Interview with Betty Dravis

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Author and Celebrity Interviewer

Headshot Betty wearing black with orange backgroundJessica: Betty, thank you so much for fitting this interview into your busy schedule. It’s truly 
an honor to have you in the first issue of TSM. 🙂

Betty: Wow, Jessica, I can’t believe your “dream child” is finally coming out. I–along with your many admirers –have been waiting months for this happy day. Congratulations on realizing your dream. I can’t wait to see the first issue of TSM.

Speaking of dreams, I hoped you would interview me, but never expected to be in the first edition. That’s a huge honor and I’m both humble and proud to have made the “cut,” especially since so many talented people are waiting in line to be interviewed by you and see their names in TSM. All I can say is thanks so-ooo much. I appreciate it!

Jessica: Currently, I know you’re working on a whole variety of projects, including the second Dream Reachers book. Tell us about DR2 and when is it expected to come out. And what other projects are you working on now?

Betty: Well, Jess, since DR was so well accepted, my co-author Chase Von and I decided to do another one; mainly because we want to inspire more people to strive to reach their dreams. We feel that reading about the obstacles that other people survive to “live their dream” will inspire them to push on–no matter what stands in the way. Since my stories in the first DR are of old interviews I had with some icons back in the day and Chase’s are current, contemporary interviews, I decided to go back to interviewing…like I did during my news career. I’m pleased to say that you will be featured in DR2, along with many other fascinating Dream Reachers, such as actress Katherin Kovin Pacino (Al’s stepmother), actor/director/producer Tony Tarantino (yes, Quentin’s father), top voice-over coach Joan Baker, four-times-world-champion boxer Hollie “Hot Stuff” Dunaway, European Popera superstar Romina Arena, Italian author/screenwriter Antonia Tosini, author/publisher Chase Von, and many more. I made certain to place you in good company. (laughs)

Betty with Kat PacinoJessica: You are a retired newspaper publisher, a long-time California journalist and you also 
hosted a cable TV talk show. You’ve interviewed a host of well-known people, including Clint Eastwood, Jane Russell, Dale Robertson, Tanya Tucker, Ted Kennedy and more. 
Wow! Reflecting upon all your interview experiences, what was your most memorable 
interview and why?

Betty with ClintBetty: That’s a no-brainer, Jess — Clint Eastwood! Unless God drops Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Michelle Obama or George Clooney in my lap, I doubt if I’ll ever top Clint! (laughs) And truthfully, I doubt if even those famous people would change my mind about Clint…Seriously, before I interviewed Clint, I had met a few stars when working for the Imperial Beach Times (near San Diego). Two that I recall were cowboy actor Jim Davis, who later played a big role in TV’s Dallas, and actress Jo Morrow. Since I never talked in-depth with them or learned anything about their characters or personalities, Clint was actually the first big “star” that I spent time with.

Like all women, I was impressed with his good looks and “bed-room eyes.” After all, he was Rowdy Yates and “The Spaghetti Western” hunk in one tall, sexy bundle! (laughs) But that’s not the only reason he’s so unforgettable. It was his way of treating me (a journalist for a small newspaper) as though I were the only person in the world at the moment. He was so natural and down-to-earth that he made me feel very comfortable, which gave “wings” to my interview. I’ll never forget how kind he was and how complimentary, also. After that, I followed his career with interest and learned many things about achieving success from his “never-give-up and never-cave-in” attitude. I think of him as one of my early mentors and will always remember that defining time in my life!

Betty with Jane RussellJessica: If you had the opportunity to interview anyone today, who would it be and why?

Betty: You mean besides Clint? (laughs) I haven’t given this much thought, but I think I’d choose my very favorite author Pat Conroy. Not only would it be a thrill to meet him and discuss writing, but it would also be a chance to improve my skills: for instance, better characterization and how to write great, lyrical similes. He writes the best similes in the industry and I’m a simile freak! I’d make sure to get a picture with him, too, so I could plaster it all over creation, as I do the one with Clint. (laughs)

