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Author Spotlight: 
 
 Bettye Griffin
Author of 
"The People Next Door and Nothing But Trouble"

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Both hilarious and poignant, Bettye Griffin’s latest novel explores the lives and loves of three best friends who discover that there’s nothing in the world they can’t handle—as long as they stick together…

Dana Covington never thought she’d be a widow at 38—but sometimes, that’s the way life works out. It’s a good thing Dana’s friends, Norell and Cecile, are always ready to give her a shoulder to cry on…even when they’ve got big problems of their own.

Just as Norell gives up on her dream to have a baby, she’s shocked when Cecile turns up pregnant—again. Norell’s heartbreak throws her friendship with Cecile into a complete tailspin. And just when things can’t get much worse, Cecile’s sexy younger sister comes to town. As usual, Micheline is looking for trouble—and this time, she finds enough for everyone.

With tension mounting between the trio, it seems like their friendship might not stand the test. But when all is said and done, true friends know that even their closest pals aren’t perfect—and that the people who drive you crazy are the ones you love the most…

Meet Bettye Griffin

 Author of

 " Nothing But Trouble and The People Next Door" 

 

 

 

 

PWLGB:   When did you decide you wanted to write?

BG:   From the time I started first grade.  At that time (early 1960s,)
those
Dick and Jane books weren't politically correct.  Everyone was
blue-eyed.
I lived my earliest years in an urban housing project, which in those
days
were full of practicing Catholics of Irish or Italian or Polish
(virtually
no Hispanics) extraction with large families, seven or nine or eleven
kids,
as well as blacks, single mothers of any ethnicity, family men, often
Korean War vets, attending college on the GI bill while working
low-paying
jobs to support their families.  The folks in my neighborhood who
weren't
black had dark or perhaps what is rather insultingly known as "dirty
blond"
hair.  I never even saw anyone with blue eyes.  I was, like, "Where's
the
colored people?  Why is everyone's hair so bright yellow?"  When I knew
enough words I started writing my own stories.

PWLGB:   How many novels in all have you written?

BG:   I have written eleven novels (ten have been published; the eleventh,
the
Arabesque romance ONE ON ONE, will be released in September 2006.) 
Right
now I am working on numbers 12 and 13.

PWLGB:   How long did it take you to write your first novel?

BG:   I took my time, which you can do when you're not under contract. 
I'd
guess about nine months.

PWLGB:   Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

BG:   Everywhere!  Sometimes when hearing something perfectly mundane on
the
news or when talking with someone, the bell goes off.  I begin with a
tiny
idea, think about it while I'm washing dishes or vacuuming, and it
grows
into something that can become a novel.  I keep an "idea file," and
frequently combine two or three elements to make a novel.

PWLGB:   Tell us about your latest release, "Nothing But Trouble"

BG:   This is a story of three longtime friends who met as co-workers
while
working as medical transcriptionists, seeing each other through
divorce,
ill parents, etc.  Over the years their lives brought them in different
directions, but they meet for lunch every few weeks.  Eventually they
all
settle down, but then one of them tragically loses her husband.  The
resulting financial problems make her consider opening her own medical
transcription service, and she invites her two friends to become her
partners and help provide capital.  They go into business, all of them
trying to cope with various life problems.  Then the sister of one of
the
women comes to town (she's the "trouble" referred to in the title.) 
This
woman, through jealousy and general mean-spiritedness, manages to leave
her
mark on all three women, threatening their decade-long friendship.

PWLGB:   I also loved your previous release, "The People Next Door", What
made
you decide to write a story like "The People Next Door",  Are the
characters based on real people? 

BG:   The seed was planted by a person I know (not well, thank God) who is
always bragging and talking about "Me, me, me, me, me."  In working
with
that general idea and trying to expand on it to make it more
interesting,
the familial connections of exes living next door to each other and the
whole "keeping up with the Joneses" idea got added.  In all honesty,
I've
known a few folks who are heavily into that latter way of thinking as
well.
But I think everyone does, which is why readers have been able to
relate to
those characters.

PWLGB:   After writing your first novel, did you self-publish? If so, how was
that experience?

