Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part 1 of an interview with Betty Dravis, author of 1106 Grand Boulevard

I am aways interested in other authors, how they got started and what their life has been like, and today I'm very pleased to introduce you to a lovely, great friend of mine, author Betty Dravis. Betty will be giving away one of her books, so be sure to read Parts 1 & 2 of her interview to find out how you can enter. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

1. Hi, Betty, and welcome to The Write Type ~ Multi-Author Musings. I'm glad you agreed to this interview because I have found you to be a very interesting person who has had some unique experiences. Please tell us when you first knew you wanted to be a writer and a little about your first paid writing job.

Thanks for the kind words, Cheryl. I'm happy to do an interview with such a talented, charming person as you. It's my pleasure. As for my writing, I started with a few poems in elementary school and was encouraged by my parents and teachers, so I began to take courses that helped in that field. I didn't take writing seriously until I had a few of my six children and sort of fell into a writing job for the Sacramento Sporting News. I wrote short articles about local athletes, so that was my first paid writing job. I received the huge sum of $15. per free-lance article.

2. I am very intrigued (and a bit jealous) that you interviewed the legendary actor, Clint Eastwood. I know you get asked about this a lot, but how did this interview come about? Can you recall some of your questions and Clint Eastwood's answers? How did you feel interviewing him?

Yes, I get asked about my famous (lol) interview with the great Clint Eastwood a lot. I met Clint through June Cheim, a woman he had gone to school with. It was after his role of Rowdy Yates for the TV series Rawhide and during his "Spaghetti Western" days when he was first becoming a major star. Clint was in town as June's houseguest and she asked him to grant me an interview because she enjoyed the story I'd done about her for a Halloween edition of the East San Jose Sun for whom I wrote a weekly column at the time. I asked Eastwood the general questions about his wife and career, such as how he enjoyed the "Spaghetti Westerns" and what movie he was currently working on. I can't recall what movie it was, but I do recall that he and his first wife, Maggie, were expecting their first child at the time. I met Maggie, too, but got no photos with her.

Now, Cheryl, I was a young woman interviewing a handsome, sexy movie star, so how do you think I felt interviewing him? I was aglow with pleasure, and nervous at first, but he put me at ease right away. He was so charming and down-to-earth, after five minutes with him I felt as though I'd known him all my life. I get teased a lot because he curled his long fingers around my neck in the photos June took and he's looking at me as though he adored me. I should be so lucky….lol…I treasure that memory and posted a story about my feelings before and after the interview on my website. In case any of your fans would like to read it, the link is:

3. Who else have you interviewed that we might recognize? Tell us a bit about that interview?

I've interviewed a number of celebrities during my pre-novelist journalism career, including another legend Jane Russell, a movie star of the forties/fifties era. It was about 1970 that I met Ms. Russell at Trader Vic's in San Francisco for the interview. I was editor of The Gilroy News Herald in Gilroy, California and was just as excited to meet her as I was Eastwood a few years earlier. The most memorable thing about the interview was that I ended up late due to a road spill and she graciously granted me extra time. I also write about that on my website (link above). In addition to Russell, I've interviewed actor Dale Robertson, singer/actress Tanya Tucker, and many politicians, including Senator Ted Kennedy, the late San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto and the late Speaker of the House "Tip" O'Neill…the list goes on. Oh, one of my very favorites was the late Cesar Chavez whom I met on a number of occasions; he was the heroic founder of the United Farm Workers, as you know.

4. How long did it take you to write your first novel and what kept you going and motivated?

It took me a year to write my first novel, "1106 Grand Boulevard", which incidentally was the third to get published. It's my longest novel to date, coming in at over 100,000 words. It's a "faction" story, a highly dramatized version of the life of my beautiful older sister Billie and her seven marriages. It's my most recent release and is centered around our childhood home in Hamilton, Ohio…the actual address being the book's title. My sister's enthusiasm helped keep me going on that one, plus my own natural work ethic and "sticktoitiveness." Having owned my own newspaper until my retirement, I was geared to deadlines, so developed an ingrained habit of "keeping my nose to the grindstone." During my entire journalism career I always longed to write novels, so the determination to see my name on the cover of a book and to hold one in my hand kept me writing and writing and writing.

