Please join me today and get know all about the inspirational woman and author – Barbara Bentley, who is a victim’s advocate in California, where she was directly responsible for the passage of Assembly Bill 16, which changed California divorce law. A member of STAND! For Families Free of Violence, she addresses women’s and victim’s rights organizations, and her story was featured on Lifetime’s Final Justice and NBC’s Dateline. Her first book, A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath, was listed in the Huffington Post as one of five books to read to learn about psychopaths.
The Personal Questions
What’s your idea of total happiness?
Total happiness is having peace of mind; it is not tied to how much money one has but rather to living within one’s means to remove the stress of financial overextension. Happiness comes from within; no amount of money can purchase it.
Which trait do you most deplore about yourself?
I would like to have been at least three inches taller with a drop-dead, gorgeous figure. Genetics said it wasn’t going to happen.
What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?
I needed a refresher on what is considered a virtue. What a surprise! I found a list of 120 on the internet and the one that jumped out at me was beauty. Our world has become obsessed with physical beauty, to the detriment of the health of women who starve or carve their bodies to fill some perception that beauty is a thin figure.
What’s your worse vice?
A vice can be a fault or negative character trait, defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit. Looking at a bad habit, I love my rum-and-coke drinks every evening but they don’t do my waistline any favors.
What do you most value in your friends?
I value a good sense of humor. There’s nothing like getting together with friends at lunch and laughing until our sides hurt.
Do you have a mantra or motto?
“Luck is the residue of planning and hard work” from a Timepeace Calendar page dated November 10, 1995.
Which living, and which dead person, do you most admire and why?
The breadth of Leonardo da Vinci’s creativity astounds me and his artistic works take my breath away. Today, I admire the many unsung volunteers who make this world a better place through their efforts in various charities and endeavors.
What is your favourite (song) and why?
“Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers tugs at my heart as my husband and I chose it as our song.
What is your favourite cuisine?
I love Italian food washed down with a mellow wine.
Have your personal experiences (or situations) influenced you, creatively?
Personal experiences from the past mold us into who we are today; experiences from today mold us into who we will be in the future. The most important event in my life, the one that caused the major shift in how I look at and respond to the world, is when my husband tried to murder me. The attack came as a total surprise and was to push me into arenas that I had never dreamed of entering like writing a book (author) and changing a divorce law in California (politician).
What are you reading now?
I’m doing research for my historical novel and I just finished “The Scorching Wind” by Walter Macken. I’ll delve into another of his books “The Silent People” as soon as my husband finishes it!
What other interests do you have?
I’m passionate about photography and love to translate travel photos into documentaries of my trips. I add narrative, titles, maps, and music. My husband and I are also award winning home winemakers. He makes the wine and I’m the official taster and label designer.
What was the last movie you went to see?
What a delight to see many favorite British actors in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and to laugh right along with all the aging inferences.
Do you have a favourite genre?
Glancing at my book case, I see a lot of legal thrillers (John Grisham) and suspense thrillers (Ken Follet).
The Writer Specific Questions.
What got you into writing?
My desire to write came about when I was forty-six. My husband of nine years tried to murder me by ether asphyxiation, and as I tried to make sense of what had happened at the hands of a psychopath, I decided I needed to write a book to help others understand the crazymaking world of psychopaths and how a victim can be sucked into it without knowing. Too often a true crime author is writing about a dead victim. I saw my chance to let readers know what is really going on in the mind of a victim; I became the voice of victims who have no voice to tell how easy it is to fall into a psychopath’s trap. After I decided to write the book, I set about learning how to write!
What is your new book about and what inspired you to write it?
Both of my books are non-fiction and the second is tied to the first. My books can also be classified as inspirational, motivational, memoir, and autobiography (for library shelves). When life threw me an unexpected curve, I took the experience and turned it into the book “A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath.” While writing the book, I discovered that I had used four simple tools throughout my life to create success after success. I decided to write a second book to follow my belief that lessons learned are lessons to be shared. Using everyday examples from my life, I wrote “The Little Book of Success: Turn Your Dreams into Reality with Four Simple Tools.” This second book illustrates how passion, planning, patience, and persistence turned my dreams into reality and offers readers the inspiration that they can do the same.
What advice can you offer to struggling writers?
In today’s world, a writer that wants to sell books must also be a marketer. Writers must learn about the publishing business, especially the marketing end. Get a website, preferably with your real or pen name. Set up a blog. Know your target audience and how you are going to reach them. Too many times I talk to writers who do not have a clue. I see their eyes glaze over before they utter that they just want to write. Well, that’s fine. Just write. But you won’t sell. My first book was traditionally published but I still have done a lot to promote my book. Here’s a link if you want to see a list of the events I’ve done. http://www.adancewiththedevil.com/EventsPrevious.html
Where do you see book-publishing in the future?
We all know that book publishing is in a state of flux, especially in the arena of self-publishing. Electronic advances factor into how people will read books and it looks like the trend is that future readers will not know the joy of snuggling into a big easy chair and turning pages by hand. What concerns me about the self-publishing world is the proliferation of bad grammar, horrid punctuation, and sloppy writing. Too many first-time authors aren’t using editors to filter their work.
Are you an indie or traditional author?
I am both traditionally published and self-published. I was lucky to have retained a New York literary agent for my first book and she sold it to Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin USA, within four days. By contract, I had to offer my next non-fiction book to the publisher. My agent presented “The Little Book of Success: Turn Your Dreams into Reality with Four Simple Tools” to my Berkley editor, who loved it but found its size problematic. It didn’t fit into the norm. So I decided to self-publish, even designing the book cover myself.
Did you publish the first book you wrote?
Yes. My first book was “A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath.”
Why do you write in that genre?
I wrote in true crime/memoir because that’s where my true story fit.
What is your biggest problem with the writing process? How do you tackle it?
I’m not very disciplined when it comes to my writing. I don’t write every day. I don’t write at a certain time of the day. But I do spend a lot of time at the computer answering emails from women who write to ask for help or guidance, processing photographs and creating DVDs, creating You Tube videos, designing and making greeting cards to send to friends, maintaining my two websites, and other projects. My biggest problem is that I lose track of time. If my husband didn’t cook for me, I might starve! LOL
Do you feel writing is something you need to do or want to do?
I didn’t grow up with the burning desire to write. But when my life experience led me to write my first book, I decided I liked the creative process and that it was a wonderful retirement hobby. Along the way I also started writing fairy tales and now I’m working on a historical novel about an Irishwomen who was involved with the Easter Rising of 1916.
Readers can keep up with what’s going on in my world
with the following:
Both of my books are available as e-books and print books.
Print for “A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath
Print for “The Little Book of Success: Turn Your Dreams into Reality with Four Simple Tools”
Kindle for “A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath”
Kindle for “The Little Book of Success: Turn Your Dreams into Reality with Four Simple Tools” \
“The Little Book of Success: Turn Your Dreams into Reality with Four Simple Tools”
Barbara Bentley is a victim’s advocate in California, where she was directly responsible for the passage of Assembly Bill 16, which changed California divorce law. A member of STAND! For Families Free of Violence, she addresses women’s and victim’s rights organizations, and her story was featured on Lifetime’s Final Justice and NBC’s Dateline. Her first book, A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath, was listed in the Huffington Post as one of five books to read to learn about psychopaths. She maintains a web presence to continue to educate the public and to provide links to agencies and websites that can help a victim after an encounter with a psychopath. In 2009, she was awarded the prestigious Paul H. Chapman Award from The Foundation for Improvement of Justice in recognition of her accomplishments in Legal Reform. She is a lifetime member of the California Writers Club and a graduate of Golden Gate University.