Friday, September 17, 2010

A Brief Talk With Becke Davis

by Janet Bolin

Today, we are pleased to present Becke Davis, moderator of Barnes & Noble's online Mystery Book Club . Becke, when did you first become interested in mysteries?

Becke: I've been an avid mystery fan since I read The Secret of the Old Postbox at age 8. I became hooked for life when I read my first Nancy Drew book at age 9. I was reading Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone short story collections by age 12, discovered Agatha Christie at age 15 and Mary Stewart shortly thereafter. Even though I am an obsessive reader who averages a book a day, my to-be-read pile never seems to go down. At last count, it filled two small bookcases and four bins with over 300 books.

SinC Blog: What keeps you turning pages in a mystery?

Becke: I want to solve the mysteries and find out all the answers. I’m a big fan of romantic suspense, so I’m always eager to see the hero and heroine get their happy ending, too.

SinC Blog: How do you choose which books to feature in the club?

Becke: When the book clubs first started, B&N picked the features, and author visits were rare. At the end of last year, I asked if I could feature more than the standard two books/authors per month and I was told to "go wild" with it.

I read by author, and I feature authors rather than individual books. I think this is more beneficial to both B&N and the author, and our goal, after all, is to sell books. At B&N's Mystery, I've found that readers develop a strong loyalty for authors they feel they know.

I have developed relationships with the publicists at most of the big publishing companies, as well as publicists who work directly with some authors. They send me advance reader copies of books, and emails when they have an exciting release coming up.

If the release sounds interesting, I'll set up an author visit. If I randomly pick up a book and like it, I'll try to find the author online and set up a visit that way, too. Initially, I was looking for big name authors, but I've found that our participants are just as excited to meet debut authors. The most successful visits are the ones where the author has fun - that communicates itself, and it's contagious. I love it when that happens.

SinC Blog: You also write.

Becke:  I'm a freelance garden writer and I blog at B&N's Garden Variety. I started with B&N about nine years ago, writing and teaching courses for the B&N Online University. I'm also a contributing editor at Romance: B(u)y the Book and have written well over 1,000 articles as well as six non-fiction books. I started writing fiction in 2007, and wish I'd started sooner. Those voices in my head just won’t shut up until I tell their stories.
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Becke Davis is vice president of the Ohio Valley RWA chapter and a member of Sisters in Crime. Several of Becke’s stories have finaled in RWA contests and she’s had two stories featured online: a Christmas short story and a short-short that NPR called "the literary equivalent of a basket of late night fried mozzarella cheese sticks." Her website is www.beckemartin.com, and her blogs are The Mysterious Garden Muse and The Family Treethyme. She has completed a contemporary romance RUBY STILETTO BLUES and is currently working on a romantic suspense story called NIGHT VISIONS.

28 comments:

Nancy Adams said...

Hi Becke,

I love gardening as well as reading mysteries, too! I will be sure to check out both areas on the B&N website. What a great service, especially since so many print reviews have disappeared.

Thanks for being on the SinC blog,

Nancy Adams

Norma Huss said...

Although I visit my local Barnes & Noble store frequently, I've never visited the online Mystery Book Club. In fact, I didn't know about it. I'll have to remedy that right away. (See you soon in virtual land!)

Becke Davis said...

Hi Nancy - It's a fun place, I hope you'll join us!

I've been told I should be writing mysteries with a garden theme, and I do have one like that in work. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I have a LOT of stories in work!

If any of you write garden mysteries, let me know! I've featured Kate Collins and Heather Webber's mysteries at Garden Variety, and I'd love to feature more!

Norma - My dream is that one day the B&N stores will link up with the website so we can cross-promote, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe one day!

The BN.com Book Club site is occasionally attacked by computer gremlins (we prefer to call them Evil Gnomes). If you have trouble signing in through the book club link, try clicking "My B&N" at the top right of the page. That link seems to work better.

By the way, I'm already booking author visits through next spring, but I haven't started scheduling the next big "Month of" extravaganzas, where I invite a different author to visit each day. February will be our Month of Romantic Suspense, and June will be our Month of Cozy(ish) Crime.

debbie h said...

Hi Becke Wow a star is born.
I love Becke and follow her religiously on the mystery book club at B&N as well as her blogs and anywhere else she goes.
those of you who haven't visited B&N book clubs give mystery a try you'll love all the commenters and the cool authors that Becke is always having visit.
You go Becke
Deb

Beth Groundwater said...

