Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Betsy St. Amant is here with a giveaway!

This is Betsy St. Amant:

She's not only gorgeous, she's sweet and thoughtful too. Betsy and I have "known of" each other for a few years now, but we've only become friends in the last year. Love that girl.

This is Betsy's latest release:



And she wants to give away a copy to one of you, so you should be doing this:


Addision Blakely: Confessions of a PK is about sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely, who has tirelessly played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Betsy is in the throes of book promotions right now, but still managed the time for an interview here on Go Teen Writers. Thanks, Betsy!


What inspired you to write Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK?

The way this story came about still makes me chuckle at how God sometimes chooses to work. I started writing Addison's story as a secret novel, a vent book of sorts where I could write whatever I wanted, with no regards to rules, or content, or boundaries. Just writing for fun and outside of every box, for ME. When a publisher asked if I had anything YA, I brainstormed with a friend who suddenly said "YOUR SECRET BOOK!" And sure enough, it was perfect. We fleshed the story out further (I had only written a few chapters so far) and Addison was fully born. God can use even our frustrations for His glory!

Amen! What's your writing environment like? Do you have an office? Are there inspiring quotes or pictures up on the walls? Do you have music playing?

I do have an office at my home, but I rarely use my actual desk (which is this awesome giant thing my dad built forever ago!) I do have fun art on the walls and two giant bookshelves that still can't hold all my books, and I love it! However, usually when I'm writing, my daughter is on the desk computer playing games and I'm sitting on the floor with my laptop, lol. I do what I can...

*Groan.* Had a few writing sessions like that myself. Typing with one hand, feeding the baby with the other...


Can you give us a peek at your writing process? (Do you write a horrible first draft? Do you edit as you go? Do you make character charts?)

I only write one draft. (*Stephanie's eyes pop open with surprise.* How is this possible?!) I edit/perfect as I go, and go back and edit chaps as my critique partners return their suggestions to me. But it's literally only one draft. I'm so much of a perfectionist, I can't stand to leave stuff hanging. Every time I end a scene or chapter, it needs to be as close to turn-in-ready as I can make it. That's why I have never done NANO! ha.

Wow. I love how writers are all different. What's a piece of advice that really took your writing to the next level?

I learned something on the craft of Deep POV (point of view) at the ACFW conference this past September from Kristen Heitzmann, who is one of my all time favorite authors. Her advice on when to use pronouns in Deep POV really rocked my world. It's so much harder to do it her way but so worth it. Some authors overuse their character's name (in third person) and it jerks us out of first POV. Kristen only uses her third person character's name when in their POV once or twice a chapter. She has to get creative to not overuse "She" or "He" in that stead, and that's where the challenge lies. Amazing.

YES, that was an excellent class. I just listened to it last week based on your recommendation. I'm going to email the wise Kristen Heitzmann and see if she'll please-pretty-please let me post her rules on here. 

If you could only pick one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be? (And no fair choosing the Bible - let's assume you get to bring that one too.)

Oh this is tough! NO FAIR!! :)  Okay, tantrum over. Hmmm. Maybe Pride and Prejudice? I love the snarky Dad in that novel. It's such a classic.

I can never decide if I love him more or Emma's father, the hypochondriac. Pride and Prejudice might be my One Book too.

What's the best book you've read recently, the one you told everyone you know, "You have to read this book"?

Two, actually. I just finished Susie Warren's "Baby It's Cold Outside" which was great, and also, in a totally different vein, Jim Rubart's "Rooms". Both amazing reads in different ways, Jim's being more spiritually in-depth and soul rocking, Susie's more feel-good romance and cozy holiday read. I highly recommend both!

Thank you so much for coming by, Betsy!

If you would like to get entered to win Addison Blakely:  Confessions of a PK
 (and you know you would!) please leave a comment below either asking Betsy a question or answering this one: How did you come up with your most recent story idea? Did it just appear out of thin air? Was it a dream, a la Stephenie Meyer? Playing the "What if" game? (All are welcome to chat with Betsy, but this contest is only open to US residents due to the pesky realities of international shipping prices.)


