Thursday, April 22, 2010

Betty Sullivan La Pierre Interview & Book Giveaway!

Today I’m thrilled to have a fellow ex-Okie joining me. I became acquainted with Betty through MySpace, and after reading about her Mystery Series I couldn’t wait to have her visit. But before we begin the interview here’s a little about her and her writing.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Betty Sullivan La Pierre attended the Oklahoma College for Women and the University of Oklahoma, graduating with her BS degree in Speech Therapy with a Specialty in the Deaf. Once married, she moved to California with her husband. When her husband was killed in an automobile accident, she was left with two young boys to raise. She is now remarried and has had another son through that marriage. Ms. La Pierre has lived in the Silicon Valley (California) for many years. At one time, she owned a Mail Order Used Book business dealing mainly in signed and rare books, but phased it out because it took up too much of her writing time. She’s an avid reader, belongs to the Wednesday Writers’ Society, and periodically attends functions of other writing organizations.

She writes Mystery/Suspense/Thriller novels, which are published in digital format and print. Her Hawkman Mystery Series is developing quite a fan base. She’s also written two stand-alone mystery/thrillers and plans to continue writing. ‘BLACKOUT,’ Betty’s story about a bingo hall (of the Hawkman Series), ranked in the top ten of the P&E Reader’s Poll, and won the 2003 BLOODY DAGGER AWARD for best Mystery/Suspense. EuroReviews recently picked ‘THE DEADLY THORN’ (One of Betty’s stand alone thrillers) for their 2005 May Book of the Month. Betty Sullivan La Pierre’s work is a testament to how much she enjoys the challenge of plotting an exciting story.

[Anne] Thank you so much for joining me today, Betty. Let’s begin with how you got started in writing?

[Betty] Once I married and moved away from home, I’d write my parents long letters telling them all the events that had happened in my life. I would embellish the missiles to the point they’d stop whatever they were doing and read them. They told me I had a flare for writing and should consider it. It took awhile before I actually tried writing. I waited until my 3 boys were self sufficient before I gave it a whirl. I discovered I loved it, and began writing Mystery/Suspense...thus...the ‘Hawkman Series’ took form.

[Anne] How difficult was your journey to publication?

[Betty] I gave up on the big houses as no one seemed to be interested in my work. Being an unknown in the writing world definitely has its drawbacks. Then I discovered e-books on the web and sent in one of my stand alone Thrillers, ‘MURDER.COM’. It was taken by a company who later proved to be fraudulent. A very traumatic experience to go through for any writer. The authors who’d been accepted by this house were heartbroken when they discovered the monies they should have been receiving as royalties were going for the personal use of the publisher. It didn’t take long for me to gain my rights back and I started searching for another publisher. I soon found another who took the book, and edited the first book of the ‘Hawkman Series’--’THE ENEMY STALKS’...He was a wonderful man and cared deeply about his authors, however, he had to work an eight hour job to support his family and couldn’t continue the company, so he had to give it up. I still keep in touch with him.

I again went on the search, as by this time there were several books in the series and it worried me that a publisher might not want to take me on. Luckily, I found SynergEbooks, run by Deb Staples. What a great publisher...she not only took me on, but has never refused any of my ongoing stories in the series. She works hard for her authors and has us on Fictionwise and numerous other sites that sell e-books.

[Anne] Please tell us about your latest book.

[Betty] My latest book is ‘SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT’. The setting is an Independent Senior living facility where a murder occurred. It was probably the hardest book I’ve ever written as far as keeping the tension throughout the story. It’s a little hard to have too much excitement where older people are concerned, but George and Maggie saved me by being very spunky ;-).

[Anne] Where did you come up with the concept for your story?

[Betty] My Mother was needing to get out from under the stress of running a home with all the worries it involves. So we went touring homes that cater to seniors who are capable of taking care of their personal needs. We visited one several times and were very impressed. The place was beautiful and had activities geared to the older set with lots of socializing. Just up Mother’s alley. As I spoke to one of the directors about how the place was run, a story began forming in my mind. And as most writers know, the plot begins.

[Anne] Okay, say you have this great idea for a book, what do you do next? How much plotting do you do?

[Betty] Once I have the setting, and the foundation of characters, they begin to take over and I follow their lead. Plotting seems to come naturally for me, I love doing it, so it usually comes into play as the story unfolds.

[Anne] In your opinion what are the most important avenues an author should take in promoting their works?

