Name: Becky McGraw
Age: Old enough 😀
Where are you from: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.
I think life experience is just about the best teacher there is and I’ve had plenty of lessons. I’ve been an optician, a beautician, a legal secretary, a senior project manager for an aviation management company, a real estate broker, web designer, graphic artist, and romance writer.
I know just enough about a lot of topics to make me dangerous, but that also makes my humor-laced contemporary western and romantic suspense novels interesting because I can draw on those experiences to give them variety and authenticity.
I am a member of both the Romance Writers of America Published Authors Network and the Sisters in Crime.
Currently, I live in Florida with my husband of thirty-plus years and my dog Abby, I have three grown children one of which recently blessed me with a granddaughter who I adore and lovingly refer to as Squishy Baby.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Well, this isn’t really breaking news now, but it sure broke my heart. I think everyone and their brother all over the world knows about the almost word-for-word plagiarism of the first book in my Texas Trouble series, My Kind of Trouble, also the first book I ever published. My book was almost duplicated in Laura Harner’s release Coming Home Texas with the exception of names and sexual orientation changes of the characters, and the insertion of short male/male love scenes. The only scene she didn’t copy from my book was the epilogue because it could not be tailored to be a male/male scene. The scene involved the heroine in my book being in labor and the hero having sympathetic labor pains. She did, however, use the new baby’s name to rename the housekeeper in the book from Imelda in My Kind of Trouble to Isabella in her book.
Ugh. Okay enough of that.
My next book in my Deep Six Security series, Hell Bent, which is Cade Winter’s story, should be released in November or December. I’m also having Till Death, the first book in my Deep Six Security Series narrated and will release the audio book in November or December as well.
I’ve been invited to write another Hot SEALs Kindle Worlds novella in Cat Johnson’s Kindle World to be released in January. That novella isn’t titled yet, but will be a spinoff of my last release into her world, SEALed Fate. A third Cowboy 12-Pack Boxed Set, Cowboy Justice 12-Pack, will be released in April of next year and will include twelve hot cowboy-lawman stories. My novella in that set will be Laying Down the Law and will be a Cowboy Way series novella.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as soon as I learned to hold a pencil. Creating fictional worlds, characters and telling their stories has always been a passion for me. It’s just taken a while to have the luxury and focus to pursue earning a living doing it. Life gets in the way, and I had to work all those jobs in my bio to help support our family. I had all those different jobs, because I was searching for something to do that I loved almost as much as I loved writing. Helping people who were displaced in airport land acquisition projects for seventeen years was what I settled on and it was fun and challenging. *Laugh* More challenging, when I got caught writing a book when we were slow and in between projects.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer the first time I sat down and found the focus and drive to pen a story and that was in 1995 or so in my case. I feel like a writer grows with every story they tell, hones their crafting skills and better defines their voice. I’m still working on that. When you stop learning and looking to improve as a writer, or in life, you’re dead. I know there’s a huge difference in my skill and crafting level from my first book to my latest. That is with every writer until they find their voice and technique.
Mine must have been noticeable from the first though, because it didn’t take long for a reader of My Kind of Trouble to spot my voice in the plagiarized book. That gives me comfort.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The driving need to create and write. It’s something you can’t ignore. The characters scream at you until you give them peace. I’m afflicted with the ‘what if’ syndrome, and my mind is always spinning new plots for stories.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m a pantser–I don’t outline or write rigid plot lines. My characters tell their story, and I’m along for the ride.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That’s something I’m pretty good at actually. I have a loose idea of what the story will be about, and the title helps me better define the story in my mind. I always come up with my titles and do my covers first for inspiration.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
My novels are always about transition and sometimes include personal lessons for the reader too. My characters are never perfect, they all have issues of some kind. That makes them more true-to-life and believable. I haven’t met a perfect person yet in real life, have you? The characters in my stories find personal growth through struggling to deal with those issues before they get their happily-ever-afters.
Fiona: How much of your books are realistic?
