Award-winning novelist Betty Woods got serious about writing in 2005 and begin entering contests a year later. She’s finaled in six, including the Genesis! One day soon, she hopes and prays to collect an advance on royalties check, payment for her willingness to listen to all those characters’ voices in her head.
Betty lives in Pantego, Texas with her car nut husband. Instead of riding a white horse, her knight in shining armor drove up in a lime green muscle car. Betty and her husband run a small business together. She’s the receptionist, bookkeeper, gopher, IT tech, etc.
Camping, growing roses, and sewing are her favorite hobbies, but they take second place to collecting hugs and kisses from her fifteen-month-old granddaughter who lives nearby. Betty’s learned to chat on Facebook to keep up with the two oldest grandchildren.
Betty’s Journey Begins
When did your love of writing shift from being something you enjoyed for your own pleasure to being your primary endeavor?
I entertained the neighborhood with stories when I was a kid, so I’ve always loved to write. God kept nudging me to write again about six or seven years ago. I started writing narration, segues and short skits for church musicals. Our choir director had so much faith in what I could do that it was contagious and reaffirmed God’s gentle pushes. I got serious about being published in 2005.
How many manuscripts have you completed?
I have two manuscripts that I can call complete. Two others need some minor editing. What I would have called finished six years ago, I’d call a rough draft now. My critique group has taught me so much. Plus I’ve finished four rough drafts that aren’t ready to even show to a crit group.
In which romance category do you write?
Historical fiction is my favorite even though I’ve had two contemporary manuscripts final in contests over the years. I’ve always enjoyed history. Going to history museums is one of my favorite fun things to do. I got mistaken for the tour guide at an old log cabin town in Cody, Wyoming while I was explaining things about frontier life to my grandkids. Guess I should have told those two ladies they could stick around and that I worked for tips!
Betty’s Bright Spots
You finaled in the prestigious ACFW Genesis contest in 2006. Please tell us about that experience, what it meant to you, and how you reacted when you heard the exciting news.
Finaling in such a respected contest was the affirmation I needed from God that I’m heading in the right direction. It was like God telling me I’m a writer. I can do this. It helped me to keep trying and pressing forward toward the goal of publication.
You obviously have oodles of talent because your story has made an impressive showing on the RWA® Contest Circuit. How has it done so far?
Treasure and Trouble won fourth place in the Golden Acorn in 2006 before winning first place in the Golden Pen.
Ooh! The Golden Pen is a biggie. I’m impressed. Have your placements helped you gain the attention of the publishing pros?
The editor who judged the Golden Pen requested the full manuscript.
Did you ever reach a point when you considered giving up? What kept you from doing so?
When I first started entering contests, I had one judge question if I should be writing at all. But I’ve learned to glean whatever positive help I can from judges’ comments and trust God to show me if something really should be changed.
I almost gave up on Treasure and Trouble after sending it to another contest earlier last year and receiving some very unflattering comments. Several published writers assured me that the story is a good one. Remembering that judging is subjective is harder when the judge is picking apart the story you love.
I set my manuscript aside for awhile and kept praying. When I’ve tried not writing at all, I can almost hear God’s still small voice telling me to get started again and keep pressing on. Following God’s direction is more important than human opinions.
Partners on Betty’s Journey
A writer may spend hours alone with her fingers flying over the keyboard, but many people are behind the scenes supporting her in numerous ways. Who are some of your staunchest supporters?
Instead of a great cloud of witnesses like the verses in Hebrews, I have a great cloud of people who believe in me. My number one supporter is my husband, Craig. He gets mad if I get a rejection letter. He’s already got Treasure and Trouble not just optioned to Hallmark but scheduled for shooting. When I started screaming about my Golden Pen win, he ran into my little home office and jumped up and down with me after making sure I hadn’t found a snake or mouse.
My son, daughter and son-in-law cheer me on, too. My mother is already planning to come to my first book signing. The Minnesotans from my hubby’s family post positive comments to me on Facebook. So many friends at my church support me that I can’t name them all.
I have a wonderful critique group led by Lena Nelson Dooley. Those ladies truly understand constructive criticism with an emphasis on constructive. They have helped me improve to the point of winning first place in a contest.
Betty’s Journey Continues
What story are you working on now?
The sequel to Treasure and Trouble. The heroine’s best friend just has to have her own story. Plus I have ideas for a third book to complete the series.
Five Fun Questions for Betty
If everyone were required to wear a hat at all times, what sort of hat would you wear, and why?
Think of a yellow version of Scarlet O’Hara’s famous straw hat at the barbecue. My hat would have to be trimmed with white ribbons and some white roses. I love yellow. Roses are my favorite flowers. It’s much better to be bright and happy as much as possible. I probably drive pessimists crazy, but I have so much more fun this way.
If you could be the spokesperson for any product on the market, what product would you choose to enthusiastically represent, and why?
Ghirardelli chocolate. There is no such thing as too much chocolate. Dark chocolate is good for you. What fun to represent such a delicious health food, especially if I could get free samples for my work.
What month of the year do you think would best describe your personality?
April in Texas when the flowers are blooming. My roses are gorgeous. I can fill vases and vases with blooms. It’s a wonderful time to go camping and enjoy God’s creation. I like looking on the bright side. God is good no matter how bad things get. That’s one of the main themes I want to get across with my stories. I’ve had some rough spots in my life but God is always faithful. I don’t give up easily. I like to try to find the good in people. I’m an encourager. So spring’s renewal and bright colors fit my style.
If, instead of actually writing out your name, you had to “sign” your name with a simple drawing or symbol, what would you draw to represent yourself?
A yellow rose in full bloom with a rainbow arching over the rose. The rainbow for symbolizing hope. The rose to remind us to look for God’s beauty.
What out-of-the-ordinary items do you carry in your purse, and why are they important to you?
Spare keys for our travel trailer. While standing in a dark parking lot, my hubby accidentally pulled his keys out of his pocket with his change. If I hadn’t had my keys, we’d have been in trouble for the rest of our vacation.
Betty’s Question for You
If you had a time machine, what time in the past would you like to visit most?
Learn More About Betty
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