Author Interview: Betty Thomason Owens
Today’s guest is Betty Thomason Owen. Betty lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.
Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.
Betty has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.
She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming Love Boat Bachelor.
Betty, I’m so happy to have you back again to discuss your latest release. Tell us a little about Amelia’s Legacy?
Amelia’s Legacy is the story of a young woman’s rebellion against what she believes is a blatant attempt by her grandmother to turn her into someone she isn’t. So Nancy sets out to derail that train and would have ended in a wreck, if not for Grandmother Amelia’s foresight and planning.
As the story begins, Nancy has a very selfish view of life. Amelia is concerned about the many lives in her care. Those livelihoods could be directly impacted by Nancy’s frivolity. This, along with a strong desire to protect her granddaughter’s reputation, is what steers Amelia’s decision.
Robert Emerson becomes the bridge between the two. His steady influence on Nancy’s life brings her to a point where she knows a decision must be made. As often happens, events collide at that intersection to change her life’s course and wrest the decision from her hands.
The story is set in the 1920s, and you bring that era to life. Is there a reason that you chose this era?
I have always had a fascination with the twenties, an era often compared to the sixties, because of the music, the short dresses, promiscuity, and substance abuse. The timeline of events is fascinating as well, especially when you have real life to compare with it. My dad’s mom was born in 1906 as revival took off across America. Then WWI came along and many women worked outside the home, often leaving young children to fend for themselves. As they grow to maturity, we see an era of increased promiscuity, followed by a financial crisis and a deepening depression. If you’re a history buff, that kind of thing really catches your attention. How did they endure it? I loved the stories Grandma told and some of those made it in to Amelia’s Legacy.
Nancy is a memorable character for me because she starts out as a naïve girl who has some growing up to do. She’s a dreamer and a bit headstrong, and that gets her into trouble. Though she doesn’t lose her flawed nature, she matures, but her troubles follow her. So, I have to ask: did you write Nancy from experience?
Aha. You’re on to me. I was a dreamer. I desired to be that rebellious one, and like Nancy, I was too cowardly to be really bad. There were times when my poor decisions and pig-headedness landed me in places that reflected badly on me. Don’t tell my granddaughters, though.
Nancy’s grandmother, Amelia, reminded me of my own grandmother. She was our family matriarch, and without a doubt, she was the most important person in my life. What about you? Did you have a grandmother like Amelia or a grandmother that in some way impacted you the way that Amelia surely impacted Nancy’s life?
Amelia is a figment of my imagination, or maybe a concoction of several women I’ve met in my life. I think my maternal grandmother would have been a lot like Amelia. Grandma was an elegant mixture of Austrian and American Indian who escaped the dust bowl by moving to Seattle. She died when I was two, so I have no memory of her, just the bits and pieces shared by my mother.
Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series. Would you mind sharing a little about the series and about any other novels you are writing?
I am well into writing the second novel in the Legacy series, Carlotta’s Legacy. Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis is the heroine. She has a strong character and a quick wit, so she’s fun to write. Nancy always envied Rebecca’s freedom, and Rebecca envied the fact that Nancy’s grandmother cared what Nancy did and how she turned out. Rebecca didn’t have that in her life. Her parents fritter away a vast fortune and end up with nothing. Rebecca must make a decision regarding her future that will benefit the parents who basically ignored her most of her life.
I like that these two women will have recurring roles throughout the series. Nancy’s daughter Amy will have her day in the third, as yet unnamed novel. When Amy seems to be headed in the same direction as her mother, her parents must find a way to steer her in a more positive direction. I think Rebecca will figure into the solution, as well.
More About Amelia’s Legacy:
It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …
Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.
Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.
As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?