Betty Dravis: Author, Journalist, Celebrity Interviewer and Reviewer
Jessica Gilbert: Betty, it’s really wonderful to have you back in TSM. Since I first interviewed you way back in the launch issue, a lot of exciting things have been going on with you – new books, awards, etc. Looking forward to hearing all your updates. :-)
Betty Dravis: Thanks, Jess, for inviting me to visit your popular Talent Spotlight Magazine again. I was delighted with your last interview, and your choice of pictures added to its appeal. As with musicians, writers are constantly evolving and adding new material to our works. I’m happy you recognize that because TSM is a fabulous place to update my fans and friends. Thanks again for thinking of me.
Jessica Gilbert: First, you released Dream Reachers II featuring another roster of talent. It is such a great book with a wonderful cover. For readers who don’t know about this book, tell us a bit about it. You know, I could see a whole series of these books coming out as I love the concept of them. So now for the big question – will there be a “Dream Reachers III”?
Betty Dravis: Yes, I recall that you interviewed me after Dream Reachers came out in 2009. By that time, my co-author Chase Von and I had already accumulated many more interviews and were already talking about publishing a second DR—which we launched in 2011. Since DR was 444 pages in length (33 interviews) and Dream Reachers II a hefty 810 pages (37 interviews), we call it our “chubby” baby. 🙂 Actually, we have 160 photos in DR and over 300 in DRII, which accounts for much of the bulk.
I was privileged to interview you in Dream Reachers II, along with Al Pacino’s stepmother Katherin Kovin Pacino, actress/director; Quentin Tarantino’s father, actor/director Tony Tarantino; the great Italian screenwriter and Italy’s Ambassador of Good Will Antonia Tosini and many more. You mentioned the gorgeous cover…Well, that is none other than the charming and lovely Kat Pacino reaching for the stars. She commissioned the photograph especially for our cover by cinematographer Mario Prado. I’m thrilled with that cover, but love the first DR cover, also. That one features the lovely actress/pop singer Darcy Donavan, as you know.
Jess, you ask about the possibility of a “Dream Reachers III.” Truthfully, there was so much work involved in the interviews, gathering photos and publishing the book that Chase and I groan when we think of it… But perhaps at a later date we might reconsider; we both have done some interesting interviews with some amazing authors, entertainers and artists since then. I’ve discussed putting both books into e-format at a much better price, but they are quite lengthy for that format. I suggested to Chase that I put mine in one book and he put his in another…to minimize the size. I’m thinking of that for myself. It would be lovely, since the pics could be in color (B&W in the books), depending on what type of e-reader a person has.
Jessica Gilbert: Betty, you also released the books: Star Struck: Interviews with Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons plus Six Pack of Blood and Six Pack of Fear (with Barbara Watkins). Tell us about these books.
Betty Dravis: Actually, my Star Struck book is a collection of the six icons that I contributed to Dream Reachers and are my memories of what happened behind the scenes of the interviews I had with Actors Clint Eastwood and Jane Russell, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, Singer/Actress Tanya Tucker and a chance meeting I had with actress Ann Sothern, one of Lucille Ball’s best friends and huge in her own right.
Yes, honey, I’m happy to say that the great horror writer Barbara Watkins and I collaborated on two Six-Pack books. I had several unpublished short stories that I was thinking of publishing when I read Barbara’s novel Hollowing Screams. I liked her style so much that I approached her with the idea of publishing three of her shorts and three of mine. Six-Pack of Blood popped into my mind (must have been thinking of Six-Pack of Bud, the beer you know). 🙂 Blood was very well-received, making no. one in U.S. Kindle/horror and similar great ranks in the UK and Germany. So much so, in fact, that we decided to do another Six-Pack of Fear (again like six-pack of beer). Both books won accolades from Zodiac Entertainment, an award-winning movie studio in New Zealand. Director/Producer Dimi Nakov chose Six-Pack of Blood as Best Paranormal/Horror in 2012 and Six-Pack of Fear as Director’s Choice/Paranormal/Fear in 2013.
And Barbara and I are doing another Happy Dance because only last week both books received a beautiful Certificate for Honorable Mention from Lucky Cinda Publishing Global Book Contest 2013.
Betty Dravis: Well, Jess, I’m currently working on an interview of one of my all-time favorite movie directors Armand Mastroianni who has directed and/or produced some of the biggest TV shows and movies in the world; to name a few: Early episodes of Dark Shadows, TV versions of Friday the Thirteenth, Danielle Steel’s The Ring, Cameron’s Closet, The Celestine Prophecy and too many more to mention here. His most recent TV movies are Dark Desire and Man Life Crisis, currently on Blip.tv.manlifecrisis. But I don’t want to give away too much about dear Armand, so you’ll just have to wait until my interview comes out on Dames of Dialogue.
