To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the eighth, is of non-fiction and western historical romance author and interviewee no.91 Velda Brotherton. You can read the others here.
Velda has written seriously since 1983, though she always made up stories for herself and loved to read from the moment her mother taught her before she started school. In 1994 her first two books were published. One nonfiction, another a Western Historical Romance. As fate would have it, her career was growing well and with four books under her belt she felt secure. Bad idea. The bottom fell out, the line closed and she went to another house. Unhappy there, she turned to writing historical nonfiction.
But her love for fiction continued and she wrote several novels while getting some books published in regional non fiction. Today she works solely with small presses and E book publishers, including adding her back list books to Kindle herself.
Velda lives and works in Arkansas. She and her husband have a home in the country and they travel frequently, mostly for research but also for pleasure.
She is a member of Women Writing the West, Authors Guild, Ozark Writers League, Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., and is the co-chair of the Northwest Arkansas Writer’s Workshop, a critique group that was founded in 1987. She holds workshops, speaks occasionally at conferences which she attends a few times a year, and is fond of giving presentations at the many small libraries in her area of the state.
Her favorite pastime when she isn’t writing is visiting with her daughter, swimming, reading and watching a good movie.
And now from the author herself:
It’s hard for me to imagine a day without writing. I don’t recall ever having to force myself to sit myself in a chair and write. I remember as a child in Wichita, Kansas, where I grew up, lying out in the sun and making up stories that starred, of course, me. I could do anything in that make-believe world. For years I kept that a secret because I thought there was probably something wrong with me. Other people surely didn’t do that. Much later, I learned that all my writer friends created similar worlds, and for the first time I didn’t feel a little crazy.
Until my husband retired, I waited until he went to work on early second shift, and at 2 p.m. or so climbed the stairs to my office and went to work. I would come to myself with a single light burning and darkness all around me. In those days I had no thought of publication, just kept writing books. I must have had four or five thick novels finished before I accidentally met another writer and we began to help each other. By then I was writing newspaper articles for publication. I learned quickly that small weekly newspapers were hungry for columns and articles. At first I wrote profiles on crafts people for a local Ozark Craft Outlet. That led to more stories and finally a stringer assignment from a daily. Soon after that I went to work as a feature writer for a good-sized weekly paper. All without benefit of a journalism degree or training. You might say I learned by the seat of my pants.
And that’s the way I learned to write novels and nonfiction historical books. Back in those days there weren’t very many writers in our area, but since the huge growth of Northwest Arkansas, many have moved here. Our small writer’s group, which we formed with about five or six hopefuls in 1987, has grown into a large critique group that is popular in the area. At times we have as many as 25 people show up to take part. Several of us are published and more are being published all the time. I do so enjoy mentoring these new writers and helping them get started.
Ebook publishing is one of the most exciting things to happen in many years. For the first time writers actually have opportunities to handle their own career, from publishing through promotion. We can write the kind of books we’ve always wanted to write and publish them. For many this will bring about good results, for some it won’t. Good books will sell, the rest will languish, much like they always have with big publishers. But we all will get the chance to try out our work on the reading public around the world.
For me, this is particularly welcome, for as I grow older it becomes more difficult to drag my books around to book signings. And with the high price of gasoline, going to and from the events is costly. The Ebook revolution couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Learning to format and upload the books to Kindle has been difficult, but I think I’ve got it figured out now. I look forward to quite a few more years writing and publishing novels and possibly a memoir about my time spent working for a small newspaper. It was quite exciting at times. I have to say I’ve loved everything about this career which I didn’t get serious about until I was almost 50. Everyone should be so blessed.
You can find more about Velda and her writing via…
To view the selection of (and we’d love you to purchase) her books…
“probably something wrong with me” I love that! Thank you so much Velda.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist and online creative writing tutor Harriet Hopkinson – the one hundred and twenty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks here.