My guest and fellow writer Betty Ann Harris on writing and all things Betty Ann

I’m delighted to welcome BettyAnn Harris as my guest. BettyAnn writes romantic suspense, is generous in her advice and support of other writers and I’m grateful she could spare the time to answer a few questions about her work and the writing life.

How would you describe your books?
I think my books would best be described as romantic suspense thrillers. I love to write a fast-paced plot to keep the reader interested, as well as using lots of mystery and suspense to keep them turning those pages to find out what happens next.

How long does it take for you to write a book?
It really depends on the story. I’ve written a book in four months, but have also been writing a book for almost two years. I also write multiple stories at the same time.

Do you do a lot of research for your books and if so, how do you do that? Yes, I need to do some research for most of my books. I’ve interviewed people such as FBI agents and pilots. I also do a lot of reseach online often goggling people, places and history.

Do you have a favorite author?
Yes, I love James Patterson, considering him the King of crime mystery and suspense. He’s so prolific. I also like Patricia Gaffney and Nora Roberts.

Was there any one thing that particularly inspired you to write?
I always loved writing, even as a youngster. I like to communicate my emotions and find it easier to write things rather than talking about something sometimes.

What’s the best and worst part about being a writer?
The best part about being a writer is having friends and fans tell me they really enjoyed reading one of my books. I also love talking with people who ask me questions about my books and writing. The worst part is the dreaded writer’s block, when I’m going through a difficult time personally.

How do you balance a personal life with a writing life?
It’s difficult. But I’ve learned as I get older to let some things slide so I can spend more time writing. I may not have the cleanest house, but that’s okay. If I’m writing, I’m a much happier camper.

What do you consider the most important elements of a great book?
Great characters and an interesting plot make for a great book. I also think dialogue should be realistic and well-written. I love writing dialogue. You can learn a lot about a character just by what they say and how they say it.

Is there any particular advice you have been given or heard given to a writer that you feel is particularly important?
Try to dedicate time each day to your craft. Even if you’re not writing on paper or on the computer, be writing in your mind. What I mean is, you can be figuring out what should happen next in your story, deciding to change some things or figuring out a problem that has you stumped.

What are you writing/reading now?
I’m actually not reading anything at the moment, but I did finish reading “Now You See Her” by James Patterson a few weeks ago. It was fantastic!

I’m writing a romantic paranormal at that moment, about a spirit who comes back to haunt (in a nice way) her great, great, great niece to avenge her being falsely accused of murder back in 1897. I’m finishing it up and hope it will be published early next year.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?
I have a website, which I have to admit is a bit unattended to. The website address is: You can find out more about my books on my Special Agent Series Blog:

If you could be a character in one of your books, which one would you choose to be?
I think I’d love to be Ruby Stone from Ruby Stone in Danger in Paradise. She’s the first sexy, female Special Agent in the series. She’s smart, beautiful and a good agent.

Do you have a favourite character from your books?
Yes, I love Tom from Eureka Point and Beyond the Point. He’s my hero!

For series writers only: What do you especially enjoy about writing a series as compared to a stand alone book?
I like being able to continue a story, especially if people really like the characters. It’s like you can keep them alive forever, well almost.

What do you do to unwind, put aside the hard work of writing, or otherwise enjoy life?
I love music, gardening and interior design. I also love to get together with friends for lunch and shoot the breeze.

Where can we find your books and more about you? and also at Red Rose Publishing. My book page is:
You can also see my Author page at Amazon:

Delighted to host Jane Beckenham

Jane Beckenham is a long time friend and well established romance writer. We thought it would be fun to tagteam each other on blogs with a few questions a little outside the box. Soooo, drum roll!!! Here she is!

Hi Elle, thanks for having me on your blog. Isn’t it amazing how technology brings people together from so far away!

You’ve been writing for a long time. How do you think your writing has evolved over that time?
I think I’m always learning which is exciting. I remember when I finally ‘got it’ about point of view, and now watching out for that jolting pov change comes naturally. Learning to write dialogue that actually says something and moves the story forward. Trying different ways to plot, versus seat of your pants type story telling. What I’ve learned too is that what system works with one book, might not work for the next, and that’s okay.

If you could be a character in one of your books which would one you choose and why?
I think I would like to be either Taylor Sullivan in HE’S THE ONE, because she’s feisty and determined and won’t give up on what she really wants in life. Okay so what she thinks she wants and what she finally realizes she wants might change, but she’s one determined gal, no matter what.

Also I love Leah Grainger in Secrets and Seduction because of her deep down instinct to love, no matter what, or who, and to forgive.

You write several genres in the romance themed category; why did you choose to write these genres? How do they differ in terms of approach? Do you intend to branch out further and write another genre?

I initially tried a category, which was abysmal, then I wrote several time travel. I think I loved this genre because I love history and I had also fallen in love with Sandra Hill’s time travels and Lyn Kurlands. Time travel gives me a dose of history along with the need to have at least one character from the present and fills my need for contemporary writing too.
Time travel/historical of course has a dose of research involved, and in TT/R you need to decide how the traveller goes back, what reaction they will have and also how they will be perceived by those from the past. Most likely thought a witch or at least a lunatic! So that in itself creates great conflict. The only other genre I’m thinking of wetting my fingertips with is maybe distopia/thriller, but it’s all about finding ENOUGH time these days!

Who is your favorite author and why?
Love Sandra Hill for her fab humor in both historical and contemporary, and also Sophia James for her beautiful writing (medieval and Regency). I recently read The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst and that was a great read.

What kinds of books do you read?
Mostly contemporary, though I recently read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand which was a biography about us US Olympic athlete during the 30s and his military days in WWII. It was a sad but captivating read.

What advice do you give to aspiring authors?
Really to just keep on trying, keep reading, and make contact with other authors through writing groups and associations, through RWA chapters, and on line of course. Do courses if you can. There are plenty on line. And just do it every day, even if it’s only ½ an hour. Something is always better than nothing.

Where can we find you on the web?
My web site
Twitter janebeckenham@romanceauthor
Email me at

Many thanks for joining me here today at Elle’s blog.
Happy reading everyone
Jane Beckenham