36 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for being here Mrs. St. Amant! I'll be sure to check your book out sometime soon.
    The idea from my epic fantasy came right after I'd read the first three books in the Eragon series in one weekend. Thankfully, the more I'm writing the less it resembles Eragon.
    Thanks,
    Sarah F.

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  2. *Chuckle* I loved reading about your writing process! One draft? So cool! I'm not quite There yet, but I really liked writing my last WIP, because I gave myself permission to go back and edit what I had written the day before prior to writing as well as doing 50-page edits (rereading everything every time I hit the 50-page mark). It worked really well for me.

    Oh, I have such a great answer to this one! My last story idea was sparked by one of the writing prompts! And the fabulous thing is it was one of the sentences that had to go at the End of the prompt, which meant I still got to go with an opening line that I loved. :-)

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  3. Thanks Sarah! And cool! I loved Eragon :)

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  4. I'm glad to hear that others try to perfect first drafts too! :)

    Here is how my idea came about:
    I was listening to a song from a heavy metal rock band (not something I usually do) but they had written the song and based the melody on country music! It sounded so beautiful and the lyrics were amazing so I went and looked up the history behind it. I ended up becoming obsessed with the band and reading each band members history. Turns out that their best friend of nearly 20 years a.k.a. the drummer DIED!!! It slightly broke my heart. Anyways, I got to thinking what it would be like if he had had a wife and what her life would be like after his death and from there blossomed my book! :D

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  5. Hey Betsy, glad to have you on! I really need to get a hold of this book. I've heard tons about it and it sounds really cool!
    I was wondering, do you ever go back to any of your old stories and pull ideas from them? Or even go back and revamp them?

    My current WIP actually got started because my sisters and I are HUGE X-men fans. We made up our own characters, and mine (naturally) became the heroine for a superhero book I wanted to do. Soon after, I realized that her step-brother was WAY more interesting, so I changed it to his POV. Then my mom said she didn't like that they had superpowers: that it seemed like cheating. So I brainstormed and came up with the idea of kids who have natural intelligence in one particular area. Real life superhumans, if you will. Sorry, it's kinda long, but that's the story of my . . . uh . . . story. :D

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  6. This was such a fun interview, and I loved finding out more about your book, Betsy! It sounds awesome!

    The idea for my story came from a little bit of my own personal experiences, and my desire to share how amazing God is and how He works in our lives. I remember asking God one time to help me decide what I should write, because this was just as much of His story as it was mine. A week later(while I was blow drying my hair no less), a story idea popped in my head and it wouldn't let me go. It was something harder for me to write, because I kinda had to wrestle with my own demons as I had my character go through some of the same things I did. But it's becoming so worth it. The theme I'm trying to have through the whole book is that our past hurts and memories aren't all who we are. That it's okay to deal with the bad stuff in our lives, but then move forward outside of them. We don't have to carry them around like a dead weight. I know it's not the most original idea, and it probably isn't even the best written. But's becoming a story that I'm really quite proud of, so I think I'm making some progress. :)
    Sorry, I rambled a little... ;-)

    On a side note, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to learn Kristen Heitzmann's rules on deep POV's. She is one of my favorite authors. :)

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  7. Those are all awesome ideas guys!! Such a talented bunch :) To answer one question, yes I sometimes will revamp an older story. One of my older stories has been written and rewritten about 4 times, another 5 times. I a little tired of them both. Lol but I won't give up on them :)

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  8. Yay! I've been looking forward to this giveaway! And the release of Addison. If I don't win I'll buy and then try to get it signed at some point...
    The way Betsy writes9with the draft and all) sounds almost like the way I do it! I write pretty much chapter by chapter and while I'm writing the next chapter I'm also editing the last one. It seems to me like I am taking forever! Where as I here about other writers who jump around and just write a bunch and then come back and edit. I've kinda tried that....and it didn't really work out. So Betsy, how do you write. Just straight through and then how do you edit?
    I got the idea for my book after I read a book called The Princess Plot. About two sisters that had been separated. And then they are rejoined and there is a civil war that they right. So I just got this idea for a book sort of like that. Of course I didn't want the same plot. So after restarting it three times...I came up with a medieval story about a Princess who was adopted and is now going to a school (where and unknown enemy is playing her into his hands) for Princes and Princesses to learn and for safety. Wow that doesn't sound to good :P But I think that this version is going to do it :)
    Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause
    You Are!)

