opening her heart to the father the way she has to the son is out of the question…or is it?"

I hope to have this available for download around Valentine's Day.

2.        You’ve been publishing your books independently, what has that process been like?

In a word, liberating!  It's a lot of work, but there are no restrictions to my storytelling other than my own imagination, no publisher rules to follow or strict adherence to a specific genre, no title changes, and no deadlines (other than those I impose on myself).  It has been financially rewarding as well.  I just had my best month ever!

3.        Where do you find inspiration for your novels?

Everywhere!  I let my imagination go wild, and I frequently distort real-life incidents, plots of old movies, human interest articles in magazines and TV news spots, overheard conversations, etc. to make them more interesting.  I was watching a biographical movie of a famous woman on Turner Classic Movies, was curious about her, did a little research and found something I'll be building a story around.  Ideas are truly everywhere.

4.        Your bio says that you had an English professor tell you that you should be a writing professional. Did you share your first novel with that professor, who we should all be thankful for?

Well, thank you, but no, I didn't.  I was in college nearly 40 years ago.  It was another 20+ years until my first book was published.  Not only was I living 1000 miles away by then, but since my English professor was easily retirement age in the 1970s, I'm pretty sure she'd already passed on to that big classroom in the sky by the time my first book came out in 1998.

5.        What advice would you give new writers about the publishing world today?

Probably the same thing that's been said a hundred times before...Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so don't be blinded by dollar signs.  Readers don't like books that are sloppy or unimaginative.

6.        What’s the most important thing that new writers should do before publishing a novel?

Make sure it's ready for prime time...both the content and the cover. And that determination should be made by someone other than the writer.  Have your work edited.  Make sure its formatted correctly.  Have a striking cover made.  Be attentive.  Don't pick a picture that's already on the cover of a half dozen other eBooks; people will think they've read it already.  Pick an appropriate picture.  Don't pick an inanimate object that has no relation to the content.  Don't use white models if your story is about black characters, or use naked models if your story has no sex in it, or skinny models if your characters are larger people...well, you get the point.

7.        How can readers contact you and order your books? 

I can be contacted by e-mail at, through my website,; or on Facebook (Bettye Griffin) and Twitter (@BettyeGriffin).
 In terms of where to buy, my books are sold at for Kindle, for Nook, for other formats, and at other online retailers like the Sony, Kobo, and Diesel eBookstores as well.  They are not available in print (except for the first two titles I published) and not sold in stores.


bettye griffin said...

Thanks so much, Cheris! I'm impressed and flattered by your knowledge of my past books. I also like what you said about "blending romance with reality" and might use that slogan!

Katrina Spencer said...

Great interview! I love the fact that Bettye has taken control of her career, it inspires so many other authors to do the same.

CherisH said...

Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Bettye. I'm a fan first. :)

bettye griffin said...

You're so kind, Katrina! It's not every day I'm called "inspiring."

Success to the indies!