Featured Interview With Becky Doughty
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Washington State, but I was raised on the island of New Guinea where my father was a missionary bush pilot and mechanic, and during my high school years, I attended a boarding school in the Philippines. Like military families, we returned to the US every couple of years for furloughs. Needless to say, traveling is in my blood! My husband and I now live in sunny Southern California about an hour away from everything – Los Angeles, the beach, Palm Springs, the desert, San Diego, Disneyland, our glorious mountains….
I’m a dog person – our favorite dogs are rescue pups and we currently have two, Vito and Betsy. Most of my books will have dogs as supporting characters…sometimes they really steal the show. We also have two ducks, Spencer and Susan, seven chickens (yes, they’re named too) all who lay eggs about every other day, and a horse who doesn’t like to be ridden or told what to do or bathed, even after rolling around in the mud (she likes being brushed though!), and she can’t figure out why no one wants to just hang out with her.
I write commercial fiction, primarily Women’s Fiction with strong elements of Romance and Magical Realism. I also write Contemporary Christian Fiction, and some Coming of Age/YA/NA that’s clean, or rated PG-13 due to subject matters like date rape, teen pregnancy, and domestic violence. I’m currently writing my tenth full-length novel, but I have a few novellas under my belt as well. Some of my books are in series, but most of them can be read as standalone novels, although they’re better read in order. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers, although I’ve been known to throw them out there every once in a while.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was that kid who read everything she could get her hands on. My older brother taught me to read when I was four (he’s another bibliophile – remind me to tell you a story about Big Brother Mine in a minute…) and by the time I started school, I was reading at about a 6th grade level. We didn’t have television; what can I say? Then I started writing when I found myself imagining what came after “the end” of the stories I read. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. Most of the time it was just for pleasure, just documenting my own version of life, but when the kids were finally old enough to be more independent, I started seriously thinking about writing for a living. It’s only been in the last five or six years that I’ve actively pursued a writing career.
The big brother anecdote: I ran into walls and stuff. Read with a flashlight under my pillow. Snuck the book into the bathroom and got in trouble for staying in there too long. Hid up in trees so I could get away to read. You know what I’m talking about. Big Brother Mine, though…he has me beat. One time, he was so absorbed in his book (he was maybe 9 or 10) that he turned on the shower—the shower, mind you, NOT the tub—and sat on the toilet seat to wait until the water got warm. And sat. And sat. Until my mother walked by the bathroom to see water gushing out from under the bathroom door. BBM sat on the toilet, his feet ankle deep in the flooding water, completely unaware of the chaos around him. Now that’s focused reading, my friends! He makes me very proud.
Although I wish I had started on this path much earlier, I do feel like my life experiences have really contributed to the scope of what I write. I write commercial fiction – primarily published in women’s fiction and contemporary romance – and much of what I write about I’ve either experienced first hand, as a supporting character, or as a bystander, at least in part. I “catch” life moments in mental snapshots, so to speak, and build my fiction around those moments. In other words, the stories are fabricated out of a kernel of truth, which is what makes them, I believe, resonate with my readers.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Asking me who my favorite authors or books are is a bit like asking which of my kids is my favorite. I’m a sucker for authors like Sarah Addison Allen who write about “real” women with unique gifts – I do love believable magical realism, the more subtle the magic, the tastier the tale – you’ll find bits and pieces of it in several of my books, too…although I attribute it to spiritual gifting or ability rather than magic. I have been a fan of Diana Gabaldon since she first published Outlander over twenty years ago, and perhaps it was that twist of magic, the impossible happening, that drew me to her and has held me there for all these years. I’m so thrilled we FINALLY get to see these remarkable books in film. I’m kind of an Outlander snob, though – I haven’t read any of her other work except the Outlander series. I also love a good Stephen King novel now and then – his more literary work rather than the pulp fiction. Who doesn’t love a little Misery?