Can you imagine what a scoop that would be if I could land Conroy for Dream Reachers: Vol. 2? Hey, thanks for the idea, Jess. I am going to ask him for an interview. Wish me luck… Others I would love to meet (whether I get to interview them or not) are Al Pacino, Jimmy Carter, Maya Angelou, Steve Jobs, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Barbara Walters, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Meg Whitman, Andy Garcia…and your own picks: Neil Barlow and Michael J. Scott. I could take up pages listing everyone I’d like to interview…

Betty with Tanya TuckerJessica: You’re the co-author with Chase Von of the book Dream Reachers, a collection of inspiring celebrity interviews that is available now for purchase at Amazon. And you’re the author of a few other books: Millennium Babe: The Prophecy, a supernatural mystery adventure; The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley, a young adult sci-fi fantasy adventure; and 1106 Grand Boulevard, an epic romantic thriller, plus many short stories. I’m not surprised that your books are adventurous because you’re a lady that has lived a life filled with adventure! What inspired you to write these types of books? Is there one in particular that stands out as a favorite for you? I know they’re out of print now. So, when are they expected to be in print again?

Betty's booksBetty: Millennium Babe: The Prophecy is still in print, Jess, and can be purchased at any online bookstore or ordered from local bookstores. But you’re right about my Toonies and Grand being out of print…due to my former publisher having heart problems and going out of business. That’s a shame because both books were selling fairly well and I’m losing money. (laughs) Actually, both are still listed on Amazon and other sites because there are still some left on the secondary market. Several publishers have expressed interest in publishing those two books again, but I’m working through the details at the moment. It’s hard to guess when they’ll be back in print. I’m working on several options, so I hope my fans are patient with me. A bit of good news on that front: I actually have to have new covers when a book is re-released and even though the publisher usually does that, I had the opportunity to have a new Toonies cover created by an award-winning children’s illustrator K. Michael Crawford. The good news is that I received the final cover yesterday. I’m sharing it with TSM today…for the very first public viewing of it. (I know it’s odd to have the cover out before the book, but having the great K. M. do a cover for me is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. She’s the one who illustrated the famous classic, Chicken Little, for Ideal Books so it’s truly an honor.) I hope your readers enjoy this sneak preview.

As for my inspiration to write, I have a very feisty, independent Muse (a lot like me?). She rides around on a bright pink Harley–decked out in silver-studded leathers, her long, blonde hair flowing three feet behind her–tossing all these bizarre ideas into my mind… One night her offerings are dark and moody (like in my Babe book), while the next day she tosses me light, airy, fun things (like Toonies and some humorous short stories). I never know what to expect from her, so I go where my imagination leads me.

So far I’ve written in the four genres you mentioned above, and since my two unpublished works of fiction are a serial-killer thriller (Dead Women Don’t Talk Back) and a horror (Evil Voices), I think I’ve covered most of the bases. Some would say I haven’t written a sci-fi yet, but Jennifer Wardrip, owner of TeensReadToo.com categorized Toonies as sci-fi in her review, so I guess it’s a tad that too. (laughs)

As for choosing a favorite book, that’s hard for any author. I love all my books for various reasons, but Toonies was the most fun to write and it actually was my best-seller so far. I think that’s partly because I’m a big kid at heart and partly because Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, Apple Co-founder, gave me permission to use him in a speaking role in the book. I actually grinned all the while I was typing scenes that included The Woz. Manipulating him throughout the book and picturing him romping with the good Toonies as he helped the kids and their parents capture the bad Toonies was almost as much fun as watching him dance on Dancing with the Stars. I think you’ll agree that the sprinkler scene is hilarious, Jess. (laughs)

Betty head shot with sunglassesJessica: You also review many books on Amazon and are a top reviewer there. So, approximately how many books do you review per month? And how do you select them? Tell us about a few of the books you’ve reviewed on Amazon.

Betty: Reviewing on Amazon is a true learning experience, Jess. Most people don’t know it, but Amazon is a highly political place with so many rules, regulations and rivalries that it keeps the very serious reviewers in turmoil most of the time. I try to avoid that, but at times can’t help but be “embroiled.” Amazon also has a special program called Amazon Vine™. The Exclusive Club of Influential Amazon Voices. I’m happy to have been selected to be a “blossom on the Vine,” as I call myself, because we get free books for review purposes; some are advance review copies (ARCs). They also have other new products for review, such as high-tech products, DVDs and even pots-and-pans. When the newsletter arrives via email, we reviewers run to check the “best” offerings before they’re all taken. (laughs)

In addition to receiving Vine books, I also receive review requests from authors and I even break down from time to time and buy some. (laughs) But there is never a shortage of reading material. I enjoy a variety of genres and actually review everything from children’s picture books to Stephen King horrors. Three books I recently reviewed that I enjoyed very much are John Sandford’s Storm Prey, Jenna Blum’s Stormchasers and James Patterson’s latest offering (with co-author Maxine Paetro, whom I admire greatly).

