Hi Bety! How nice to see you here, being the first in what I hope to be many interviews with other authors from our Clean Indie Reads group. So, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m Bety Comerford. I write trade-published non-fiction under my real name (a series of books on the gift of empathy), and self-publish murder mysteries under the pen name B.T. Lord. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, but I think I really got the writing bug when I was ‘published’ in my school newspaper in second grade. Seeing my little story in print motivated me to keep writing and honing my story telling abilities.
Thanks for the introduction, Bety. So, I just have a couple of questions for you, and then I’ll let you tell us about your books.
Who are your favourite authors, and why?
I adore the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. FBI agent Aloyious Pendergast is a fantastic character and I love the way they blend a bit of the otherworldly with the everyday and do it in such a way that it’s very believable.
One of the biggest compliments I ever received was when a reviewer compared my books to Louise Penny’s work. When I was getting ready to publish Murder On Ice, I picked up one of her books from the bookstore and was struck by how similar our styles were. I love the human element in her stories and, like mine, it’s never just about the murder. My books reflect hers in that it’s about the human condition, what drives us forward, what compels some of us to take that awful step into taking another’s life and, more importantly, the damage that it leaves behind, not only to the family, but to the investigators as well.
What was the inspiration for your latest book?
I’m a voracious reader and I came across an article that talked about the existence of white crows. Many times, they’re ostracized by black crows and sometimes even killed because black crows consider them diseased in some way and don’t want them attracting predators. This was the perfect metaphor in my latest Twin Ponds mystery, Murder Among Crows. Sheriff Cammie Farnsworth investigates the murder of a woman who lived a reclusive life because of decisions she’d made that ostracized her from all she’d once loved. In her own mind, she’d convinced herself she was incapable of being forgiven or of forgiving herself. In the process, Cammie uncovers painful truths about her own life and the parents she thought she knew. It was a very emotional story for me to write.
Do you write from your own experiences, or do you simply sit down and make stuff up?
I think every writer weaves parts of themselves in their stories, even if they are reluctant to admit it. LOL I enjoy writing about experiences that we’ve all gone through. I believe most of us know what it feels like to love and be loved, to be hurt, to be betrayed. To struggle with forgiveness and look for redemption. To try and heal things from our past that still manages, when we least expect it, to rear its ugly head and pull us backwards. All of these complex human emotions are incorporated in my stories, allowing the reader to connect to the characters. I love my heroine, Sheriff Cammie Farnsworth because she’s not a superwoman, though she tries to be. I love the town doctor, Samuel Westerfield, because he’s originally from a very rich Beacon Hill, Boston-Brahmin family. He has struggled for most of his life with his family’s condemnation of his alternative lifestyle, yet has unexpectedly found a place to belong ‘in the middle of nowhere’ as he puts it. I love the deputy, Rick Belleveau. He’s a serial dater because he’s terrified of commitment. I love the receptionist/dispatcher Emmy Madachuck because she loves Rick and attempts, in her own sweet way, to help him heal his fears.
We all have what I call our shadow self. It’s that part of ourselves we don’t like others to see. As a writer, that’s what I like to explore. My life has taken me on some profound spiritual experiences, including the study of shamanism, both here in the states and in the mountains of Peru. I thread my stories with what I’ve learned and experienced. I peel back the emotional traumas my characters have lived through because I’ve lived through many of them myself. In the end, it’s love that pulls us through. Love of self, love of another, love of something bigger than ourselves. We all look for that place to belong where we can be ourselves. Many times, it’s not a place outside ourselves, but a place within.
So, as you can see, it’s never just about the murder. <laughs>
Fantastic! Now, can you tell us a little bit about your books?
Certainly! My murder mysteries feature a female Sheriff and a host of slightly eccentric, down to earth characters in a town I created named Twin Ponds. It’s located in the remote, heavily forested northwestern part of Maine. I have five books in the series and am currently working on the sixth instalment. I love putting in plot twists that keep the readers guessing who the murderer is. I also make sure the books aren’t just about the murder. I bring in the human element of forgiveness, redemption, letting go of the past and many emotional issues that we all deal with in our own lives. I also weave throughout the stories my own spiritual beliefs about the oneness of humanity and our connection to nature. I have to warn the reader though that my first book Murder on Ice does have some four letter words. A reviewer scolded me on the use of them and I realized she was right. I didn’t need to use them. As I’ve progressed in the series, I’ve gotten away from the harsher language. You can find my books at:
I have a free novella, Murder to Die For, which features the same characters which can be downloaded from my website: https://www.btlordwriter.com
Then there’s my B.T. Lord facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BTLordWriter/
I’m planning on introducing a new series in the Spring of 2018 which I’m very excited about. They’re set on a group of islands I’ve created off the coast of Maine where strange things happen. These books will be murder mysteries with a paranormal twist. Don’t worry, I won’t abandon the Twin Ponds series – I love the characters too much to do that!
Wow, thanks for all that, Bety. It’s been wonderful to “meet” you here, and I look forward to checking out your books shortly!