When a manuscript rises to the top at BookHive that we test with our beta readers – we name that writer our Author-Of-The-Month! Three cheers for Elisabeth Morten on delivering the goods in her second book, Red Dove: Tell Truth to Darkness, in her YA trilogy. This interview covers what her book is about, her writing process, and how using beta readers were helpful to her.

Jennifer Bowen: What’s one of your favorite books and why?

Elisabeth Morten: The Island of the Blue Dolphins has always been one of my favorite books. I read it when I was young and I remember being so impressed with the central character, a young Native girl and the lessons she learned about being self-reliant.

Elisabeth Morten

JB: How did you come about writing this YA series? Can you tell us about it?

EM: I have always been fascinated by Native American themes. Several years ago I visited the site of the Wounded Knee massacre on Pine Ridge Reservation and I knew that had to be the setting for the first book in the trilogy.

Red Dove: Tell Truth to Darkness

JB: You tested the first book with BookHive about a year ago. How was that experience for you?

EM: Nerve-wracking, but exhilarating! I was nervous about the results, but pleased when they came in higher than I expected. The reviews were incredibly useful in helping me edit the first book.

JB: How was testing the second book through BookHive? Anything different in the experience?

EM: Again, I learned a lot from this as well, and will incorporate the readers’ comments into the edit of the second book.

JB: Tell us about your writing process. How often and when do you write? Are you in a writers group?

EM: I take time to write when I can–usually late afternoon, after ideas have had a chance to develop over the course of the day. I don’t write every day, but I do try to produce anywhere from 5 to 10 pages per week, so I have something to bring to my critique group. It keeps me disciplined!

JB: What’s your plan with the series in terms of getting it published?

EM: I plan to finish the third book in the trilogy (working title: Red Dove–A Gathering), then have it focus-group tested through BookHive before editing. My agent is planning to submit the trilogy to publishers once it’s finished, but I’m also considering self-publishing, since it’s an attractive option these days.

JB: Do you ever get writers block? If so, how do you break out of it?

EM: I find the hardest time to write is when one book is finished and it’s time to start a new one. Getting into the process is a challenge, but once I’m there, it’s much easier.

JB: Why do you find working with beta readers through BookHive a valuable part of the process?

EM: The opinions of actual readers really matter. It is so much better to hear from them than from friends and family, since these are the people who are likely to buy the book!

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors.
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Written by Jennifer Bowen

Jennifer Bowen hails from a family business of research and has always considered it valuable. After working on her first YA book, she yearned for feedback from teenage readers, and the idea for BookHive and an organized beta reader process was born. As QueenBee of BookHive (more fun than CEO) she has attended the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Boston Book Fair, and The New York Self-Publishing Conference. BookHive was also selected to attend Startup Alley at the Book Expo of America in 2015, as "One of Twenty Startups to Watch."

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