Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Meet: Bettye Griffin, author of Trouble Down The Road
Today's guest is novelist Bettye Griffin. Women's fiction readers: read on and then check out her books, especially the latest, which is out today! (Depending on what mom likes to read, it might make a nice Mother's Day gift.) You can learn more about Bettye on her great blog and friend her on Facebook.
White Readers Meet Black Authors: Tell us about your latest novel.
Bettye Griffin: It’s called Trouble Down The Road, is published by the Dafina imprint of Kensington Publishing and will be available everywhere today. As for the plot, let’s see…secrets being found out, lies being exposed, marriages in trouble, misguided loyalties…does that whet your appetite for a good book to devour (I hope, I hope)? Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “tart and torrid tempest” and says that “Those who crave their drama fast and furious will surely enjoy.” And the editor of the Black Expressions Book Club (Trouble Down The Road will be a Main Selection of the club in May) told me her staff loved the scenarios the book addresses.
Even with that very un-romantic plot overview, it’s necessary for me to note that Trouble Down The Road is not a romance, but women’s fiction. When you write both, as I do, you want to do all you can to keep readers informed about which is which…and there will no doubt still be some who will write to me and say things like, “That was no way to end a romance.” Sigh….
WRMBA: How would you describe your body of work? Your themes, tone, style? Why do you write about the topics you write about?
Bettye Griffin: A reader once pointed out to me that much of my work involves blended families, something I hadn’t realized but is not unusual in today’s society. This plays a role in Trouble Down The Road as well. The tone of my work tends to be a bit serious. I like taking everyday people and putting them in situations ranging from the uncomfortably sticky to downright ethical dilemmas. My style is not literary, but nor is it simplistic. Somewhere in between, I guess. My characters often have a dry wit (they can’t help it, they picked it up from me). I write about essentially anything I feel would make for an entertaining story, often taking ideas from human interest stories in the news.
WRMBA: What's your goal(s) as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate?
Bettye Griffin: Entertain, definitely. I’ll let the folks at the Discovery Channel do the educating!
WRMBA: What's next for you?
Bettye Griffin: I’ve been working on a synopsis that’s been kicking my butt for a complicated story that will be smoking, if only I can get it all worked out. I see myself moving into more mainstream romance fiction, and I just completed a synopsis for a proposal to do just that (none of my previous mainstreams, Trouble Down The Road included, have contained significant romance threads). And I’m working on another contemporary romance to be published by my own Bunderful Books. The rule I break here that would prevent this book from being published by a traditional romance publisher is having three very different romantic relationships unfold in a single novel.
WRMBA: What's the best book (or the best writer) that not enough people know about?
Bettye Griffin: I believe Plenty Good Room is Teresa McClain-Watson’s masterpiece and is deserving of wide acclaim. She actually transported me into the mind of a teenage boy from the streets with her wonderfully vivid descriptions of his psyche. I felt I understood him perfectly, empathized with him, rooted for him. I believe the book is out of print and hope it will be made available again.