Hopefully every word of every book! That makes for an awesome book and is my goal with every story. I want readers to be right there, sucked into the story and adventures with the characters.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Like I said earlier, my mind is always spinning plots. That could be from an event I saw on the news, or something that happened to me that day, because I really am afflicted by the ‘what-if’ syndrome.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I started reading early, and I think I was hooked from See Dick Run. *Laugh* That’s transitioned into an adult version of that book now, and I’ve read thousands and thousands of books since then, so I couldn’t really pinpoint one specific book.
I did have a mentor of sorts. Back in 1996, the internet was in its infancy stages, so was I as far as writing believable fiction. I sought out and joined the Writer’s Guild on AOL because I was determined to learn the craft. There I found a critique group of wonderful ladies and exceptionally talented writers who became very good friends. Together we fought RWA for approval to form the first online chapter of the organization called From The Heart Romance Writers.
As for a specific mentor? I think Karen Templeton who was the only published author in our group at the time (http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=280). She taught me the fine art of passive versus active writing and staying in character point-of-view with her brutal red pen and hold-no-punches style. She also began the process of singing off my ‘feelers’ as far as accepting constructive criticism goes. I learned to love that woman’s honesty and learned so much from her!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
It’s so sad, but I don’t have much time to read at all. I am too busy writing my next book. Churning out twenty-two books since 2012, marketing and attending signings and conferences takes a lot of time. The last books I read were Cat Johnson’s Hot SEALs series so I could prepare for my crossover novella into her world.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are a lot of very talented new authors who’ve put out books that peak my interest, and one day I’ll find time to stop and read them! I’m making a TBR list, but I could be in my 80’s by the time I get to it. *laugh*
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m working on finishing the third book in my Deep Six Security series, Hell Bent, which I plan to release in November or December. I’m also fine-tuning the audio book of Till Death which will hopefully release about the same time. Then it’s on to two novellas, one for the next 12-pack boxed set and one for Cat Johnson’s new Hot SEALs Kindle World launch in January.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are too many to list, and I would hate to leave someone out accidentally.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I try never to second guess myself. I put a lot of thought and effort into a book before I release it, so I’m pretty happy with the final result before I do.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
In the last two years, I’ve traveled to many signings all over the country, and even went on a book cruise signing. I’ve met so many wonderful authors and readers it’s been totally worthwhile, but doing that has definitely diminished my writing time and output. Next year, I’ve only committed to two appearances, so I plan to write more and travel less.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Because I have a professional graphic design background, I do my own covers and teaser graphics. I also do some of my own photography.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting off of social media and focusing on it. Once I get in a groove with a book though, I’m driven to finish it. Those characters are in my head and won’t leave me alone until I type The End.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you’re new, find someone successful and experienced that you trust to give you an honest critique, whether that’s a critique group or a partner, and listen to them. Use your own judgment in the end, it’s your book, but consider what they tell you. Don’t let your ego get in the way of that.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your support, loving my books and leaving reviews. Add having my back to that sentiment too, because that is how I found out about the plagiarism. A reader who’d read my book read Harner’s book and immediately knew something was off and emailed me. If you have a similar experience with a book, trust that niggle in your gut. Email the author who you believe that work belongs to and have her check it out.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m an unrepentant fish-a-holic. My best plot ideas come from staring at the end of my fishing pole. Photography was a long time hobby for me too, but I’ve recently turned that into a sideline career when I’m not writing. If you’d like to check out my work, which is specifically geared toward book cover photography, you can find me at www.facebook.com/covermephotog
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Big Bang Theory is my favorite show and I could watch the reruns over and over. The writing for that show is sheer genius, as are the characters. Otherwise, it’s true crime shows like The First 48 and Forensic Files.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Everything except sweet potatoes/Teal Blue/Country, Classic Rock, and alternative when I’m writing romantic suspense.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve done and tried almost everything haven’t I? Pinning that down would be tough, because I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. Writing is my passion.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?