I’m also working on a fun project I started (at urging from my friends); it’s a series of blogs called “The Betty Awards” wherein I award Bettys to my favorite authors, artists, book covers and a wide array of favorite things. In fact, you won a Betty for Favorite Entertainment Industry Magazine! 🙂 Check my blog at www.bettydravis.com to learn more. I’m currently working on Act three. You will see that I have famous people acting as faux presenters and even my cousin Oscar, my Grammy, Cleo and Tony get involved. 🙂 A rollicking good time!
In between those projects, I’m finally working on a new book. It’s a collection of some of my unpublished works: from short fiction stories (humor and drama) to homey anecdotes about all kinds of nonsense. In the nonfiction section I talk about the passing of two of my daughters which is very hard to talk about, as you might imagine. The book’s title is Betty Dravis Eyes: an eclectic anthology because it really is a glimpse of the world THROUGH my eyes. (I like the title because I have always been teased about that old Kim Karnes’ song “Bette Davis Eyes,” of course).
Jessica Gilbert: Recently, you’ve had some great achievements – 9th place in 5th annual Shorty Awards and making the Top 20 in Best of Women’s Fiction by Heart Press. Congrats! You just continue making waves in your career. 🙂 How do you feel about this? And what would be the one big thing you’d still like to accomplish in the future the most?
Betty Dravis: Thanks for giving me this brag time, Jess. I already mentioned the awards Barbara Watkins and I received for both Six-Pack books. I’m glad you mentioned my other awards. Yes, honey, I feel blessed to have placed 9th in this year’s Shorty Awards (author category). That is, indeed, a huge achievement when one considers that the great J.K. Rowlings of Harry Potter fame placed 6th. I couldn’t believe it! I also placed 18th in last’s year’s Short Awards. And the Top 20 Women’s Fiction for 2011 from Heart Press was for the book of my heart, 1106 Grand Boulevard. I say it’s my heart book because it’s about my much-married beautiful older sister and her trials and tribulations, centered around our childhood home in Ohio…thus the title.
As for the one big thing I’d like to accomplish, I think it’s the same as every author: to have one or more of our books go into film. A movie would bowl me over and make my entire life! 🙂 I have had fantastic nibbles in the past and currently three of my books are gathering interest from some movie directors and New York agents I know. Now THAT is when I get my fanciest dancing shoes out! I’ll dance right up that red carpet…with a little help from my friends. 🙂
Jessica Gilbert: What do you love most and least about writing?
Betty Dravis: Hmmm, Jess…What I love most about writing is creating characters and watching as they grow and meet their challenges. You know, when I switched from journalism to writing novels, it really surprised me when I created characters and they wouldn’t conform to how I first depicted them. They began to take on actions and characterizations of their own…which is as it should be as they are more real then. It’s really fun, this business of writing. I like everything about it but the marketing. Even some of that is fun because I get to meet so many exciting, fun people from around the world…but it is way too time-consuming, keeping me from my serious writing. But I have learned through life to take the good with the bad and aim for a happy balance. Oh, and I love the contests, especially when I win. 🙂
Jessica Gilbert: Tell us about some books you’ve recently read and reviewed.
Betty Dravis: You know, Jess, I have written 801 reviews for Amazon but have slowed a bit lately due to other projects taking higher priority. Two excellent books I’ve read most recently are Barbara Watkins’s most recent release Thorns of an Innocent Soul and Ashley Fontainne’s The Number Seventy-Five. I love both these books. I did review Fontainne’s book (it came out first) but haven’t gotten to Watkins’s review yet. These will undoubtedly get Betty Awards when I get around to my 2013 awards.
I also read a thriller set in the race-car world; titled Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit. It’s written by Joanna Lee Doster and I chose it for a Betty Award for Book with Most Potential to be a TV Series. Three other new ones I’m raving about are Obsolete by Christy Tillery French, Submerged by Cheryl Kaye Tardif and Ghostchaser’s Daughter by Emily Hill. Oh, there are so many…I could go on and on…My favorite authors know who they are and I wish I had more space! I love them all.
Jessica Gilbert: I know you read a lot of books, but what magazines do you enjoy reading?
Betty Dravis: You will LOL at this, Jess, but I enjoy reading Writers Digest. I also like the glamour mags like Vogue and keeping up with my beloved stars via People Magazine. Truthfully, I don’t spend a lot of time reading magazines or even watching TV. It’s all about books and celebrities with me. My children and their children are my greatest delight, of course.
Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Betty Dravis: I think I’ve covered almost everything about books, but on the home front we have had two new additions to the family since our last interview. Two more little ones: handsome little Aaron, and wee Bonnie Maya Faith; my fifth and sixth great-grands. Love those kids.
Your readers can reach me on Facebook, Good Reads, Twitter…or at my personal website mentioned above:
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks so much again, Betty, for the interview and all the best with all upcoming projects and everything.
Betty Dravis: It’s sheer joy to be here and thanks for giving me and other artists such a magnificent platform to share our works. You rock, Jessica Gilbert, and are adored by all of us.