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Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Voice of Experience – A Conversation with author Betty Sullivan La Pierre. the author of the Hawkman Series and more.

As an author of only three published books, I try to visualize what it would be like to have fifteen successful books and another in the making.  I was fascinated as I read Betty's story, and I am sure you will be as well. Thank you Betty for the interview. 

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Betty Sullivan La Pierre attended the Oklahoma College for Women and the University of Oklahoma, graduating with her BS degree in Speech Therapy with a Specialty in the Deaf. Once married, she moved to California with her husband.  When her husband was killed in an automobile accident, she was left with two young boys to raise.  She is now remarried and has had another son through that marriage.

Ms. La Pierre has lived in the Silicon Valley (California) for many years.  At one time, she owned a Mail Order Used Book business dealing mainly in signed and rare books, but phased it out because it took up too much of her writing time.  She is an avid reader, belongs to the Wednesday Writers’ Society, and periodically attends other writing organizations’ functions.

She writes Mystery/Suspense/Thriller novels, which are published in digital format and print.  Her Hawkman Mystery Series is developing quite a fan base.  She’s also written two stand-alone mystery/thrillers and plans to continue writing.  ‘BLACKOUT,’ Betty’s story about a bingo hall (of the Hawkman Series), ranked in the top ten of the P&E Reader’s Poll, and won the 2003 BLOODY DAGGER AWARD for best Mystery/Suspense.  EuroReviews recently picked ‘THE DEADLY THORN’ (One of Betty’s stand alone thrillers) for their 2005 May Book of the Month.

Betty Sullivan La Pierre’s work is a testament to how much she enjoys the challenge of plotting an exciting story.  

Visit her personal site at:

Tell us about the genre of your work.

I debated and debated how to explain what Mystery/Suspense I cheated and went to the dictionary...They put it very clearly. Mystery:  a person or thing whose identity or nature is puzzling or unknown.  Suspense:  a quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty about what may happen

Why did you choose this genre?

     I’ve always loved mystery stories and suspenseful movies...Even as a young girl, I was quite a tomboy, and loved pretending I was a private investigator.  It just seemed the natural genre for me to write in.  I love plotting and leading my protagonist down a road of danger and see how he gets himself out of the mess.

What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

The Archer
# 13 in the Hawkman Series
I have fifteen published books.  I have 13 books in the ‘Hawkman Series’, and each is a story within itself, so the books can be read in any order.  I also have two stand alone mystery/suspense/thrillers that are not involved with Hawkman.

1591092043--THE ENEMY STALKS (Book #1)

THE ENEMY STALKS is the debut of the “Hawkman Series”, where the introduction of a fascinating detective known as Hawkman, a former Agency operative comes into play under an assumed identity, Tom Casey.  Jennifer Morgan, the equally fascinating heroine, a young widow, lives across the lake. Together, with an aggressive falcon, they take on the dangerous double agent, Dirk Hinderson, a vicious murderer who hates Hawkman and has vowed to extinguish him from the face of the earth. A read you won’t want to miss.

1591092167--DOUBLE TROUBLE (Book #2)

In DOUBLE TROUBLE, the action is split between Los Angeles and beautiful Copco Lake five years after the explosive events of THE ENEMY STALKS. Now happily living with his wife Jennifer and their 15-year-old son Sam, Hawkman is a hard working private investigator.

1591092086--THE SILENT SCREAM (Book #3)

Richard lives with his mother far away from the hubbub of the city. He's home schooled and socializing is pretty much nonexistence. After a ride on his motorcycle, Richard comes home to discover his mother and dog murdered on the kitchen floor. When Hawkman becomes aware of the circumstances he takes up the deaf teen's cause, doing everything possible to keep the state and the police from taking him into custody.

1591093643--DIRTY DIAMONDS (Book #4)

‘DIRTY DIAMONDS’ #4 of the Hawkman Series, is about the plight of JASMINE LOUISE GRAY, a twenty three year old attractive woman, after she committed a jewelry heist in Oklahoma City. 

1591097959--BLACKOUT (Book #5)

Hawkman is hired by a close friend, Jesse Wilson to find his missing daughter who never returned home from a night of fun at the White Oaks Bingo Hall. The search takes Hawkman to the Triple ‘C’ Indian casino where he discovers an old buddy working as a security officer.  Max Prichard is on undercover duty searching for his missing niece. The men combine forces to find the two women.