5. How did you find a publisher? How was the publishing experience and how did it feel to hold your first book.

The first novel I published was "Millennium Babe: The Prophecy." Since it was a new millennium book with a timely topic that for commercial reasons needed to be out before January 1, 2001, I had no time to go the traditional route of submitting to mainstream publishers, so my daughter had that one published with Xlibris, a POD publisher which is a subsidiary of Random House.

OMG, Cheryl, it felt wonderful holding "Babe" in my hand. I was as proud as I was when I had each of my children and held them in my hands. It's an awesome feeling, as you know, being an author yourself. I was like a little kid with a brand new toy, and I thought my blue-and-white cover was the prettiest in the world….lol

6. Please share with us your writing and promoting routine? When and where do you write?

I write anywhere and everywhere I can. The same with promo! I always write on my computer and I write about three hours daily. Since I have a large family and also write reviews for Midwest Book Review and Amazon, I write in between a variety of "real life" happenings, but I try to devote at least two hours daily to writing on one of my WIPs (works in progress, as you know).

My promoting is mostly on the Internet with various writers' groups, such as YA Y Not?, Teen Lit Authors, The Red Room, and readers' groups like GoodReads, Shelfari, Student Operated Press and Amazon. I also visit local bookstores, libraries, TV and radio stations to acquaint them with my books. And mustn't forget your very own…lol


Read Part 2 to find out more about the intriguing Betty Dravis.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif


Andrea said...

What a wonderful and inspirational interview. Lucky you - you got to interview those interesting people! You did have an interesting career while raising your children! I am also a proud and happy mother, so I admire you for also being such. And I'm sure they are proud of you for all you've done and for the books you've written.

John Peterson (JPski) said...

Hey, Betty, I feel more intimately involved in your writing process. Thanks for sharing your insights in your memoir-like interview. Cheryl was surely gracious and accommodating with her interview, and you rose to the occasion with some mighty fine anecdotes. Musings and memories--all of them enjoyable. I particularly liked how you shared the joy of having a book reach its fruition. We can only dream of having a book published. JP :>)

themanthatgotaway said...

Very intertesting--I like this a lot! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Great interview, Betty. I've read each of Betty's books and they're all great reads.


Linda Merlino said...

Loved reading this interview. Betty was kind enough to write a wonderful review of my book, Belly of the Whale. Living your life with passion is the only choice. Thanks Betty for being an inspiration to all of us.


Mary Lou Cheatham said...

What an impressive and entertaining interview! I had no idea, Betty, that you had done all this. You were hanging around with the stars, you became a newspaper owner, you brought up six children by yourself, and you wrote outstanding novels.

The most important lesson I learned from the interview was your discipline of setting aside two hours every day to work on a project as part of three hours a day to write. DISCIPLINE.

The most important lesson I have learned from your writing is your suspension of reality to show the reality of the inner thought processes. The whimsical is used as a means of achieving the truth. CREATIVITY

The most important lesson I have learned from observing you is the gentle way you deal with people. You appreciate those who have mentored you, and you teach those who can learn from you. LOVE

The most amusing thing I read in this interview is that you are a Kentucky Colonel.

Mary Lou Cheatham

Backcountry Muse said...

Great interview, Betty. I've read your short stories and enjoyed them thoroughly. Now I'm looking forward to sampling your novels as well. All the best. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

Paul Weiss

Betty Dravis said...

Thanks to everyone for visiting my interview by Cheryl. I appreciate your kind words. Seven people left comments on Part One of the interview; ten left comments on Part Two, so I'll post this comment in both places.

Wanted you all to know that the winner of my novel, "1106 Grand Boulevard" is JARUCIA JAYCOX NIRULA.

Congrats, JARUCIA. I'll send the book as soon as I return home after Christmas in San Jose. WOO-HOO to you! I hope you enjoy this dramatized version of my beautiful older sister's life. She's so special to me ... as are all of you. xoxoxo

Thanks to all!

Hugs - Betty