Coincidentally, on the day you asked this question, I had just posted my 600th review, which is a milestone… Since you asked, I checked my records and found that I posted my first Amazon review in November of 2004, so that means I’ve been reviewing for Amazon for almost six years. Roughly figuring, that’s a hundred reviews a year, or approximately two reviews per week. There are times, though, when I do five or more reviews a week and times when I do none for a week or so. It depends on my deadlines and personal schedule.

Betty way backJessica: What inspired you to become a writer?

Betty: I give the main credit to God because He gave me a natural writing ability and the gift-of-gab to go with it. (laughs) Also, I must mention my high school writing instructor for recognizing something in me when she consistently chose my assignments as “best in class.” She planted the idea that I could be a writer, but my supportive family and friends nourished my earliest efforts when I started writing poetry and essays at around age eleven.

Jessica: Recently, you mentioned that you did some modeling too. Having seen older pictures of you, you certainly were very beautiful, Betty. And, of course, you still are. Tell us a little bit about your modeling days.

Betty: Thanks, Jess…That means a lot to me at this late age. (laughs) At the urging of friends, I started modeling after I had my first child. To prepare, I took a course at the House of Charm in Sacramento, California and they landed me several modeling jobs. At one of those jobs, local talk-show host Gene Nelson spotted me modeling beside a sports car at a Convention Center exhibition and asked me to model clothes from local boutiques on his KCCC TV show. I also modeled in a few runway shows. I was only five feet, five inches tall, so they said I couldn’t model high-fashion, so they used me as a sports-clothes model. Ironically, as soon as I got pregnant again, I quit modeling and never went back to it, opting to have six children instead. (laughs)

Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

Betty: That’s a tough one to answer, Jess, since the world needs so much. However, charity begins at home, so if I could, I would steer our country back to God and good, clean, moral living. I believe that when our country once again honors God, He will rain blessings down on us. The same applies to the world…

Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you? 
 


Betty: As you might have guessed, Jess, it’s a Bible verse (King James version): “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you don’t mind, I’d also like to share a quote by a great woman I admired in my young adulthood, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” She is credited with many wise quotes, but that one fits the philosophy of our Dream Reachers books, so seems appropriate for this specific time in my life.

Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more 
about you and your books?

Betty with familyBetty: Since I love my family dearly and they are everything to me, I’d like to share that I have four surviving children, two angels in Heaven, nine grandchildren, four great-grands and one great-great…I thank God everyday for placing them in my life.

Readers can reach me at my main website which is: http://www.bettydravis.com and on Amazon’s Author Central: http://tinyurl.com/25s2xtv I’m also on Dames of Dialogue, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Myspace, Nextcat and many other social networks. There’s also a fantastic trailer of Dream Reachers on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bettydravis Canadian author Kelly Komm created the trailer and the lovely background music is “This is My Dream” by singer/pianist/composer Kashy Keegan.

Jessica: Thanks so much again for doing this interview and wish you the best of luck with DR2 and all your other projects.

Betty: Oh, Jess, thank you for having me here. I’m truly blessed by this opportunity to be in the first issue of Talent Spotlight Magazine. Wait till I show it to my friends and family! Please continue bringing us the best new artists and for helping them blossom. Sweet dreams…

One thought on “Interview with Betty Dravis

  1. SUBMITTED BY BETTY DRAVIS on 2010/11/30 at 04:23

    OMG, Jess, I just spent a half-hour writing a lengthy praise and thanks comment, only to use it when I misread the captcha code. Dang!

    I’ll try to get back after dinner to redo it… Grrrrrrrrrrrrr…
    It wouldn’t let me return to the page to recapture my comment either… Oh, well… Luck of the game…

    Thanks anyway. I loved what you did with my interview and will comment on all the other lovely things in this first edition asap.

