Guest Author Interview with Becky Dooley!

We have the pleasure of bringing you a fantastic guest author interview post with author, Becky Dooley! Please make sure you check this out!

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Answer: I had been playing around with different stories for a long time but had never finished one. I would get to a place and get "stuck" then move on to another idea. I made the decision that I would finish this one, and I did.

2. Can you tell me about the book?

Answer: Yes. Rhona's Cottage is a modern ghost story set in the fictional town of Auburnshire, Scotland. To me, it is a blending of The Canterville Ghost and Enough. My main character, Krista Acheson, moves into an ancient Scottish manor with her husband, Sean. In the beginning the reader is led to believe that she and Sean are hoping to repair their marriage. Shortly after moving in, she discovers that the manor is home to three ghosts, Seamus MacLeod, his wolfhound, Faolin, and cat, Shadow. While trying to help Seamus find a way to break the curse that has him bound to the estate, she begins to evaluate her relationship with Sean.

3. What is your writing process like?

Answer: I write best when I can steal a bit of quiet without distraction. Sometimes, the words and story flows quickly and easily, sometimes it's an uphill climb with someone throwing boulders at you.

4. What did you learn when writing the book?

Answer: That I do have the ability to do it, I just have to stick it out and not let myself get distracted by other characters that want their stories told at the same time.

5. What surprised you the most?

Answer: That I actually finished it and that people have read it.

6. What does the title mean?

Answer: It is the key that unlocks everything.

7. Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?

Answer: No. I did base a few of my characters on real people, mostly personalities and some physical traits.

8. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?

Answer: Life goes on, wounds and heartaches heal.

9. What advice do you have for writers?

Answer: Don't give up and never let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

10. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Answer: Both. When the story is flowing effortlessly and I have a productive day, I'm energized. When I'm struggling through or dealing with countless distractions then it exhausts me.

11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Answer: I don't know about other writers, but for me it's times that I feel like I'm not good enough to be a writer or getting distracted by other ideas.

12. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Answer: Distractions.

13. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Answer: Yes, but then I found out that it was used by an erotica author and I went back to my legal name.

14. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Answer: I try to balance between both. I just write the story as it comes to me. The characters really tell the story, I don't.

15. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Answer: For the most part, stand alone. I do, however, have a trilogy planned for the future but I don't foresee writing many of those.

16. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Answer: At least a half dozen with really good word counts but I have lost count on the possibility list I have.

17. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Answer: I usually research as I go but I can spend days at a time on each subject I'm trying to get right.

18. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?

Answer: I started writing in high school in the mid-nineties. I finally committed to making it a career in 2016, though I still consider myself as part-time. I'm a full-time stay-at-home mom and I'm homeschooling my son.

19. How many hours a day do you write?

Answer: As many as I can fit in. Sometimes less than one and sometimes up to six, depends on the day.

20. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)

Answer: Most of my characters are adults, dealing with adult relationships and challenges.

21. What did you edit out of this book?

Answer: Probably not enough.

22. How do you select the names of your characters?

Answer: I scroll through Pinterest and pick out the ones that I feel fit my characters.

23. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Answer: I am currently a stay-at-home mom but I have worked retail, pharmacy, and a medical office.

24. What was your hardest scene to write?

Answer: The ones that help to tie everything together.

25. What is your favorite childhood book?

Answer: Time Enough for Drums

26. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Answer: Rhona's Cottage took a little over a year to write. My current book, A King's Treasure (working title), was started about fifteen years ago. I have worked on it off and on. I committed myself to completing it before moving on to anything else and I hope to have it ready for publication before summer.

27. Do you believe in writer’s block?

Answer: Absolutely.

28. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

Answer: I mostly work on my computer, though I keep a notebook and pen with me at all times.

29. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Answer: I started writing in high school as a way to kill time and entertain my friends. I started toying with the possibility of making a career out of it in my mid to late twenties and wrote off and on until my late thirties when I committed to completing my first book.

30. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

Answer: That's the easy part. New ideas and characters make starting a project fun and easy, sticking with them when they don't want to cooperate and it gets boring and tedious is when it becomes difficult.

31. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

Answer: No, I just want to see progress each day.

32. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

Answer: I will plot but usually I follow my character's lead.

33. Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?

Answer: The only way to overcome anything is to keep working and learning.

34. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?

Answer: Yes, I am an avid reader. My favorite authors are Lindsay Buroker and Nora Roberts but I will read anything.

35. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

Answer: A good plot with realistic characters.

36. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

Answer: I would be more shocked if anyone did show up.

37. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?

Answer: No. I've been an avid reader for so long I've forgotten my first one.

38. How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Answer: It depends on the character but I can put a quite a lot of myself into one.

39. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

Answer: People that have impacted my life in some way.

40. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?

Answer: My mom and daughter.

41. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?

Answer: I think that it depends on the writer. I just have a lot of people in my head vying for my attention and time.

42. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

Answer: I'm not and as far as I've seen in many of my writing groups, they're not either.

43. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?

Answer: No. I'm still finding mistakes in mine even after several rounds of edits.

44. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

Answer: I'm independently published though I've had several agent rejections.

45. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

Answer: I haven't co-authored, but I'm a socially awkward introvert. If co-authoring works for someone then go for it. Whatever works for someone personally.

46. Is writing book series more challenging?

Answer: I would say yes. I do have a trilogy in mind. I'm currently in the plotting and mapping phase but I'm expecting it to be much more of a challenge than writing a single, stand alone.

47. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?

Answer: Yes, extremely so.

48. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Answer: Yes, I lost all of the work on when one of my projects that I was mapping out on Novelist was mysteriously deleted.

49. Can you tell us about your current projects?

Answer: My current project is a Renaissance romance. The main character, Amalie, is helping her sister prepare for her wedding when she catches the eye of Sir Douglas Talton. Though he is polite and charming there is something about him that makes her uncomfortable. Her father's friend, James, asks for her hand to protect her from Talton's advances. Following the wedding, Amalie disappears from her home and so has Talton.

50. Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?

Answer: My psychology/history teacher because I wrote stories to fill in my journal entries.

51. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

Answer: My mom is but my parents pushed us to pursue things that we were interested in.

52. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?

Answer: No, I still have a difficult time talking about my writing.

53. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

Answer: Yes, my current project is the result of a dream and so is the military suspense that I will work on once this one is complete.


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