Interview with Kimberly A Bettes

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Absolutely! The first story I ever wrote after deciding to become a writer was a novel entitled WHISPERING THE PAST. It's the story of a woman who moves into her childhood home with her husband. Her abusive past comes back to haunt her as her life begins to mimic that of her alcoholic mother. I was 14 years old when I started it. Two and a half years and three typewriters later, it was finished. It isn't bad, but I've never let anyone read it. No matter how much they've begged. Who knows? One day I may decide to drag it out, dust it off, and polish it up for publication.
What is your writing process?
My process usually goes like this:

Have a brilliant idea at the most inconvenient time. Jot down every detail as fast as I can before I forget. (Learned to do that the hard way) The idea usually consists of the title, the opening, and a vague sense of where I'll end up, but no real idea how I'll get there. Eventually I'll finish another one of the other projects I have going and get around to starting that one. Then I go like hell for as long as possible, writing thousands of words a day (my record is 10,500). Once finished, I step away for a while before coming back to read through it from the beginning, adding and taking away, polishing the story as best as I can. Then I step away from it for a while and come back, reading through it from the beginning one more time and paying special attention to both the words and the story, catching as many errors as possible.

I only write notes by hand, although occasionally I'll scribble out a short story or if I'm away from my computer and something strikes me, I'll write a scene by hand. Otherwise, I write it all on my laptop. I rarely outline anything. I've tried it. I don't like it. It just doesn't work for me. I like to go where the story takes me, and having an outline puts me under pressure to follow a strict route. It stifles me and I can't work that way.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
That's a tough question because every book I've ever read had some sort of impact on me. The earliest books that really stuck with me were The Nancy Drew Mysteries. I read every one of them, and when there were no more for me to read I moved on to The Hardy Boys. I loved everything about them. The mysteries, the humor, the suspense, the entire worlds that were created on paper. It was amazing. But the book that means the most to me is Dean Koontz's Watchers. It was that book that made me want to write. I sat in my room after reading the last page, clutching the book in my hands, and simply staring across the room with wide eyes. I was in awe of him, of his stories, and mostly of the way he'd made me feel just by making up a story. He made me feel, and I knew right then that I was meant to do the same thing. I immediately set about writing my first novel. Watchers will always have a special place in my heart. If I'd never read it, who knows where I'd be now? I may have never discovered my calling.
How do you approach cover design?
The image I see in my mind for the cover usually comes to me early on, sometimes as soon as I have the idea for the story. Rarely do I have a story complete and have no idea what the cover should be. Since I make my own covers, I have the ability to make exactly what I see in my mind without having to convey that to someone else.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Watchers by Dean Koontz because it's the one that made me realize I wanted to be a writer.
Mine by Robert McCammon because it absolutely floored me on page one and didn't stop until the last page.
A Simple Plan by Scott Smith because the story is brilliant and ironic, and I do love irony.
After Midnight by Richard Laymon because it was the first of his I read and one hell of a ride.
Misery by Stephen King because all writers want a loyal cockadoodie fanbase.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read horror, suspense, and thrillers.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle, hands down.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Giveaways. You wouldn't think that giving away your work would increase sales, but it does. Not always, but most of the time. Nothing has been as effective as that for me. Not yet anyway.
Describe your desk
My desk is cluttered. There are books and papers stacked a yard high, I swear. But it's okay because I don't write there. I have a laptop so my writing takes place wherever I happen to be. And it's a good thing because seriously. Someone needs to clean off my desk.
When did you first start writing?
I was about 13 when I started writing poetry. My junior high English teacher would assign us poems to write and while the rest of the class groaned, I enjoyed it. It was so easy for me. The words just fell out of my pen. I soon found myself writing them for fun. My childhood wasn't pleasant, and this was a great escape for me. At 14 I began writing my first novel. Other teenagers were running around with their friends, partying and other nonsense, but I was holed up in my bedroom clacking away at an old typewriter into the wee hours of the morning.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wasn't even aware such a thing existed until spring of 2011. I'd recently discovered J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch and was reading everything of theirs I could get my hands on, including Konrath's blog, The Newbie's Guide to Publishing. At first, I thought self-publishing had to be a scam, but after doing a lot of research I decided it wasn't. I thought about it for a while and decided to give it a shot. The traditional publishing industry was such a hassle, I figured I had nothing to lose. I already had a few novels and short stories laying around, so I figured why not publish them and see if they'd sell. I was floored when I started selling books immediately. Literally the same day I published them I sold something like 10 books. I couldn't believe it. I've sold books every day since. I can't believe this didn't come along sooner. It's the best thing that has ever happened to writers, and I only wish I would've done it sooner.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Without Smashwords, my books would've never been available to the public. They'd still be sitting on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust while I continued to live my life wondering whether or not I would've ever made it as an author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The people in my stories are real to me, so the greatest joy is simply telling their tales to the world. Of course having readers tell me how much my books mean to them is great too.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything.
Who are your favorite authors?
Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon, Blake Crouch, Jeff Strand, Robert McCammon, Jillian Flynn
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, you can find me outside taking photographs, or stretched out on the couch watching television or reading. I'm a simple gal. I prefer staying home with my husband and son to going out.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Pretty much always the urge to pee. That and the perpetual list of things I have to do.
Is there a particular order in which we should be reading your books?
I try to write my books so that they can each be read independently, though some of them actually go together. For example, PUSHED is the sequel to HELD and should be read second, but could be read as a stand-alone novel. My MINUTES TO DEATH series also can be read as individual stories, but there really is an order and it's this: THE LONELIEST ROAD, CLOSE TO HOME, THE LAST RESORT, SHOCK ROCK, and THE FRENCH QUARTER.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Various sources. Word of mouth is the most common.
Is there a particular order in which we should be reading your books?
