Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have award-winning author Barbara Bettis sharing her multi-act life.
Thanks for having me today on your wonderful blog, Joanne. I’m sharing a little about my several acts in life, and a bit about my book that’s about to celebrate its First Birthday—For This Knight Only.
As a recently single mother of two sons and having just graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I was lucky enough—quite serendipitously—to stumble on a job with a daily newspaper in a town near where I’d gone to high school. The lure of small town (less than 6,000) life for growing children sealed and the fact my parents owned a farm near there were enough to seal the deal, so to speak. Didn’t matter that I’d always envisioned writing fiction.
There followed 12 years as reporter/photographer/sometimes editor. Although the town was relatively small, the paper served a large rural area comprising several other communities and schools. I have to admit, I absolutely loved the job, which included ‘stringing’ for the Kansas City papers and the Associated Press.
As my sons approached high school graduation, the intensity of the daily job after a dozen years began to tell. Small town life was a microcosm of city life and the demands could be stressful. I felt a change might be due. But what to do?
The years of newspapering added to my love of reading and made the decision pretty easy. I wanted to teach. So when my second son graduated, I moved to the other end of the state to return to school.
Returning to college was a challenge. I had to remember how to write differently. That meant in essay form, with proper introductions and conclusions, and proper paragraphing. None of those one sentence paragraphs! Learning to writing newspaper style had been difficult—I had to give up the academic form and learn a whole new style. Now I had to relearn the academic format—but remember the journalistic format for my journalism classes and for teaching. And no matter how much I lobbied my literature professors, they weren’t favorably disposed to Associated Press style. (That blasted Oxford Comma!)
Two years later, though, I claimed my master’s degree and promptly found a job substituting for an English professor on sabbatical from an area four-year college.
Luckily, when that professor returned from sabbatical, I was hired full time for English and journalism. The next several years were wonderful. I loved teaching and I continued to write occasional feature and news stories for area newspapers and magazines. Never thinking I would remarry, I met a great guy with whom I had so much in common. He was a retired newspaper editor and taught journalism at a nearby school. He supported me in a way I’d never experienced before. (He even joined me in some of my classes as I studied for my doctorate.)
Much too soon, my husband fell ill and later died. As soon as possible thereafter I took early retirement from teaching, thinking I’d love the ‘life of ease.’ Not!
It wasn’t long before a friend and former student persuaded me to join her critique group. “You need something to do,” she insisted. So in self-defense, I began writing fiction. I’d always loved history, myths, learning about people who’d lived in earlier times. And, yes, some of the earliest tales I can remember reading were children’s stories about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. So crafting a medieval book came naturally.
In the past few years I’ve taught English part time at a different local college, and have begun some editing for others. But best of all, I’ve continued to write historical stories about adventure, love, and happily ever after. Best of all, not one of my heroes dies way too early in life.
Any Affirmations or Quotations You Wish to Share?
Three, I think.
The first has been attributed to several people so I’ll just say it: Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter (computer now) and open a vein.
The second is a paraphrase: Trust in God’s timing.
Third, from me: It’s never too late.
He’ll do anything for land, even marry her; she’ll do anything for her people, except marry him. If only either had a choice. It’s a marriage only love can save.
Sir Roark will do anything to gain land, even beguile an unwilling lady into marriage. He knows she’s much better off with a man to take control of her besieged castle, to say nothing of her desirable person. But it isn’t long before he discovers that, although her eyes sparkle like sunlight on sea waves, her stubbornness alone could have defeated Saladin.
Lady Alyss is determined to hold her family’s castle, protect her people, and preserve her freedom— until her brother’s dying wish binds her to a stranger. Still, she’ll allow no rugged, over-confident, appealing knight to usurp her authority, even if she must wed him. Especially since he thinks a lady’s duties begin and end with directing servants. Alyss has a few surprises for her new all-too-tempting lord.
But when a common enemy threatens everything, Roark and Alyss face a startling revelation. Without love, neither land nor freedom matters.
Barb’s Books to Date
Knights of Destiny Series:
Silverhawk | The Heart of the Phoenix | The Lady of the Forest | For This Knight Only | A Winter Knight
Where to find Barb