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ft ! !; A WRITER IN OUR MIDST 27 A murder mystery... overtones of witchcraft... a Seattle setting... all these are elements of a new book called The Death Beads. The author? Bette Hagman, wife of Joe Hagman, partner in charge of our Seattle office. How did it all come about? Bette explains: "I started writing at that time in life when men begin dreaming about chasing younger women and women are chasing their dreams. I'd already managed to dispose of the child into college, golf which I discovered I didn't like and bridge which didn't like me. When I turned to art, a fellow student probably saved the world from some very bad painting by talking me into enrolling with her in a writing class. It was love at first write! "For seven years I wrote. At first the usual homey anecdotes most writers start with...no research...no plot...no sale. But an editor to whom I sent my first book said he 'liked my style.' By that time I was hooked. The catch was that he also added that I needed to learn to plot. So I picked the hardest-to-plot story I could find, the murder mystery. "The first mystery was masterfully plotted (I have an editor's letter to that effect), but it never sold. The second completely missed the boat (it was a boating mystery). By that time I was mad, and I fired off the beginning and a hasty synopsis of the next book to make sure I hadn't missed on this. I hadn't! My agent sold The Death Beads on the strength of those six chapters and synopsis!' Published by Dell last summer, the book is set in a mythical town in the Cascade Mountains. It's a semi-Gothic tale, with the plot revolving around a string of carved beads. "After I signed the contract for Death Beads I got cold feet. But my teacher said there's nothing like money in the bank you haven't earned yet to keep you writing. She was right. I had a year to finish, but I sent the first draft off in four months expecting the publishers to ask for revisions. They didn't make a single change. "Since Death Beads I've done another book with a Seattle setting, and I have six chapters of a third book with my agent. "I usually write about six hours a day, and I have to discipline myself or I would never get the books finished. I've discovered writing is a trade which I've had to learn; being an English major in college didn't help much. Since I enrolled in that first adult education class, I've worked up from Beginning Writing to the Professional Workshop class, a group of professional writers who meet once a week to criticize and, what is more important, give moral support. It is also a social outlet, since writing is a lonely business." Bette says her family always accepted the fact that she would find a market some day. She adds, "Occasionally friends wonder why I don't quit now and move on to something else. They don't realize that writing is not a job; it is a disease—and I've got it bad. "People ask 'What drives you so hard?' Simple. I love writing. It's just the rewriting, revisions, retyping ad nauseam that I loathe. But it all proved worthwhile with that first letter that said the book had been sold, that someone had enough faith in me to put his money on a newcomer who had never been published and hadn't even written the book yet!"
Hagman, Joe L.
Haskins & Sells. Seattle Office
Haskins & Sells. Charlotte Office
Haskins & Sells. Miami Office
H&S Reports, Vol. 12, (1975 spring), p. 27-28
|Source||Originally published by: Haskins & Sells|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte; Illustrations by Frank Bozo|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|