24 November 2013

Author Interview: Betty Bolte

This week, we're pleased to welcome author Betty Bolte, whose latest novel, HOMETOWN HEROINES is set during the 19th century. The author will offer a free copy of Hometown Heroines to a lucky blog visitor. Leave your email to be considered in the drawing. Here's the blurb.

During the 1800s, daring and courageous girls across America left their unique mark on history. This book provides both historical fact and historical fiction about each of 19 girls and young women whose actions are remembered with an historical landmark in the United States. These are inspiring true stories of real American girls, our Hometown Heroines, who faced danger and adversity and made a difference in their world.

** Author Interview with Betty Bolte**
How long have you been writing?
As long ago as I can remember! Since I was a little girl, 5 or 6 years old, I started inventing stories in my head. As I advanced through school, I started writing short stories and poems. Once I reached adulthood, I started trying my hand at book length nonfiction and fiction.
What other authors have influenced your writing?
This may seem an easy question to answer, but for me it really isn’t. For one thing, I’ve read so many different kinds of literature that my own writing has emerged as a blend of a lot of it. That said, I’d have to say authors such as Anna Sewell (Black Beauty), Barbara Taylor Bradford, Hemingway, LaVyrle Spencer, Linda Howard, and Charles Dickens have all had a hand in flavoring my writing voice.
Why did you write this book? Where did you get the idea?
The girls I feature in this book inspired me by their selfless acts and perseverance in the face of often daunting hurdles to their success. I first learned of these girls by reading another great book, Susan B. Anthony Slept Here: A Guide to American Women’s Landmarks, by Lynn Sherr and Jurate Kazickas (NY: Random House, 1994). I noticed a number of the paragraphs were about young girls and started compiling a list and doing my own research in order to share their accomplishments.
Why did you choose to write their story as fiction rather than biography/nonfiction?
I wanted to make the individual stories of these girls realistic but also entertaining, so that younger readers as well as adult readers would enjoy them. Fictionalizing their accomplishments allowed me to bring their story to life more so than writing them based only on facts. That’s why I included the real biographical details I uncovered after the short story so that the readers can tell where fact leaves off to fiction.
Who is your favorite girl of these stories?
That’s a hard question! I think about Vinnie Ream a lot because of the diversity of her artistic accomplishments, including the life-size marble statue of Lincoln still standing in the National Capitol’s Rotunda. But Lucille Mulhall’s trick riding abilities were so impressive it’s hard to believe that she could actually use her mouth to pick up a handkerchief from the ground while riding a galloping horse. Such strength and courage is astounding. Each of the girls made an impression on me, which is why I chose to share their stories with others.