Author Interview with Billy Beasley
Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I did dream about writing a book as a wayward youth but I began to try to make the dream a reality when I was forty.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Most of the time the characters are completely from my imagination but there are exceptions. For instance, in my first story, The River Hideaway, I did picture my Grandmother in the role of the main character’s Grandmother.
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
When I have an idea I usually have a pretty clear beginning and ending in mind. I just sit down and begin to write. The challenging part for me is to bridge the middle. I am not an outline person at all. I may jot a couple of notes during the process for something that occurs to me that I may want to include later in the book. It usually takes 6- 12 months for me to write a book.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I have other manuscripts already written. I was much better at writing than trying to get published. There is one work in my computer right now that is maybe half finished from early last year. I shut down on it because I began to think I would never land that second publisher for stories I had already written. It quite obviously can be a very frustrating endeavor to try to be traditionally published.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
Accept going in that your first work will probably not be that good but it helps in the process. As far as promoting, be prepared to work as hard on it as you did writing your story unless you land a major book deal right out of the gate.
What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
Can I still say Pat Conroy, even though he is sadly no longer with us? I loved everything he wrote and I don’t know if I can pick an absolute favorite book of his. Lords of Discipline maybe and I don’t even care to read military genre.
Someone wrote on Facebook after reading The River Hideaway, that Pat Conroy had nothing on me as a southern writer and my response was that is sweet but terribly wrong because no one can write like Pat Conroy. If I was ten percent of the writer he was I would think I was very good and I by no means think I am ten percent the writer he was.
Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
I read a lot of fiction. James Lee Burke has a style and a way to describe things like no one else. I love Harlan Cobhen. I love outdoor, almost modern western type fiction like Craig Johnson and the Longmire series. C.J. Box and William Kent Krueger I would place in that category and I read everything they write. For sheer laugher and enjoyment-David Rosenfelt and his Andy Carpenter character. I just finished reading the four books in the Winter Series by Elin Hilderbrand. We spent Christmas this year in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina and I wanted easy, enjoyable reads and the series is based around the holidays. I loved her characters.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I would not say I have a schedule but for the most part I enjoy the very early morning.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I am an overnight success. J I wrote The River Hideaway in 1997 and the second place I mailed it to the acquisition reader loved it. I still have her letter to this day. She could not persuade the board to publish it as their one piece of annual fiction. She even gave me contacts she knew personally. It was only a matter of time, right?
Fast forward to 2013 when my new wife, Julie asked, “When is the last time you even tried?” I told her probably three years. She was persistent so I pulled a name off a list and sent it in just to silence her.
They offered a publishing contract for The River Hideaway.
Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
Silence and only the dog is allowed in the room and she best be quiet.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
That could well be the best part of the journey. My son, Micah was little when this began. He is thirty now. The day I was offered the first contract I called and tried to tell him but I broke down completely. The second time, my first words to him were, “I am not going to cry this time.” And he knew.
Lots of supportive friends but my closest friend Jack, (and we tease him that he does not even read) we went away with our wives for my 60th birthday in 2016. We stood by an outdoor fire and he knew my frustration at not finding that next publisher and he said, “I don’t think it is over.” Less than one year later he was proven correct.
I am the baby brother to three sisters. That was not an easy childhood but seriously they have been very supportive and proud of their little brother and that means a lot.
I am also glad being published did not occur earlier because I am in a better place and especially to be able to share this with my wife, Julie. She could not be prouder or more supportive. She gives real meaning to the Rascal Flatts song, ‘Bless the Broken Road.’
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
Too many similar words, which my wife is really good at pointing out.
About the Book
Troy Dawkins hears a pop in his right shoulder and his dream of pitching in the major leagues vanishes. It is the first event in which those close to him refer to in hushed voice as ‘The Trilogy of Tragedy.’ Three disasters neatly spaced seven years apart.
He receives an unwelcome letter from an egotistical preacher that sets off a strange chain of events. With a newfound friend and possible love on the line, can he find a way to escape the haunting nightmares of death and rediscover hope, finding faith... one last time?
Find The Preacher's Letter online:
Meet the Author
I am blessed to live in Carolina Beach, NC with my beautiful wife Julie and our Australian Cattle Dog, Teke, who is named after a character in my first book, The River Hideaway.
We are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC. Julie sings on the Worship team and is my favorite singer in the entire world. I serve on the Care team.
I share two simple beliefs with my favorite character in The River Hideaway—Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read Billy's "Sunday Inspiration" column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.