About author, Beth Albright: After knowing Beth Albright for just a few short seconds you are sure to learn she is from Alabama. No, its not the lilt of magnolia you can still catch in her voice, or even the way she lovingly describes her undying love for her famous alma mater’s football champions. She will tell you she loves Tuscaloosa, even after living quite literally all over the country. Though Beth has had a remarkable career, from New York City to Hollywood, and all points in between, she has never forgotten where she came from…and what she loves. That’s why when it came time to write, Beth had no choice but to write about Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama, and all the quirky people she still calls family, though some do not actually share her bloodline!
Beth Albright has always been a storyteller. After spending nearly 15 years in talk radio, as a talk show host, playing the part of 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 has decided to return to her roots; storytelling. When she was in the sixth grade, her teacher gave her the floor every Friday to tell her stories. See, Beth was a talker, a future talk show host in the making, and she was telling stories so much that her teacher couldn’t teach. The teacher told 12 year old Beth if she would begin writing her stories down, she would be allowed time to share those stories with the class. And she’s been writing, AND talking ever since. Beth has interviewed Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Wolfgang Puck and George Burns live from the Chinese Theatre, as well as numerous other celebrities, and authors. Then Beth became a principal character on Days of Our Lives. But through all of the excitement of talk shows and soap operas, Beth loved telling stories to her audience the most. With a degree in Journalism from her beloved University of Alabama, She remains true to her roots and has never forgotten where she comes from. Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, “My grandfather was the play by play announcer for the Crimson Tide in the 50s!” Beth will proudly tell you. She is a down homespun girl, although she currently lives in San Francisco with her TV producer husband and her brilliant son. But her heart is always in Alabama. She has just completed new series, The Sassy Belles.
People would be surprised to know that you…: Were a drummer in your high school marching band!
What is the writing/editing/publishing process like for you? I like the writing process best of the three. The editing is always hard for me. My husband has always told me I am “raw footage” So I know even in life, I give too much information, too many details. So I need editing. But it is really hard to decipher what is necessary and what isn’t. So it can be painful. The publishing part is great…I can just sit back and wait for the “BIRTHday”
Every writer must have a…: Sense of humor! If I couldn’t laugh at myself and some of the things I write before revising, I couldn’t survive! And in the tough times, my lap kitty is an absolute necessity. Of course my family is my rock and they put up with a lot too! But seriously, with being able to laugh, it would all be impossible.
Tell us about your “Belles” series: I love these women! This is a group of women who live in Tuscaloosa. They consist of Blake, our narrator, her mother Kitty, her spit-fire grandmother, Meridee, her best friend, Vivi, and her ex-step sister-arch-nemesis, Dallas. Think of this group as a “Sex and The City Meets Steel Magnolias” group! They are smart, sexy and hilarious. And as I say in The Sassy Belles. “ We take care of each other, we stand our ground, and we do it in high heels, big hair and lots of lipstick.” They love college football as does everyone in Tuscaloosa so University of Alabama football, the Crimson Tide, is a big part of the series too. Blake is an attorney and she really has her work cut out for her in the series. The main point of this series is to say ANYONE can be a Sassy Belle: any age, any size, any color. It’s all about attitude and taking care of your “sisters”.
Where is your dream place to write? I am a romantic at heart, so I love a comfy chair and a fireplace. Anything in nature is always good too…a place with an ocean view or a lush forest view is perfect too.
What is your favorite word? Well, my son’s name is brooks so of course that is number one! But I love the word, tapestry…because it helps us feel the layers upon which I like to write. Stardust is great too, as we all possess a little to add to the tapestry.
Hard/paperback or eBooks? And don’t forget, audiobooks! I love them all. To me they are just different mediums in which to share my stories. Personally I like the trade paperback, perfect to stick in my purse. But I am old-fashioned and still do buy the hardbacks too.
What do you want your readers to take away from reading your books? Fun and a major sense of sisterhood. Plus to know it’s never to late to LIVE. Meridee turns 80 at the end of book one and throws herself a Hollywood Nights themed party complete with shirtless men carrying her in on a Persian cot! Readers are telling me they are laughing out loud through the books! We need that right now. We ALWAYS need laughter.
You’ve had the pleasure of interviewing celebrities, who was your favorite and why? Oh, what a tough question! I have so many favorites! Oprah really stands out. She makes you feel like you’ve known her and she is your new BFF! I loved the icons, George Burns, Betty White and Bob Hope. They were full of fun and advice. I interviewed all The Golden Girls and really hit it off with Rue McClanahan. There are seriously just too many to pick just one…but I did just LOVE Oprah!
