Beth Albright, author of The Sassy Belles, found time in her busy schedule to stop by and answer some questions. Interviewing Beth was a fun experience- and if her book, The Sassy Belles, is half as fun as finding our her answers- then we are in for a delight! The Sassy Belles is part of Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List– a list that has quite a few good books- whether you are from the South or just long to read about Southern life and Southern belles.
Interview with Beth Albright:
What was the inspiration for The Sassy Belles?
Literally, I was homesick. I had had many careers from being an actress on Days of Our Lives, to being a long-time radio talk show host all over the country. After my son was born, I opened an acting school for kids and after nearly 7 years, the Enron scandal happened in Houston, TX, and my school was collateral damage. I sat in a rainy parking lot waiting for my husband to run into a grocery store, when I pulled my directors notebook from my purse and scribbled out the very first words of what would become The Sassy Belles. “My name is Blake O’Hara Heart and boy do I have a story to tell. It wouldn’t be such a story if Vivi hadn’t done what she did.” I was homesick and needed my mom and sassy girlfriends around me—with some salty margaritas!
From the beginning to end, how long did The Sassy Belles take to write?
It took many years because I wasn’t serious about it. I wrote most of it after my acting school closed and we were living in Nashville. Then we moved to LA for the third time, and my son became a competitive pairs figure skater and I put it away for three years. But my mom kept pushing me to finish, telling me I really had something, so I finished, went to the San Francisco Writers Conference, met my agent and she sold a three-book deal to Harlequin/MIRA!
Do you have a writing space? A writing routine?
I have a favorite chair, with my cat nicely sprawled behind my head on the back of the chair. Also, I love my desk and my writing space on the fourth floor of my SF townhome, but the chair in the bedroom seems to be where I land. My routine is hard…I had only about 5 weeks each to write the last 2 books in the trilogy. We wanted to keep a tight production schedule and I wanted to get the books out, so I wrote from about 9am till about 2-3am, taking breaks of course. With the next trilogy, I will be taking more time, but I am pretty diligent and focused when I write. I get inside the story and sometimes it’s hard to get me out!
Are any of the characters based on people in real life? Or just figments of your imagination?
All of the characters are good amalgamations of many of the people I know. I like to take traits of different people and put together new people. The character of Meridee is very much like my late maternal grandmother. She is closest to her actual character.
Will you be going on a book signing tour? If so, what are you looking forward to the most about the tour?
We just did a huge launch and book party at the Barnes and Noble in Tuscaloosa Alabama, where the books are based. We sold 200 books in four hours!! It was crazy. I definitely want to go on a huge book tour and I am hoping to put one together this fall when all 3 books are out! What I look most forward to is meeting my readers! I love people and love shaking hands, and talking with them!
Do you want The Sassy Belles to be made into a movie one day? If so, who are the actors that would comprise your dream cast?
Actually, the book is currently being packaged for a pitch for an hour long TV series!!! Vivi was written for Jessica Chastain!! I love Allison Brie as she appeared in Five Year Engagement as Blake! Betty White as Meridee for sure, Delta Burke for Kitty, Jessica Simpson (not pregnant) as Dallas. The men, oooh I love so many of them! Maybe Jon Hamm as Harry, Blake Shelton as Sonny, and Vince Vaughn as Lewis. Bonita would be played by Octavia Spencer and Arthur would be played by Denzel Washington! His character becomes huge in later books! I think that would be awesome!
The Sassy Belles is the first in the series. Can you tell us anything about the next two books, Wedding Belles and Sleigh Belles?
Wedding Belles, out July 30th, to me, is the funniest of the three books. Here is the quote from the back of the book:
Seven months pregnant and head over heels in love, Vivi Ann McFadden is busy pulling together the final details for her wedding to Lewis Heart, famous play-by-play announcer for the Crimson Tide. But with two wedding-planners-gone-wild and a psychic giving her advice, a missing wedding ring and the ceremony happening on the same day as the wildly popular Crimson Tide kickoff game, chaos reigns supreme. Luckily, maid of honor Blake O’Hara Heart is on the job. She’ll tackle this wedding if it’s the last thing she does!
Sleigh Belles is much more poignant. While there are funny scenes, the story is a tale of tying to put pieces of a fragmented family back together for Christmas. You’ll need your hankies for sure. It is the most deep and emotional of the three books. Here is the back cover:
With her hair perfectly coiffed, nails freshly manicured and a heavy trail of perfume wafting behind her, local news reporter Dallas Dubois is sure she’s about to kick her career—and maybe her love life—into high gear. The director of the Tuscaloosa children’s Christmas play has fallen ill, and Dallas is ordered by her station manager to take the reins. Everyone is shocked—especially Cal Hollingsworth, who still remembers her as the Ice Queen from high school.
If nothing else, Dallas has never met a challenge that a little lip gloss and a Chanel knockoff couldn’t fix. But she has no idea how to relate to these kids, and their brutal honesty is giving her pause. Things are made even more complicated by the butterflies she gets whenever Cal is near….
But when long-lost family members reenter her life, Dallas’s icy veneer begins to melt. And with Cal by her side, she soon realizes that it’s what’s under all the hair spray that counts.
Now that you’ve read the interview- is your inner “sassy belle” just having a fit to read The Sassy Belles? If so, you are in luck! Come back on Friday- Beth will be revealing her #literarycrush, some Southern writers that she just LOVES, and more. There will also be a #giveaway of The Sassy Belles!
Beth Albright, author of The Sassy Belles, loves her sassy girlfriends and some salty margaritas ( Beth sounds like a very good person to be friends with!) For more information about Beth, please visit her website, The Sassy Belles Facebook page, or Twitter.
*Special shout-out goes to Beth for agreeing to this interview. Long live The Sassy Belles!