Hi Becke,
I loved reading your interview here. It's been too long since I've checked in at the B&N Mystery Book Club. I'm too busy writing! I'll have to remedy that, though, and I hope to set up a chat with your group again when the first in my new Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventure series comes out in March.

Dianne Castell said...

Hi, Becke.
Wonderful seeing you here and chatting. Love your garden blogs and you mystery stories are incredible.
Mystery Book Clubs are so much fun.

Gabriella Edwards said...

I am humbled by this woman. She's an amazing friend and fabulous critique partner. I owe it to Becke for giving me the confidence to submit my work.

And she's an author to look out for, readers. It's only a matter of time!

Jenn Stark said...

Becke, hello! It's nice to learn a bit more about the Mystery Book Club--I'll check it out!

Susan said...

Hi Becke Great Interview..and BN Mystery is such a Special Place to Visit..I have enjoyed many hrs of great reading from all the suggestions of yours and all The BN Readers as well .I Joined BN OnlineBookClubs 3 years ago So Glad I did Best, Susan

Keri Stevens said...

Becke,
I was also a Nancy-Drew-to-Agatha- Christie girl!

Every time I see how much you do, I wonder if you sleep.

And yes--I agree. I read and buy by author, so if you have one book that's a winner, I'll get the rest of the backlist.

Becke Davis said...

Wow - where did all these posts come from?

Debbie - if anyone is a star at B&N, it's you! From loyal participant to Fiction moderator, and book reviewer, too. You rock!

Beth - it's always great to see you at B&N. Let me know when your next book comes out and we'll give it a plug!

Dianne - It's an honor to work with you! I'm so excited about your new cozy series with Berkley. Your new pen name will be Duffy Brown, right? I'm sure the series will be a huge success!

Ah, Gabriella - what can I say? I can feel myself getting all soppy, so I'll just say I have the best critique partners in the world. Her sizzling novella UNTIL EMIE was just published by Red Sage.

(And, yes, ALL of my CPs are getting published/finding agents except me, but I hope that will change when I complete this story. My motto is "The harder I work, the luckier I get!")

Jenn- Thanks so much for stopping by! I think you'd like B&N's Mystery board. It's a fun place and everyone LOVES books!

Hi Susan! *waves* Thanks so much for your constant support!

Keri - Sleep? What is this sleep of which you speak? Keri is another of my critique partners, and her fabulous debut book STONE KISSED will be published by Carina Press in December.

Janet Bolin said...

If you haven't visited Becke's B&N mystery book club, be sure to! And keep going back.

Becke, I think you are actually about six people. I can't wait for your fiction to be published. I was the last unpublished holdout in my critiqe group, too, but my partners nagged me until I wrote something that sold.

Becke's critique partners - keep nagging her!

Anonymous said...

Great Interview, Becke. You make the Barnes and Noble Mystery Board a lot of fun. My pile of books to read is now never ending, so many good recommendations and authors to talk to.
Luanne

Polly said...

It's great to see all the responses on the SinC Blog about you and B & N's online Mystery Book Club, Becke. I think a lot of the Sisters didn't know it existed. Now they do. Thanks for joining us today.

Becke Davis said...

Janet - I do have a couple of alter egos, but, sadly, they haven't lessened my work load so far!

Luanne - *waves* Thanks so much for your support!

tonya kappes said...

Hi Becke! I'm so amazed at all the work you do. I have no idea where you find the time to write these wonderful novels. You are well on your way and soooooon will be published. I just know it:)

Eadie Burke said...

Hi Becke,

Great interview! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the authors you have introduced me to. Hanging out with you on the B&N Mystery website has been great fun and my to-be-read pile grows daily. Meeting and chatting with the authors makes the experience all the more interesting.

Thanks again,

Eadie Burke

Anonymous said...

Hi Becke,

Great interview! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the authors you have introduced me to. Hanging out with you on the B&N Mystery website has been great fun and my to-be-read pile grows daily. Meeting and chatting with the authors makes the experience all the more interesting.

Thanks again,

Eadie Burke

Cathleen Ross said...

Hi Becke
Lovely to discover more about you. I think the space you have created at the B@N bookclub is a special place to be.
Best
Cathleen Ross

Mary E. Ulrich said...

We could call this unraveling the mystery of Becke Davis (Martin)

Krista said...

Great to see you here, Becke! I had such fun when you invited me to the B&N Book Club. I need to drop by there again and see what's going on in your lovely mansion -- as soon as I finish the book I'm working on.

