Today’s interview is with certified truck driver and indie writer Beatrice Ballentine.
LQ: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
BB: I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. Still, I spent a fair amount of my adult years raising a very young family, while supporting my husband in our small family businesses. (Fun fact: I was a certified tow truck driver when our daughter and her twin brother and sister were all under the age of four). We live in a pretty rural area, so we always joke you better be willing to do whatever is legally possible to provide for your family.
While I wrote during these years, I never really grasped the possibility of self-publishing, and I was too impatient (and probably too controlling), to entertain the notion of going the traditional route. As the years passed, and we paid off our home, etc., I felt it was my turn to focus not only on my passion of writing but to figure out the beast of self-publishing and marketing. It has been an incredible journey, and now that our youngest children are in their teens, I have large chunks of time to devote to this endeavor consistently.
LQ: What does your writing process look like?
BB: I am a pantser. I have a vague notion of the beginning, middle, and end when I begin writing, and a grasp of who I want my protagonist and who or what I want the antagonist to be. Other than that, I love seeing the story and character depth unfold late at night, or the wee hours of the morning. This method does, at times, lead me down dead ends, …but not usually.
LQ: What was your favorite book to write so far?
BB: I have a lot of unpublished works, mostly comedy, surprisingly. I do enjoy sharing a lot of that with family. Sometimes I will look back on material I wrote and, having forgotten I wrote it at all in the first place, get a little tickle from re-reading. I get a lot more enjoyment from writing romance. I would have to say my favorite, so far, is my WIP, which is book 2, behind Taming the Captain.
LQ: Who is your favorite character to write about?
BB: I like the strong leading man. I like testing him, watching him grow as a person, and I love writing in little details that remove him from the typical “alphahole.” Leading men are enjoyable to write if they have a bit of a soft side.
LQ: Who are your favorite authors? Have any of them influenced your work?
BB: My favorites as an adult are Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, Winsten Graham, James F. Cooper, to name a few.
During the early 80’s, when I was a teen/pre-teen, a lot of what was available to me at home, came in the form of jacking my aunt and mother’s bodice rippers. Looking back on some of the titles as an adult, I shudder to think now, of my 13ish something daughter, (or any age) reading book after book of forced sex, slave sex, etc., wrapped in the packaging of romance. To be fair to my mother, she did not know I was stealing and reading her books.
Basically, all I recall from those editions was the “fight like hell and then have hot sex, or a young, beautiful virgin is forced to have sex by the “hero,” and then falls in love with him and vice versa and later they get married.
Regardless, I was young, and the seed for romance novels, the beautiful covers, etc. was planted. Taming the Captain is ironically being reviewed positively as a “modern-day bodice ripper,” (Melissa, Probably at the Library, 2020), The storyline is based on a strong female who is not into taking shit from the charismatic captain. Still, there is also a lot of tenderness, depth of character, adventure, and a good, passionate burn that leads to steamy, consensual sex. Nothing will turn me off faster to a romance novel than a storyline where all the hero and heroine do is bicker and fight, and then have hot sex. So perhaps, inadvertently, my writing is partially influenced by all these authors? You would have to ask my readers. ; )
LQ: How are you doing during the current pandemic?
BB: I am an introvert by nature. I love being at home with my family, cooking, hiking, writing. I love people, but social situations can be a bit of a struggle for me, especially if there are a lot of people involved. I do have a few worries about some of our community members, family members, etc. who would struggle greatly if they caught COVID-19, but the social distancing aspect of the virus has not changed my life much.
LQ: What are you currently working on?
BB: I am putting the finishing touches on Even Captains Cry. It is the follow-up book to Taming the Captain which was released in February. “Even Captains Cry” has been a lot of fun to write. Without giving away any spoilers, we see the ever hot and ready Anthony completely out of his element and struggling in ways he never knew possible, but I promise a happy ending. ; ) The book is due for release mid to late June of this year.
LQ: Anything else you would like to share?
BB: I love interacting with readers, writers, book bloggers, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, @BeatriceBallen3.