Meet Novelist Betty Woods

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.

Betty’s Perseverance

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

Friend her on Facebook ~ Betty Woods

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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27 Responses to Meet Novelist Betty Woods

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Betty! It’s great to have you as my guest and to learn more about you and your writing. Congratulations on your contest finals and that first in the Golden Pen.

    If I could travel to anyplace, I’d stand on Main Street in my Gold Rush town and be transported to 1870, the time when my inspirational historicals take place. Since those I’ve written so far are set in this area, it would be fun to get a look at what things really looked like. I wouldn’t want to stay long, though. I’m rather fond of our modern conveniences–and Taco Bell. =)

    • Betty Woods says:

      Keli,
      Thanks for such a terrific interview. I’d like to go back to 1870’s Fort Worth when wild hogs roamed the streets along with the buffalo hunters and cowboys.

  2. territiffany says:

    Hii Betty! Your story is such an encouragement to me. I am thrilled for you on winning so many contests. I bet it won’t be long before I am reading about your first contract!! Blessings:)

    • Betty Woods says:

      Teri,
      Thanks for your encouragement. Hang in there with your writing. Don’t quit. I’ve almost given up several times, but no one learns anything or makes any progress by quitting.

  3. I look foward to Sunday’s because there is always an inspirational story. Thanks for introducing Betty to us, Keli 🙂

    Betty, you have the determination it takes to succeed. Soon you’ll be doing another happy dance with your hubby. The best.

    Remembering we are females and had a tough road to travel in the past, the only time I would really love to revisit is the WWII era, with their big bands, love songs and great musicals, not to mention awesome writers 🙂

    • Betty Woods says:

      I wouldn’t mind revisiting Dallas during the WWII era. My mother met my dad there while she was rooming with his aunt. The movie theater where he proposed is still there.

  4. Sherrinda says:

    Pantego, Texas! That sounded so familiar that I googled it and found out that you are in my backyard! I live in North Richland Hills, just a little north of 820! (So how about that ice/snow????)

    I love hearing about your journey and think it is so impressive that you have so many manuscripts under your belt. That is what I need!!! I’ve focused way to long on that first. But it’s my goal to finish one WIP and start another this year. BIG GOALS! 😉

    Now, if I were traveling in a time machine, I would make a stop in England around 1814…the grand Regency Era. Such fun at balls, musicales, country homes, and Almacks. Love that time! Then I would travel back into the 1200’s (still England). Yes, it would be rough, but I would love to see the knights who save fair maidens. Oooo, or into Scotland during the time of clans and fierce lairds. Sigh…men in kilts. I’ll just ignore the fact that they didn’t have deodorant or toothpaste back then. 😉

    • Betty Woods says:

      Sherrinda,
      Friend me on Facebook. If you write inspirational romance, I know a lot of dedicated writers in this area, several of them multi published.
      Published writers told me to not get stuck on one manuscript. Terrific advice. I’ve learned and improved with each story. Plus it gives me more possiblities for contest entries.
      England is fascinating too. Wouldn’t it be fun to see if those knights really thougth of dragons?

  5. I enjoyed your interview, Betty. You made me think of a song I used to hear: The Yellow Rose of Texas. I can still remember the tune. May your novels find readership and bring you much satisfaction, fame, and wealth. 🙂 Blessings to you…

    I’m reading a historical romance right now. I don’t know what time in history I’d like to travel back to for a visit. I’m very grateful to live in this age of technology. If I can’t take my cell phone along in the time machine, I’ll skip it and stay here.

    • Betty Woods says:

      Carol,
      Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. People like you help writers keep trying.

  6. Stacy says:

    Hey Betty,

    You can add me as another cheerleader from Minnesota! What a wonderful journey you’ve been on. So glad that you are listening to the still, small voice that is encouraging you in your writing. Sounds like you’re right on the edge of the next big step!

    If I could go back in time, I’d want to go WAY back and walk the hills of the Holy Land with Jesus to experience the Bible in person!

    Thanks for sharing this link with your FHL buddies. Hope to see you back here when you get “the call” – soon!

    • Betty Woods says:

      Stacy,
      My hubby is from Minnesota. We were there for Christmas. Listening to that still small voice isn’t always easy. Waiting for God’s timing is one of the hardest parts for me.

  7. What a wonderful interview, Keli and Betty.

    And thanks for the mention. I’m one of Betty’s cheerleaders.

    I would travel back to 1800’s in Australia or Hawaii, if I could travel back in time. But then I’d love to travel to each of these places in the present time.

    • Betty Woods says:

      Lena,
      Yes, you are one of my cheerleaders, a wonderful mentor, encourager and friend. I thank God for putting you in my path.

  8. Terri Harr says:

    Great interview Betty! I loved hearing more about your writing even though we have known each other over 20 years. I can’t wait to read your books!

    I would travel back to when Jesus was teaching on the mountain side or maybe during those days after the ressurrection but before he accended into Heaven. Maybe during Pentecost when the Disciples received the Holy Spirit and they were so on fire to spread the Word.

    There are many historical time frames that would be exciting to visit, 1600 Scotland would be one of them or before.

    • Betty Woods says:

      Teri,
      Thanks for being another one of my encouragers and friends. God has put some wonderful people in my path.

  9. Jilian says:

    Thanks for sharing your incredible journey with us Betty. It’s so encouraging to hear a story like yours as many of us follow our dream.
    My journey in the time machine would be much shorter than then other ladies. I would love to travel back to the 1950’s. According to my mother, it was the best time to grow up. Saddle shoes and poodle skirts….what fun! 🙂
    I’m going to track you down on FB to continue following your journey.
    Jill

  10. Missy Tippens says:

    What a fun interview! I really enjoyed getting to know Betty better!

  11. Nancy says:

    I’m with you on yellow roses and chocolate. Hmm. Now if they could make a chocolate rose and coat it with yellow-tinted white chocolate … hmm. 🙂 This was a fun interview to read — not the typical questions and delightfully upbeat answers. Wishing you all the best with your writing.

    • Betty Woods says:

      Nancy,
      Thanks for stopping by. Keli is a terrific interviewer. She makes this a lot of fun. Maybe you should try and market the yellow-tinted white chocolate rose!

  12. Diane says:

    I’d love to visit Medevil times. Hopefully, I wouldn’t be a serf though… :O)

    • Betty Woods says:

      Diane,
      I wouldn’t want to be a serf either. I bought a book about life in Medival times, but haven’t had time to read it. Thanks for checking out the interview.

  13. Fun post — thanks Betty and Keli! Your story is so encouraging, Betty.

    Like Sherrinda, I’d love to visit Almack’s (among other things) in Regency England. Perhaps first I could be taken to a modiste and draped in a delicious muslin gown!

  14. Betty Woods says:

    Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read Keli’s interview with me. I appreciate all the compliments and encouraging words. The journey to publication isn’t an easy one. People like you help keep writers going. Lord willing, I’ll be back with a sold story. But that’s in God’s hands and in His timing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    My name is Betty Woods. I had eight children. worked in sewing for 32 years, sang in the church choir for 40 years, and now I’m retired. I’m 84 years old, and have had a double by pass, knee replacements ( the usual maladys of old age)and am now looking for something inspiring to spend my time on, I envy you in being able to write. I will be looking for your books!
    sincerely, Betty Woods

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