**About author, Beth Albright: Beth Albright is the author of the award-winning, best-selling series The Sassy Belles, and the nationally best-selling series In Dixie. After spending nearly 15 years as a talk radio host in talk radio, acting as a principal character on the soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, owning her own acting school and children’s theater, and raising a son who was a nationally ranked figure skater, Beth returned to her roots; storytelling. “In the south, we are good at stories. We hold them close like fine diamonds, polish them up like precious silver, and we hand them down like a priceless heirloom to our young with the hope that they will tell our stories for us when we are buried beneath the red clay of home.” Except from Southern Exposure, Tales From My Front Porch. (Beth’s Memoirist book of essays.)
It’s just what we do down south, pass on our stories,” she says.
Though Beth has had a remarkable career, literally from New York City to Hollywood, she has never forgotten where she came from, and what she loves: The Deep South!
Beth is also a screenwriter, a voice-over talent for commercials, and a nationally known speaker and emcee. Beth lives with her TV producer husband, award winning promotions and branding executive, Ted Ishler. Her son, graduating with Distinction from Berkeley in the top 10%, is on his way to graduate school in the fall.
Describe yourself in five words: Loving, tenacious, cuddly, ambitious, sassy.
Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process: I learned not long ago from my dear friend Robyn Carr that I am a pantster—not a plotter. I write by the seat of my pants. I have tried in vain to write with an outline or even bullet points on a legal pad and it is useless. I love getting into the heads of my characters and feeling their story unfold. I have so many “ah ha” moments this way! The outlines always make me feel so trapped. I really hate them so much! So I just sit down and meld into one with my heroine and write for hours. She is telling me the story and sometimes I can’t write fast enough! I listen and see the surroundings and feel as though I am out of my own body and into the story living it right along with her. I write with a word count goal for the day—usually 3-4 thousand if I can. Toward the end that number increases naturally because I know exactly what I want to say. It takes me about 2-3 months and when I am done, I have a margarita! (and a bubble bath—usually at the same time!) I take a few days off then begin editing—which for me means decorating and smoothing, adding in things and descriptions I want to make sure I include. After my smoothing and decorating are done, usually 7 LONG days, I hand it over to my proofers and then edit from their notes one more time. I do one last read of the entire manuscript and smooth it out some more then turn it in to my formatter. And have another margarita, of course!
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? I LOVE the feel of a book in my hands. Paperback or hardback. I say this while I have both an iPad AND a kindle fire! I am trying to convert—but actual books are my friends. I love seeing the bookcases filled and over-flowing, and stacks of them on my furniture.
Salty or sweet? I love sugar, but salt is my go-to taste for snacks. Olives, pickles, salty margaritas…J And of course I love sweets, salty caramel, salty chocolate…
Where do you get ideas for your books and how do you come up with their titles? Ideas are lurking everywhere! I get about 5 or 6 ideas a day! I had two just before bed last night and they kept me up for hours! Every person I see, every gate I pass, every old house— stories, stories everywhere! I also draw on my real-life, especially my past growing up down south in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was my original inspiration to write—homesickness, perpetual homesickness! The women represent the women who raised me after my dad died suddenly in a car crash when I was only four years old. They were and always are my inspiration. They are hilarious and strong and oh, so sassy! The titles are always wandering around in my head, many times before stories pop up so I have a list of them I keep in case I need them.
Do you consider social media a help or a hinder? It can be both if not used well and I am still learning! Every author uses social media these days and there are SO many sites!! But if I don’t use them I won’t reach any readers. It is just a fact of the world we live in. I am a Facebook girl, and am barely starting Twitter—now I learned I need to be using Instagram and Pinterest, which I am, sparsely….Lord help me. It barely leaves me time to write! I like it for the simple reason that it keeps me connected with my readers—my favorite part of writing!
If you could meet any author who would it be? Zelda Fitzgerald, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am such a fan of the ex-pats in Paris I want to know them all! A living author I would love to sit and chat with in person is Kristin Hannah. She is not just a writer, she is a wordsmith—stringing words together like threads of a fine silk scarf. I want to be that kind of writer.
Do you keep up with anyone from Days of Our Lives? I wish I could say yes, but I don’t. I knew several so well and called them friends but I left due to complications in early pregnancy. I was so into my own life and really never wanted to return to Hollywood. I had a stroke, and my son came home on a heart monitor and I had moved back to Alabama to be near my family for the birth so I didn’t keep up with anyone. Most of the ones who were on with me have all moved on as well.
What’s a day like on your world? BUSY! I have a million things swirling in my mind so I get up and get going. I am a list maker so I make my lists in the mornings. I call my mom before I start anything else. She is homebound in Alabama and I miss her so! I plan supper for my family then I work on promotions, social media, blogs, website etc…then write. I stop and make a decent dinner nearly every single night (I have spoiled them beyond belief.) I do laundry and straighten up so when everyone gets home, it all feels in control so they can get calm and switch gears and get ready to eat. After dinner we all clean again—(I am a total OCD clean freak) and I may write again into the wee hours after they are doing their own evening things, sometimes after they go to bed. Some days I have to get out so I run around and shop and dream and make notes and do what my agent calls, “fill the well.” I need to find a way to make a living shopping!! Especially at make-up counters!
Do you have any writing rituals? I have a chair in my bedroom that is so deep and I love to write on my laptop sitting there. My cat wraps herself around my head on the cushion and rubs her head against mine. If she licks me, especially on the cheek while I’m writing, I know that book will make a best-seller list. I know, I am crazy, but I do have superstitions!
Every author must have (a): Pet! Writing is a lonely life. I was a radio talk show host forever. I love talking and I love people! I do miss that world. So if I didn’t have my dog and cats I would be nuts. They are my company and my friends as I create my worlds. They always agree with me and offer unconditional love all day long. I cannot imagine working without them around my head and at my feet.
What are you working on right now? Having just released my new book, STARDUST IN DIXIE, book 4 in my IN DIXIE series, I am working on my preparations to attend the fabulous Barbara Vey Readers Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee at the end of the month. Then I will be heading to my beloved Alabama for a huge book release party and Kentucky Derby Hat competition! That book party will be a doozy, complete with mint juleps! After that, I will be working on a fabulous cookbook, “Southern Comforts, A Southern Girl’s Guide To Cooking & All Things Southern.” That comes out this fall. After that, my Christmas novella will be out at Thanksgiving to end this current series, A Christmas Wedding In Dixie.
**Click HERE to see more stops on Beth’s interview tour!