Q and A with Beth Albright
Author of the Sassy Belles series
1. I love hearing about the creative process that writers go through when telling a story, so my question is: how did you come up with the idea for the Sassy Belles series?
The idea of The Sassy Belles was born out of a major bout of homesickness. I was literally writing to save myself. It was the best therapy. I had owned a children’s acting school in Texas, Enron fell, and the little school was collateral damage as many of my families worked there. One night, I was sitting in my car as the rain poured down. My husband had run into a grocery store and my son slept in the backseat. I took out a little notepad from my purse, and feeling a desperate need to sit with my Sassy sisters and have a margarita, I scribbled the very first words of The Sassy Belles—the very same words that open the book today!
When I chose the title, I was actually thinking of Skinny Girl…you know the brand…and how I COULD NOT relate to that whatsoever! I decided to call my series, The Sassy Belles…everyone, can be a Sassy Belle…”Sassy” is every size, every color and every age…no limitations! It’s all about Attitude! And there will even be a cocktail too!
2. Being an Alabama fan, I absolutely loved that you included University of Alabama football in the story. How did that all come about?
How could I possibly write a story set in Tuscaloosa and NOT include Alabama football? Hahaha! It wasn’t even a possibility. Alabama football is so huge in my family. It all goes back to my grandfather, Frank Bruce. He was the play-by-play announcer for the Crimson Tide. His picture even hangs in the Bryant Museum on campus! And I spent so many years as a radio talk show host myself, and graduated from Alabama too, so when it came time to write, the radio world and the Crimson Tide were just a natural place for the story to land. Combined, we have a missing play-by-play announcer in The Sassy Belles as a little mystery on the side. All the books will include University of Alabama football. I mean, they take place in Tuscaloosa so it all just fits seamlessly together. But the women in the story will always be the main focal point, their deep friendships and the life they live, being there for each other no matter what happens. As I say in The Sassy Belles, “We take care of each other, we stand our ground, and we do it in high heels, big hair and lots of lipstick.”
3. I've recently seen a surge of romance books that take place in the South. As a reviewer and a Southern gal, I tend to be somewhat critical of stories that supposedly have a Southern backdrop, but really, they could be anywhere in the U.S., because there was no real attention to detail in terms of dialogue and locale. I love, though, how your series feels true to the South and the dialogue feels on-point and that you included landmarks and actual places. That being said, what do you feel the attraction is for readers to stories set in the South?
I love this question! And thank you so much for the sweet compliment! I truly believe people today are craving the real thing in life…real people, good times, genuine laughter, and a sense of belonging. Life is so transient these days, people are hardly ever native to the area they live as adults. Life has become large and hectic and fake at times, just to get through the day. The South never changed. At least for me. When I go home to Tuscaloosa, it’s like I never left. The hugs are real, the smiles warm and genuine, the laughter and the conversation, the long chats with best friends—all so real and such a comfort. I think most people in the country crave that. I know I do--a slower life and a sense of community. I know when I left and went to the big cities, I never stood in a grocery store line and heard someone’s entire life story! I love that-- to be around chatty friendly people. There is something so special about the south. The line, “never met a stranger” couldn’t be more true than in the south. Life is easier in a small town down south too. All the neighbors watch out for each other and everyone's kids are like your own. The men are still chivalrous and the women still act like ladies, with make-up done to perfection and a string of pearls. That may be my favorite part—well-- next to the food! And that’s another subject entirely!
4. Could you share any information on what you are currently working on?
Another Sassy Belles trilogy for sure! It’s my cover, haha. When I write, I can be “home” down south in Tuscaloosa ALL the time! We will meet three new Belles. One of them isn’t really new as she was in the original little club The Sassy Belles that my original Belles Blake and Vivi began in junior high school. More hysterical characters, a bit more mystery, more fun and more chivalrous men too!
Thank you to Beth for taking the time to answer our questions! You can see my review for Sassy Belles by following this link: