Saturday, June 6, 2015

0 Betsy Schow, author of SPELLED, on entertaining yourself in order to entertain an audience

Betsy Schow is the author of the fairy tale flipside novel SPELLED, and we're delighted to have her here to chat about writing.

Betsy, how long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

*whispers* This is top secret, but when I wrote this I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote the first 50 pages over a few months time and then the last 200 in about 3 weeks. (Note to aspiring authors: Never query your book until it's ALL the way done) Amazingly my agent loved it, despite its raw form and the rest is part of my fairy tale ending. Spelled is my first fiction book, published or unpublished. I published a non-fiction in 2013. It was a memoir, Finished being Fat. Easy to write, since hey, I lived it. Now that I am in the community, I realize how incredibly lucky I have been. And how much further I have to go so that my words on paper match the vision in my head. But I really think the ignorance was part of my success. I wrote freely without being worried to death over rules and the "proper way" to write a book.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

First I go for a 5k run and plot the whole time. Exercising really focuses my mind plus all the happy endorphins don't hurt. Next, after the children have been shuttled to school, I'll sit down and pick a soundtrack for the chapter I am working on. Then it's phone off and door locked until the chapter is done or my alarm goes off to pick up the kids, whichever comes first. I also keep a file of images that help me visualize my characters, settings and really makes my story come to life.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Gooshey "lovey dovey define the relationship" scenes. I'm awful at them. Action scenes, bring 'em on, but I struggle to express romantic connections through dialogue. Thank heavens for writer friends that rock at those kind of things. And editors! God Bless Editors!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

The number one thing that sells books is if they entertain. Now that I mentor, I see so many writers struggling with "show not tell" and "action verbs", they forget to let their narrative voice shine through and tell a good story. So worry less about the rules and what this how-to book says and just have fun. Because if you can entertain yourself, chances are you can entertain an audience. If you agonize over every word, the reader will too.


Spelled by Betsy Schow
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 6/2/2015

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day. 

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks―like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Purchase Spelled at Amazon
Purchase Spelled at IndieBound
View Spelled on Goodreads


My PhotoBETSY SCHOW is the TODAY Show featured author of the non-fiction book, Finished Being Fat; however she’s been mixing up real life and fantasy for as long as she can remember. If someone were to ask about her rundown truck, she’s 100% positive that mechanical gremlins muck up her engine. And the only reason her house is dirty is because the dust bunnies have gone on strike. She lives in Utah with her own knight in geeky armor and their two princesses (that can totally shapeshift into little beasts). When not writing, she acts as the Tournament Director for Odyssey of the Mind and helps teach kids creative thinking (or how to turn their toasters into robots).  
Her debut novel, Spelled, comes out June 2015 from Sourcebooks. She is represented by Michelle Witte, Mansion Street Literary Agency.

What did you think of our interview with Betsy Schow, author of SPELLED? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,
Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin

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