The Fast Five With … Dorothea Benton Frank

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By Christine Duval

Four years ago, on a sultry July evening much like those found in her books, I had the sheer luck to find myself hot air ballooning with New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank and her husband over the rolling hills of the Garden State. Her many novels have graced the shelves of the library in my family’s summer home for as long as I can remember, always the perfect beachside read. So, to have the opportunity to share in such a thrilling experience with such a talented, dedicated, and respected author was downright riveting. Afterwards we cocktailed and talked, enjoying the adrenaline rush of a breath-taking ride. And soon after, I went on to accomplish what I had long set out to do: write and publish a novel. I will always credit that hot air balloon ride and that shared experience as the event that turned my writing life around. Thank you, Dottie! Dorothea’s 15th novel ALL THE SINGLE LADIES comes out this month. Go grab it! I am honoured to have her here, sharing her pearls of writing wisdom!♥

1. What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written?

My first book because I really didn’t know how to put a novel together. It was a real learning experience. But they are all hard. I’m writing my sixteenth novel now and it’s only slightly easier than my first. I just know it’s possible to do it again. It’s never going to be a breeze.

2. If you could collaborate with another author on a project, who would it be and why?

Loaded question. I can’t imagine how you could write a novel with someone else. But maybe something that’s non-fiction? It would definitely be someone I’d like to know because of the time involved and there are so many writers that fit that description. Maybe Aaron Sorkin – he’s a man with principles. Or Stephen King – just to be there while his wildly creative mind is humming along. If I could go back in time I’d be happy to make coffee for The Bard or tea for Jane Austen – the reasons should be obvious. I would’ve given a front tooth to have worked with Nora Ephron. I could learn so much from any of them.

3. What do you like most about being an author?

Meeting people who love books – to read them, to write them and to make them. It’s a pretty special world.

4. How do you motivate yourself to write?

Because I have made a deal with my publisher that I will deliver a polished manuscript to them once a year and a deal is a deal. So, I go to work each day. Besides that, I honestly love to write.

5. What do you feel are the top three qualities one must possess to make it as an author today?

1. You’ve got to understand what a story is and tell one that other people want to read. Hopefully a lot of people.
2. You’ve got to understand that writing a book is a process and be patient. Pacing yourself is important. Don’t write too quickly. Learn to self-edit.
3. Always conduct yourself in a pleasant and professional way. Publishing is one of the few remaining businesses where manners still matter.

Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. She divides her time between the New York area and the Lowcountry. She is the author of several bestselling novels, including Sullivan’s Island, Lowcountry Summer, Folly Beach and The Hurricane Sisters. All the Single Ladies is out this month.

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