Fans pack Steele Creek library to meet author

August 3, 2013

A packed house greeted Charlotte author Jean Houghton-Beatty on July 31 at Steele Creek Public Library.

The Liverpool, England, native shared her journey into writing and publishing knowledge with about 30 fans who filled the library’s community room.

“I’m still waiting for Steven Spielberg to discover me,” she said.

After retiring nearly 20 years ago, Houghton-Beatty decided to try her hand at writing and enrolled in classes at Queens College.

“I found out I wasn’t that bad,” she said.

She published her first novel, “Different Drummer,” in 1997. Anne Clapham of Steele Creek said its the “culture shock” the main character encounters coming from refined life in England to a small town in the South that grabbed her. She has read it more than a dozen times.

“It keeps you reading. It’s so well written, you can just close your eyes and picture the people,” Clapham said. “I keep finding things in it I missed, and I’ve read it 14 times.”

Houghton-Beatty said “it’s important to show rather than tell” when describing a scene.

Between readings from her second book, “Stoney Beck,” published in 2009, she explained the process of going from idea to print.

“I have an idea how it’s going to end,” she said. “It’s the dialogue that changes you.”

For “Stoney Beck,” she said there was a lot of research so it took a couple of years to go from idea to writing and researching and through the editing process.

“I had a critique group,” she said. “To get a good book the way you want it, I bet you edit it about 10 times.”

Houghton-Beatty, who also writes short stories, is currently working on a third book.

The hardest part, she said, “is knowing if you’ve got it right.”

Her books are published by Boson Books in Raleigh, N.C., and available in paperback and ebook formats. Visit

More from local authors

“Vroom! Zoom! Whir! On to Jupiter,” a new children’s book by Grace Mayfield, has been released by Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. In “Vroom! Zoom! Whir! On to Jupiter,” a child joins her Uncle Larz in his spaceship bound for Jupiter. When they arrive on the strange planet, they are greeted by Ooglies and their leader, Queen Oogly Loo, who welcomes her visitors. She provides them with refreshments and gives them a tour of her home. She even gives Uncle Larz a very unique gift. After their trip, the child builds her own spaceship so she can continue to have more adventures. The 38-page paperback retails for $20. ISBN: 978-1434908902. Visit

“Career Reflections From Inside a Corporate Giant 1964-1981,” details the nearly two decades Jim Sarafin spent working inside a fast-paced and sometimes-dangerous GM plant. The book offers an inside look at life in the huge automotive corporation, and commentary on GM’s mismanagement of employees and poorly negotiated labor agreements. These factors, he believes, eventually lead to the subsequent bailout of the automotive industry. ISBN: 978-1-48172-233-9; Hardcover: $25.19; paperback: $15.26; ebook: $3.99.

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