Today, I'm so happy to feature Bettina Restrepo who not only is a kick-butt writer, but she's just an awesome person all the way around!
Name: Bettina Restrepo
Debut Group: Class 2k11
Debut novel: ILLEGAL, 2011
Debut pic book: MOOSE AND MAGPIE, 2009
Hi Bettina! I hope to see you again soon!
BR: It’s been 17 months since Illegal came out, and just three weeks ago I turned in my option novel, Telenovela. I have been surviving life with its many ups and downs. All I can say is that debuting two books in two years in two different genres is too much. Currently, I’m mastering the fine art of taking a nap while trying to appear busy. Occasionally, I walk the dog while thinking about writing.
PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?
BR: That you have an invisible support group surrounding you. Although 98% of our friendships have existed online, it’s like I speak to these people daily over a cup of coffee. I learn. I cry. I throw imaginary rocks, but mostly I love my classmates for the support they have shared.
Having debuted my picture book alone, I didn’t have a sounding board. I would think out ideas, imagine they would be great, and half way through execution wonder – ‘is this even worth my time?’
ILLEGAL by Bettina Restrepo (Katherine Tegen Books, March 8, 2011)
PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?
BR: Marketing/publicity – You will have to do most of it and pay for it out of your pocket. It will take twice as much time as you think and you’ll never know if it paid off. I wish there had been a magical scale that would ding everytime I did something right.
MOOSE AND MAGPIE by Bettina Restrepo (Sylvan Dell, June 10, 2009)
PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
BR: I’m trying to learn to pace myself so that I don’t kill myself with the publishing process. I’d like to improve my craft so that I can write beautiful books that also entertain. If anything, I plan to write slower and deeper. Hopefully, those books will go to market but I’ll be content if they come from the deepest part of my heart.
PJH: Anything else you want to add?
BR: Read Illegal with a teenager and see what discussion points arise.
BR: Read Moose and Magpie with a 1st grader and laugh at some crazy moose jokes.
BR: And, when Telenovela comes out, it will probably have a different name – but read it to see how many lies it takes to get to the truth.
PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!
Bettina received her Bachelor of Science in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. She flunked economics her freshman year and decided a business degree wasn’t a good idea. She found literature and writing were her best fit. For fun, she played cymbals in the band. She spent many years in the corporate world being an Internal Auditor and wearing pantyhose (not fun). She is married, lives near Dallas under the disguise of “Mommy”.
Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!