~ Krista

Becke Davis said...

Tonya - thanks for joining us, and congratulations on selling TWO books! I'm looking forward to reading your new series!

Eadie - It is fun at BN.com, isn't it? It is true that one of the dangers of hanging out at Mystery is all the new books/authors you'll discover. I could write a book about it: The Case of the Neverending To-Be-Read Pile!

Cathleen - I hope you're feeling better! Thanks so much for your Agatha Christie guest blog. (We're celebrating Dame Agatha's 120th birthday all month at B&N's Mystery.)

Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your constant support and encouragement. Mary has a wonderful blog for anyone raising a child (or adult) with disabilities. Check it out: http://climbingeverymountain.com

Hi Krista! Your visit was so much fun! The Month of Cozy(ish) Crime in June was so much fun - and so popular with our participants - that I'm going to do it again next year. I hope you'll come back and join us!

Krista mentioned my mansion - B&N's Mystery Book Club is secretly a stately home with book-covered walls and a fireplace big enough to stand in. High tea is served at four - read about it at the Welcome thread, and pull up a chair:
http://bit.ly/dDjOIs

Here's a link to the main Mystery board, if you'd like to lurk a bit before joining the party. Scroll down to see the current Christie-related features, or search author's names and book titles in the white box at the upper right:
http://bit.ly/8QJ2q

I'm on Twitter and Facebook; I'll be at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference in a few weeks, and at MAGNA CUM MURDER in Muncie, Indiana at the end of the month. I hope to meet some of you there!

Thanks again to JANET BOLIN for a fun interview!

Becke Davis said...

Tonya - thanks for joining us, and congratulations on selling TWO books! I'm looking forward to reading your new series!

Eadie - It is fun at BN.com, isn't it? It is true that one of the dangers of hanging out at Mystery is all the new books/authors you'll discover. I could write a book about it: The Case of the Neverending To-Be-Read Pile!

Cathleen - I hope you're feeling better! Thanks so much for your Agatha Christie guest blog. (We're celebrating Dame Agatha's 120th birthday all month at B&N's Mystery.)

Becke Davis said...

Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your constant support and encouragement. Mary has a wonderful blog for anyone raising a child (or adult) with disabilities. Check it out: http://climbingeverymountain.com

Hi Krista! Your visit was so much fun! The Month of Cozy(ish) Crime in June was so much fun - and so popular with our participants - that I'm going to do it again next year. I hope you'll come back and join us!

Krista mentioned my mansion - B&N's Mystery Book Club is secretly a stately home with book-covered walls and a fireplace big enough to stand in. High tea is served at four - read about it at the Welcome thread, and pull up a chair:
http://bit.ly/dDjOIs

Here's a link to the main Mystery board, if you'd like to lurk a bit before joining the party. Scroll down to see the current Christie-related features, or search author's names and book titles in the white box at the upper right:
http://bit.ly/8QJ2q

I'm on Twitter and Facebook; I'll be at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference in a few weeks, and at MAGNA CUM MURDER in Muncie, Indiana at the end of October. I hope to meet some of you there!

Thanks again to JANET BOLIN for a fun interview!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Becke! It was a happy day when I discovered the Barnes and Noble Mystery book club. You do such a fantastic job of moderating;I want to thank you for all the time and effort you put into making the club first rate. Thanks to you, I've been introduced to writers of mysteries I had been unaware of, but am so happy to have discovered them. For those of you who haven't yet visited the B&N site, c'mon over! You'll be welcomed with open arms, and have lots of fun discussing favorite mystery books and authors.

Becke Davis said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I just posted details of some upcoming author visits - I hope we'll give you plenty of ideas for books to read as the weather turns cold and we snuggle up indoors.

Sorry about the duplicate comments - not sure how I managed that. (Yikes - I hope the B&N Evil Computer Gnomes didn't follow me over here!)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Becke, I am in awe of how much you do...
I love visiting the B&N Mystery Book Club and have discovered some new-to-me authors there. I am really enjoying the Agatha Christie posts. Keep all this wonderful stuff coming!

Becke Davis said...

Kandy - one of the things I like best about moderating B&N's Mystery book club is having the opportunity to introduce readers to authors like you, who they might otherwise miss.

Much as I love the best selling authors, there are so many newer authors who people have yet to discover.

I call myself a book evangelist - I'm a little obsessive when it comes to sharing my love of books!