Interview questions for Betsy St. Amant
1. Where did you get the idea for your main character for you story? I’ve always loved penguins growing up, and I collect them still. When I decided to use New Orleans as the setting for my novel, it seemed right that Gracie, the heroine, would be the penguin keeper at the Aquarium of the Americas!
2. What gave you the idea for the plot? The plot really developed once I had my setting and characters locked in place. I knew I wanted to write a love story of two friends finding each other again and getting a second chance at love, but wasn’t sure after that. The story originally had a strong music thread, like the movie MUSIC & LYRICS with Drew Barrymore. But after the story was contracted and I went through revisions, the music thread was lessened, and the plot really snapped into place then.
3. Who chose the title Return to Love? My publisher, Steeple Hill, chose the title. They usually do with their Love Inspired novels, although occasionally you hear of an author who got to keep their original title. My working title was Reclaiming Harmony but after we did the revisions, it no longer fit the story.
4. What was the most difficult thing about writing this story? Time! Definitely time. I was pregnant with my first baby, had a deadline on the manuscript with heavy revisions, was moving into a new house and living with my sister temporarily after our old house sold…it was chaos, pure chaos. But it turned out for the best! I have multiple contracts, a beautiful new house in the country, and a precious baby girl who is going to be a year old in July! =)
5. What was the most fun? I had a blast “visiting” New Orleans again in my heart and in photo album. I wasn’t able to travel to the city for research this time but went there several years before (it’s where my husband proposed!) and also had a great time talking with the Aquarium of the Americas workers and researching the penguins.
6. What advice would you give to those desiring to write romance? Dig deep! Don’t be afraid to feel as you write. If you distance yourself from the story, your readers will feel distant too. Dredge up old memories you need to. Make the story and the tension real. Your readers will feel it.
7. What is your favorite thing about writing? The creative process. Getting to know characters and even getting to know more about myself as I put tidbits of Betsy into my heroine or secondary characters. Its fun! =)
8. How long have you been writing? I have been writing since I was about 7 years old but got serious with my dreams when I turned 18. I started working on my first completed manuscript then, and attending conferences and making a true effort to learn the business and the craft of writing. I’m so thankful to Gayle Roper who pointed me toward the ACFW! I’d still be writing in circles if not for her.
9. How long did it take to get your first book published? Midnight Angel, a romantic suspense through The Wild Rose Press, was published in 2007 and was my first novel. My first contract with Steeple Hill Love Inspired was offered in 2008. So, let’s see, if you count back from when I was a seven year old with a dream….then, a lifetime? =)
10. Any words of wisdom for new writers? Never give up. I know everyone says this in author interviews, but it’s so very true. If you send a submission to an agent or editor, you risk rejection. But if you don’t send it, you’re as good as rejected every time. So keep at it!