1594574863--DIAMONDS aren’t FOREVER--(Book #6)

In DIAMONDS AREN’T FOREVER, private investigator, Hawkman, discovers through an old friend, that Jamey Louise Schyler aka Jasmine Louise Gray, the knockout blonde jewel thief, is returning to Medford, Oregon.  Jamey had eluded Hawkman once before in his search for the Oklahoma diamond heist culprits, and his interest became highly piqued on the anticipation of her return.     

1419607065--CAUSE FOR MURDER--(Book #7)

Burke Parker is found dead in a local hotel room but no one is mourning his demise. Locals describe him as a loudmouth alcoholic. His wife Lilly and daughter Maryann are just glad that they no longer have to suffer under Burke’s tyrannical abuse. There’s only one question in everyone’s mind: Did someone finally kill the obnoxious abusive alcoholic or did the drink finally do him in? Private detective Tom “Hawkman” Casey aims to find out.

1419633171-ANGELS IN DISGUISE-(Book #8)

A Private Investigator, his wife, cancer, a missing mother and a little girl kidnapped.  You’ll see a side of Hawkman never revealed in this powerful novel.  Two stories entwined in such a way, you’ll find yourself crying and cringing at the same time.  Your heart will go out to Hawkman as he struggles with his emotions and tries to concentrate on the case handed to him by a distraught father. 

1419661426-IN FOR THE KILL-(Book #9)

Hawkman received a phone message asking for ‘Jim Anderson’, his birth name, which he hadn’t used since he left the Agency.  He’d been assigned the new identity of Tom Casey, and feared this call came from a nemesis in his past days of being a spy.

1419681966-GRAVE WEB-(BOOK #10)

Private Investigator, Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, took on a fifteen year old cold case presented to him by Becky Simpson.  Her father had just passed away without ever revealing why her mother deserted the family or why they never heard from her again. Hawkman thought the case sounded like a challenge, but little did he realize the twists and turns this investigation would take.  

1439211043-THE LURE OF THE WITCH (BOOK #11)

Sarah Willis, a teenager, was reported missing to the Medford police by her father.  When Greg Willis decided the authorities were dragging their feet, he hired private investigator Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, to find his daughter.  Since Greg and Cathy Willis had been divorced for a year, Hawkman found it a bit difficult to combine the information and decided to have Sarah’s belongings brought to his office, much to the dismay of the mother.

When Hawkman began to dig into Sarah’s personal items, his wife, Jennifer, convinced him he didn’t understand the workings of a young girl’s mind, and needed her help.  As they dug into the inner parts of Sarah’s computer, diary and notes, they discovered some disturbing facts which led them to a ranch in the Medford hills. 

1439258740-SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT (BOOK #12)

Tom Casey, Private Investigator, better known as Hawkman, was hired by George and Maggie Hampton to investigate the deaths of their friends living in Morning Glory Haven.  The facility houses people capable of independent living, along with those who need twenty-four hour assistance.

1456528491-THE ARCHER (BOOK #13)

Tom Casey, better known as Hawkman, found himself involved in a case where a young woman is being harassed with lewd messages on her cell phone.  As he dug into the case, archery came into play.  He knew nothing about the sport, but immediately educated himself on facts about the compound bow.  Clues were hard to come by, and even though he had an idea of the culprit, arrest was out of the question with no hard evidence.  Time marched by quickly and the perp was getting closer.  Hawkman knew he’d have to catch him in the act, as scary as it might be.  Read ‘THE ARCHER’ to get in on the thrills.    

Stand Alone Murder/Mysteries


Bud Nevers, the CEO of the Nevers’ Computer Technology Company
in Silicon Valley is murdered.  Detective Tom Hoffman and his partner Detective Cliff Maxhimer suspect the president, Ken Weber.  Their suspicion heightens when the accountant, Ryan Conners is found dead in his office in what appears an act of suicide.  Further investigation proves the financial books have been tampered with and Conners was embezzling large amounts of money from the company.    To unravel the twists and turns you’ll need to read, MURDER.COM

1591092205--THE DEADLY THORN

Jimmy Oliver is a con man, who seduces, marries, insures and murders his wives.  Two of these women survived his wrath.  Along with the help of Sally Oliver’s friend (a woman who is a national shooting champion) are about to get even.

There are real world issues in this book as well.  Domestic violence and the strength and courage to overcome physical abuse are an important part of this story. The climax of this novel is one of the fastest moving and action motivated moments you’ll ever read.

