Thursday, May 08, 2014

Author Interview: Betsy Cook Speer: Demolition Queen – Champagne, Murder and Chaos

Like her heroine, Betsy is an American-living-in-England, guzzles champagne like water, and loves knocking down walls. Also like her heroine, Betsy earned a BS in Chemistry for all the wrong reasons (we’re not talking Breaking Bad here!) Betsy’s lived in the UK for 18 years with her husband. Her three sons are now 24, 21 & 17. After growing up in North Carolina she attended Denison University, in Ohio, U.S.A.

The inspiration for Betsy’s wacky and wonderful thriller came from her own unconventional life. She drew from experiences in factory piece work as a teenage, multi-million dollar Kodak sales in her 20′s, and demolishing walls throughout life. She’s cocked up quotes before all-male-Kodak audiences, repaired drains while celebrity friend headed out with Hugh Grant, and almost missed interviewing Viggo Mortenson (the King in Lord of the Rings) when her phone dropped into the dog’s water dish.
Betsy began writing Demolition Queen – Champagne, Murder & Chaos. Not an easy feat. At school, maths and sciences came easy, but English? Forget it. After she’d been working on DQ for four years, she told a friend, “If I haven’t published by this time next year, just shoot me.” She’s sincerely glad (a.) that no one shot her and (b.) at the time she had no idea how much longer it was going to take. Eight excruciatingly long years later, Demolition Queen – Champagne, Murder & Chaos is published and receiving rave reviews.
 Welcome Betsy!

Your real name and pen name? 

Betsy Cook Speer

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood. 

I grew up on a horse farm. I used to jump on my pony without bridle and saddle and ride through the daffodil fields or build forts in the woods with my brother.

About your education. 

I loved university because I had the challenge of making new friends, beginning new subjects and figuring out my future.

What career did you plan during your education days. 

At first, I wanted to be a doctor but I was too much of free spirit to tie myself into more education and just one job.

What languages you can speak and write 

My first language is English. I’d dearly love to be fluent in French, but can only read a bit and understand half of what is said.  Someday…

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life. 

My Mom. I never would have published without her encouragement and extensive reading experience with a huge knowledge of action/adventure/thrillers.

What hurts you most in this world. 

People who are deliberately evil and hurt others.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it? 

I love most challenges and take them on with relish but writing Demolition Queen has been my biggest challenge. I was not trained in writing. It was very difficult for me to find my writer’s voice.  I only overcame these hurdles with thousands of hours of practice and hard working.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Eleanor Roosevelt. From everything I’ve she was an intelligent, interesting, amazing and good woman.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

Mine! Action/adventure/thriller with a little romance thrown in.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing? 

I began writing 9 years ago because I wanted to make the film, Demolition Queen – Champagne, Murder & Chaos, but I found that I couldn’t finish the screenplay until I finished the novel.

What are your forthcoming writings? 

I have already begun the sequel to Demolition Queen – Champagne, Murder & Chocolate

What are your future plans? 

There will be a third in the sequel. No subtitle yet! And of course the screenplay!

How much real life goes into fiction writing?

For me, lots and lots. My family and friends all say that I am Sam Albany, the heroine of Demolition Queen and they’re right. I live vicariously!

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author? 

It depends on the genreFor fiction,  definitely. For some non-fictions, research or subject knowledge could be all you need.

Your dream destination on Earth? 

Never been to India and would love to go someday. Maybe I will use it as a location in my next novel and have to do on-location research. J

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 

Born in Connecticut, USA. Lived in Hong Kong for a while and toured China. One of my favourite trips has been to Peru where I hiked the Inca Trail. It was gorgeous. I love the out of doors.

Living in London, I’m so close to Europe that I’ve travelled Europe extensively, visiting Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Greece, Norway and more. I’ve visited Dubai, because my son lived there. I’ve even been down to Morocco which was fascinating.

Your favorite time of the day? 

Early morning between 5-6 am. I love it. I began when my kids were little because it is the quietest time of day, also best for writing. 

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 

Capricorn
Your favorite color and why? 

Blue, if it’s the turquoise of a Caribbean sea.

Your favorite book and why? 

Funny, I don’t have a favourite.

Your favorite celebrity and why?  

Audrey Hepburn – classy, interesting and talented actress.

Your favorite food?  

Chocolate!

Some quickies: 

Sun or Moon
Laughter or Smile
Morning or Evening, 
Coffee or Tea, 
Mountain or Sea(too hard to pick)
Long Drive or Short Drive, 
Silence or Conversation
Water or Fire, 
Air or Earth
Mars or Jupiter, 
Tulip or Rose, 
Red or Blue
Left or Right (funny because I’m left-handed), 
Glance or Stare

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote. 

I try to live by this one… ‘Do one thing every day that scare you.’

The last line of your autobiography would be…

now that I’ve started I’m never going to stop writing.

Links: 
Twitter handle: @betsycookspeer     



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