Be True to Yourself: Interview with Award Winning Author Bette Lee Crosby

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Award-winning author Bette Lee Crosby is originally from New Jersey, but now makes her home in Southern Florida where she lives with her husband Richard and a feisty Bichon Frise named Katie. A highly entertaining public speaker, Bette makes frequent appearances to support the various charities of women’s groups, and schedule permitting, she will join book talks and book club discussion groups. Her published works include:

Spare Change

Reviewer’s Choice 2012 Award Winner! In a story that’s been compared to John Grisham’s The Client, eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with a beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts.

The Twelfth Child

Trust, love and friendship–Abigail Anne Lannigan searched for these things all her life. Now, when she is at the tail end of her years, she teams up with a free-spirited young woman. A nobody from nowhere, who suddenly moves in across the street. Their unusual friendship comes under suspicion when a million dollars goes missing and a distant relative, claims embezzlement. Abigail knows the truth of what happened but, unfortunately, she’ll never get the chance to tell.

Cracks in the Sidewalk

From the Bestselling Author of Spare Change, comes a powerful story that is a heart-wrenching reminder of how fragile relationships can be. Cracks in the Sidewalk is based on a true story.

**a complete list can be found on Bette's site:

She is a pleasure to know (and I learned a lot more in this interview)!

Bette Lee loves connecting with fans, friends and book buds…so jump in, join her on:
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoodReadsShelfariPinterestAmazon Author Central

WOW: Bette, according to your Amazon biography you were first recognized in 2006 when you received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. I doubt that was the first time you wrote something—can you take us back to the beginning and tell us what sparked the 'writing bug' for you?

Bette: As a child, I loved to read but had no thoughts of becoming a writer. I wanted to be an artist. I studied art in college and started my career as a packaging designer. While I was working on a series of panty hose packages, a client asked me to write some copy for the back of the package. It was a magical experience and before long I was doing more writing than designing. Over the years words became the paintbrush of my heart.

WOW: From panty hose packaging to publishingwho would have thought? That's an adorable story! Who would you say has been most influential in your growth and advancement as an author? I know your husband has been a huge supporter, but are there others who have really encouraged you along the path?

Bette: I credit my Mom for giving me a true love of storytelling and my Dad for giving the kind of discipline it takes to persevere. My Mom was not a writer, but she told stories in a way that could enchant a room full of wide-eyed believers. She convinced me that magic was possible, dreams really could come true and today’s frog might well be tomorrow’s prince charming. I find my stories are rich with my Mom’s voice and almost everything I write has the echo of her words running through it.

I am blessed in having such a heritage, but also in having a husband who has not only been supportive of my writing, but actually started a publishing company to give me the platform I needed to reach a wider audience.

WOW: Bette, thank you for passing that encouragement along to others. I'm not sure you realize how encouraging you are to other writers. There are many of us that would list you as one of our main influences and cheerleadersthank you!

In addition to the NLAPW award, I believe you have several Royal Palm Literary Awards, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, and others. Can you please tell us about any recent awards and maybe let us in on which is one of your favorites?

Bette: Funny you should the 2013 Florida Authors and Publishers Conference, it was announced that Cupid’s Christmas won a President’s Book Award Silver Medal for General Fiction and What Matters Most won a Silver Medal for Florida Fiction. As for favorites, it seems that every time a Master of Ceremonies leans into the microphone and announces the name of one of my books, at that moment, that award is the most thrilling of them all. It is something that never grows old.

As for which book is my favorite, I suppose I would have to say Spare Change. I fell in love with the eleven-year-old boy in that story and he simply won’t let go of my heart. All of my books were written as a stand-alone novel, but Spare Change has morphed itself into book one of the Wyattsville Series…simply because I couldn’t allow those characters to leave my life.

WOW: I can imagine your stomach was doing flip flops when you heard that announcementhow exciting! I would also agree that Spare Change is the type of book that sticks with you long after you close the cover or finish the final page. 

What advice would you give other authors? Wondering if you could address both published authors and those seeking to be published?

Bette: Whether you are a published author working on your tenth novel, or a newbie hoping to be published, the best advice you will ever get is to focus on your writing and write the best book possible. Be yourself. Discover what’s in your heart and create characters you love or love to hate. Never allow yourself to follow in the tracks of another author simply because he or she sold a million copies of their book. If you stumble onto that pathway, your readers will know; your characters will sound shallow and superficial. But if you’re true to yourself and work to develop your own voice it will ring loud and true with believability. It isn’t something that happens overnight. I wrote four novels before the fifth was published, but the truth is that the first four didn’t deserve to be published, they were all part of my learning curve. So, stay with it and learn from the writers who inspire you, from the books you love, and from the books you hate. You learn something from every book you read, and sometimes that something is what not to do. Most of all enjoy every minute you spend writing—because if you’re not writing for fun, you shouldn’t be writing.

WOW: The advice about being yourself is so true. Sometimes we get caught up with pleasing others and lose our true voice...that's when we seem to lose momentum. Thank you for explaining this so eloquently. So, what is next for you? Tell us about upcoming writing projects as well as anything exciting you have going on in the Crosby household!

Bette: Well I’m very excited about Jubilee’s Journey, which is scheduled for release on November 4, 2013. This is Book Two of The Wyattsville Series and it’s the first time I have written a sequel to anything. It was a lot of fun because while I enjoyed the experience of getting to know my new characters, I had the welcome home feeling of reviving some old and dearly loved friends from Spare Change.

We are also looking forward to the Royal Palm Literary Awards Event in October. Both The Twelfth Child and Cupid’s Christmas are finalists in the competition so I am keep fingers and toes crossed.

And in November, we will celebrate Sugar’s first birthday. She is still a wild and wooly puppy, but when she covers me with doggy kisses I find it easier to forget the chewed-off corner of the sofa, and the nine pair of flip-flops she’s covered in teeth marks. We’re making progress, but I’m not sure if she’s training me or I’m training her. The jury is still out on this one.

WOW: Bette, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to entertain and encourage us! I personally cannot wait for Jubilee's Journey so please keep us posted on that launch!

Interview by Crystal J. Otto

Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, two young children (Carmen 6 and Andre 5), three dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. Crystal and her husband, Mark, recently welcomed another son to their family - Breccan Leland born September 23rd. You can find Crystal blogging at:


Unknown said...

Bette Lee, I loved Spare Change too. I can see why you would want to follow those characters along further on their life journeys. And I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

I know what you mean about being true to yourself. I think I finally accomplished that with my first book. It took me awhile to learn the lesson, though. The very first time I was published in a poetry magazine, I had a short poem I called "Innocence and Bliss." The publisher would not publish it unless I changed the title to "Ignorance and Bliss." Well, I caved, and I have regretted it ever since. The good news for me was that I learned my lesson: that I have to write what is in my heart, and the Stand By It!!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to give us a glimpse into life as a successful writer.

And thanks Crystal for this great author feature. You're the best!

Crystal Otto said...


Thank you for this interview and for all your fabulous books!


Margo Dill said...

It's interesting to read how you decided to make a series out of Spare Change because the characters wouldn't leave you. I am fascinated by that because I think some day that might happen with my first book, but right now, I guess I'm just not ready to write it yet. Thanks for the inspiring interview!

Teena in Toronto said...

I enjoyed this book.

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