Interview with YA Author of The Penny Project: Betsy Love

penny-project-coverBetsy Love just released her newest YA Novel: The Penny Project. Reading this brilliant story requires an abdominal binder to hold your sides in from laughing so hard plus mop and bucket to clean up the tears. Betsy has graciously answered some interview questions about writing.

Margaret: What writing skill do you feel is most important for authors with a YA audience? Explain.

BetsyThe most important thing to remember when writing for teens is that you need to speak their language. They tend to have a “lingo” all their own. When I write my YA novels I make sure that I read it to teens and get their feed back. I’ll ask them questions like, “How would a 17 year old guy say this?” The other thing is to read, read, read in the genre you’re writing in. That goes for Romance, Mystery, Historical as well as Young Adult.

MargaretWhich author/authors is/are your favorite/s to read and why?

Betsy: When I read Stargirl, I was so touched by Jerry Spinelli’s story and his writing that I knew one day I wanted to write a story like that, one that would have a huge impact for change. Margaret: Is there a particular experience you had that provided the inspiration for this novel? Please tell us about it.

Betsy: The Penny Project is indeed inspired by a true story. When I heard the story I knew I had to write a story around that premise. Many of the incidents in this book are taken from some of the “dumb” things kids have done. My model for Penelope is Spencer Moore, a young man I had as his 9th grade English teacher. (See the dedication in the front of the book). Spencer is truly an inspiration to all who know him.

Margaret: Of the three novels you’ve written which is your personal favorite and why?

Betsy: That’s a really hard question to answer. It’s like trying to pick out which one of your children you like the best. Each of my books has something unique that I love. For Identity it was the whole idea of mistaken identity (who doesn’t love Shakespeare’s mischief with such plots?). With Soulfire I had a passion for this particular story in the Book of Mormon. I love the strength of my main character to stand for what is right regardless of the “popular” beliefs. The Penny Project was a story that would NOT get out of my head until I put it to paper. Because I couldn’t get the story down fast enough, it only took me six weeks to write.

Margaret:  Tell us about your current WIP? Genre, when we can expect to see it on the shelf.

Betsy: I am such an eclectic writer! My next story is a YA Urban Fantasy. It’s nearly complete and you should see it out sometime in November. Thanks, Margaret for this delightful interview!

Margaret: It was my pleasureReaders can find more information about Betsy Love and her books on her website at and blog at

Writers Wage War Against Cancer with the Pen

Square WUFC Logo With Wording 500x500While I was traveling to work one day in the news broadcast the Parker Jensen, story about a mother who was refusing chemotherapy treatment for her son. Because I am a nurse, I asked myself why a mother would decide against the best that medicine could offer for her child. This inspired the journey that led me to write my novel   Save the Child.

To hone my writing skills I took several writing classes and completed the Crafting the Character Based Novel, Polishing the Character Based Novel and Publishing the Character Based Novel Courses taught by Pamela R. Goodfellow PhD. At the completion of this MFA program Save the Child was launched at the Goodfellow Publishing Book Launch Celebration on November 4th, 2010 that featured eight authors – Dr. Goodfellow’s graduating students.

As we planned the event we noticed that each one of us had experiences with cancer.  Pamela had lost her spouse to esophageal cancer. Barbara Lofgreen – one of the original eight authors had stage IV lung cancer. Louise Laughlin’s husband was an esophageal cancer survivor; she lost her sister and sister-in-law to cancer, and had several other family members who were cancer patients or survivors. Anna Arnett lost a niece and nephew to cancer. Nancy Burns lost her sister to cancer in May of 2010. Lisa Finder’s brother and sister-in-law were cancer survivors and she had recently founded the White Lions Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to research and education in alternative cancer therapies. I lost an uncle to cancer, my cousin had ovarian cancer, and an aunt and uncle were survivors of cancer. At the beginning of my career as a registered nurse one of my past nursing instructors died of cancer. Throughout my thirty-four year career I’ve cared for numerous cancer patients both in the hospital and at home. The awful disease of cancer tied our group together even more tightly than the bonds we formed as students, and fellow writers.

We decided to hold a silent auction to raise money for cancer research during our book launch celebration. We wanted to make a difference in the war against cancer and called ourselves: Writers Unite to Fight Cancer. (WUFC) Lisa Finder said: “The opportunity to touch the life of another person in a way that makes us both better is given to me every time I meet someone with cancer. This weekend I had three people ask for help in their battle with cancer, an illness that remains beyond our current means of medical help. I see White Lions Foundation as a way to reach past the tips of my own fingers and join hands with the world to lift us out of the fearful tragedy taking the lives of cancer victims every day. Together we can embrace the positive elements of the earth and heal one another. I have lost count of the number of lives I have watched be taken by cancer and I hope one day the need to count these loses is stopped altogether. We must rid the face of the planet of this devastating illness.  The Goodfellow Publishing book and fund raising celebration is a great opportunity to share my love of writing with an event that highlights my passion to stop cancer.” White Lions became the WUFC fiscal agent.