[Betty] Get your name out in every way you can. Book signings, interviews, blogs, have contest, carry flyers and business cards, put flyers in your bills as you send them out (after all it’s your stamp ;-), give talks, have fun with your books. Don’t be afraid to give a few away...Leave flyers in the doctor’s and dentist’s waiting rooms. Learn to make book trailers, most computers now have programs that are easy to learn. You have to keep at it. Readers have short memories and you don’t want them to forget who you are.

[Anne] Flyers in your bills….that’s a new one for me. I’ll have to borrow that idea :-). What is one of the most memorable thing’s that has happened to you since you’ve become a published author?

[Betty] Both of these incidents have happened to me. We have a summer home in Northern California not far from a very, very small town. I was asked by a tea house in the town to have a book signing. I figured it would be a waste of my time...but accepted. Boy, was I surprised. The tea house was also very small, the place filled with people where you hardly had room to move. I spoke and had people ask questions and later sold over 25 books. I couldn’t believe it, and needless to say would accept another invitation.

Another incident concerning e-mails, was the note I received from a lady I met on MySpace. She wanted to buy a copy of each of my books, sent me a check for them all and I’ve kept in touch with her ever since. She loved my stories and has become quite a fan. Another woman, also from MySpace, from England, bought several of my books and paid the postage for me to ship them to her. These are very exciting events that happen to writers and you never forget them.

[Anne] How thrilling! So what do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?

[Betty] Oh, my, a zillion things...I’ve learned so much it’s hard to put my finger on any one item. The writing game is a learning process in itself, not to mention learning how to market. Many things you learn by trial and error. You read books on how to write, then you sort to fit your needs. Many times you’ll stumble, but you have to pick yourself up, brush off and start again. I’ve loved every minute of it, but I have to admit, the first time my book was critiqued I wanted to cry at all the red marks. I couldn’t believe someone found that much wrong with my baby. Since, I’ve grown broad shoulders and have learned to use the criticisms for bettering my work.

[Anne] Now for a little fun! Do you have any unusual or not so unusual hobbies you’d care to tell us about?

[Betty] I love to fish. At our summer home, we’re situated on the bank of Copco Lake which is fed by the Klamath River. (The ‘Hawkman Series’ was born here.) I love to fish off the dock under a big umbrella. My bathroom is up the gangplank and I can have a cocktail while throwing in my hook. I’ve caught every type of fish the lake has..(never could understand why men think they have to have different gear for different fish?) I’ve caught all varieties on my one rod and reel!!

[Anne] LOL…I can just see you sitting there with your cocktail in one hand and your rod in the other. What a great way to spend a day. Okay, what snack are we likely to see sitting next to your computer when you’re typing away on your next best seller?

[Betty] I’m not a snacker, but every once in awhile I’ll bring in a handful of mixed nuts and munch a bit. A glass of water is always at my station. I’m a water drinker..

[Anne] Now let’s pretend you’ve been stranded on an island somewhere in the pacific. What are three things you would miss the most?

[Betty] Oh, my gosh, my Computer....I take it with me everywhere I go. I’d also miss a radio, I love listening to talk shows. I’d also miss my hubby...he makes my dinner every night...(I know, I’m really spoiled...;-)

[Anne] What advice can you offer for any aspiring authors out there?

[Betty] Never give up. Regardless of how many times you get turned down. Somewhere out there, someone will like your work.

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books, Betty? And do you have a website we can visit?

[Betty] For e-books go to:  and scroll through the Mystery section and you’ll find my books scattered throughout the pages.

Also at Fictionwise, Amazon, or you can also purchase autographed print books on my personal website using your credit card or PayPal. My prices are much cheaper than Amazon. Go to:

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Betty] Yes. I want to thank you for being so patient with me. It’s been hectic these past few weeks getting my Mother moved out of her old home and into her new one, then trying to set up a date for the interview. You’ve been very kind allowing me to reschedule so many times, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it. Thank you.

[Anne] You’re more than welcome, Betty. It’s been a thrill having you visit.

Friends, Betty is giving away a free autographed print book of either SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT or MURDER.COM (your choice) to one lucky commenter. Please note if you live outside of the US you’ll receive a free download instead of a print book. The drawing will take place Saturday at noon. Oh and please be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Now here is her book trailer for Shadows in the Night. Enjoy and Good Luck Everyone!


Martha Lawson said...

Another new to me author!! Love finding them. Your books sound awesome. Please enter me!

I follow

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Brenda Stewart said...

