My love of words started with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Watching his speeches on TV as a little girl, I was bowled over by the big words he used. Words, I suspect, like deficit, congressional inquiry, and fiscal responsibility, words still being heard in D.C . . . . I wanted to be able to use big words too, though not necessarily those. Sure, sure, my mother reading to me as a child deserves some credit. But, really, it all started with Ike.
I actually made my living from writing. For 30+ years, I was a medical and scientific editor and writer, starting at Little, Brown and Company in Boston and ending at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I also always had an interest in writing for children. This mainly took the form of picture books, none of which I managed to publish.
When I retired, I vowed that I wasn’t going to waste any more time writing unpublishable picture books. I weakened. One day I started writing a picture book about a little girl who was so poor that she changed the buttons on the one blouse she had to make it appear that she had more than one blouse. Somewhere around the thirtieth page, I realized that I was writing a novel, something I never expected (wanted!) to do. However, ideas for the plot kept springing up in my head, page after page became covered with my old-person’s scrawl, and The Orange Dragon Bowl was born. (Fittingly, the “button girl” story became a part of Chapter 1.)
It was not an easy birth. I wrote and rewrote, revised, edited, excised huge parts of the text, put the manuscript aside (intending never to look at it again), and then finding myself drawn back to it. Finally, much to my surprise, I was pleased, even impressed, with what I’d accomplished. THE ORANGE DRAGON BOWL came out just as I admire in the books of Anne Rivers Siddon and Maeve Binchy—a solidly down-to-earth, uplifting book showing how one family, the Tylers, more than survives a year. They come out conquering heroes! I’ve also packed the book with LOL moments out of a firm belief that humor is the best medicine.
Now I’ve written three books! I’m getting ready to publish one titled Eve & Melody. The third, an untitled sequel to THE ORANGE DRAGON BOWL, will be out next fall.
Betty P. Notzon, who is a Texan by marriage, has been writing, and reading, all her life. The writing life she chose as a career was scientific writing and editing. She grew up reading the books of Jane Austin, Louisa Mae Alcott, and Daphne du Maurier. These books are old-fashioned by today’s standards, but aren’t the problems faced by Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre the same as those faced by their 21st-century counterparts? Of course, Julie Tyler, the protagonist of THE ORANGE DRAGON BOWL, isn’t preoccupied with riding costumes and invites to the next ball. She must contend with the raw realities of this current age. Notzon doesn’t, though, believe in using gratuitous shock, drugs, or sex to advance her plots—just a good engaging story line and a lot of humor. A sequel to the book will be out before the end of the year. She will also soon be publishing the first book in a second series titled Eve & Melody, set in the early 1960s and taking on The Vietnam War, poverty, social inequality, and disadvantaged youth.