After our first fundraiser, we didn’t want to stop. Our passions were stirred when we lost our classmate, Barbara Lofgreen, to cancer in January 2011. We continued holding book events to contribute funds towards cancer research. In the first year of our existence we raised over $6000.00. At the time I’m writing this article we are preparing for the WUFC Arizona Centennial Cancer Research Fundraiser to be held on February 2nd, 2012 from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Our group has grown to over fifty members. Twenty-eight WUFC authors are participating in the 2/2/12 event.

One in three people will develop cancer during their lifetime. I think that is the cause that so many in our group are either cancer caregivers, patients, survivors, or have lost someone to cancer. We will continue to hold cancer research charity events in the future as our way to battle against the numbers: This year, more than 1.5 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer, and more than 7.6 million people around the world will die from cancer.

As a nurse with thirty four years experience I have always wanted to help find a cure for cancer. Now that I am a full-time writer I finally feel that I am working to achieve that goal with Writers Unite to Fight Cancer. I am honored to be associated with these kind and generous people who are also wonderful authors. Writers Unite to Fight Cancer strive for better tomorrows by donating to cancer research today. Together we can make a difference.

Writers Unite to Fight Cancer next event is the WUFC Arizona Centennial Cancer Research Fundraiser on February 2nd, 2012 from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. We chose two Arizona based research programs to be our designated charities for this event. Each will equally share 100% of the net proceeds from this historic event: Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, collaboratively with Arizona State University under the direction of Robert Waters PhD and The University of Arizona Cancer Center natural product research program directed by Dr. Leslie Gunatilaka.

Lisa and I invited Daniel Rubin ND, FABNO to be our Keynote Speaker. He is also serving as our Medical Director for this event. We are honored that Arizona Senator Jerry Lewis agreed to be a guest speaker. CTCA offered to send Shauna Birdsall, ND, FABNO – naturopathic oncologist and Sharon Day, RD – nutritionist. Jude LaCava, Fox 10 News Sports Anchor and cancer research supporter, will serve as the Emcee for the first half of the program. Francis Battaglia, president of KFNX News Talk Radio 1100 will cover the second half.

The remaining members of the original group of eight WUFC Authors are participating in the 2/2/12 event: Anna Arnett, author of Lolly’s Yarn lost a niece and nephew to cancer. Nancy Lee Burns, author of Retirement Sacred or Scared lost sister to cancer May 2010. She also lost a close friend to cancer December of 2010. Louise Laughlin, author of I Must Be Dreaming, Santa Goes Shopping and Libby’s Vacation, lost her sister and her sister-in-law to cancer. Her husband is an esophageal cancer survivor. Cindy R, Williams, author of Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today, has a brother whois a testicular cancer survivor.

New WUFC members for this eventinclude Five to Thrive co-authors Lise Alschuler, ND and Karolyn A. Gazella, medical journalist who  both are cancer survivors.  Their sponsor, Kyowa, has donated 160 books to include in the complimentary gift bags that will be given to each guest who attends the event. Alschuler and Gazella are also co-authors of The Definitive Guide to Cancer and co-founders of the multimedia educational initiative Cancer Thrivers.

Additional WUFC authors at this event include: Angela Morrison MFA of Mesa is a young adult author of four published books.  Anna Arnett is a Chandler octogenarian and author of Lolly’s Yarn. Betsy Love wrote Identity. Betty Webb is a journalist and literary critic for more than 25 years. Her Lena Jones detective series is set in Arizona. Beverly Jane Phillips the author of Learning a New Language, Speech About Women and From Heaven to My Heart, God’s, Journey With Me. Beverly’s mother’s mother, mother’s brother and her mother all died of colon cancer. Reverend Cay Randall-May, PhD is an author and artist who is also a cancer survivor.  Her book with CD is Healing and the Creative Response.  Cynthia Roedig is author of Ginger Boy and the Silver Lariat. David Arnett is co-author of The Baltimore Principles. David Lee Summers is an astronomer at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside of Tucson. His wife is a breast cancer survivor and he writes science fiction novels. Dorian Tether of Scottsdale is a children’s book author and illustrator; The Pelican and the Whale and When The Coyote Howls. Gilat Ben-Dor of Phoenix is an author and CEO of Gusto Power. She wrote: The Confetti Path, The Rainbow Blueprint, and The Gusto Power Workbook. Kerry Lynn Blair, currently in Dewey, is an ovarian cancer survivor and author of Counting Blessings as well as several LDS fiction and young adult novels. Her 2011 Christmas story is Angels Bending Near the Earth. Marsheila Rockwell is the author of: The Shard Axe and Legacy of the Wolves. Her two year old son has neuroblastoma. Nancy Lee Burns, resident of Pine is a retired social worker and wrote Retirement: Sacred or Scared. Nancy lost her sister to cancer May 2010. Theresa Sneed is the author of No Angel. Theresa’s son is a cancer survivor. Susan L. Krueger’s newest book is Horrifa’s Magic Makeover: “Witch” Way to the Ball?