I love Betty's books and look forward to each new one that comes out. Don't enter me in the contest, I already have all of Betty's books.

LMcLendon said...

I enjoyed the Interview and I am entering this comment for a chance to win a book too.
If I have choice, it would be "Shadows In the Night" sounds awesome. LLM96(at)aol(dot)com

battlinjack said...

I enjoyed the interview. I feel it helps to know the author when reading their stories. Not sure why really, but it works for me! -grin-


Alive a somewhat well in the U.S. of A.

Redameter said...

Betty I've been through the same thing with e-pubs, some are good, and some are very bad. But we do learn from those. It is an experience and I believe the writer learns a little more than the New York published writers by going e-published. There are so many ways in which we are ahead of the authors that are New York published,as we have had to learn the real tricks of the trade.

Grammy09 said...

Hi Betty....You know I am one of your biggest fans! I love the Hawkman series. I actually won the electronic version of "Shadows in the Night" and really loved the characters. To you readers out there, if you have not read one of Betty's books yet, you need to do so today!

Tonya Williams
tswilliams69 at yahoo dot com

Miss Mae said...

Wow, Betty, what luck with starting out in the publishing world! But sounds like you have a winner now, and congrats on all the awards! Your cover is superb!

Margaret Marr said...

Wonderful interview, Betty :-D

Gail Pallotta said...

An interesting interview and an interesting place to have a murder. I imagine the residents were mortified. Also, I think having a book signing in a tea room would be great fun!

kmt1976 said...

I love the Hawkman and his lady. Hope she is feeling better!
kmt1976 at hotmail dot com

LuAnn said...

Betty is one of my favorite authors and any chance to win one of her books is a great treat!

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

jrlindermuth said...

Great interview, Betty. Couldn't agree more about the value of persistence.

Judy said...

I really enjoyed the interview. I enjoy learning about the person who writes the books I read. Mostly that they are just like me, but are great at telling great stories :)

magnolias_1[at]msn [dot]com

Virginia said...

This would be a new author to me! I love a good suspense book though! Not sure how I missed this author! Please enter me!


Lover of Books said...

What a great interview! I love her work and hope to read the second one in the series soon. :) Please enter me for


Anne Patrick said...

Hello ladies and gentleman (Hi John)! Thanks so much for dropping by in support of Betty and her wonderful books.

Glad you enjoyed the interview. I've loved having Betty visit. She is such a fantastic lady!

Good luck to all of you,

ChrisB said...

I enjoy reading about the author's journey to publication. I would like to read all the books, but for today I will choose "Shadows in the Night" because you found it challenging to write.

windycindy said...

What a fascinating interview! I enjoy knowing about an author before I read their books! To me, it makes
the book even more interesting.
Suspense fiction is a favorite genre
of mine! Many thanks for this opportunity.....Cindi

snebrown said...

Looks very interesting. Will look for your books on Amazon.

susan said...

A great interview and a new author I am looking for from now on. I think the questions asked gave all of us a wonderful article so we can get to know a person. Thanks Anne and Betty. susan L. garysue@dejazzd,com

squiresj said...

I've been trying for a long time to win a Betty Sullivan La Pierre book to read. Please enter me. I'm on her website newsletter.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Rhonda said...

I am a huge mystery fan. Please enter me

rhondastruthers atyahoo dot ca

desitheblonde said...

hi well i can say i think t he book
look ans ound intesting and would love to read and then blog aobut it i wish you the best of the coming books

Toystory said...

These are the types of books I love to read most... thank you.

robynl said...

this book looks interesting to me as I used to work in a level 1 & 2 Personal Care Home.


Anonymous said...

I just recently discovered Betty's books and find that when I start reading one I can't put it down. So please enter me to win so I can lose another couple days to reading--a good excuse for not getting the house cleaning done!

Carol said...

I am a long-time fan of Hawkman, and Betty. I'm so glad she is so persistent and determined...and got her books to us!


Sarah E said...

Betty is a new author for me, and both of these books sound great! Please enter me in this giveaway!

I follow.

familyhistree at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Karin said...

I know it is after noon somewhere! I just figured you two would be very tired after being her since THursday and I wanted to wish you a good night :>)

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Hi, Everyone,
Before we end the draw for a book,(2 hrs. away, my time) I wanted to not only thank Anne for having me on her beautiful blog, but for all the great comments. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here. It's been a lot of fun. Thank you Anne...

Hugs, Betty Sullivan La Pierre

hotcha12 said...