Bette Stevens – A Woman For All Seasons

It hasn’t taken long for me to realize the best part of being an author is meeting other authors and building friendships.  This is extremely easy when you meet people like Bette Stevens.  Did you ever meet someone with whom you feel you have been friends for years?  That’s how I feel about Bette.

I like to think of Bette as a woman for all seasons because of her talent and experience.  She has been there and done it all, from business to education and now artist and author.  Bette mixes all of her skills and shares them with us in her children’s and young adult books.  In Amazing Matilda , Bette successfully educates children about Monarch butterflies while entertaining them with a fun story with clever characters.  This is a perfect story for introducing children to the beauty and incredible life of butterflies.  Share the experience with your children by helping them find cocoons and watching the magic of “Matilda” evolve.

Not only can Bette write and illustrate for children, she has the ability to touch the hearts of older readers as well.  In Pure Trash and Dog Bone Soup, baby-boomers will reminisce about the 50’s and 60’s while younger readers will be drawn in by the story of a young man who wants more out of life than he has experienced in his rural community.  Dog Bone Soup is entertaining yet teaches compassion and understanding by exposing bullying, intolerance, and plain old meanness.

Let me introduce my friend Bette Stevens so you can get to know her better.Bette Crop 2015

Hi Bette,

Q:  Why did you decide to become a writer?

A:  Writing came naturally for me, Kathleen. Putting words on paper to create a story of sorts was something that I’ve always enjoyed. I worked in the business world, for two decades, before venturing out to the world of kids in the classroom with my teaching degree. I was always writing something; business letters, speeches for executives, and interviewing out in the field for our company’s twelve-page newsletter of which I was editor, designer and desktop publisher. When it came to the classroom, writing with the kids was an adventure.

Q:  What was your goal when you started writing and what is it now?

A:  My goal has always been to write or record anecdotes for readers—whether family, friends, business associates or children—to enjoy. I’ve been writing poetry since the 1970s and am frequently inspired to jot down word nuggets from nature when I’m outdoors walking or gardening. At this point in my life, my goal is to write for my children and grandchildren, so that they’ll have something tangible to remember me by, something that’s part of me.

Q:  Do you have a home office?  Please describe it or tell us where you like to write.

A:  I call my office my Writer’s Nook. It’s an open alcove at the front entry of our home where I tend the wood fire in the winter—a place where I like to read and write no matter the season. It’s a spot where I can have my own space, yet still be connected to whatever is going on around me. I love it, because I never feel isolated or shut off from family.

Q:  How many hours a day do you write?

A:  That depends on what my plans are for a given day. I do spend a lot of time at the computer, but it’s not all writing time. Most days I write for two or three hours. However, if I’m on a mission like writing a book, it might be eight hours or more.

Q:  How many hours a day do you spend on other work related to writing, i.e., research, marketing, etc.

A:  That’s how I spend most of my time. Marketing generally takes up a solid four hours, three times a week. I keep trying to pare it down, but making connections with other writers and readers is an important part of the process and it sure does take time. There are so many new things to learn and share. So many new friends to meet.

Q:  Tell us a little about your books.  Do you have a favorite?

A:  The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! published in 1997 by a regional press and self-published in 2012 as a second edition; it’s a great resource for the classroom and home-schoolers, but it’s also great fun for families and kids. Now I’m pleased to call myself an Indie Author.  Both of my children’s books are written and illustrated by yours truly.

AMAZING MATILDA— the inspirational tale of a monarch butterfly—has won two awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature for picture books.

PURE TRASH was written not only as a prequel to my first novel, it is a thought-provoking short story targeted at middle-grade through college students to invoke discussions about poverty, bullying and treating people with respect.

DOG BONE SOUP, my first novel, is a coming of age story set in the 1950s and 60s in rural New England in which Shawn Daniels overcomes the challenges of a life of poverty and abuse through sheer grit and determination with the encouragement a few of the people in his life who believe in him.

I don’t really have a favorite. Each book has a unique purpose and audience, although any of my books can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Q:  What is the best advice you can give a new writer?

A:  Read, write, review, edit and make friends. Do these things over and over again. Don’t get discouraged. Join writers’ groups and book clubs, both online and in the real world. Help other writers. Here’s a little poem I wrote to remind myself to keep plugging along…

writers-write-postage-stamp POEM

I wrote it after I finished the fourth draft of my novel.  So now I can remind myself—Never give up!

Q:  When you started writing did you have a mentor?

A:  My first mentors were professors from University of Maine—Sylvester Poulet and Kathryn Olmstead. However, I’ve always been mentored by the writers that I read and the writers that I meet. Mentoring is an ongoing process, much like writing. It’s also something that you become since we’re always learning from one another and teaching one another. So I keep writing, keep reading and keep making friends.

Q:  How do you feel about the books, TV, and movies that are the most popular with young people today?

A:  Being a Boomer, much of what I see in the media today is not what I want my grandchildren to be exposed to on a regular basis. But, I have no doubt that my grandmother probably felt the same way when I was growing up. However, as a writer I feel obligated to write what I would want to read or have my family read. That is a powerful thing. As writers, I belive it is our responsibility to get wholesome character-building literature into the hands of today’s youth.

Q:  If you could say one thing to encourage children to read, what would it be?

A:  “Hey, look at this awesome book—let’s read it!”

Thank you Bette.  As always, I love our conversations.

Bette’s books are available on Amazon.com

BAS Books INSPIRED 2015 (2)

Please visit Bette’s blog:  4writersandreaders.com

 

Emerson and I are always there for you at http://www.kathleenandrewsdavis.com

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ccjauvin
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 17:20:08

    Thank you for introducing us to Bette’s work. I admire writers such as Bette and yourself who write for children. It’s so important that children fall in love with reading at a young age. Books that intermingle good storytelling and values will never be out of style.
    As a writer, I appreciate the thpughts on the writing process.

    Reply

    • Bette A. Stevens
      Mar 18, 2015 @ 19:54:48

      Hi, CC. Thanks so much for stopping by to join the conversation. Your ,on children and reading are at the heart of writing for children. Best wishes on your writing, my new friend! 🙂 Bette

      Reply

  2. Reggie S.
    Mar 30, 2015 @ 18:14:29

    Hi Kathleen,
    Enjoyed all of your blogs, especially the interviews with your fellow authors.
    Very Interesting.
    The story about John certainly tugged at my heart strings. Thanks to you it
    had a happy ending.
    Keep up your great writing.

    Your devoted reader,
    Reggie

    Reply

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