Today author Bettye Griffin stops by to talk about her latest eBook release, Something Real, joined by her three lead female characters.
First, a little about Bettye: Her first romance was published in 1998. She went on to have a total of 10 contemporary romances and 6 works of women’s fiction traditionally published over the next dozen years. In 2009, while still under contract to a publisher, Bettye started her own publishing outlet, Bunderful Books. She now indie publishes all her work through this outlet. Her latest eBook, Something Real, has just gone on sale.
Chicki: Hi, Bettye. Can you tell me a little about Something Real?
Bettye: Hi, Chicki! Thanks for inviting me to your blog for a chat. Something Real is a sequel to Save The Best For Last, the story centering around the two best friends of the heroine of that book. Like Isn’t She Lovely? before it, Something Real is more of a mainstream romance than a traditional single title romance. Two romances are covered with near-equal amounts of words, only one of which progresses to the HEA (that’s “happily ever after”) by the end. Some other things occur that you wouldn’t see in a traditionally published romance, but I can’t go into those without giving away too much of the story. Also, the book has a somewhat unusual structure, spanning a four-year period, which allows for a peek into that happily ever after.
Now, for the interview:
Chicki: Bettye has chosen to stay in the background and let her characters take questions instead, so I’m talking with New Yorkers Francesca Perry, “Cesca” to her family and friends; Olivia Oliveira, known as “Livvy” to her oldest friends and just “Liv” to newer ones; and Genevieve Gray, known as Gen, except to her husband Dexter, who calls her Jenny.
The name of the book is Something Real. According to Bettye, all I have to do is ask one question and the three of you will take it from there, so let me ask…Whose story is this?
Cesca and Liv [simultaneously]: Mine!
Gen: I’m not in it a whole lot, but I already got my own story…my story. I didn’t have to share it with anybody, even though my friends were in a couple of scenes. It was called Save The Best For Last. You’ll want to read it, if you haven’t already. Bettye has made it free on Smashwords, where you can get it formatted for any eReader device.
Cesca: This is both Livvy’s story and mine, I guess. But my story with Terrence is complete. Livvy’s and Brian’s isn’t.
Liv: That’s all right. I’ll be the star of the next book, and like Gen, I won’t have to share it with anybody…except for the man of my heart, of course. Bettye’s working on it now, and she plans to have it out by the spring. Besides, I’m the reason Bettye wrote this book in the first place. You see, I also showed up in another book of hers called The Heat of Heat. I was only in it for a couple of pages, but readers were intrigued and told Bettye they wanted to know what the deal was with magazine publisher Brian Price and me, so she wrote this story to show readers why our relationship was so strained, as well as what happened afterward. Part I takes place the following spring after Save The Best For Last ends. Part II takes place after The Heat of Heat ends. Bettye said she had a hell of a time structuring this story and keeping the timelines straight.
Gen: It’s definitely not your typical romance, which often unfold over the course of a couple of months.
Liv: That Bettye doesn’t do anything typical. Now that she’s indie publishing you never know what she’s going to come up with. She’s really making me work to get to my happy ending. I can’t believe the wrench she put in my plotline.
Gen: Bettye says that sometimes relationships don’t line up neatly in a row like so many dominoes, with each character falling in love neatly when it’s their turn. She says that love doesn’t work like an assembly line and is often messy. And I’m not just talking about sex. But speaking of sex, you guys do have a pretty fair amount of that going on. That didn’t happen with Dexter and me in our book. He spent most of the story trying to get me in the sack. [dreamy grin] But oh, what a chase it was! And when it finally did happen, we didn’t even make it to the bed.
Liv: [making a face] Too much information, Gen.
Gen: You must not have read the book.
Bettye: Of course she didn’t read the book. You guys are all characters…remember? You only know what happens in the scenes you’re in.
Liv: Well, there are some twists in Something Real that you just won’t see coming, in both Cesca’s relationship with Terrence and mine with Brian, let me tell you.
Cesca: And let me tell you, Livvy, that Bettye decided to write Something Real about Terrence and me. In Gen’s book (Save The Best For Last), she let readers know that I hate police because of how they mistreated me and my family members. Then she had Gen encounter a sexy police officer named Terrence Gulliver after an escaping thief knocked her down. I’m not privy to Bettye’s reasons for including this scene—Gen has no cause to fear the police, as far as I know—but Bettye decided at that moment to write a book that would pair me with Terrence because she knew there’d be fireworks…and something truly horrifying happened in the interim between the two books that made me hate cops even more. So I was the original inspiration for Something Real, not you. She didn’t think about adding you to the mix until a year later, while she was writing The Heat of Heat and decided to put you in it for a hot minute.
Liv: Oh, you think you’re so smart [glares at Cesca].
Cesca: Do I have to remind you that that’s Terrence and me on the cover? I don’t see you or Brian anywhere, not even in the book summary [smiles triumphantly].
Gen: Can’t we all just get along?
Liv: You guys know I love y’all, even when you get on my last nerve.
Cesca: Yeah, well, that’s about all we know. You’re so secretive about everything else.
Liv: I can’t help it; Bettye wrote me that way. She said girlfriends in books are always confiding in each other, and she wanted me to be different. Besides, you guys wouldn’t understand the way I feel about certain things. Both your parents had money. The only reason I lived on the Upper East Side was because my parents were the supers of the building we lived in. Our apartment was on the first floor, next to the laundry room. We heard washers agitating and dryers tumbling all day and all night.
Gen: Sometimes I wish you’d try confiding in us, Liv. We’ve been friends since we were fifteen years old. When Something Real starts we’re…hey Bettye, how old were we again? [Bettye is heard answering.] Oh, that’s right. Twenty-eight. So we’ve known each other for over a dozen years.
Cesca: We’re well off, or at least our parents were. That doesn’t mean we’re from another planet.
Liv: Nothing personal, but sometimes it’s good to keep things to yourself. I’ll be you have secrets.
Cesca: My life’s an open book.
Gen: [nervously chews her lower lip].
Liv: Gen? You okay?
Gen: [too quickly] Fine.
Liv: Hmm. I’m getting the distinct feeling there’s something you don’t want Cesca and me to know.
Gen: Never mind about me. Something Real is your story, remember?
Cesca: It’s more my story.
Gen: [throws hands up] This is where I came in.
Chicki: Something Real is available now for Kindle, for Nook, and on Smashwords.
Cesca: It’s a wonderful story, and it’s about me.
Liv: No, it’s about me.
Gen: Can we just say it’s sexy?
Chicki: Thanks, ladies. It’s been…
Cesca, Liv, and Gen [simultaneously]: Real!
Bettye: As in Something Real. It’s now available, so download yours today! And as for Liv being sure that the concluding story will be exclusively hers…well, I wouldn’t bet the brownstone on it. Things have a way of changing when I’m writing a story, and I’ve decided that Gen, who is keeping a secret from her friends, is going to have a few anxious moments before it’s all over, as well as the roadblocks in store for Liv as she stumbles toward her ultimate happy ending…the final book, Man of Her Heart, will be out February or March of 2013.