Author Interview with Bettie Boswell

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!


Buy at Amazon or Mount Zion Ridge Press

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.

What’s the Relationship?

Here’s a prompt to exercise the fantasy side of your imagination. What’s the relationship between these three characters?

Londra handed the fey flame to Kiel.

“No one saw me.” She glanced back over her shoulder.

The fires of our enemy’s village shone faintly through the thick trunks of the ancient forest. I flapped my wings, but the breeze couldn’t make the flame even flutter.

Kiel transferred the torch to her left hand and held her right to Londra.

She shook her head. “I’ll slow you down.”

Snorting, I looked to Londra as Kiel said, “We can make it. We can’t leave you here.”

Her dark eyes wide, Londra stepped back. “You’re wasting time.”

I couldn’t speak in my present form. I focused and shifted into my born shape. “Londra, as your–“

So what is the relationship between Londra and the shape-shifting uni-pegasus? Her brother, father, fairy godmother?

I’d love to read how you would continue this scene!

For more fantasy prompts, click here.

The Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Later this month, I have guest bloggers discussing how they write romance novels. Since they are covering the love aspect of this month’s theme, I thought I’d handle the friendship part of it. And what better way than to highlight the greatest friendship in English literature, the bond between the Great Detective and the Good Doctor in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In high school, I watched the TV series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. His portrayal mesmerized me and sent me to the original stories. Between the four novels and the fifty-six short stories that Sir Arthur wrote about his most famous character, I think the short stories are far better. Except for The Hound of the Baskervilles, the novels suffer from a boring second half. The first half involves Holmes solving the mystery. But when the perpetrator of the crime is revealed, he drags down the second half by delivering his backstory.

Some of my favorite short stories are:

  • “A Scandal in Bohemia”–I have to love the only story that features the intriguing Irene Adler, the woman who outwitted Holmes
  • “The Red-Headed League”–Who created the Red-Headed League to benefit red-headed men? Why is Jabez Wilson told the League will pay him if he sits in an office for four hours a day and copies the Encyclopedia Britannica? And then why does it suddenly disband? The solution is one of Sir Arthur’s most ingenious.
  • “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”–One of the best Christmas mysteries ever written. Holmes and Watson must figure out how a stolen jewel ended up in the crop of a Christmas goose.
  • “The Adventure of Silver Blaze”–The killer of a horse trainer turns out to be the least likely but most logical suspect.
  • “The Empty House”–After he lets Watson believe he died three years ago at the hands of Professor Moriarty, Holmes makes a dramatic return. He enlists Watson’s help in an attempt to capture Moriarty’s right hand man, Colonel Sebastian Moran.
  • “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton”–Holmes and Watson decide they are justified in committing burglary to save a woman from a professional blackmailer. I love this story because we get to see how much Watson enjoys his adventures with Holmes. He’s thrilled to the core to be sneaking through the night to commit a noble crime.
  • “The Illustrious Client”-– I tend to like the stories where the superhuman reasoning machines are shown to be human after all. While trying to prevent a woman from marrying a sexual predator, Holmes is beat up. Watson is outraged, and once again, Holmes believes he needs to break the law to achieve justice.
  • “The Three Garridebs”–While trying to help a client who will receive a large bequest if three people with a rare last name are located, Holmes finally reveals the depth of his feelings for Watson. Watson’s description of seeing this side to his best friend’s nature is both touching and funny.

I think the key to the longevity of these stories is the friendship between Holmes and Watson. Holmes would come across as an inhuman deducing machine if Sir Arthur hadn’t created Watson to be the detective’s friend and biographer. Watson would be just an ordinary Victorian gentleman, no one worth reading about, if he wasn’t the best pal of the world’s greatest detective.

I learned so much about character development from them. To read about how to create interesting friendships for your characters based on Holmes and Watson, click here for an earlier blog post.

What are your favorite literary friendships?

What’s the Relationship?

My theme for February is love and friendship. So what’s the relationship between the four characters in this photo? Yes, I think the horses are characters. Here’s where my inspiration took me:

“You can pet them.” I held out my hand and patted Bailey on the forelock.

My cousin didn’t move, like he’d become part of the rock we were sitting on. “I don’t want to.”

I gritted my teeth. I’d showed Aiden everything, absolutely everything, he could do on the farm, and he didn’t want to do anything. But Mom said I had to be nice.

“They won’t bite.” I bet all city kids think horses bite.

Aiden slid off the rock and ran back toward the house.

“And he’s gonna be here all summer,” I told Bailey and his mom, Smudge. “What am I supposed to do with him?”

From here, I can take the story two directions. Which do you prefer?

Smudge tossed her head like she didn’t know either while Bailey nuzzled me.


“Well, if you let us say something to him,” said Smudge, “maybe we could help.”

For another character writing prompt, click here.

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