Interview with Polly Becks

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Wait—there’s allowed to be time when I’m not writing?? I’m launching four books over the span of four months!
Just kidding. I like to spend time with my family, which I don’t do enough of when I’m on deadline. I enjoy trying new recipes (and new restaurants!) When my brain needs a rest, I play sudoku. I’m actively involved in my community and my church.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Some are recommendations from friends, some come from Goodreads, and I’m also subscribed to My mother-in-law has insomnia, and she buys new books in hardcover and passes them along to family members. Every time I visit, I come home with a shopping bag of books. I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like.
What is your writing process?
I sit down at my computer and thousands of brilliant words flow from my least in my dreams. The reality is trying to juggle real life with the writing process. I have characters show up in my head demanding to be heard. This is great when they’re from the book I’m actually working on, but somewhat irritating when they insist I deal with them NOW although I know this gift of a scene isn’t going to be in this book (or the next). And when I’m done writing, I go back and try to make sure that I’m coherent, logical, and moving the story forward.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was called Miss Polly’s Animal School and I read it when I was four. It helped that it had my name in the title, and had a lot of repetition [“Biff was a bear, hop, hop, hop”]. It was about a woman who trained the animals we see on TV. I remember feeling powerful and connected to the world in a way I hadn’t been before—like I had control over my own life. I still think this is what reading does.
How do you approach cover design?
Some elements are repeated on all the books in the No Ordinary Days series. The calendar at the top shows where the book fits in the series. Each cover has a flower that ties in with the heroine in some way.
I try to think of what items might represent what’s happening in each book, and then I give that information to Patricia Downes, who designs for me. She’s brilliant! She can also read my mind, which helps immensely in the collaboration process. The church she put on the cover of Tuesday’s Child: Full of Grace looks like my childhood church--and she had no way of knowing about it.
What is your ereading device of choice?
I love my Kindle paperwhite.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
It’s too soon to tell, at least for this series, which is a new area of the writing spectrum for me.
I’ve had other professionally published books involved in national essay contests [YA], book and blog tours, and have created supplemental curricula and websites to accompany other books. My publisher, GMLTJoseph, is helping set up all kinds of fun contests and interactivities, but that’s more for getting to have fun with my readers than anything else.
Describe your desk.
I’d be happy to, if I could find it.
Actually, I share a big double desk with my husband, with a central peninsula where we can face each other [we don’t use it at the same time very often] and two separate sides for computers, with display shelves, a lower cabinet for the printer, and an upper one for storage. He has reference books and pictures of our kids on his shelves. I have weird stuff on mine [as well as kid pictures] like a feminine dragon perched on a slice of cake made entirely of sugar and a Chinese puzzle box, as well as photos of the Adirondacks and other places I love.
Where did you grow up, and how has this influenced your writing?
All over the world—I was an air force brat. It has given me the opportunity to listen to a lot of accents and dialects, to see a great deal of the planet, and to notice the difference in places and people, as well as the way the air smells, or tastes, or the color palette of different places. I try to bring all of this, as well as attention to detail, into my writing.
When did you first start writing?
I’ve always written—bad poetry as a child, creative diaries from an alien point-of-view, fantasies, sappy romances in college as well as a play that was produced on campus and at a national young playwrights’ competition. I got out of a horrible social studies assignment once by writing a play rather than a research paper. Creative writing rocks.
Where is Obergrande?
If it were a real town in the Adirondack Park, it would be twenty or so miles south of Lake Placid, west of Schroon Lake, northwest of Lake George, northeast of Blue Mountain Lake, and just south of Newcomb. Because it’s not, it’s in a New York state of mind, in my imagination, and that of anyone who reads the books.
Why would I want to read this series?
Because it builds on many familiar literary traditions and yet is, I believe, entirely unique.
When I read, I love following characters from one book to another. As a reader, I like being able to make the connections. Many great writers of women’s fiction [Nora Roberts, Sandra Hill and Debbie Macomber, for example] have interrelated books. A major character in one is part of the backstory of another, or minor walk-ons are the people you fell in love with in a previous book.
I wanted to add history and an introduction to a remarkable place that I love, New York State’s Adirondack Park, to the must-haves of romance, intrigue and humor.
In the Extraordinary Days series, a mystery is established in the first book, No Ordinary Day. It is set in 1991, and describes a tragedy that affects the lives of eight little girls, introduces a whole town with cool history in a place of many secrets, ghost stories and great beauty, the Adirondack mountains. The rest of the series is contemporary, and tells you their stories as adults. All of it is inter-related, which means you can read one book and enjoy it as a singleton, but if you read the whole series you will follow and solve the mystery from beginning to end.
And, to top it off, any digital download you purchase [or download for free when available] makes a contribution to a worthy cause. I think readers are generous people, and like being able to help out good causes.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love finding out how the story ends. Although I do a lot of planning (really necessary when you’re doing an eight book series and certain clues have to be planted along the way) I don’t always know exactly how each book is going to end. Happily, of course.
Published 2014-12-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Thursday's Child: Far To Go
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 59,410. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
International attorney and human rights advocate Elisa Santiago believes she has life under control—an impressive career, a solid group of friends in Obergrande, and a handsome law partner for hot “car action” when she needs release. Little does she know that her entire world is about to burn down when she discovers that nothing she believes she knows about herself and her past is true.
Tuesday's Child: Full of Grace
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 128,590. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Grace Fuller, the youth pastor in her father’s church, is guarding several painful secrets that threaten her future. Will she find a happily-ever-after with Steve, the confident, handsome assistant pastor with whom she’s vying for her dream job, or will the mysterious bad-boy biker who has just come to town, darkly guarding his own painful past, steal her from her chosen path?
Monday's Child: Fair of Face
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,920. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Where has supermodel Briony, the one-named wonder of the fashion world, disappeared to? That’s what style magazine maven Katherine Bruce desperately wants to know—and she’s manipulated Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and war correspondent Erik Bryson into chasing that story. At first resentful, he's utterly unprepared for what he's about to find.
Wednesday's Child: Full of Woe
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 80,150. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Life in the fast lane has never been an easy place for twitchy high-society event planner Sloane Wallace. But when a freak snowstorm and auto mishap leaves her stranded in the freezing mountains in her designer heels, a burly mountain man shows up in time to save her couture-covered backside—and completely mess up her life.
No Ordinary Day
Price: Free! Words: 76,250. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Kindergarten teacher Lucy Sullivan has an Irish temper, a fierce love for her students, and a growing fondness for fellow teacher Glen Daniels—until plain-spoken soldier Alex “Ace” Evans comes into her life, quite literally saving it. As they struggle to rescue five little girls caught in a flooding school, will these two opposites find the love missing in both their lives—or even survive?