Friday, July 31, 2009

Save the Penguins... and a Book Giveaway

We interrupt my Love Is... Friday post for a peek at author Betsy St. Amant and her debut Steeple Hill Love Inspired novel Return to Love that released this month, July 2009.

Return to Love is a fun read! I loved the penguins in it, especially their names. And the youth group involvement brought back so many fond memories for me. The main characters, Gracie and Carter, were well developed and I could connect with and understand each of their reservations and concerns. Betsy St. Amant offers some wonderful one liners in this novel too. She had me chortling more than once at her unique characters.

I'm really looking forward to her next story, A Valentine's Wish, being released February 2010 by Steeple Hill LI as well.

Betsy was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. So here they are:

1) Your writing is so fresh, fun, and telling, Betsy. And I've just got to know where a couple lines came from. Lines like: "You're making a bird's nest out of French fries." and "Carter shifted in the dark theater, wishing he were sitting beside Gracie instead of Andy, who smacked popcorn like a six-year-old." Did these come from life experiences, or is this solely your creative mind at work?

Well thank you! I guess it was just my creativity coming through, because those lines weren't premeditated. That's when writing is so fun to me, in those moments where something funny or completely random pops out of your fingers onto the keyboard and you laugh at yourself. =)

2) I know you have another book contracted for Steeple Hill LI to come out in 2010, so can you tell us now that you're on the publishing treadmill, how long does it take you from start to submission to write an LI novel? And just for comparison, how long did it take you to write and prepare Return to Love before you submitted it?

I have two books scheduled for 2010 so far. The first is the sequel to Return to Love, titled A Valentine's Wish, which picks up with Lori's story at a chocolate boutique in the French quarter. It releases February 2010. My third Steeple Hill novel will release April 2010 and its a separate story, set on a dude ranch in Texas, titled Rodeo Sweetheart.

Now that I'm selling on proposal to Steeple Hill, I have to have my story plotted out, obviously, to make the sell. I have deadlines to work with now too, so obviously I am more motivated! On average, from proposal submission to turning in the final manuscript is about 4 months. Then of course the rest of the process varies over the next several months, back and forth with my editor--revisions, line edits, final galleys, etc.

Return to Love took me much longer to write compared to my second two SH novels because of the circumstances. I wrote the story and my agent submitted it. Then a few weeks later, SH sent me a revision letter, saying they were interested but would need to see major changes before saying anything about a contract. I made the revisions, resubmitted, and then was contracted. Upon contracting there were a few more plot tweaks, then line edits, etc. And WHEW, we finally had a book. =)

3) And lastly, what compels you to write short (55k to 60k word) category romances? You do it so well, that I'm assuming your compelled.

Well thanks!! I don't feel that way! haha!! I guess I do what I have to. Some stories it's easier to write "short", but other times its a struggle and I go over my word count and then have to cut. One day I do hope to publish my full length stories, I have several--but that's in God's timing! =)

And here's Return to Love's Back cover blurb: "I'm not the man I used to be!" - if only Gracie Broussard could believe that. Years ago, Cater Alexander broke her heart and betrayed her. Now, just when she needs him most, he's back--asking her to believe he's changed. But this time, it's not just Gracie who'll be hurt if he disappears. A penguin keeper, Gracie urgently needs to find a new home for her beloved birds. Carter is the only one who can help. He promises that she can trust him, that he's not the rebel he once was. And that he needs Gracie as much as her birds do.

Now, to order a copy of Return to Love, click here for the link. You can also try and win a copy through my blog by letting me know you want your name put in the drawing in the comment section. I'll draw the winner next Tuesday evening and post their name on Wednesday.

Good Luck Everyone!!

Surrendering to Him,



Jody Hedlund said...

Goodmorning Eileen,

Definitely enter me into the drawing! I haven't read any Steeple Hill in a while and would love the chance to open one up! Thanks for sharing more about Betsy! It's so cool how we can help promote each other this way! Have a great weekend!

Jessica Nelson said...

Great interview Eileen! It's very interesting to hear about the LI line, since they're who I'd prefer to be with. Especially the time it takes. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. :-) Oh, don't enter me because I think you just sent me this one.

Katie Ganshert said...

Definitely would like to be in the drawing! I've heard such great things about Betsy's writing! Excellent interview!

Diane said...

Please enter me for the drawing. Would love to read it!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Eileen: What a great interview; thanks for sharing with us. Love those one liners!

Please enter my name in the drawing. Thank you.

Stephanie Faris said...

Great interview. I often wonder where odd lines like those came from too when I'm reading a book. It was great to hear straight from the author on them!

Georgiana Daniels said...

You don't have to enter me, as I already have a copy. Just wanted to pop in and say I love this book too!! And I think you'll really enjoy the next ones coming from Betsy. Woohoo!

Warren Baldwin said...

You don't have to enter me for the drawing. Just wanted to say it is interesting to read the process authors took to get their finished product, since I'm in that process (but with a different genre of book).

Jill Kemerer said...

Thanks so much for interviewing Betsy, Eileen!

And Betsy, I can't wait to read your book. It's exciting to hear your process and I hope to see your name on many covers in the future. Congrats!

Have a terrific weekend!

Keli Gwyn said...

Nice interview, Eileen. I appreciate the opportunity to hear more about the process a LI author goes through. I like the way you started the interview with fun lines from Betsy's book that captivated you.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Interesting interview! I enjoy hearing about the submission process. I'd love to be entered for the drawing! The book sounds excellent.

Susan R. Mills said...

Put me in for sure! I can't resist a good penguin story! :)

Betsy St. Amant said...

Hey guys! Thanks for reading and for the fun interview, Eileen! Good luck everyone on the drawing!!! =) And check out my blog frequently for giveaways too!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I've heard alot of good things about this book! Please enter me in the drawing!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) com

Susan :)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

great interview. betsy seems to have so much life...for a woman with such a new little life in hers! :)

please enter me!

charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

Tana said...

Oh put me in Eileen! That was a great interview and Betsy's novel sounds cute. I also am interested in her next novel, anything with chocolate is usually a big hit with me.

Terri Tiffany said...

Good interview! Can't believe how fast she writes them. Put me in the drawing please:)

Tami @ This Mom's Delight said...

Sounds like a great read! Enter me, please!

cozymysterygirl said...

that was a fantastic interview thnaks for sharing with us.please enter ee into the giveaway

Crystal Laine said...

Love your site, Eileen. Great interview, too, Betsy & Eileen.

Please enter me in the drawing, love romances!


Anonymous said...

I love the music! Thank you. Please enter me in the give away drawing. I would love to win a book.

Martha A. said...

I would love to be entered! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Jo said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I would love to win the book.