As far as inspiration goes, I tend to find it in life around me. Most of my fiction is contemporary, so all it takes is for me to catch sight of an unusual scene, a newspaper article, an exchange between me and someone else or one I witness between strangers, etc., and my mind spins off into a story. It could be because I’m adopted. Let me explain. I have a fantastic relationship with my adopted parents, and it was really only during my teenage rebellion years that I wanted to find my birth parents, mainly because I thought he and/or she would be soooooo much coooooler… But I’ve always played this game about my adoption. Any time I’m at a public place, I find someone who might possibly be my mother, father, sister, or brother and I create reunion scenes about them. I give them a back story, give them a reason to be wherever we are at the time – at the airport, at the mall, at the restaurant, at the dentist, etc. – and then come up with some poignant moment when our eyes meet and we KNOW, we just KNOW that we’re connected. Silly, I know. But basically, I’ve spent my whole life giving complete strangers made up backstories, to the point where I feel like I know them. The downside? If I do happen to get to know them and learn they’re not an deep sea treasure hunter but a data entry clerk at Xerox, I tend to be a little disappointed in them…. So you see, LIFE is the inspiration for my stories!
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I have two books that have released almost simultaneously, and both are third books in two different series:
1) PHOEBE AND THE ROCK OF AGES is Book 3 in The Gustafson Girls, a series of 4 (possibly 5) books about a family of sisters orphaned by a drunk driver. The books take place fifteen years later when the girl (who happened to be the eldest Gustafson girl’s classmate) is up for parole and is preparing to return home, forcing the four sisters to deal with their collision course past. These are Women’s Fiction/Christian Romance novels.
2) A LONG WAY HOME: Book 3 of the Fallout Series actually completes the series – the box set released August 13! About the box set: At an ancient olive grove in Tuscan Italy, behind the scenes of a rock and roll band, on a Gypsy stage at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, or back home on Maple Avenue in Midtown, California, three friends discover what it means to fight for love. Book 1: ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN – Anica Tomlin cashes in her graduation gift to herself a little early―a trip to Tuscany―but from the moment she boards the wrong train in Pisa, her plans for solitude and self-indulgence begin to unravel around her. Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely of hands, and sometimes getting lost is the surest way to be found… Book 2: A LIGHT IN THE DARK – Tish Ransome thinks she knows all about passion and pain – she sings about it on stage – until she comes face to face with the real thing behind the scenes. When volatile turns to violence, Tish gets an unfiltered view of the dark and learns to recognize how beautiful the light can be. And Book 3: A LONG WAY HOME – Savannah Clark lives her life as a modern-day bohemian, hiding her identity behind her beaded scarves and swirling skirts. But an unexpected encounter with her first love tears open old wounds. Will she run again, tethered to the lies she’s come to believe about herself and those she left behind, or can she trust her heart enough to embrace the girl she once was as the woman she has become? The Fallout Series is a collection of clean Contemporary/Coming-of-Age Romances about college age characters and experiences. Some of the issues are difficult – domestic violence, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, etc., but because the abuse is more off the page, and the issues are extremely relevant to today’s teens and young adults, they are suitable for YA readers. “Romantic settings, irresistible men, and loving family relationships make these beautiful, memorable stories.”
I typically write a full-length novel in about 6-8 weeks. I prefer to “stay in the story” from start to finish, so if I take longer than that, I tend to get distracted by life or even another book idea, and then it’s extremely difficult for me to go back and finish it. If I’m independently publishing a book, it takes me about another six weeks to go through the editing/formatting/cover creation process to publish the book; the same process takes my publisher about six months or more. Which is why I ended up with two books releasing around the same date!
I also narrate and produce audiobooks under my audiobook production label, BraveHeart Audiobooks, almost all of which are available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. I’m a “clean reads” narrator, so with a few rare exceptions, most of my audiobooks are maximum PG-13. I narrate and produce 1-2 audiobooks a month so those take a huge chunk of my time – a full length novel typically takes about 60 hours to narrate, edit, master, produce, and publish start to finish.
I typically write around audiobook gigs, so I’d like to think that if I didn’t produce them, I’d be able to write more books more often…who knows?
I’m currently neck deep in a new book (and series) about triplet sisters with a much younger brother and aging hippie parents who still aren’t quite sure what they’re doing with their lives. The setting of the book is Nettles and Nests, an herb shop and garden owned and operated by the eldest of the sisters, where a lot of love and a little magic go hand in hand to keep the family together.
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