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Knowledge Base .: Meet The Author .: Fiction .: Meet New York Times Best-Selling Author Dorothea Benton Frank

Meet New York Times Best-Selling Author Dorothea Benton Frank

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Bulls Island

 

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is honoured to have as our guest New York Times best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank.

Dorothea has authored, The Land of Mango Sunsets, Full of Grace, Pawley’s Island, Isle of Palms, Shem Creek, Plantation and Sullivan’s Island. Her latest novel, Bulls Island, will shortly be launched in April 2008.  She is a frequent speaker on literature and the writing process and has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, Parker Ladd’s Book Talk and on many other well-known television shows.

Good day Dottie and thanks for participating in our interview.

Thanks!

 

Norm:

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Dottie: 

 

I guess I have always been something of a writer in one way or another – school newspapers, local newspapers, some very sappy poetry.  But it never occurred to me that I could write novels until my mother died.  It’s common for a traumatic event can cause an upheaval resulting in a new career.  Plenty keeps me going – two children in college, deadlines and pure unmitigated fear of colossal public failure.

 

Norm:

Do you write from your own experiences? As a follow up, has your environment and/or upbringing influenced your writing?

Dottie: 

 

Yes, I write from my own experiences and those of others too.  My environment quite literally influences my writing.  I serve on the board of the SC Coastal Conservation League and grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, which is some of the most historic and haunted territory in the world.  The coastal region of South Carolina is the most sultry dreamscape I’ve ever experienced.

 

Norm:

How do you decide you want to write a book such as your most recent novel Bull’s Island?

Dottie: 

 

The initial seed for BULLS ISLAND came from the stark reality of the island itself, which is the Class 1 jewel in the crown of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Preserve.  Bulls Island is simply gorgeous.  I was out there with some friends and thought to myself what a sin it would be if developers ever got their greedy hands on it.  So that is how the story was born – how could developers acquire the island?  Who would be the perfect people to play out that drama?  What if they – the developer and the wary investor – what if they were in love, not just a passing affair but if they had a love so deep it scared them half to death?  And what if all the characters in the book were liars?  Lying to get what they wanted, to protect their secrets . . .  the writer’s mind is a dark and quirky place,

 

Norm:

What do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?

Dottie: 

 

Obviously I want to write fiction that amuses and makes people think.  But I also want to give people something to take away.  In BULLS ISLAND the reader will get a good fast paced story about trust and integrity with a side dish of eco-lite education.

 

Norm:

In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?

Dottie: 

 

When it jumps off the page to the reader as implausible.

 

Norm:

Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?

 Dottie: 

 

We owe the readers everything.  If someone is good enough to go to the store and in the churning sea of thousands of books, they manage to find mine, give it a look and then buy it, take it home and give of their rare free time to read it, send me an email and say that they actually liked it?  Yes, writers owe their readers a huge debt.  I think of my readers as my best friends whom I would never knowingly hoodwink.  I try to the best of my abilities, given the constraints of life’s happenings and my publisher’s schedule, to give my most sincere efforts to my writing each and every day.  I try not to rush to the finish, assume the reader knows anything I haven’t said, repeat myself, linger too long on any one topic or in any one scene . . . all those things.

 

Norm

 

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Dottie: 

 

Norm, honey?  Hush.  We don’t talk about that.

 

Norm:

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Dottie: 

What did I just ask you?

 

Norm:

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Dottie:

 

Time.  Patience.  A good ear for dialogue.  A good eye for detail.  Good organizational skills.  A fire in your soul to tell the story in a way that is irresistible to the reader.  Envision yourself as the reader’s drug of choice and work as hard as you can to make that a reality.  A great editor helps and so does a strong agent.  The process of writing a book seems endless when you are in the thick of it and your agent and editor can be of enormous help in going from day to day – keeping your spirits up, offering advice on plot and characters, you know, keeping you off the ledge?

 

Norm:

Could you share a little with our readers about your latest novel Bulls Island? What’s it about?

Dottie: 

 

It’s a slice of the greedy life, Norm, played out with humour and passion in the jungles of Bulls Island and the steamy environs of Charleston.  It’s about the struggle between the Haves and the Have Nots.  If the reader has a difficult mother-in-law, this is the book for them to see the old biddy get hers.  Or an unrequited love.  Or lust for power.  One book cannot be about everything except perhaps the Bible.  However, my husband likes BULLS ISLAND a lot.  This is unusual.

 

Norm:

Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)

Dottie: 

 

I am putting together a sequel for SULLIVANS ISLAND and thinking about another book on hunt clubs.  PLANTATION has been optioned for film and there is some Hollywood chatter about making THE CHRISTMAS PEARL into a television special for the end of the year. 

 

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your books and is there anything else you wish to mention that we have not covered?

Dottie: 

Web site!  www.dotfrank.com

 

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavours.

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Bulls Island

To read the review of Bulls Island contributed by Kelly Moran, one of bookpleasures' reviewers, CLICK HERE

To listen to an interview between Dorothea Benton Frank and Michael Conroy of Harper Audio CLICK HERE

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