Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part 2 of an interview with Betty Dravis, author of 1106 Grand Boulevard

Here is Part 2 of the interview with a lovely, great friend of mine, author Betty Dravis, who has interviewed such celebrities as Clint Eastwood and Jane Russell. Betty will be giving away one of her books, so be sure to read to the end of this interview to find out how you can enter. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, go HERE.

7. Betty, who have been or are now your mentors? What have you learned from them?

My mentor during my journalism career was then-County Supervisor Rod Diridon who now heads the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. He taught me governmental politics that helped me immensely since the paper I owned was the "Official Voice of Labor in Silicon Valley and Beyond" and was very politically involved. I learned the political "ins and outs" from him, from the late California Senator Al Alquist and from then-Congressman Norm Mineta who went on to become Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.

My mentors in the literary field are authors Chris Platt, Christy Tillery French and Victoria Taylor Murray. Chris taught me the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry, while Christy and Vicki taught me P.R. skills. And I've learned a lot about marketing from you, also, Cheryl.

My personal heroes who championed all my causes are my late parents, my children and grandchildren, and my best friend Linda Bulger who helps with all aspects of my writing, from proofreading to building a better website. She's a true inspiration. Of the many public role models, I admire the late great Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of our beloved President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She was a wise, caring, bright woman who inspired many women of my generation.

8. Can you tell us something that writers would be interested to know about you? What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think most writers would be interested to know that I managed to go from reporter to columnist to editor to publisher in my journalism career while raising six children alone, and that I never fulfilled my dream of being a published novelist until after my retirement. The advice I would give to an aspiring writer, whether in journalism or creative writing is this: If you enjoy writing, then write…even if it's a simple journal you write for yourself. Write! Write! Write! And when you have a complete manuscript, submit, submit, submit! Never give up! That's the same advice I would give to anyone attempting to accomplish any dream: Never give up!

9. I understand you're an honorary Kentucky Colonel. What is that exactly and how did that come about?

The highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is that of Kentucky Colonel. Commissions for KC are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. According to their website, a list of Kentucky Colonels is a Who's Who of outstanding men and women around the world.

Award of the title requires nomination from an existing colonel, and Colonel John Barger, my brother, nominated me. Originally in order to qualify, it was required for one parent of the nominee to have been born in Kentucky. In recent years, that has expanded to include noteworthy others.

10. What are the titles of your books, and tell us about each of them (who the audience is, brief plot outline and a review of each)?

MY THIRD BOOK (most recently published):
"1106 Grand Boulevard" is written for a general audience and I assumed women would be the main audience, but from reviews, I'm happy to say that men are enjoying it, also.

"Grand" is a highly dramatized version of the life of my beautiful older sister, Billie, her seven marriages and her search for true love and lasting happiness.

All her life, Billie Jean Sloane, a charismatic, exquisite, small-town beauty, has been desired and spoiled by men. At sixteen, following a tragedy involving her first husband--"the love of her life"--she is heartbroken. Unable to forgive or forget, her parents take drastic measures to keep them apart.…She is swept from her humble beginnings at 1106 Grand Boulevard in the Midwestern town of Hamilton, Ohio to a luxurious life-style…other fascinating locales... Then back to her hometown to search for her first husband.

"1106 Grand Boulevard" is the story of passions that last a lifetime; of family love and betrayal; of spousal abuse and sadistic child abuse; a story of Billie Jean's desperate search for happiness, self-worth, and maturity ... a story of people needing people and people using people.

"There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." This pithy comment by Hamlet is perhaps the very essence of this engaging, thought-provoking novel about family dynamics and some of the dysfunction that, essentially, touches all of us to some degree. The resiliency of Dravis' heroine, Billie Jean, is indeed refreshing, wonderfully antithetical to the all too common saccharine, off-putting portrayal of many of fiction's leading ladies….Bravo to Dravis for being bold enough to break free from the creative intransigence that plagues so many writers….Like all great fiction, 1106 Grand Boulevard holds up a mirror in which all of our reflections are cast, leading to introspection, self-analysis, identification, self-analysis and ultimately healing. This is a winner." – Frank Nappi, author of "The Legend of Mickey Tussler" (screenplay just completed)

"The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley" is written for young adults, but geared for adults, also. I'm pleased that many adults are enjoying and reviewing it.

"Toonies" is a fantasy sci-fi adventure about cartoon characters who live inside a Silicon Valley boy's computer. The fun and adventure begins when they escape from the computer into the real world.

Beware, citizens of Silicon Valley--the bad Toonies are on their way. Led by the evil ape-bird, Dab, the Mischief Makers have escaped from Computer Cartoon Land. They are skulking in the shadows, ready to pounce. Dab will do anything to stay in the real world, so makes plans to take over Orange Computer, then Grape Computer, Banana ... and then the world.

Thanks to Uncle Wom (Wise Old Man and leader of Cartoon Land), the good Toonies aren't far behind. Uncle Wom and a cartoon teen, Doog, have come to help Jeremy Kern, a young newspaper cartoonist--the only human who can save Silicon Valley. Steve "The Woz" Wozniak, co-founder of Orange Computer, gets involved when the bad Toonies take over the supply building at Orange headquarters. This is a story of good versus bad ... Doog versus Dab.

