Joining me today in The Loft, is C. Becker. A former medical technologist, C. writes romantic thrillers. Currently working on the Euphoria trilogy, Becker also writes children's books under the pen name, Colleen Driscoll. She balances her part-time writing career with a position as a church music director. When not playing the piano, she’s either reading, gardening, or catching up on housework. Becker enjoys hanging out in West Virginia with her husband, four children, and Jack Russell.
S: Welcome to The Loft! Let's start at the beginning. Why write romance?
C: Writing romance stories establishes the feeling that all is right in the world, at least for a time. I like creating characters who have their own issues and have to become vulnerable in order to overcome their insecurities and problems. Uniting soulmates by tying in romance, exposing raw emotions, is absolutely satisfying.
S: I sometimes think writing romance does as much for the author as the reader. Spreading hope is powerful.
Do you write in other genres?
C: I’ve written 10 children’s stories, but the Euphoria stories are the first of any adult novels I’ve written. The Euphoria books are all romantic thrillers. I’ve plotted out a contemporary romance, but stopped when The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract on the first Euphoria book. The past few years, I’ve focused on completing this trilogy.
S: As a writer, did the pandemic work to your benefit or detriment?
C: The pandemic had a variety of pros and cons. I took on a full-time job and a part-time job during the pandemic. That limited my writing time, but I had a paycheck coming in. This past year, I cut out one job to finish writing the third book in the trilogy, and now at least the rough draft is complete. During the pandemic, I couldn’t go into the public to market my books. The schools where I normally conducted author visits for my children’s books weren’t open for outside activities. With book fairs and shows cancelling, getting books out to the public was difficult. Social media was the only avenue, but not every busy person is hooked up to social media. Half of my family doesn’t even use it. In fact, I think I’m the only one out of my family of nine kids who tweets! I did participate in zoom interviews and interviewed for a podcast, but those engagements were limited, too. Last year, events began to pick up. Thankfully, I’m booked at a few places this spring, and book clubs are interested in using "Saving Euphoria."
S: Social media does take up a lot of time, especially when no alternatives are available. It will be nice to get back to more face-to-face reader interactions.
If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?
C: Definitely! Though I would’ve started earlier in my life. I only began writing 12 years ago when an idea came to me for my first children’s book. I focused on children’s books for a few years and then decided to try adult novels. Having written in both age groups, I can’t say I prefer writing one over the other, but writing a novel is definitely more time-consuming. It’s daunting to look at a blank screen and begin a new book that you know will be at least 300 pages. A 32-page children’s picture book is much easier.
S: What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
C: To join a writer’s group. No joke. When I first began to send out queries on my first novel, one publishing company liked the story, but said it needed a lot of work and recommended joining a writer’s group to help edit it. So I joined a local group and kept returning because I saw how much they were helping me. I’ve grown a lot as a writer. I now facilitate the writer’s group, and we meet every two weeks. You could say we are die-hards. Every member is working on a book. Even during COVID, we met with Zoom meetings. Some members have moved away so we continue meeting virtually. Book 2 of my series, "Saving Euphoria," progressed faster because I utilized what I had learned.
S: What inspired "Saving Euphoria?"
C: The Euphoria trilogy was designed for three parts because of the plant it centers around, Bixa aparra. "Finding Euphoria" focused on the plant’s leaves and bark to create a deadly drug. "Saving Euphoria" deals with a mind-altering chemical found in the roots. The third book will concentrate on the shrub’s flowers. Each book parallels the protagonist’s life. "Finding Euphoria" was about the protagonist finding happiness and coming to terms with her life after she put her baby up for adoption. "Saving Euphoria" connects with the protagonist as she copes with her husband’s death and tries to salvage her life. The third book will concentrate on rediscovering the happiness she had with her husband. I used a plant from the Amazon Rainforest to show the many drugs derived from the Amazon plants and how deforestation is ruining many medicines, some unrealized yet today.
S: Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Saving Euphoria?"
C: "Saving Euphoria" is a special book on many levels. The protagonist loses her husband in a fire and has to move on with life, mustering what happiness she can. This is difficult for so many people who grieve the loss of a spouse. The protagonist’s husband actually is not dead, but severely burnt from a fire. His rehabilitation and sacrifice are an important portion in the story. The reader sees both characters’ sacrifices as the couple struggles to achieve their goals.
Here's the blurb--
Hailey Langley and her children struggle to cope with the shocking and mysterious death of her husband Mark. Her teenaged son is rebelling, and Hailey is dealing with physical and mental challenges as well.
Tom Parker, Hailey's former partner from the Special Crimes Agency, comes back into her life. He warns her to trust no one even as he tries to rekindle the flame that connects them.
Everyone has secrets, even Parker, and some of those from the past threaten to destroy the present. Hailey fights to move forward after losing Mark, but she needs to figure out if she can trust Parker and risk taking another chance on love.
S: That sounds like an intense, suspenseful tale. Where can reader's buy your book?
C: It's available at--The Wild Rose Press: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/c-becker