Bess McBride is a world traveler and a gypsy at heart. She lives in Orting, Washington, just south of Seattle where she writes romantic suspense, contemporary, light paranormal fantasy and time travel romance books. Learn more about her in an exclusive interview:
- How have your travels influenced your writing? Is there a place you like to write about most?
My travels are the single greatest influence on my writing. In fact, I consider “location” to be my main character, with hero and heroine (romance novels) secondary to the location. Because I’ve lived in so many different countries and states, I had to find a way to celebrate my travels, to memorialize them in more than just photographs. And what better way than to set my stories in the locations I’ve either lived in or travel to! Probably the most common comment I get from readers or reviewers is that they loved my descriptions and felt like they were “there.” That makes me happy. My first Indie novel, “A Shy Woman in Love,” in edits right now, is in fact set on a tour of Europe–similar to one I took my daughter on when she was a teenager. It has almost turned out to be a combination of travelogue/romance novel.
I have no favorite place to write about. Everywhere I’ve ever lived or been is my favorite place. Right now, I’m in a United Kingdom and Ireland phase, but I’ve written several stories set in the Caribbean where I was born to American parents. However, as I give the question more thought, I realize that almost all of my characters come from Seattle, or the surrounding area. The Pacific Northwest is their home, and in fact, is the place that I finally decided to call my own home.
- What brought you to settle in the Seattle area?
Traveling! When I was in the military and looking for a new exciting place to live many years ago, I had a friend who was stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma. He told me to come up here. Always open to new places, I did. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest–the weather, the evergreens, the beauty of the place. It always held a sort of mystical fascination for me. I was stationed many other places after that but returned here at the end of my military career. I can’t say that I’ve actually “settled down” in the Seattle area as I’m a bit of a gypsy, but it has become a home base for me, the place where, after a lifetime of traveling as a child and in the military, I could finally say, “I’m from the Seattle area.” Being born overseas, growing up in a foreign country and 21 years in the military sort of denied me a “home,” but it is to Seattle that I return most often.
- What kinds of networking have you participated in while living here?
All my networking has been online. I know the Romance Writers of America has the Emerald City Writer’s Conference every year, which folks from all over attend. When I lived in Boise, Idaho, writer’s there came over here for the conference. I “know” many writers online, but as I mentioned most of my networking is online.
- What non-writing activities do you participate in that enhance your writing?
Traveling, what else? For the last two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to afford a trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland which inspire me to write all sorts of time travel romance novels, my favorite! I walk along the river near my home, and am inspired by the scenery every day to write time travel novels set in the late 1800s of the Pacific Northwest. And I love movies. I suppose that I often envision my story as a movie, though without assigning faces to my characters, and I write the story visually.
- How long have you been a published writer?
I have been published since 2006, and have 9 books published with another one under contract with my publisher, a small press.
- What made you decide to break into self-publishing?
I have a feeling I’m one of the last authors I know to break into self-publishing. I was encouraged by a fellow online writer to try it. I made some inquiries of other fellow writers and discovered many of them were already doing it, in addition to continuing to submit or keep their previous works with their publisher. They have been very excited by the process–enjoying more creative control, control over pricing, control over royalties and speed of payouts, and control over release dates. I’m looking forward to that.
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of both for you?
With a publisher, one doesn’t have control over any of those things, and seeing a book published can take over six months, sometimes more. I am expecting the benefits to be: Increased royalties (as I remove the middle man so to speak) with faster payouts, more creative control over the cover and content, more control over the speed of release, and more control over the pricing. I think the drawbacks for the independently published books will be minimal–perhaps the trouble to format and upload the books to the various publishers. Additionally, sending the books out for review, is something my publisher does that for us. As a small press author, I’m already responsible for ensuring that I promote the book so that won’t change.
All in all, I’m very excited about this new phase, and I can’t wait to get my book back from edits and see it published in January! I already have the cover and am ready to go!
Connect with Bess on Facebook and Twitter. Please drop by her website and her blog for all the information on her writing.
Jenny Cussler’s Last Stand
Across the Winds of Time
These books will be re-released with separate covers within the next few months:
A Penny For Your Thoughts
On a Warm Sea of Love
Carribean Dreams of Love
A Train Through Time
A Trail of Love
A Sigh of Love
Love of My Heart