Monday, December 28, 2009
About Beth Groundwater a Mystery Author
Her first forays into fiction writing were her Freddie stories when she was in fifth and sixth grade. Her protagonist, Freddie, had all sorts of wild adventures, including visiting an underground mole city after burrowing down in a giant screw-mobile. Freddie was a boy, because back in the sixties, she thought girls weren't supposed to have adventures. She knows better now!
A middle-school English teacher almost squelched her love for telling stories when she graded assignments on grammar, punctuation and sentence structure versus content. A good student, she learned to focus on form versus function to get the grade--something she had to unlearn later. During her high school senior year, she took an independent study in English and wrote fiction and poetry, which was critiqued by a college professor. They came back covered in red ink, but she learned a lot, including how to handle criticism!
After that, she obtained a college degree in Psychology (useful in character development) and Computer Science from the College of William and Mary in 1978. she wondered why she double-majored in the two fields that attracted the weirdest students at the college. she now think it's because of her lifelong interest in developing solutions to convoluted puzzles, be they software algorithms, understanding what makes a person tick, or solving a mystery story's "what if?"
She was a software engineer and software project manager until her retirement in 1999. Once management discovered she was a rare commodity--a software engineer who could write, she wrote countless manuals, design documents, final reports, marketing proposals, and technical papers that she presented at conferences. she also married, obtained a Masters Degree, and produced two children. she had no time to read the newspaper or watch TV, let alone write fiction. But once her husband and she met their retirement savings goals, she yearned to create stories again.
She has been writing fiction since retiring and so far has finished four novels, a novella, and numerous short stories. She was active in two critique groups for over five years, but now meets with one. To learn the craft, she studied writing books, took workshops, went to conferences, and entered contests, some of which she won or placed in (see her resume on her website). She attended her first writers' conference, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, in 1997 and still attends regularly. She is also a big believer in networking. She belong to the following writing organizations: Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She is the Published Author Connection for Pikes Peak Writers, Secretary of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and Board Member-At-Large for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America..
On her long road to publication, she collected over 100 rejections on her short stories in order to get eight published, including one in Wild Blue Yonder, Frontier Airlines' in-flight magazine, one which was translated into Farsi, and one which was performed in live theatre. She also spent almost three years getting rejected by 89 literary agents before one decided she might have some talent and took her on. Two months later, he negotiated the contract for her first published novel. She is now with her second agent. She is not bragging about her persistence. Not at all. She is just telling prospective authors what it takes. Keep at it!
Between writing spurts, she defend her meager garden from marauding mule deer and wild rabbits, and try to avoid getting black-and-blue on the black and blue ski slopes of Colorado. In addition to skiing, she love water sports, particularly whitewater rafting/canoeing and snorkeling. If a water slide is around, she is on it--more than once. Growing up as a military brat, she also enjoys and thrives on traveling. She is the family travel agent and have planned trips for them to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and all over the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. She has loved to read since she was a child, and she reads at least two novels a month. She savor those monthly meetings with her Book Club, and not just for the gossip and wine!
You can learn more about Beth by visiting her website: http://bethgroundwater.com