About Betty J Kuffel MD:
An honors graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine and an Internal Medicine specialist, Dr. Kuffel has extensive experience in trauma and emergency medicine. Work brought her close to many crime victims, investigators and perpetrators. A primary interest is heart health education and prevention of the number one cause of death in men and women. Non-fiction books focus on health and safety of women & children. She has a medical thriller series in process, soon ready for publication. Kuffel lives in Montana with her husband and dog. She enjoys photography, flying, hiking and writes each day watching sunrise over the Rocky Mountains.
What inspires you to write?
Both parents read to us, and my father instilled an intrigue for mystery with scary bedtime stories he told, but never recorded. Throughout life, it seemed everywhere I went, through the eyes of people I met in work or travel, living in Alaska, hiking, climbing mountains, flying airplanes, surviving a plane crash in snowy mountains, surviving breast cancer, or through the eyes of my granddaughter who has written a series of fantasy stories at age nine, there continue to be stories around me evolving and waiting to be told. For me, writer’s block doesn’t exist.
Tell us about your writing process.
My days begin before sunrise, my favorite time of day, when the birds are just awakening, the deer amble through my yard in semidarkness, and the morning clouds begin turning pink. Once I have a cup of coffee and have reviewed my previous day’s work, I begin anew. My creative writing occurs first, maybe for four+ hours with an occasional break and walk for an hour with my writing companion, Valkyrie, an old German shepherd who survived the plane crash, too. (But that’s her story).
I started writing about fifteen years ago as a free-floating idea writer, a pantser. Now, I am a plotter and follower of Larry Brooks. I always outline, beginning with a plot line and then enhance it.
A new book of fiction begins anywhere: a love story idea, a dramatic ending, a medical concept for a thriller. I begin from the idea point or concept and record a tentative beginning, middle and end. I then add scenes (one liner ideas) filling in many parts of the story that needs to be told. – Then, I begin writing.
When a first draft is complete, beginning to end, I begin rewrites and edits, often ten of them. The book isn’t done until it’s done, even after that I want to tweak parts. I really helps to have input from experienced writers.
I have a wonderful writer group and core critique group of accomplished writers who are invaluable in completing a satisfactory work.
I have found NaturalReader a great help in final editing. This software, available online, reads your work to you after you copy and paste in your scenes. I wish I had found it years ago.
Most of my writing is fiction, but three nonfiction indie-published books are some I was compelled to write because of the important relevant topics. I am now focusing on final edits of 8 novels.
My mornings are typically creative, new writing and research, sometimes for a monthly women’s health column for a magazine I have written for twelve years. Afternoons are likely to be editing and rewriting. I have a list of long term goals, but never count the number of words I write in a day. I recently retired from medicine and have more time to write.
My latest new project is co-authoring a novel with my sister Bev, set in 1960. She lives in MN. We communicate via Skype and DropBox.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
The characters are alive in my mind and I have found with writing scenes, character actions and thoughts evolve as the character comes alive and emotionally involved in details of the story line. I am currently finalizing three books. Typically, I will work on one in the morning and one in the afternoon. If I leave one for days, their voices do seem to call me back to work diligently to complete the editing. They want to share there story as much as I do.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read what you like. Write everyday. Hang out with writers. Practice your craft. Get out and experience life, it will show in your writing.
Find a copy of Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham, follow his format and your fiction will sing. – Don’t be discouraged by critiques. Find a compatible critique group. Evict negative destructive critique members. You need to associate with a group of writers helping writers who provide constructive criticism and help. When you have finalized a book, find a couple of Beta readers, someone you trust as a writer, not your mother or a friend. Give them specific questions related to the book, structure, character arc and other topics of concern. You need to also have someone who will read, critique and return it to you within a couple weeks so you can begin a final-final edit before submission.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I first submitted early fiction manuscripts to agents. I received many nice rejections after waiting for months. The MSs really weren’t ready for prime time and I can see, now, why they were rejected. I decided to publish the medical nonfiction books on Amazon because of the efficiency of getting timely information published quickly. I have been very satisfied with the process. – This is a time of transition and many options for publication. I would avoid any publisher that charges you unless you like having books in the trunk of your car to peddle. A new type of publisher that bridges traditional and indie publishing is Carina Press. I plan to submit my next book to Carina for evaluation and possible publication. Indie publishing forces you to learn marketing skills, most writers are not great at self promotion. If you decide to indie publish there are a number of e-options such as Kindle and Smashwords. Another excellent POD (Print-on-demand) option is Create Space where it costs you nothing. The books are high quality and the shipping is timely.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe there will always be paper books, but the trend is to e-everything. The convenience of an e-reader is obvious. You can carry hundreds of book in a little device in your pocket. I believe there will be more creative ideas from traditional publishing companies and the competition grows from other options. Carina Press is a terrific concept, providing large royalties compared to traditional publishers and will publish in paperback if your e-version sells well. They also have world wide distribution.
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Medical, True Crime, Self help, medical thriller series, biological thriller, romantic intrigue
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.