BG:   Self-publishing isn't for me.  There's a lot of work involved, and
there
also tends to be a stigma associated with it (in my opinion,) because
of
the lack of professional editing.  

PWLGB:  What feedback have you received from fans?

BG:  Positive.  Few readers will contact a writer with negative feedback
unless they feel very strongly about something, like, I don't know,
they
think you've based one of your unpleasant characters on their mother or
something.

PWLGB:  What authors do you admire? Did one of them inspire you?

BG:  Whenever I read a really good book I say to myself, "That's what I
want
to do, draw the reader in right away like they drew me in."  I'll find
myself studying how it's constructed, like a frog in biology class.  I
can't really say I have favorite authors.  I might love one book of
theirs,
then just not feel their next one.      

PWLGB:   Is writing your only passion?

BG:   No, but you're getting personal (smile.)

PWLGB:   Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

BG:   Probably doing the same as I am now, writing two books a year on
subjects I enjoy writing about that my editors green light.  I have no
delusions that I'll some day hit the big time, Stephen King territory. 
I'm
a little too old at this point in my life to have such big dreams, and
besides, the field is getting awfully crowded. making it harder to
stand
out.  I'm grateful for the readers I have and want to keep them. 

PWLGB:   What advice would you give aspiring authors?

BG:  Learn about the craft.  Don't take the attitude that God has given
you a
gift and that's all you need.  All gifts, whether a singing voice or a
flair for dancing or a talent at art, need to be nurtured to reach
their
highest potential.  As Truman Capote famously commented about another
successful writer (the reportedly heavily edited Jacqueline Susann,)
"She
doesn't write, she types."  Study.  Learn to recognize those bad habits
all
writers have.  My own pet peeve:  Writers who don't resist the urge to
explain, where every piece of dialogue is accompanied by a statement of
the
character's motives or intent.  A little of anything habitual in
writing
usually goes a long way.  And don't spend time worrying about how much
you'll be paid or what agent you'll approach until you have a completed
AND
polished product.    

PWLGB:   What would you like readers to learn from your stories?

BG:  I just want them to enjoy my work.  I try not to be preachy.  

PWLGB:   Are you working on another novel? If so, What is it about?

BG:  I am working on two novels for 2007 (I write both mainstream women's
fiction and contemporary romance for two different publishers.)  The
mainstream, THE EDGE OF A DREAM, named after a Minnie Riperton song,
was an
idea that came to me in response to the "Black people don't live like
that"
criticism I have heard aimed at my book THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR, as well
as
books by other authors.  I decided to write a book about three couples
living in an area of very costly real estate (specifically the
Northeast)
and how they join a trend of buying homes in Pennsylvania while holding
on
to their jobs in the city.  There's something improbable about
commuting
100 miles to work and leaving the city for a lifestyle you know nothing
about, and let's just say it works better for some than others (spring
2007
from Dafina Books). 

My other project, a contemporary romance presently without a title, is about a woman in her 30s who has never formed any close attachments to
anyone other than her mother.  When friends bring a friend of theirs along
to a party at her apartment, his presence strangely unnerves her,
especially when he expresses interest in her.  She doesn't know that his
appearance has set in motion the unlocking of memories that have been
buried since she was a toddler (summer 2007 from Kimani
Press/Arabesque).

Completed and coming out in September 2006 is ONE ON ONE, a
contemporary
romance about romantic complications in the years following the
infamous
terrorist attacks of 09/11/2001.  It wasn't unusual, because of the
immensity and suddenness of the attacks, for men and women in New York
to
find themselves first consoling, then falling in love with siblings or
best
friends of their spouses or significant others who lost their lives,
and I
felt this was worth exploring.
  
PWLGB:   Where can people purchase your books? Do you have a website?

BG:  Both my publishers have excellent distribution, and my books are
sold in
all major bookstore chains, in black bookstores (are there any of them
left?), and by some discounters, like Wal-Mart (some stores of which have
better book sections than others.)  I do have a website,
www.bettyegriffin.com.  I frequently run contests and send members monthly  newsletters.

Bettye Griffin

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