B. Gibson is a friend of mine who has just published her first novel. I am a great one for encouraging folks to do what they want to do. . . .and she has done it. And it’s good!!
Crow: Tell folks a little about your book. I sure found it a compelling read.
B: The Teacher Learns Love is about a thirty-something widow who comes to the Navajo Reservation to teach. It is a contemporary romance and one full of relevant issues applicable to many locals, such as clean water issues and joblessness. It is not only boy meets girl, though it is that!.
Caitlin struggles because she is like a fish out of water. There is nothing here that she is familiar with except teaching. The culture, the terrain, the food, everything is unfamiliar. It’s like going to a foreign country. Sam and his family help her, teach, and protect her until she finds her way. And along the way, she discovers some things about herself.
Crow: How long have you known you wanted to write this book?
B: This book took form several years ago as my family and I took a trip across the Southwest United States. I fell in love with Monument Valley and its surrounds and, by the time we got home, the book had taken shape. I wrote it and promptly put in the bottom drawer of my desk where it remained for a long time.
Crow: And what classes, jobs, or other life experiences helped you along this path?
B: Whew! Well, I have college degrees so there were always the inevitable English and grammar classes. It’s good to have proper grammar when you write! Also, I’m in love with words. I love the English language. It is so expressive.
I have taken writing courses and I once took a screenwriting course from an actual screenwriter. That gave me some new insights about keeping things moving.
I try to continue to educate myself by taking mini-courses by people like James Paterson, Margaret Attwood, and Joyce Carol Oates.
Over the years, I have had a variety of jobs, besides being a teacher and a business owner, so I have come into contact with some interesting characters. They don’t always make it into my writings but sometimes a turn of phrase from them might.
My age and life experiences have helped me hone my writing skills. I couldn’t have done this even a few years ago because I needed more maturity. I know that isn’t the case with some writers but it was for me.
Crow: You are working on a sequel. What’s the hardest part of that work for you?
B: This may sound silly but deciding just how much information and explanation to put in the new book to make things clear and get the reader up to speed has been the hardest part.
I don’t want readers of the new book to be lost but neither do I want to insult their intelligence by over-explaining. Some good editing will help with that.
Crow: We are writing partners on a regular schedule. How has the experience turned out differently than you imagined?
B: I was so honored when you asked me to be your writing partner! I don’t know where I found the courage to ask you to read my book because, as you know, you were the first person to read it and give me a critique. I’m glad I found the courage and the best advice I can give anyone who wants to write is to just do it. That has been my mantra most of my life. I’m glad I did ‘just do it’ this time as well!
… I certainly enjoy our writing sessions!
Crow: How many books do you envision for this series?
B: I’m not certain yet. It was not intended to be a series until others suggested that to me. Readers have mentioned that they would like to see a sequel. So…, there will be a sequel about Caitlin and Sam and a struggle they will be facing.
Then, there will probably be one about two of the other characters and their lives. Beyond that, I don’t yet know.
Crow: Do you worry about what your family might think since this can be called a romance novel? Does it affect your plot or writing style?
B: Well, it isn’t erotica, so, no. I don’t worry. My sons have known about the book since I first wrote it. When I told my family about the blog and then that I was publishing the book, I told them not to worry. I wouldn’t embarrass them!! There are no family secrets in there! They know that this has been a dream of mine for a long time, and they are very supportive.
Thank you so much for answering my questions and sharing your journey with us all.