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  9. Great interview, Betsy! It was fun to learn more about you and your writing process. :-)

    All my story ideas, the most recent one included, have come to me between 10pm & midnight when I was trying to sleep. When my head hits the pillow at night, my brain starts thinking about anything & everything. Just about the time I'm totally zonked, I'll get a burst of inspiration for a story. Then I'll have to drag myself out of bed to write it down.

    With my latest idea, I got out of bed at 11pm to write a one-line idea and ended up jotting down notes furiously until 2am!

    I wish I could come up with ideas during the day like a normal person. But I guess it's better to be exhausted and inspired than well-rested and uninspired. :-)

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  10. A lot of what I write is stuck in my memory from a book I just read. But some brainstorming with friends definitely helps the plot line. :)

    A question....
    What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

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  11. I came up the idea for my WIP mostly out of personal experience. I deal with some of the issues on a daily basis and it really is an amazing thing to be a part of, being a foster sister, and I wanted to share it.

    Alyson

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  13. Just a note: "Betsy is in the throws of book promotions right now..." Isn't it throes? Haha, just had to be picky there :P
    Anyway, my WIP is a three-part series about one boy and the three girls who steal his heart. Book one is about Rachel, his first love and first girlfriend. Book two is about Alicia, his new love and eventually wife. Book three is about Elizabeth, their daughter. These books are different from typical romance or contemporary teen books because... while romance and family tie subplots are going, the President is taking over America as dictator-king and outlawing religion. This is terrible, because the main families of the series are strong Christians and the penalty is death.

    It all started with a dream in which I was Rachel and met Charlie (the boy) but later received the death sentence for my faith.

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  14. Your little man just keeps getting cuter!
    My WIP was inspired by a Taylor Swift song. but my most recent idea, I had the other day, came from a situation I'm in and wondering "what if?" I don't know if this one will ever be developed though.

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  16. Congrats, Betsy! I loved this interview! I got my latest WIP idea from a dream. I was dreaming, but I couldn't wake up. My most recent WIp will be where the girl is dreaming (she in the dream is someone else) and she can't wake up! Should be loads of fun!

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  17. Great interview, great giveaway! :) The most recent idea I had was inspired by a movie, but the current project I'm working on came from watching my sister perform a ballet. :D

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  18. My idea for the book I hope to start soon I got while studying Africa at school. Why I chose such a big family (10 kids) I have no idea, but it should provide a good challenge to make it work. =)

    by the way I'm from Canada, so don't bother entering me for the giveaway.

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  19. Only one draft, WHAT? That's crazy! I'm still recovering...!

    Okay. I think I'm good now. Betsy, I'd like to ask you - were you similar to your main character at her age? Or is she someone completely different?

    - Ellyn

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  20. I really want to read that book, my best friend is a PK so I want her to read it after me. My story idea came from when my mom and I had a yard sale over the summer and our neighbor came and set up her sale too. Well she had a medicine cabinet and I was showing my nephew the pretty's in the mirror and then showed him the trees being reflected. After that it just sort of popped into my head.

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  21. How I came up with my most recent story idea is in the car on the way home from the movie theater after watching the fantastic masterpiece that is; "War Horse"!!

    Completely different story line than the movie of course, but my spark of an idea had to do with a farm girl living in Europe during the time of either World War I or World War II. It really moved me about how difficult it was for everyone during those times, and I think it would just be amazing to write a story about struggling during that time and drawing family close through the war.
    And of course, since I'm a horse crazy girl, it would have to do with the girl and her horse throughout the book. :)

    jazzdivagirl(at)suddenlink(dot)net

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  22. Seems like an interesting book!

