Becky Doughty is the author of the award-winning Elderberry Croft series and the voice behind BraveHeart Audiobooks. “I write fiction, mainly because nonfiction is hard! Yes, I’ve tried. Let’s just say I like to color outside the lines when it comes to sticking to facts…or anything else, for that matter. I write Women’s Fiction with strong elements of romance and Young Adult/New Adult Fiction. Some of my fiction is written from a Christian worldview (and labeled as such), and some of it is not. My stories, however, are all categorically “clean” or “sweet” (light on language, violence, and sex), so if you’re looking for a book you don’t have to shove under the couch cushion when visitors stop by, you’ve come to the right place!”
Becky is married to her champion of more than 25 years. They have three children, two of whom are grown and starting families of their own, and they all live within a few miles of each other in Southern California. They share their lives with too many animals, a large vegetable garden, and a strange underground concrete room they’re certain was built for dark and sinister purposes…
What inspires you to write?
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 about your writing process.
I typically write a full-length novel in about 6-8 weeks, the first week is focused on conjuring up the whole story arc out of the spark of inspiration, usually just on a scattered scrap page or a word doc or even 3×5 cards – whatever is available and easiest to use. Then the second and/or third week are the "getting started" writing – I used Scrivener, which is absolutely fantastic for this part of my process – where I tend to do a lot of self-editing until I get the FEEL of the story and the characters and the direction the way I really want it. Then once I'm over that hump, I sink into the story and just let it rip. It's not really by the seat of my pants because I know what needs to happen, what direction I'm moving in, and where I need to end up, but I pretty much give my characters their heads…and they do surprise me! But I prefer to "stay in the story" from start to finish, because 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 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?
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Actually, not that I'm aware of. I talk out loud ABOUT them, but not to them. I think because I'm IN their stories, it helps me to keep that hair's length of a distance between me and them so I can stay in the mind of the reader, too.
Who are your favorite authors?
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?
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I'm a hybrid author – I indie publish and traditionally publish. I started out trying to get a traditional publishing contract via my agent and although I got lots of interest, it never panned out. I opted to indie publish, and once I had a decent platform and readership, my submissions carried a little more oompf, and now I do both. I actually find pros and cons of both, so to me, being hybrid is the best way to go.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I strongly believe there will be more and more hybrid authors in our mid-list to ranks. I have a feeling independent publishing will become the new gate-keepers, and that agents and/or editors will actually start leaning toward indie authors who have a platform because they're a more "sure investment." Ultimately, this is a business, and we all have to make money. Indie publishing is a fantastic way to build a readership, so whether you want to stay indie or go hybrid or full-on traditional, I think every writer should at least consider it.
What genres do you write?
Primarily Commercial Fiction: Women's Fiction with strong elements of Romance, Contemporary Romance, Christian Romance, Young Adult/Coming of Age
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook