Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10Q Tuesday with Becca Dale!

How did you start your writing career? Badly. I thought I really knew how to write. I had been told all my life what a fantastic story teller I was. My teachers, friends, and family lied. I did everything wrong. Apparently, leaping randomly through point of views is a bad thing as are weighty narrative, excessive use of fragments, repetitive speech tags, and the words just and that. Now, that just isn’t right.

So, how did I finally get my act together? I joined writers’ groups, found critique partners, volunteered to be a critique partner, took “how to get published” seminars, and creative writing courses. Heck, I even taught creative writing for a while. Then, when I felt confident enough to handle rejection again, I sent a short story to a submissions call and the rest is history.

What was your first sale as an author? My first sale was the story mentioned above. It’s called Ice Crystal and tells the story of a woman who goes to her grandmother’s cabin in Sweden to escape from the memories of her deceased husband and their life together. What she finds, with the help of her personal mountain angel, is a sexy man who makes her realize she is a beautiful woman with the strength and passion to go forward. I was very proud of this and even though I have grown as an author since then, I still love this story.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers? Why yes I do, Ms Val. How kind of you to ask. In fact, I feel I have one of the best in the country. I rely on her and a few others for feedback, but not to the extent I did when I first started. That isn’t because I couldn’t use the help, but I don’t have time to reciprocate as much as I would like, and I don’t like to impose on others if I can’t return the favor.

What do you think makes a good story? I need two things in a good story. One it shows growth in the characters. They face a challenge of some kind and become better people for having faced it. Two I can visualize and sympathize. It sucks me in on several levels until the world around me disappears and all I can see, hear, smell and feel comes from the pages or the screen.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why? Ireland. My maiden name is Irish and even though it has been thinned and changed by a hundred other nationalities, Ireland seems to call to me. I don’t know much about the country other than what is written in a very old diary my great-uncle had, but I would love to see it first hand. Some day, if I ever have unlimited disposable income, I would like to spend a month traveling around the island with my hubby with no greater agenda than to meet as many people as possible.

Does travel play in the writing of your books? I never realized it, but my early work often had travel of some sort. Presently, I tend to write things closer to home. Maybe it is that idea that we write what we know. When I do travel personally, it is usually with friends to escape the coldest part of winter and we hit the Maya Riviera. Lately, hubby and I have been talking about going to the Bahamas or someplace like that for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and that is where the most recent traveling novel is set. Maybe I did that subconsciously since the research had been primarily done.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career? Most of them don’t know many details. My hubby and my kids know that I write romance, but the kids don’t know I write erotic romance though I suppose since they are adults now, they could look up my work and find out fairly quickly. For the most part, I don’t share with my extended family. Sometimes it is better if they don’t know what dances around in my head.

Does your significant other read your stuff? Funny. No. The man is an electrical engineer. If it is not a tech manual or a mopar magazine, he’s not reading it. He has helped me work out a scene or two on occasion, but I didn’t tell him I had an agenda. Ignorance can be bliss or blissful as the case may be.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant. My favorite restaurant is in Austin, TX. We lived there for a very brief time while hubby did an internship. County Line on the Lake is sort of a classy barbeque joint. I know that is an oxymoron to some extent, but it was great. My daughter was a toddler at the time (She turns twenty in January.) and the waitresses loved her. We would strip her down to her little panties, and she would dive into the ribs like they were manna from heaven. My hubby was busy snarfing down the honey wheat bread. I don’t remember what my son liked there as he hated messy foods. He never protested going though so they must have had something he could eat with a fork. When all the delicious food was gone, the waitress would bring hot scented towels. I can’t remember if they were lemon or mint, but they did a great job on cleaning the girl child well enough to put her in the car. It was my favorite place because while I enjoyed the view of the lake, watching my daughter and her father enjoy every morsel of their meals with such enthusiasm made me happy somehow. Thankfully, we never had to strip hubby down to his briefs. I am sure it would not have had the same charming effect on the other guest as the little blond two-year-old.

What was the scariest moment of your life? The day I lost my son for hours. My life has been fairly uneventful. I live a pretty quiet existence so the scariest moment in it, might not have been so scary to anyone else. It freaked me out. My son was in first grade and he usually walked home from school as it was only a couple blocks. The day I started a new job, was also an early release day from his school. I arranged to have the babysitter’s kids walk him to her house, and I reminded him that he was to go there. He forgot and so did the other kids. I called to tell the babysitter that I would be later than expected, and she informed me that T had never arrived. That was at two o’clock.