How has the social media helped your career? I seriously don’t know how anyone could make it as a writer these days without social media. I know I have my Facebook base, then my books page, then twitter to help me get the word out about blogs, reviews, and contests too. I feel it is the reason we got such a huge bounce with The Sassy Belles! It has remained an Amazon bestseller since the first week. But I did a lot of Facebook advertising and lots of tweeting too! I think it is paying off.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? My mom always says, “Keep you eye on the ball” and that helps. I tend to be a worrier so I start thinking about everything all at once. She reminds me, one thing at a time and keep your eye on the ball. Also my mother has been wonderful as a motivator and cheerleader too. If I dreamed a big dream, she never laughed, she’d say, “Ok, what do we need to do to make that happen?” So most all my great advice comes from my mother! “If someone else can do it, then you can too”
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? My book is currently being packaged to pitch as a TV show! So fingers crossed, we’ll see! Also, I am busy writing a new Sassy Belle series. New Belles, and the original ones too, all taking place in Tuscaloosa at an INN the girls will open!
Songs of the Deep South
They say you write what you know and for me there is no truer statement. I know the Deep South. I have a love for it that pulses deep in my veins. My legacy is thick with my alma mater, the University of Alabama too, as my grandfather was the “voice” of the Crimson Tide in the 1950s. I am a southerner to the bone, though I have lived all over the country.
My Love Affair With Tuscaloosa Alabama
The South is like nowhere else on Earth. I learned this lesson the hard way; by leaving. I have lived in New York City, Los Angeles California, and nearly everywhere in between. From both coasts, two of the Great Lakes, and the land locked mid-west and even the deserts of Phoenix, I have called them all home over the last 30 years. And I stay in the perpetual suspended state of HOMESICK for Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
When I was 10 years old we moved to Oklahoma. And while I loved it there and made life long friends during my four years there, I was, even then, perpetually homesick, grieving away for my familiar surroundings of the misty liquid sunsets on the Warrior River and the rich history of The University of Alabama campus. Tuscaloosa is a pre-Civil War town, with much of the architecture dating long before the War Between the States. Old antebellum homes still stand watching over the city from one end of it to the other.
The kudzu creeps and crawls over everything standing still. Summers were miserable if you were measuring it by the humidity. With sticky skin and frizzy hair was the way I spent them. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Slow and happy and sweaty. Red cheeks coming in from long bike rides on half paved /dirt roads, slamming screen doors and window unit air conditioners. And beauty pageants, complete with crowns and banners pinned from shoulder to hip across the front of your beaded gown, Tuscaloosa is made up of so many things, even when I’m not there I can see it, feel it, and taste it. So I wanted to be there. Writing was the way I could.
Life was easier in a small town down south. All the neighbors watch out for each other and everyone’s kids were like your own. The men are still chivalrous and the women still act like ladies, with make-up done to perfection and a string of pearls. That may be my favorite part—well next to the food!
The Deep South is special. It’s unique in all the most perfect ways. I feel I am an authority on this because I have been able to compare it to, well, almost everywhere. I actually left my soap opera, Days of Our Lives in LA as a principle character and drove across the country, pregnant, with morning sickness that lasted all day, to make sure my only baby was born at HOME…Tuscaloosa! In typical Belle fashion, I didn’t pack light either. It took two cars! Halfway there, around El Paso, Texas, my husband actually had the nerve to say, “We really don’t HAVE to go have the baby in Alabama, do we?” I nearly burst into tears and called my mother– and a divorce lawyer—just as any southern belle in a crisis does! Luckily, I calmed down by the time we crossed The Mighty Mississippi.
And then there’s Alabama football. You have never seen anything like Game-Day in Tuscaloosa! The crowds under the largest tent city on the quad, everyone cooking out, the smell of barbequed pork in the air, the students dressed up in sundresses and bow ties. You KNOW you’re in the south! And when Sweet Home Alabama is played over the loud speakers, everyone stops in their tracks and sings along! It’s a priceless feeling.
In Tuscaloosa you can still sit out on a summer’s night and talk to your neighbors or on your front porch telling stories on a glider swing while a million lightening bugs glitter in the front yard under a gillion stars. And when someone ” has passed” a line of traffic will form on your street of folks with covered dishes. You’ll have more pound cake and potato salad than you’ll know what to do with! And at least 30 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Everyone who shows up on your doorstep to offer condolences will have a box of the delicious confections!
Tuscaloosa has it’s own special brand of Small Town America. It is in the HEART OF DIXIE, being in Alabama. It is a classy place with mostly classy people. And Southern Hospitality seems to have gotten its very definition from here. Every “Hey Y’all,” and “fixin’ to” is inside my spirit and when I am home it shines a little brighter.
When I come home it’s like I never left. I am hugged and kissed and loved. I go out with my friends and see my Mother and eat like I have been starving in a desert. I have. For the SOUTH… and its way.
When it came time to write, of course, I would write about the place I love most, my hometown in the Deep South. My heart is always in Dixie.
Maybe I can always go home, because truth be told, I never really left.