What are the latest happenings in your writerly world?
I had two books released this year; the contemporary romance A Love For All Seasons (Kimani Press/Arabesque, mass market, $6.99) in May
If These Walls Could Talk (Dafina Books, trade, $14), women's fiction, in June. If These Walls Could Talk addresses the problems of three couples who move from New York City to the Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains to escape high real estate prices . . . only to find a whole new set of difficulties. In this time of a collapsing housing market, it's quite relevant. Both books have been well received.
My next book is another women's fiction story, Once Upon A Project. It will be published by Dafina Books in May 2008 and is about four lifelong friends turning fifty. Two of them have gone off and lost touch, but all four are reunited when one of them organizes a tenant's reunion of the Chicago housing project where they spent their earliest years, which is also turning fifty. Each woman is at a crossroads in her life, and the reunion marks a turning point in the lives of each of them, after which their lives will never be the same. This is the longest novel I've ever written, and, I believe, the best. (And you don't have to be near or over fifty to enjoy it!) It is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon.
At this time, I'm not writing romance. Harlequin started the Kimani Romance line, purchased the Arabesque line and revamped the latter, leaving no place for me. As for my writing for Kimani Romance, all I can say is that at this point in my career I'm simply not a category romance writer.
I've also started a blog, Chew the Fat with Bettye. I post my thoughts on writing, current events, and life in the 21st century. I also post character blogs for upcoming novels and will soon implement "5 Questions for . . ." mini author interviews.
What's one thing you've learned about the writing industry over the last year?
It's gotten a lot tougher out there. Those at the top are fighting to stay there. Not being at the top, I'm not worried about that, but I am more than a little concerned about how the downturn in the economy - rising prices for gas, heating oil, bread, eggs, and the rest - will affect the book market, particularly for trade paperbacks, which is how I'm published. At the time I write this (mid November), Starbucks just released declining sales figures, which suggests that people are cutting back on extras. Not to be all doom and gloom, but I'd be foolish not to be concerned.