Bio: Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. No Accounting for Murder and There Was a Crooked Man, books 1 and 2 in her By the Numbers series, released in the fall of 2015 Book 3, Unbalanced, released in January. Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, is due in April, with more planned for later dates. If you like accountants or are an accountant, check out Counting the Days: a 21-day devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk. Leeann and Donna have penned a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, and Donna has published a book of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups. You can follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com and Donna at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com . All books are available at Amazon.com in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital.
Welcome back, Leeann. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
From where I’m sitting right now, more book ideas than I have time. But that’s a good thing. It seems that every morning when I sit down for my quiet time, another idea comes during prayer or scripture reading. But for the short term, I’m investing some time in learning social media. I’ve decided to focus on blogging, for myself and for others, Twitter, and Facebook. In that order.
Tell us a little about your family.
My real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, is the oldest of five siblings and the daughter of a nurse and engineer. Rather a standard family, actually. However, Leeann would be the youngest of three, with two older brothers. Donna would love to have an older brother.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Absolutely. Now I read with a red pen and a highlighter—not really, but mentally, I do. I pick out typos, passive language, and so on. And I note beautiful passages that I wished I’d written.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on getting my fourth book in the By the Numbers series, Five and Twenty Blackbirds. Release date is slated for April 30th. Next will be Book 5, Broke, Busted, and Disgusted which is scheduled to release November 30th. And after that—who knows?
What outside interests do you have?
My husband and I are very involved in an international ministry whose goal is to reach the lost for Christ through prayer, personal witnessing, and scripture distribution. Apart from that, we love to travel.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
With the By the Numbers series, I decided to base my main character in a small east coast town, since I grew up in a place full of small east coast towns. But I didn’t want her to get stuck there, so I try to alternate each book with one set at home, the next set somewhere I’ve visited that I thought would make a great setting for a story. Book 3, Unbalanced, is set back in Bear Cove, Maine, and Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, is set in a town in Arizona similar to where my father and stepmother, who I dearly loved, were married.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend an evening with Agatha Christie, to pick her brain about the stories she didn’t write and why, because I expect she had a hundred of them, at least.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I’d known that the process didn’t stop with the writing, that I couldn’t simply write the book and someone else would take it from there.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
He is teaching me stick close and listen for His voice. I’m reading Jesus Calling as part of my quiet time, and this point is reiterated every single day. I guess I’m a slow learner.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
The first thing is to have a teachable heart. Be willing for the Lord to work in your life, in your writing, in your learning. Attend conferences. Submit to a critique group. Enter contests. And listen to the feedback. The second thing is to connect with others. Join a writer’s group. Write in a community. Reach out to both readers and writers. Care about people. And the third thing is to write. You can spend all your time at conferences, learning. You can spend your day on Facebook and Twitter. You can guest blog all over the place and never write one word of the story or book that God has given you to write. You are the only person who can pen what He has called you to write. And always remember: writers write.
Amen to that. Tell us about the featured book.
Unbalanced is the third book in the cozy mystery series featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant. She finds herself knee-deep in wedding preparations and preparing to testify in a court trial, when she spots the town’s bank being robbed. However, nobody else seems to notice, and when she starts investigating, people start avoiding her—again. Then her husband’s long lost brother turns up on her doorstep, only to disappear shortly after, leaving his young son behind. And then somebody seems determined to keep the wedding from happening. Carly’s sleuthing alarm goes into overtime as she tries to save her credibility and her family in the bargain.
Please give us the first page of the book.
If not for her son's wedding, this would be the happiest time of Carly Turnquist's life.
She loved her career as a forensic accountant, tracking down assets, including cash, bank accounts and stocks, and proving legitimate ownership. For most people, working all day collating the evidence file for her last client, a brokerage firm that suspected one of its account managers of embezzling funds, would have left them tired and cranky.
But Carly Turnquist, snoop extraordinaire, was on the case. She successfully unwound the convoluted trail of fraud and deceit, confirmed that the account manager was indeed guilty of stealing over a million dollars in the past year. She made recommendations for improved internal audit practices to ensure this didn't happen again. The result was the trial was on the court docket, and Carly had been served a subpoena to testify less than a week after the wedding.
No, work was invigorating. What really got her goat was she was stuck preparing dinner by herself. Mike was still working in their basement office on a program for a client. Her stepson Tom and his fiancée Sarah had pulled into the driveway just minutes before she was ready to put the food on the table. The handsome couple walked toward the house, hand in hand. Sarah tossed back her hair, laughing at something Tom said to her. The peaceful and happy picture they made brought a smile to Carly's lips.
Tom burst into the house, his nose in the air as he sniffed for evidence of what was on the menu for dinner. His exuberance made the front door slam open in the same boyish manner that had driven her crazy for years.
Before she could stop herself, those all-too-familiar words flew from her lips. “Don't slam the door.”
Tom laughed in the same way that melted her heart when she’d first met him over ten years before. “Sorry, Carly.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a blog where I promote other authors who write contemporary books: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com and I’m on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you, Leeann, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Unbalanced (By the Numbers)
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