"Between the unique description of the Mischief Makers, and the distinctive "good guys", it was reminiscent of some of Baum's magnificent creations in his classic Oz series…" – T. Burger, Top 100 Amazon Reviewer

"Already a cult classic!...Combining the elements and themes of a classic fantasy with freshly imagined characters in a thoroughly modern setting, the author has created an engaging children's story that will hopefully become a series. I have to believe that most children in this computer-driven age would really get into this "animated" book. Parents will appreciate the message and underlying values. (I'd love to take my grandchildren to see the Toonies movie!)" – Linda Collison, author of "Star-Crossed"

"Millennium Babe: The Prophecy" is written for a general audience and I'm delighted with the broad section of society represented by the people reviewing it.

"Babe" is a mystery adventure with supernatural touches. It starts with a startling prophecy about the first baby to be born in the new millennium.

World chaos erupts when David Wetterman--a popular Silicon Valley weatherman--makes a startling prophecy about the first baby to be born on January 1, 2001: Countries fight over "The Millennium Babe"; expectant mothers are terrified; abortion rates accelerate. "The Prophet" becomes an international celebrity, forced into hiding when some VIPs threaten his life. With his remarkable TV director, Bitsy Blodgett, by his side, the apocalyptic countdown to the third millennium begins.

"...a kind of innocence reminiscent of Vonnegut, though not as acerbic....Ms Dravis grabs you with the skill of a surgeon who doesn't want you to know you're being operated on." - Chaz Thompson, author of "No One Ever Gets Sick in Springfield"

11. Where can people go to buy your books?



MILLENNIUM BABE: THE PROPHECY, December 2000, Xlibris:

"Amazon Shorts" Best-selling short stories:

12. Please include URLs to your website, blog, MySpace page, Facebook page, etc.







YA Y NOT (the official network for

Enter to WIN a copy of Betty Dravis's 1106 GRAND BOULEVARD

To enter:
Please leave a comment on either Part 1 or Part 2 of Betty's interview. Be sure to include your email address so Betty can reach you if you're selected as the winner.

The winner will be selected at random by Betty from all comments posted on or before Thursday, December 18th, and the winner will be announced on Friday, December 19th, 2008. Good luck!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif


Betty Dravis said...

I don't know if it's appropriate for me to comment on my own story or not, but I think it will be okay since I won't choose my own comment to win the book. LOL

Seriously, I want to thank Cheryl Kaye Tardif for this awesome interview. She's so good, she didn't forget a thing. What a fabulous job and I'm so proud I'm bursting my buttons. Thanks, Cheryl! You're not only a fine writer, you're good with interviews too.


and Happy Holidays!

Betty Dravis

Linda in New York said...

Cheryl and Betty, what a fascinating interview. Betty, your successful career in publishing and writing (in the face of all obstacles) is an inspiration. I've seen you at work and I can attest to your drive and determination -- and certainly to your "sparkle," which is evident in both parts of this terrific interview.

Betty, as your best friend and biggest fan, I do need to disqualify myself for the copy of GRAND you are so generously giving away. I already have two copies of my own; and I'd rather see someone else have the chance to read your fine story based on your sister's adventures.

All the best to both of you, and keep up the good work!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Congratulations, Betty, on another fabulous interview! I especially enjoyed reading about your climb up the journalistic ranks while rearing your children single-handedly! And about how you began your novels after retirement -- sounds like someone else we know!

I would also wish to disqualify myself from any prize, as, like Linda, I already have copies of your books.

Again -- congratulations!

John Peterson (JPski) said...

Betty, this was a revealing interview. I enjoyed the background information for your written works and the pep talks you give the rest of us to write. Thank you for sharing.

Jarucia said...

I was immensely pleased to read over Betty's diverse background. I felt a certain camaraderie with her given my own time living and studying in the San Jose area. In fact, one of my MPA instructors was also involved with the Mineta Transportation Institute. It's always an inspiration to read stories such as Betty's that inspire me as a writer to persevere no matter what. She's truly a class act to have been a single mother of six working in the journalism arena and still keep her sights on publishing a novel 'someday'.


Bobbie said...

Thank you, Cheryl and Betty, for an interesting interview.

Betty was kind enough to give me words of encouragement and advice one day while I was having issues with a college English paper. Her mantra of write, write, write and never give up are true and have served her well over the years.

I must disqualify myself from the drawing. My daughter already has two copies of everything that Betty has published to date and I would not want to deprive someone of the pleasure of reading about Billie Jean's exploits.

Betty, keep up the good work and I look forward to your next book.

Fritz Ward said...

Hi Betty:

My second attempt at posting a message. It was almost impossible for me to register with google: I can't make out the off type code words.

Anyway, I think you are allowed to comment on your own interview: but you may not win the prize! :) That said, I was surprised to learn 1106 was your first novel. It was so polished I assumed it was your third. (Plus as a trained historian, I am a sucker for dates; they seem so written in stone.)

Anyway, nice discussion and Ms. Tardif did a good interview. Almost enough to make me want to become a writer. But I will stick with torturing children.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Betty Dravis! What an accomplished and talented woman! I have thoroughly enjoyed your accomplished reviews and comments on Amazon, and find this interview intriguing. It gives some of the background that you so beautifully exhibit in your writing.

I'm confident that 1106 will only be more interesting knowing the things in this delightful interview.

Keep up your excellent work!

Paul Elliott

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