I try to write my books so that they can each be read independently, even the ones that are part of a series. For example, PUSHED and 22918 are both follow-ups to HELD but can easily be read as stand-alone novels. My MINUTES TO DEATH series can be read as individual stories, but there really is an order and it's as follows: THE LONELIEST ROAD, CLOSE TO HOME, THE LAST RESORT, SHOCK ROCK, and THE FRENCH QUARTER.
Published 2015-04-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dead Man's Chair
Price: Free! Words: 4,710. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
An old man at a bar warns Adam Davis that his girlfriend is going to die. Adam ignores the man, figuring his words to be nothing more than the drunken ramblings of a crazed stranger. But Adam soon finds himself back at the bar, searching for the old man and the answer to the question… Why did his girlfriend die?
Night Falls
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 23,090. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Amy and Scott Crane leave their suburban St. Louis home and head out into the backwoods of the Ozarks where they enjoy each other’s company as well as the beautiful scenery. But when night falls, the normally serene forest becomes a terrifying jungle and the couple find themselves entangled in a nightmare. When Scott disappears, Amy is left worrying about what might’ve happened to him…and wonder
Everybody Wants to Write a Book
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,560. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
In this essay, Bettes hits us with the truth about the four most common things people say to writers that drive them crazy. But she softens the blow with a touch of humor.
The Hunger (A Short Story)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,860. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Horror » General
Things are different now. Life has been replaced by death. The population has decreased immensely due to the many dangers in this strange new post-apocalyptic world. Life—what of it is left—is different than it was before in every way but one. Those who are left still need to eat. There’s just one problem. The food supply is gone.
Transference (A Short Story)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,790. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Horror » General
Josh Bradshaw is a troubled man. Leah Johnson loves him in spite of his troubles. For two decades she has tried to convince Josh that the guilt weighing him down isn’t his to carry. What happened wasn’t his fault. But Josh has convinced himself that he’s to blame. One night, a twist of fate changes everything, and suddenly Josh's burden is lifted...and placed directly on Leah's shoulders.
The Kindess of Strangers (A Short Story)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,980. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
It’s 2 AM. She leaves work and begins the long drive home, exhausted after another twelve-hour shift. Suddenly a tire explodes on a desolate stretch of highway, leaving her stranded at the side of the road. With no jack and no cell phone reception, her only option is to wait in the car…and depend on the kindness of strangers.
The Cabin on Calhoun Ridge
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 11,770. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Leslie Lane sits on the porch of her rustic cabin, trying to convince herself that the whistling coming from the woods is only a bird. And she believes that. Until she recognizes the song. When a stranger descends on her house, Leslie's ordinarily peaceful night turns into a nightmare. One from which she may not wake.
Shiners
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,630. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Lifelong friends Billy and Tom set out into the moonlit Georgia wilderness one hot summer night to make the year’s last batch of moonshine. But when they stumble upon a 150 year-old secret that will change them both forever, greed consumes them, putting their friendship—and their lives—in danger.
Once Upon a Rhyme...
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,190. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
From the author of RAGE and Held comes a diverse collection of rhyming short stories and poems. In true Bettes fashion, the author explores the darkest recesses of the human mind, shedding light on the evil deeds they do, only this time, she does it in the form of poetry.
The Home
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,240. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
Reporter Thomas Allen arrives at a meeting with an old man claiming to have a story. Figuring this to be another rural small-town scandal, Tom keeps his expectations low. But when Emmett Jacobson tells his tale, one of abuse, disappearances, murders, and cover-ups that have been occurring for years at the local nursing home, Tom realizes this story is much more than he bargained for.
His Ashes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,340. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Lisa is still in mourning after the death of her beloved husband Mike. Her depression has caused her to develop a bizarre habit, frowned upon by others but comforting to her. But an accident takes that habit a step further, turning it into a strange obsession. *A short story.
The French Quarter
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,940. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
After a horrible run-in with a hitchhiker, Anthony finds himself in a minor car accident. When the officer arrives, things get weird. When a duffel bag of heads is discovered in the backseat, things get down right strange. Arrested and charged with multiple murders, Anthony fights for his rights, begging for justice. Then, at the last moment, he realizes that sometimes justice is macabre.
Shock Rock
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,130. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
After breaking up with his girlfriend, rock star Ace Haven drives his beloved Shelby Mustang across the country to meet up with his band and continue their tour. Stopping off in a small town, Ace soon discovers that being a rock star isn't always a good thing. With his ego inflating and his car disabled, Ace overlooks the rules of the town. Too late, he realizes that sometimes justice is macabre.
The Last Resort
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,650. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Ashley Carter prides herself on her street smarts. That's what's gotten her this far in life. But when she meets a handsome stranger in a roadside diner who invites her to his resort in the mountains, she ignores her instincts and goes. Seeking poetic inspiration, she soon discovers that she's found something far more sinister. In an effort to escape, she realizes that sometimes justice is macabre
Close to Home
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,030. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
With their vacation coming to an end, Clyde and his family are nearly home. Deciding to take a scenic shortcut would turn out to be much more than just a mistake. Summoned by three men living in shacks in the woods to help a sick woman, Clyde uses all his skills as a doctor but fails to save her. Blamed for her death, Clyde and his family are about to find out that sometimes justice is macabre.
The Loneliest Road
Price: Free! Words: 24,140. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.50 from 6 reviews)
Chris Peters takes a road trip to ease his woes after losing his wife. Stopping at a roadside diner in a town not marked on a map, he notices the waitress looks eerily like his wife. Unwilling to leave, he gets a room at a nearby hotel. When the waitress ends up dead, Chris stands accused of her murder. His world spirals out of control. He realizes too late that sometimes justice can be macabre.