Author Interview and Giveaway: Brains and Beauty
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Brains and Beauty
Brains and Beauty
by Jeanette Watts
Regina Waring seems to have it all. A loving husband, a successful business, and the most expensive wardrobe in town. But nothing is what it appears to be. Her husband is critical and demanding, the business teeters on ruin, even the opulent wardrobe is a clever illusion.
I had the opportunity to interview Jeanette Watts, and she is an inspiration to the writer in all of us.
What was your inspiration for this book?
My readers were more than a little annoyed with me because of the way I ended my first book, Wealth and Privilege. I love ambiguous endings. Apparently, most people don't agree with me. For every reviewer who likes the fact that it's unsettling at the end, and we're left not knowing what happens, there are four threatening to wring my neck. Same is true with my readers. I had no intention of writing another book, but my readers had other ideas. After being glared at and told, "You ARE writing ANOTHER BOOK, right?!?!?" a lot of times, I was "inspired" to write another book... and I'm glad I did. I learned all sorts of things about my characters that I hadn't known yet!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
My readers are tired of hearing this, I'm sure, but it's Margaret Mitchell. Gone With the Wind is a monument piece of writing. There are those who criticize the book for glorifying slavery, and the Confederacy, and say that it has done a certain amount of harm in our society. When a piece of fiction can have that kind of power over people's attitudes, that's some really powerful writing! She writes complex characters. They are flawed and human; there are people who love Scarlett O'Hara, and people who can't stand her. THAT is great writing. We are not lead by the nose and beaten over the head and told "you're supposed to like this character" and "you are supposed to hate this character." Instead, we readers get to draw our own conclusions.
Explain your revision process.
Iterations. I learned from a college professor when I was an undergrad, first you get it down on paper, and then you rearrange everything. And again. And again. Once I've gotten everything sanded down so that it's "ripe" enough for anyone else to see, then I get an army of proofreaders to take a look at it. I get 6-8 people to look at it, and even the eighth time through, there are still things that get caught. Maybe the historical things have been found, like the fact that the word "sex" only referred to one's gender until after 1929. But there will still be a missing set of quotation marks.
What book has influenced you the most? Why?
I'm sure it's no surprise that the answer is Gone With the Wind...
I appreciate her sharing her thoughts and process with me.
Enter Thomas Baldwin. Young and handsome and completely off limits, Regina is smitten at first sight. Then, to her great astonishment, he slowly becomes her best friend. He’s the one person in her life who never lets her down. Torn between her fascination with him and her desire not to ruin a marvelous friendship, she tries to enjoy each moment with him as it comes.
If only that were enough.
Was it really less than a year since she had witnessed the conflagration at the railroad yard?
Once again, she faced smoking ruins that had once been a thriving industry. This time, it wasn't human made. Or at least, it wasn't deliberate.
The mill ruins were, perhaps, more intimidating. The Washburn “A” had been a seven-and-a-half story building, and the explosion had been so large it shattered glass windows in the neighboring city of St. Paul. It left a crater in the middle of the mill district, destroying about one third of all the businesses in the area. The circle of destruction was ringed with the charred skeletons of mills that existed on the edge of the blast zone.
She was amazed that there were only eighteen other people killed in the explosion. Considering the scope of the wreckage, it seemed to her it could have been so much worse. As hard as it was to be married to one of the victims, Regina felt a certain gratitude that there were so few new widows. The bereaved would all be able to fit on a single trolley car.
Her eyes scanned for places where Henry might have been found. She had no idea where he was, or even who had rescued him. There were fallen walls everywhere – and nothing looked like a place where a man could be pinned down, and survive, even briefly.
Between the wreckage of the Washburn “A” mill, and the old wreckage from the collapse of the tunnel, Regina mused on her walk back to the hotel that this part of the world was very dangerous – or unlucky.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts only lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but in her heart, she will always be a Pittsburgher. She missed the city so much after her move to Ohio, she had to write a love story about it.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a Victorian cameo necklace to a randomly drawn winner.