All my books can be purchased on my publisher’s website at:

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

All the settings in my books are in the west, and most of the Hawkman Series is in Northern California, as he lives at Copco Lake, his office is in Medford, Oregon.  So the stories take place mostly in this area.  I use the original names of the streets at Copco, but use my imagination on places in the area.  As far as the names I pick for my characters, they’re usually easy to remember, fairly common and not hard to pronounce.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in your books?

Hawkman has dwelt in my mind since I was in high school.  I saw a picture of a man with a falcon on his arm and loved it.  Hence, with a little tweaking, Hawkman was born.

What’s your favorite thing about your books?

My protagonists.  I love writing about Hawkman, there’s many a story I can do with him in the lead.  Also, there is a character, Richard, in ‘THE SILENT SCREAM” who is a deaf boy.  I loved writing about him.

Why and when did you begin writing?

I wanted to try my hand at writing for a long time, but it’s hard to focus when you’re raising a family.  So once my boys were on their own, I concentrated on my first book, ‘THE ENEMY STALKS’.  I rewrote the book at least ten times before I finally got an e-publisher to accept it.  It took a good seven years.  Once I realized what I had to do, it became easier to write the second book and on to the next.  You learn so much during the process, and it helps so much.

What is your writing schedule?

I am at the computer 8 to 10 hours a day most of the time.  I sure don’t get much housework done..;-)  But I write probably 2 to 3 hours, and then spend a big part of the time marketing.  I probably don’t spent enough time networking, but I’m hoping to get better. 

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

I’m working on #14 of the Hawkman Series.  Just getting started, so there’s no title, but I can tell you it involves a ten year old boy from a very dysfunctional home.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

Do your homework; take a few writing classes, read, read, read in the Mystery genre.  This helps you get a feel on how to start.  Each author is different, so find one that fits you and study their technique.  Then write..write...write...Don’t worry about mistakes, just put down your thoughts. 

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Join a critique group, preferably one consisting of several genres.  Take their critiques to heart and use them, I’m not saying you have to apply them all, but if it bothered someone, it needs to be looked at.  Never give up, develop broad shoulders and thick skin.  Don’t give up your day job..;-) 

What do you do when you are not writing?

We have a home on Copco Lake (Hawkman territory) and I love to fish off the dock.  I’ve caught perch, trout, catfish, crappie and an occasional crawdad.  It’s probably the most relaxing thing for me there is.

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

I have had several, but I’ll focus on the ones pertaining to writing.  When I finally found a stable e-publisher and have been with her for several years.  And finally getting those wonderful royalties, which tells me someone is reading and enjoying my work.  That is very fulfilling and makes my heart swell, especially when you receive a fan letter from a reader telling you how much they love your books. 


Boyd Lemon said...

Wow! What an impressive woman. I so enjoyed reading how she works.

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Thank you, Boyd, You've made my day. What a kind thing to say.

Sincerely, Betty Sullivan La Pierre

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Sylvia, Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. You've done a beautiful job on displaying all the information.

Lots of Hugs, Betty

Joan Hall Hovey said...

Great post, I feel I know you a little better, Betty. It's clear you've struggled against some very real difficulties in life, and the insight and compassion gained are there in your work. Thanks for sharing.

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Hi, Joan, Thank you for your kind words. So happy you dropped by.

Hugs, Betty

jrlindermuth said...

An enjoyable read, Betty. You're an inspiration to all of us.

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Thank you so much.

Sincerely, Betty

Cassie Exline said...

Great interview, especially enjoy it since I'm a mystery writer as well. As if there's anything else. lol Very productive life you've led, Betty. Your books sound great. Thanks for sharing.

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Thank you, Cassie. So glad you dropped by. I'll be talking to you.

Hugs, Betty

Maryannwrites said...

Enjoyed getting to know more about you, Betty. We have been on some of the same writers' group lists for a long time.... I won't mention how many years. LOL But I don't think I have ever read such a comprehensive interview.

Karin said...

You know that I love the Hawkman and his friends. When he takes on a case I feel a lot better! I also enjoy his human side.
kce1976 AT hotmail DOT com

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Hi, Maryann, I agree with you about the interview. Sylvia has done a beautiful job with the questions, and the layout of the blog. I was amazed she was able to put in all the information. Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Betty

Hi, Karin, I classify you as one of my angels...I'm always thrilled when I see your signature. Thank you so much ...Hugs, Betty

Christopher Hudson said...

An impressive body of work!

Betty Sullivan La Pierre said...

Thank you, Christopher,
Glad you stopped by.

Sincerely, Betty