Monday, September 26, 2011
Diana Buckley's "Betsey Anne"
Title: Betsey Anne
Cover blurb: Drawn by a charm that Jefferson seemed able to turn on and off at will, and longing for a home and children of her own, Betsey Anne plunged into marriage with a man she hardly knew. But life on the Michigan homestead was far from idyllic in a rough, two-room cabin with a dirt floor. Though neighbors cleared their land and developed successful farms, Jefferson was unable to make a living on his place, leaving Betsey, a skilled seamstress, no choice but to take in sewing as she struggled to care for her growing family. Jefferson's charm was more consistently "off" than "on," and frequently, he would be absent from home for days at a time with no explanation. Duty became Betsey Anne’s constant companion, though sometimes she viewed it as a penance to be borne and other times she virtually wrapped it around her shoulders like a warm blanket. Always, she longed for the peace, contentment and fulfillment that others seemed to find so easily. Would it elude her forever? Or would she finally see that it had been within her grasp all along? Set in rural Michigan during the Civil War, Betsey Anne is a story of love and loss, hardship and joy, and a young woman’s journey to lasting inner peace.
1) How did this story come to you?
Betsey Anne is based loosely (very loosely) on the story I read in letters that my grandmother’s grandmother had saved over a period of many years. My grandmother gave me the letters when I was 16 years old, and as soon as I read the first one, I knew it was a story I had to tell.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I like to put it this way: I spent several years researching, about a year writing the book, about a year and a half editing, and editing, and rewriting and editing. I spent about 18 years saying to myself, “What if I can’t really do it?” I’ve learned that the 18-year part was really of no actual value! Also of no value were the 12 years I spent waiting for a publisher to knock on my door and say, “Hey, have you got the next great American novel stashed in the bottom of your closet?”
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1 – most of my professional writing experience is in the political arena; ads, letters to the editor, fundraising letters, brochures, website content.
2 – I grew up on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona.
3 – I am an avid hobbyist; I sew, quilt, gild (who even knows what that is?), make cards, turn pens on a lathe, and play the piano (very badly!). Plus I’ll probably pick up at least two new hobbies within the next year!
4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I just finished an authorized biography, on contract, for a Texas politician with a fascinating life he wanted to preserve for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have begun writing a novel titled “Flight of the Suburban Housewife” and I am researching a sequel to Betsey Anne. Because I am a stickler for accurate historical detail, the research will take at least as long as the writing, but it is also just as much fun.
5) Parting comments?
Please read Betsey Anne! And if you have a dream you’ve been putting off for fear you can’t really do it – get over that and get on with it! You won’t be sorry! Also, if your book club is interested in reading Betsey Anne, a friend of mine has prepared some lovely book-club-style questions and answers to go along with it.
6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I’m on Facebook under Betsey Anne and under Diana Buckley; if you’ll “like” Betsey Anne, you’ll be among the first to know when Flight of the Suburban Housewife hits print. If you would like, you can e-mail me at email@example.com; or find Betsey Anne on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.