    I got the idea for my WIP... I don't really know when. My characters came from separate parts of my life, one from my obsession with running, another from the month I was in a band last summer (I even got to play at a major local music spot/restaurant, Blueberry Hill!) Another from my tendency to be obsessed with something I like and ignore things I don't, like certain classes :( Then I amped up the feelings, Leslie the runner has an eating disorder, Blaire gets sent to a boarding school, Tracy (Who... let's just say she's a blonde at heart when it comes to common sense) is sent to public school, where her snobby attitude doesn't exactly fit in.

    The idea of their school having to be closed down came from a number of things. 1) A news story I saw a few years back about a school catching fire and burning down over the summer and 2) A fire drill that we flunked (but it was sooo not cool, we were in between classes and everyone was changing after gym)

    Whoa! I just noticed Go Teen Writers almost has 300 followers? Didn't we just celebrate with a 250 word contest?!

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  23. Thanks so much!!

    How do you know which story ideas will work and which ones won't??

    And I CAN'T believe that you only write ONE draft!! I could never do that. But it's great that you can!!

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  24. LOL. Caroline, is that last statement a hint? :)

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  25. Such a cute picture of Connor. :D
    One draft? Suh-weet.
    Ooh, I'm reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time right now! The "classics" sat at the bottom of my bookshelves for years -- never, ever did I get past the first page. But I read Jane Eyre a few months ago and loved it, so here I am. And it's simply awesome.

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  26. Usually my ideas come from something else that i have read or a picture i look at.

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  27. Lovely interview! I can relate to what Ms. St. Amant said about perfecting as one goes, though I am continually going back over again and again especially after I'm done!
    The way I come up with ideas is usually when reading a book, for example a line will stand out to me and I will make an entire story inspired by that one line and basically working off one main idea.

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

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  28. Your book looks cool Ms. St. Amant! I'm a PK who just turned 17. :D

    My most recent story idea came from this sentence that popped into my head. "The sky drizzles silver droplets that leave the surrounding group shivering. . . But it is not the rain that makes them tremble so. Blood soaks into the darkened ground; seeping away out of sight."

    ~ZA

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  29. I came up with my most recent story idea by fantasizing with 'what would happen if I were in this situation?' It's about a lady who was 7 months pregnant and in a car crash. I put it on hold for a little while now though so I can ask God to help me write what should come next. Other wise, I got an idea just now from the writing prompt that Stephanie put up.

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  30. This is a kind of random story haha. I was making a book of random things (short stories, epics, poetry, etc.) for an awesome friend of mine, and in it, was telling her about my random library tradition (scanning titles as I walk, guessing what they're about) and I gave a totally fake example, guessing Princess Academy (never did read that one) was about a girl named Grey, and there the spark came. Because of my WIP, I haven't been able to write it, but I have expanded the idea to her being a runaway who becomes a trapeze artist when she is "adopted" by a travelling circus.
    Loved the post!
    Lyddie

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    1. Lydia, you're the winner of Betsy's book! Email me at Stephanie(at)GoTeenWriters.com and I'll have Betsy send her book to you.

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    2. Thanks so much!

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  31. Sorry, I meant to write 'pics' not 'epics'

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  32. My newest WIP is about Civil War Union captain Keith Grahm, who is the only one of his brigade to survive a battler. He lives with this feeling of guilt, yet never reveals it. He and his wife Loretta have been married for 10 years, yet she has never managed to carry a child to term until now. There is more to the story, but it would be too many spoilers. ;) (my Writing Prompt entry is actually the beginning of this story. More spoilers!)
    It started as a dream where I had Kiefer Sutherland and Keeley Hawes playing my MC Keith Grahm and a side character Louise Talcott. It has the effect of a Jane Eyre, Love Comes Softly, and Ruth (from the Bible).

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  33. All my story ideas come from my crazy little brain. My latest one was about an artist

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