I’ve got my Liquid Silver pub buddy Betty Bolte over today. She’s a writer of both historical and paranormal fiction, and she’s got a brand new book to talk about. Her LSB release, Traces, is a romantic women’s fiction with paranormal elements, i.e. a romantic ghost story.
Let’s find out more!
1. Hi Betty, and welcome to my blog. As my first guest in this genre, you get to explain the difference between women’s fiction and romance. Is there a distinction?
Thanks for inviting me today! Good question, one that can confuse people, but I’ll try to explain the difference as I see it. Romances feature the love story of two people, so you focus deeply on each of them and only have two points of view, where you see the story through their eyes and feelings. Women’s fiction, however, focuses on the woman’s emotional journey and all the people who play a role in it, so you can have multiple characters to get inside their heads and feelings. When you combine the two, you have a romance that occurs while the woman is sorting out deeper issues and emotions, so you also have more than two perspectives to understand. In Traces, I have three main characters: Meredith, her sister Paulette, and Max, the hunky lawyer.
2. Since I often wish I could write from the point of view of a third character, I understand the appeal. I’m curious about your setting. A plantation in Tennessee sounds very romantic. Is it inspired by an actual place you’ve visited or read about?
I’ve always been intrigued by historical buildings, and plantations in particular, ever since reading and watching Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. But once the idea for the haunted plantation took root for this story, I did make a point to visit the Rattle and Snap Plantation in Columbia, TN. While there, I learned more about the history of that elegant structure and could then use aspects of what I learned to bolster my story and make the place another “character” on its own.
3. Gone with the Wind happens to be one of my favorite movies. I even read Scarlett twice, once translated into Thai and again in the original English. I didn't like either, to be honest (I had hoped my lack of enjoyment was due to the translation being off).
Back to your story. Why would anyone want to demolish such a lovely place? Does Meredith have a specific reason she’d rather see it turned into a memorial garden?
Meredith is hurting, deeply grieving the death of her landscape architect husband and unborn child in a random attack. She turns from creating buildings to destroying them for a living. Twin Oaks represents the family taken away from her, something she feels she needs to bury in order to put it behind her. But being Irish, she’s still connected to her heritage, the land, so she wants to change it in ways to soothe her pain as well as others who are grieving.
4. Her estate lawyer seems to want to prevent Meredith from doing what she wants. Does he have an emotional attachment to the place, or is he trying to stop her for purely business reasons?
Good question! I’d have to say both. He sees both aspects of the plantation since he’s been a family friend and also specializes in preservation law. But Meredith provides a challenge since he has to convince her to change her plans; he has no legal recourse to force her hand.
5. I’ll end this interview with my standard final question. How did you get your start as an author? What was your road to publication like?
It’s been a long road to publishing a novel! I was first published in magazine and newspaper articles in the early 1990s, then in nonfiction books in the late 90s, mostly work for hire (that is, no royalties for the work, just a flat payment). I earned my BA in English in 1995; MA in English in 2008. I’ve written nonfiction books in the 2000s as well. But writing fiction, especially love stories, remained my objective throughout. Interesting fact, the first version of Traces actually served as the basis of my master’s thesis. All along I’ve been honing my writing skills while tending to family obligations and needs and working full time and going to school. It’s not been easy, but it’s been worth it!
Since Betty’s book just came out, she’s a really busy lady. As such, I have to regrettably let her run off. For more about the book and author, just scroll down. As always, comments are much appreciated.
Meredith Reed, a forty-year-old architect turned demolition expert, desperately searches for the means to bury her grief. When she inherits her family’s historic plantation home in Tennessee, she decides to start anew by razing the antebellum house and replacing it with a memorial garden. A plan met with outrage from her family and her grandmother's estate lawyer.
James Maximillian “Max” Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He's been promised a promotion once his proposed legislation to protect all of the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman in all of his forty-six years. If only the talented and attractive Meredith weren’t so aloof toward him and didn’t want to destroy the very property he’s grown to cherish.
Meanwhile, Meredith's estranged sister moves in and refuses to leave. The memories of their childhood spent there causes turmoil between them. And while Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and her future, she learns a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue that may save both her family and the family home from destruction.
About Betty Bolté
Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories that feature strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. Traces, a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee, was released on April 28, 2014.
Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure (2012) is a collection of short historical fiction based on the real-life achievements of 19 American girls in the 19th century, each with a landmark in the United States of America. The first edition won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and 2000 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. She’s the author of several nonfiction books and currently marketing a romantic historical fiction trilogy.