I didn’t really worry then as he had always been told to go to the neighbors if he got home and I wasn’t there. I called the neighbor and got a busy signal so I knew she was home. I finished my errands and went home as quickly as I could. I hurried across the street and with a laugh asked if T was there knowing full well he was. When she said no, my stomach dropped. I ran back home and his backpack was in the sun porch but he wasn’t around. The wind chill factor was very high that day, but more than that I remember he had told me some strange man had said hi to him a few days before. He thought he knew the guy but wasn’t sure. More than two hours had passed by then and I was almost throwing up. As I went into the house to make sure he hadn’t fallen asleep somewhere and didn’t hear me call, the phone rang. The babysitter called to tell me he had arrived and she was warming him up. Apparently, he had sat in the porch until he panicked and started to cry. [Give him a break he was only six.] He finally remembered that I had told him to go to the babysitters. He didn’t even think about going across the street. He just went where he was supposed to go. The poor kid walked eight blocks in the bitter cold with wet gloves and wet cheeks. His poor face was raw for a week, but I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life.

My family is my touch stone. They enable me to do or face almost anything, but losing one of them would destroy me. Hubby is not allowed to die before me, and my children are never to do anything to get themselves seriously hurt. It is the law because I said so.

Find Becca at Becca's Retreat

19 comments:

Maureen said...

Ah, I'd love to visit Ireland, too. But I imagine wandering for a few months, avoiding people for the most part and just seeing the scenary!

We must be opposites!

Jo-Anne Kenrick said...

I hope you get to visit Ireland one day, it's beautiful!
Arghh, what a heart stopping moment,and a worst nightmare, for any 'good' mother.

jennifer said...

Very interesting. I remember losing my son at a huge flea-market, and it was terrifying. A little embarrassing when they came over the loud speaker asking if WE were lost, and where to go, but worth it. From then on, I put my kids on horse lead ropes.
Kya's King looks good, and is going in my TBR file.

Deena said...

Becca, you had my heart in my throat and a knot in the pit of my stomach as I was reading about your son. Thank God it turned out ok! :)

Leanne Dyck said...

See that's the thing about writing erotica. I have to tell the world about my writing.

I have a similar pact with my husband--I die first.

Becca Dale said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I appreciate it. Yes, losing my son, even for a few hours, scared me more than I can express. He was my social buddy when he was little and would talk to anyone so the idea of him being kidnapped was never too far from my mind even in our little town.

If any of you ever get to Ireland I want pictures. Oh an wandering for months would be so much fun but maybe a bit too long from home for me. I am a bit of a homebody.

steph beck said...

Nothing humbles and scares us like our babies. I'm so glad that one turned out all right for everyone.

You forgot to mention your super duper cake baking skills though...those should be mentioned often and loudly...because YUM!!!

Steph Beck

Becca Dale said...

LOL, I accept your praise with great pleasure, Steph. Thank you for dropping by.

Kimber An said...

Gorgeous cover art!

Maureen said...

I want time to stumble though all the ruins, wander through the wild places and gape at the every cove and cliff...

With an unlimited photo memory card, of course!

And a warm, snug B&B to retreat to. Or a caravan...

Dreams!

Kate Richards said...

shoot now I want ribs!

Becca Dale said...

Ha ha, Maureen. That actually sounds lovely. Worth leaving home for.

Thanks, Kimber. I love it too.

Becca Dale said...

Oh, they were yummy, Kate. Ribs are still my DD's favorite and I swear it is because of County Line.

Maeve said...

What a neat post, Becca! And Ireland is awesome. I only took about 1200 pics while we wandered Ireland & Scotland this fall. *sigh* I guess I was trying to bring both countries home with me.

Becca Dale said...

Thanks. I don't blame you a bit for taking a ton of pictures, Maeve. I would have done the same. I am so jealous.

Kathleen said...

Becca, I enjoyed reading your post. Pure joy leaps off the page when you talk about your children. It's wonderful to recall the fun times when the kids are growing up.

I remember the fear I experienced when my youngest son ran down another aisle in the department store. I have the same rules. No injuries!

Becca Dale said...

Thanks, Kathleen. It is hard to stop being crazy protective of my kids even now that they are grown. Glad I am not the only one.

Nina Croft said...

Hi Becca, love your cover - and loved the comment about your significant other - mine is the same, but he'll sometimes asks to read my stuff and I'll say - no, honestly, darling, you won't enjoy it. Then he'll do something and I get the idea he might have been sneaking a peak!

Becca Dale said...

Thanks, Nina. Dara makes lovely covers, doesn't she.

Maybe you'll have to write about something you've been wanting to try and then tell him he can't read it. LOL - Oh what fun you could have with that. I'm pretty sure my hubby would be shocked if he read the thoughts that run through my characters' minds. :-)