Since the request for interviews has been steadily growing over the past few months, I have changed interviews from Wednesday to Mondays and Thursdays, at least until I catch up with the demand.
Today, help me to welcome Ina Britton, author of Deadly Bouquet.
IDI – Ina, I’d like to begin with a couple of questions pertaining to Amazon and eBooks. There is a lot of commotion about the effect eBooks are having on brick and mortar booksellers. Do you think eBooks have reached their climax or do you believe they still have room to expand in the market?
IB – I believe eBooks will continue to expand in the market. I do think there will always be room for the hardcover books. There is something about holding a book in your hands that is very satisfying.
IDI – This is what some have said to be a controversial question. What are your thoughts on Amazon and the reviewing process they use? How much trust do you put into the reviews posted for any given book?
IB – Although I do read the reviews of books I buy, I generally don’t put a lot of trust in the review system. I always download a sample and give it a quick read before I purchase the book. One main reason is I saw a book on Amazon once that got many (more than 100) 5 star reviews. There were a few that were 1 star, but I thought “probably not their genre.” I purchased it immediately and soon found it was the worst book I have ever read. In fact, I gave up after 1/3 and didn’t finish the book. I have gone back to that author a couple of times and her other books are the same. What tipped me off was that none of the 5 start reviews had “verified purchase” and the 1 star reviews did. I know that getting reviews are important to sales, but I think the system needs to be changed to people who purchase the book can review it.
IDI – I try not to pay much attention to the reviews either. I’m more likely to look once I’m through reading to see where my opinion fell in line with others.
Define a great book.
IB – A great book is one that draws me in. It is one that I identify with the characters and feel their elation and their pain. A good book I think about after I read the last page and want to read again. A good book I will pick up in the middle of an afternoon and read for hours.
IDI – Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
IB – I have the most amazing husband anyone could hope to have. He has always wanted me to sit down and write. He reads every draft I produce and, of course, thinks I am the best writer ever. He celebrates my every victory and boosts me up after every failure. He truly believes in me, and that can take you a long way.
IDI – Can you tell us three interesting things about you that you’re sure we don’t already know?
IB – I was born and raised in Florida. There are very few real Floridians.
When I was in college in Orlando, I worked as a character in Disney World (Sleepy or Dopey to be exact).
I love to crochet prayer shawls to give away at nursing homes.
IDI – That rings true with me. At one time, most of my family lived in Florida (none of them born there).
Have you ever wanted to give up? What stopped you?
IB – I gave up on the hope of ever writing a book and getting it published (abet self-published). I thought I was just being a dreamer and that it would pass. The need kept coming back until I just decided to do it and “get it out of my system.” Now that the first one is available, the second one is in editing, and the third one is on the drawing board, I think I am addicted.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe to tickle our taste buds?
IB – I am working on my second book of the Deadly Ridgeview series. The first one, Deadly Bouquet, is published on Amazon. It is a story about a 58-year-old widow that finally decides her life is not over. She moves to her small Georgia Mountain home
and realizes her lifelong dream of opening a cut flower shop. However, danger lurks close by and she unwittingly gets involved in an underground operation. Jake, her new love interest and retired FBI agent, is torn between loving her and deciding if she is involved in criminal activities. The second book, Deadly Secrets, is a continuation of the story with Jake’s best friend, Max and his love interest, Karen. An excerpt from it:
There was an ear-splitting explosion that echoed through the van. Karen screamed, “No, No.” As the bullet ripped through Max, he straightened up and looked at Karen. Their eyes locked and a chill ran through her. It was as if they could read each other’s minds. They looked deep into their souls and feelings passed between them that no words could ever express. Max faded as Karen was helpless and watched in horror. Slowly he slumped over, his eyes closing.
IDI – What works for you? Give us a rundown of your ‘writing process’ from beginning to finished product.
IB – Being a CPA for 32 years has taught me to be very organized. My mind works in a linear pattern, going from point a to point b to point c. When I get an idea for a story, I start jotting down thoughts, scenarios, characters, settings, etc. in a three-ring notebook. Next, I take the odds and ends and start outlining the novel on paper. I start to form the chapters using goal, motivation and conflict. After I get this done, I plot the book out on flowcharting software. Using this software, I can change the scenes around by dragging and dropping. Then I start writing.
IDI – I’ve recently started using storyboarding along with the 7-point structure and it’s been working pretty well. Different systems work for different writers and I think it’s all a matter of finding what works for you, and it appears you have.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing? How has this helped you as a writer?
IB – When I started working on Deadly Bouquet, I think the most important thing that hit me was the characters needed to be someone who both my readers and I can relate too. Therefore, all my characters are of the baby boomer generation. As boomers, we are at the age that things are changing drastically. We have gone to school, married, had the children, raised them, been divorced, widowed, or married for a long time. We have had grandchildren, faced the aging and death of our parents. We don’t relate to the 20 something virgin anymore. However, our lives are far from over and we are not ready to quit. We still desire love and sex, we still look forward to meeting someone, and we like reading about those types of scenarios. My books are about living life after the fiftieth birthday.
IDI – One more questions, Ina.
Everyone has visions of where they see themselves in the future, be it a year or five. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?
IB – My life has been very difficult in the past 5 years. I have buried 2 grandchildren, my husband had 5 heart bypasses, I fought ovarian cancer, I lost my dear mother, and several other things that are too long to go into. My life in the past 5 years has been “one day at a time, I will worry about tomorrow when it gets here.” Now that I feel I have “passed through the fires,” I am hoping I will have a little smooth sailing. I look forward to writing, playing golf with my husband, writing some more, traveling a little, writing a little more, and enjoying my life.
IDI – Oh my, you certainly have had your share of adversity and loss. I’m sorry. Thank you for appearing with me today and I hope you get your smooth sailing.
IB – Thank you for having me, Kathy.
If you would like to connect with Ina or learn more about her work, you can visit her at any of the following links: