I’m so glad to feature this author interview with Bettie Boswell today. I met Bettie through the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She wrote a post a few years ago for me about the similarities to writing and music, which you can find here. Today, just in time for Valentine’s Day, she’s here to talk about her sweet romance On Cue.
What inspired you to use a musical as the setting of your romance, On Cue?
I have been involved in several community theater events as both an actor and as an author/composer. One of those events did involve a musical called Just Around the Bend which raised funds for a historical museum in the area. For that program, I was a co-author, did some composing, acted, and participated in the production team. That background provided me with a hands-on experience for the book’s setting without having to start any research from scratch. I was also a music teacher for many years and have always enjoyed anything involved in music making. Authors quickly discover there is always some kind of research and the musical experience in my own community provided an easy way to do that for On Cue.
Yes, it saves so much time if a writer pulls from his or her own experiences for a story.
Is it difficult writing from the male perspective?
I had two older brothers and two children who grew into fine young men. They provided me with some of the experience I needed to create my hero. I also read at least one Christian romance every week, so I have a feel for what that perspective is like in this genre. In earlier drafts of On Cue my critique partner liked Scott’s development better than Ginny’s so I had to work more on the female perspective. One writing workshop I went to emphasized the female writer should make sure the man’s voice sounds like something a guy would say or notice. He isn’t going to recognize a brand name purse or comment on whether she is wearing a flared or a-line dress. He would just notice that she looks amazing in the blue dress.
What surprised you the most about writing the romance in your novel?
I had a lot of fun with the secondary characters in this story. Many of them were not in earlier drafts and that was a shame. They added depth to the story while supporting the main characters. Those characters gave the leads someone to talk to, someone to care about or rescue, someone to add a little humor, and also provided open doors to possible appearances in sequels to On Cue. I am planning to work on one of those character’s stories starting sometime this summer, when I retire from my day job of teaching. The musical in the story has already inspired a prequel that I am working on during weekends, but my current fulltime teaching position keeps me very busy.
I love creating secondary characters, too! And it’s so rewarding when writers find characters that inspires them to write more than one story about them. Best of luck with your new story!
What do you think is the key to creating a romantic couple readers can root for?
They both need something they can overcome for both an inner journey and an outer journey. Scott and Ginny have the outer journey of unwillingly working together to put on a successful musical that will help the historical museum in their community survive. For their inner journeys they struggle with overcoming issues of trust and forgiveness that have arisen from past experiences in close relationships. Main characters have to be real enough for the reader to identify with them. They need to make the reader smile, cry, relate to their faults, and feel their frustrations and victories.
What advice would you give a writer who wants to write romance?
Read as much as you can in the genre. Find a critique partner who has the ability to correct and encourage. Both are critical to the writing process. Don’t give up. On Cue evolved over the course of several years and many of its earlier forms drew rejections from multiple publishers. Always strive to grow your craft by attending conferences, workshops, and supportive groups like local chapters of ACFW. Those activities helped me realize what I needed to do to improve On Cue. Attending those types of events led me to know about my publisher, Mt. Zion Ridge, and led to the opportunity to write for them.
Connecting with other writers and professionals in the industry is so critical. Thanks for the advice!
When a college sweetheart used Ginny Cline’s dreams for his own glory, he stole her joy of composing music and her trust in men. Years later, encouraged by prayer and a chance to help the local museum, she dares to share her talents again. Unfortunately a financial backer forces her to place her music and trust into the hands of another man.
Theater professor Scott Hallmark’s summer camp benefactor coerces him into becoming the director of Ginny’s musical. The last thing he needs is another woman who uses him to get what they want, especially an amateur who has no idea what they are doing.
As Ginny’s interest in Scott grows, her confusion arises over Honey, a member of Scott’s praise band. Mix in a couple of dogs and quirky cast members for fun and frustration as the couple work together to discover that forgiveness and trust produce perfect harmony.
Bettie Boswell has always loved to write. During her career as a teacher she has written everything from worksheets to musicals to articles in educational journals. Recently she stepped out of her classroom and into the world of publishing. She dipped her toe into the profession by contributing to several teacher education books and eventually wrote a leveled reader, “Side-tracked,” relating the adventure of two boys as they work for the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad. Those train tracks still run from Toledo, through Sylvania, (where Bettie teaches,) and into Michigan. As an active member of Ohio’s SCBWI and ACFW, she is involved in critique/support groups from both organizations. She became aware of submission information for a short story collection through the Ohio ACFW group and contributed “Fred’s Gift” (inspired by the memory of her father) to a collection of tales called “From the Lake to the River.” Her debut Christian Romance novel, “On Cue,” was released on November 1, 2020. Follow Bettie on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.