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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Writing with a Message: Author Interview with B.B. Denson

What made you decide to write your first children's book? 
I had been working in environmental science for many years and was getting frustrated with the way energy and the environment were portrayed in the media. I was hearing so much that was counter to what I knew was true. I felt that the oil and gas industry was doing a terrible job of showing why they are good for the environment.

The information was all so technical. You had to be an engineer or a scientist to understand it. I wanted to see something simple enough that even a child could understand it. 

How long did it take you to write your first book?
Once I had the idea for the book, I wrote the first draft in one day.

How many rewrites did you do on it? Who encouraged you along the way?
Yes, good editing is the key! I spent about three months editing each book. Most of that was with my illustrator, who was amazing. I have a very supportive group of friends in my yoga class. They were my editors and my cheerleaders -- plus, of course, my husband and my daughters.

Are you active with any writing critique groups?
I was not involved in any writing critique groups when I wrote that first book. I have since then joined SCBWI and been through many critiques.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension, etc?
It was hard to come up with a premise for my first book. I had been trying for a few weeks when I went for a walk with my daughter and her boyfriend and told them what I was contemplating. Her boyfriend said, "What about a go-cart that grows up to be a car?" As soon as he said that, I had the whole story in my head. However, my book is not about a go-cart that wants to grow up to be a car, but that thought was my inspiration.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
To keep writing in the same person.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
I have had an awful lot of interest from others that understand the issues surrounding the perception of oil and gas. Those folks have been super supportive and helped me get many interviews, podcasts, etc.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you’ve had, and how you learned to write past it.
Fortunately, the overwhelming number of reviews I have had have been fantastic. I have had very few people give me bad ones. Those that did, never even bought the book nor read it. They just get mad about the idea that it exists. I just have to keep reminding myself that you can't control what other people say and that when you put something out there for the general public, you always expose yourself to things like that.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
I attended an SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. I was shocked that the presentations were all incredibly liberal. I had thought I was just attending a writing conference and didn't realize it was such a political event. Funny though, every now and then I would have someone at the conference walk up to me and whisper that they liked my books.

Why did they have to whisper? They didn't want anyone to know they were conservative. The conference had many breakout sessions for special interest groups. I went up to the organizer at the end and suggested they might have a breakout session for the conservatives. She told me in no uncertain terms that would not be necessary. I won't be going back to that one.

What has frustrated you the most?
I find it interesting that my books are thrown into the category of conservative. They aren't political. They are about energy and the environment. It’s simply a point of view that liberals want to squash.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
I probably should have joined a critique group early on. It probably would have saved me a lot of time.

What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
It’s really easy these days to get a book published. If someone feels passionate about a story that needs to be written, it’s easy to publish the book using print on demand.

Are there any other points about writing that you would like to add?
Having said it’s easy to have books done print on demand, I must add that is also the biggest obstacle I currently face. When books are printed on demand, the book price is higher than those traditionally published. I wish I could get a publisher to print a large quantity and we could sell them for a lower cost. Unfortunately, publishers don't seem to be interested in books with this point of view.

What is the next book that will be coming out?
I have a few ideas for next books, however, none ready for a synopsis just yet.

That’s all for today’s interview. If you’d like to learn more about B.B’s books, here is a link to her website:

Her books can be purchased through Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Amazon:   Barnes & Noble:

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