    Big Hugs – Betty

    SUBMITTED BY MATT on 2010/11/30 at 07:48

    Great article–I’m very excited about DR2 !!! I greatly admire and respect the work that you do! Thanks for sharing, Matt

    SUBMITTED BY ANTONIA TOSINI on 2010/11/30 at 10:12

    Very nice interview, always high on the pace, kept alive by specific questions, a pleasant and peaceful encounter between two characters caught and sensitive. congratulations to both. For those who interview is important to involve the public and Jessica succeeds magnificently. I read everything with great interest and curiosity. Betty Dravis is the testimony of a strong and deep cultural presence. An encouragement for those who want to enter the profession of the writer. It ‘an amazing woman, with an refined eclecticism and humor, with a sweet personality that distinguishes it from other, which shines in the way of how it presents to persons, in interviews, writings .. For me it is a “myth. ” From the answers it gives to Jessica, one can sense and appreciate and everything his love for writing, for its family and for the life! She gift us with love and enthusiasm, her beautiful experiences of life and work. Betty is a woman acute, but basically affectionate. Good luck to both! A hugs 
Antonia

    SUBMITTED BY CHRISTY TILLERY FRENCH on 2010/11/30 at 14:08

    What a wonderful interview, one I really enjoyed. Betty, I, too, enjoy Pat Conroy’s work and would love to meet him. Your quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is so inspiring. I look forward to Dream Reachers 2 and that great mystery! I’d like to mention here that Betty is one of the most generous authors I’ve ever known. She actively promotes other authors and celebrities and is one of the most respected reviewers at Amazon. Thanks, Betty, for all you do.

    SUBMITTED BY LORETTA WHEELER on 2010/11/30 at 14:41

    Betty,
    I loved the interview and overview of your work:) I wasn’t familiar with all the details of your career Betty, so I found it all fascinating!

    It was so enjoyable hearing about Clint Eastwood, AND your Muse! LOL…I think your Muse and mine might hit it off…wonder if there’s ever been a match site for the divine inspirer’s? New thought! Mine is male…and comes up with some goodies…even edits for me while I sleep. When I wake I have the re-do’s stuck in my head. Odd guy, moody as H*ll, but I’ve grown to trust him:)

    Great interview, love your hat AND your attitude woman!:)
    Lo

    SUBMITTED BY LAUREL-RAIN SNOW on 2010/11/30 at 17:22

    What a great interview, Betty and Jessica. Betty, every time I read one of your interviews, I learn something new. Today the “new” tidbits include the modeling gigs you did, plus the fact that you’ve been reviewing for Amazon since 2004.

    I’m also excited at the thought of your newest Dream Reachers book, as well as seeing your other WIPs come out for all of us.

    And I’ll be watching for that interview with Pat Conroy, whose South of Broad book is on my desk to read this week.

    SUBMITTED BY JOHN BRECKENRIDGE on 2010/11/30 at 19:10

    Jessica,
    What a great interview of my Friend Betty Dravis.
    You so captured Betty and the interview was fantastic. So far I have read her books. “Dream Reachers” co-authored with Chase Von, “1106 Grand Boulevard”, and “Millennium Babe: The Prophecy”, all great works of art.

    Betty has become a awesome Friend that I really respect and adore, and You even captured more about Betty than I knew. You did a fantastic job on the interview, and my hat goes off to You Jessica on this your launch edition of Talent Spotlight Magazine and featuring Betty Dravis is definitely a plus.

    SUBMITTED BY CAITLYN HUNTER on 2010/11/30 at 20:04

    Fabulous interview, Betty-kins! Wow, a model too? What haven’t you done, woman? Your life is fascinating and your “never say never” attitude is an inspiration to me!

    Like Christy, I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. You are, IMO, the flesh and blood embodiment of Ms. Roosevelt’s words–I so want to be you when I grow up!

    Hugs and love – Caity-did

    SUBMITTED BY JULIE BU on 2010/11/30 at 23:00

    Hi, girls!

    Beautiful interview Glad to know Betty’s life & career better. You both are such an inspiration.

    Thanks

    P.S. Betty, gooooooood luck! Hope you meet Pat Conroy!!

