Writer Interview: Beatrice Hale

Dunedin author Beatrice Hale
Hello and welcome, Beatrice.Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
First of all, I’m Scottish, from Aberdeen. We’ve been here for over forty years, however, having come for my husband’s job. When you get a good place with good people, you don’t move unless you have to! Secondly, I’m a very devoted and proud grandmother to three delightful grandchildren, who love to do the things I like best such as cooking and gardening.
And I retired as a social worker for older people, and working for family caregivers, in 2006-7 and decided that now was my time to write what I wanted.

"No Space to waste" by Dunedin author Beatrice HaleWhat genre, and what is your latest novel about?
I write mostly non-fiction, gerontology and caregiving, and years ago I wrote on herb-gardening; but I have written two children’s stories, Ice Escape, the story of a rescue of pioneer flyers, American Aces, father, mother and 2 children, by a Scottish fishing boat. No Space to Waste is a briefer story about a boy and his grandfather who grew potatoes in rubber tyres.
My most recent young adult novel The Resolute Heart is about a young man who was press-ganged from his home in Fife, Scotland, to serve in Nelson’s Navy. His wife followed him, and after some adventures found the boat where he was serving, boarded and became a surgeon’s assistant. Together they unmasked a mutiny, and a plot to take at least some of the British frigates over to the French.

What’s your writing style, do you plan everything first, or write and see where the story leads you?
I planned No Space to Waste, and Ice Escape followed a pattern, but I wrote The Resolute Heart as it came to me – sometimes at 2 a.m. A very awkward time.

"The Resolute Heart" author Beatrice Hale, cover designer: Kura Carpenter
Where did the idea for The Resolute Heart come from?
I got the idea from reading some of my ancestors’ stories, sent me by someone in Scotland who had been researching our ancestry. I’ve always been interested in my ancestors – one side came from Fife, and t’other from the west coast, members of the Cameron Clan, and somehow the two sides got together in Aberdeen. From reading about Harry’s being press-ganged, and his wife following him, I thought it would make a good story.

Which character do you most identify with and why?
Probably the mother in The Resolute Heart, the one supporting the home fires/gathering the herring/selling at market, keeping going while others had the fearsome adventures.

What was your favourite and least favourite part in researching for the novel?
I loved the research but would have been even happier if I’d been able to walk along the streets of Cellardyke in Fife, where my family came from, so that I could continue absorbing the atmosphere. I’ve had a few visits, but I’d like more.

Why did you decide to venture into self-publishing?
"Ice Escape" by Beatrice Hale, cover designer Kura CarpenterSpeed of getting things out. At my age (mid seventies) I can’t wait for publishers’ decisions, and then the time to get the books out. I’d much rather someone else did this, but I want to see the books in my hand, fast.

What has been the hardest part with promoting your work?
Not knowing quite what to do and where to go.

What tips would you give to others considering publishing that you wished you knew when you started?
Go for it! Find others who can help, join NZSA which is an excellent organisation, become more computer literate. I needed to know more about printing fonts, sizes, sizes of covers at the end, though the cover itself is brilliant (of Ice Escape), I managed to make a mistake on sizing it when I got a few books printed.

What else have you had published, and what is coming up?
Recently, I’ve published Ice Escape and The Resolute Heart, but before then I was working in Non-fiction and published Family Transitions in Caregiving (Patrick Barrett, Beatrice Hale, Mary Butler) and The Age of Supported Independence (Beatrice Hale, Patrick Barrett, Robin Gauld). Before that I published with Longacre The NZ Pleasure Garden.

Coming up? I’m hoping to have Simon Says, a book about a young carer whose mother is sick and who gets bullied at school, and Lucas catches the Light and I don’t know what that’s about yet! What I’m currently working on is The Story of Caregiving, a meander through the past looking at how people gave care to older family members. I begin by discussing work on Neanderthal peoples, and move on from there. Very interesting, hugely ambitious and I just hope I can finish it.

Thanks so much for chatting with us today. Where can we buy your books? 
Ice Escape is available via Amazon and Smashwords
and The Resolute Heart, through Amazon as Kindle ebook and Paperback.

You can also connect with Beatrice via her Amazon Author Page HERE
And on Linkedin HERE

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