    SUBMITTED BY DANIEL L. CARTER on 2010/12/01 at 01:52

    Betty, as always you are absolutely the best. Great interview and thank you Jessica for featuring this most talented woman. =)

    Blessings,
Daniel L Carter

    Author of The Unwanted Trilogy

    SUBMITTED BY CHASE VON on 2010/12/01 at 03:17

    Fantastic interview by two of my favorite Ladies’:) (And Angel Lady, every time you do one, I learn something new about you). I just found this when on Face book so now it makes a bit more sense why you are turning in a wee bit early tonight Sweet Jessica… But all the hard work for your first edition of TSM has definitely paid off!

    (Digging the original theme song)

    Congratulations on that and again Jess and… Car model? (As most of your pictures are from the waist up or head shots… (That just sort of clears up why Clint was looking at you all Googly Eyed even more)…..

    L and R to you both
    Chase:)

    SUBMITTED BY PATRICIA CARRILLO on 2010/12/02 at 00:50

    Thank you an interesting and informative interview. Learning about all that Betty has accomplished makes me admire her all the more.

    Congratulations on launching your new magazine!

    P

    SUBMITTED BY ROB WATERLANDER on 2010/12/02 at 11:34

    You know…. woohoo, an interview with Betty it is such a awesome opportunity to read an interview with you, Betty.
Reading the answers brings me back to when sitting down with you for lunch and spending time at your home… it’s like I hear your voice while reading the interview.
And, as you know already, Millennium Babe: The Prophecy is on my wish list, I am about to order some more books at Amazon and your book is one of them.

    An avalanche of good and loving vibes sent your way, talk soon Enjoy today, tomorrow…enjoy life.

    Rob xx

    SUBMITTED BY SUSAN HATLER on 2010/12/03 at 20:05
    Great pic of your family, Betty. They look lovely…thx for sharing!! Xoxo!

    SUBMITTED BY BETTY DRAVIS on 2011/01/27 at 07:54 | In reply to Susan Hatler.

    Thanks for dropping by, Susan. Glad you enjoyed my interview, especially the pic of my kids. That was taken at my 81st birthday party. Three grandchildren were missing, as well as three greats and my only great-great. They couldn’t make it; conflicting schedules… It was a fun day!

    Best of luck with your debut novel, honey.

    Hugs – Betty

    SUBMITTED BY JENNY MILCHMAN on 2011/07/01 at 02:27

    I love the concept of Dream Reachers, Betty. Wow, you have interviewed some illustrious ones. I don’t quite fit into *this* kind of company myself, but I did realize a dream that was 11 years in the making myself, when I was offered a deal for my debut novel from Ballantine/Random House. I had 3 agents, 8 books written, and 15 almost-offers before finally landing in just the right hands. I relate to the idea of never giving up, even when things seems to be demanding that you do.

    SUBMITTED BY BETTY DRAVIS on 2011/08/12 at 05:40 | In reply to Jenny Milchman.

    Hi, Jenny,

    I didn’t know about your Ballantine/Random House deal. That is so cool. Congrats and hope you let us know when it comes out. I see an interview in the making for Dames of Dialogue.

    Glad you hung in there and landed a mainstream publisher; that’s rare these days.

    I left you a message today; hope you got it. As I said, you’re a fantastic writer.

    Thanks for dropping by this interview of me. Jessica did a great job.

    Big Hugs and see you on AC,

    Betty

    SUBMITTED BY BETTY DRAVIS on 2011/08/23 at 20:43 | In reply to Jenny Milchman.

    Hahaha, JENNY… You fit in everywhere with a contract from Ballantine. I never made it to a mainstream pub yet with my books, but I managed without them… LOL…

    I can’t wait to read your book and do let us know when it comes out. The NY Biggies is what I call the mainstream pubs; they’re hard to break into. I came very close with Random House and with the big Morris Agency and with Brad Pitt’s Plan B for my Toonies… So there’s still a chance for me… Hehehe

    True, I have interviewed some famous people, Clint-baby being my most treasured memory… Love him and all his talents…

    Thanks for dropping by, hon,

    Hugs – Betty

    SUBMITTED BY DAVE EBRIGHT on 2011/09/25 at 16:03

    Awesome interview of a terrific author & fantastic lady.

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