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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

The Power of the Pen

"To do what you believe in is the course of action all honest men and women should follow, even to the death...." Betty Webb, Desert Shadows. Born in Illinois, author Betty Webb would say, "That was only the beginning." The child of a casino owner and real estate investor Betty would reap the benefits of living in such diverse states as Michigan, Missouri, California, and Alabama. Betty claims Hamilton, Alabama, as the location of her family roots. As a child, she perfected the art of flexibility, keen observation, and hitting the ground running, three traits that would serve her well in her career as an award-winning journalist and author. Betty claims every book she reads, starting with Enid Blyton's kids' stories, sparks her imagination and love of storytelling. However, Betty did not begin her career as a writer; on the contrary, she chose the Visual Arts.

Beginning her education at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California in Commercial Art, Betty launched her career as an art director for advertising agencies in Los Angeles, California, and New York, New York, for the first 25 years of her career. In 1982 Betty relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she picked up her pen as a reporter for the Tribune Newspapers and began her stint as a book reviewer. The time as a journalist allowed Betty to interview U.S. Presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize winners, as well as cover various local Arizona issues. By 1994, Betty was well grounded in her new home state and heavily dug into dozens of stories, found through her reporting, that were screaming to be heard by a wider audience, thus the birth of a full-time career as a freelance writer and novelist with Poisoned Pen Press. Two series are complete: the Gunn Zoo Mystery Books and Lena Jones Mystery Books. Her 20th novel and the first of her new series Standalone Novels, come out in the spring of 2023 with Lost in Paris.

Betty's work is described as "dark humor and thrilling action," yet her ability to expose real-time issues as themes in each of her Lena Jones Mystery novels.

Subjects include contemporary polygamy, spousal and child abuse, development and abuse of Arizona's environment, Native American rights and cultural displacement, corruption and greed in the art world, and the effects of tourism and homelessness, to name a few. Many of the subjects addressed in Betty's novels have taken the form of bills in the Arizona State Legislature, resulting in the passage of laws. Betty does have a lighter side; in her 'cozies' the Gunn Zoo Mystery Books, she shares the adventures of a California zookeeper who solves crimes. Here she exposes her consciously lightweight and humorous style allowing her readers to fall in love with creatures such as an anteater, koala, llama, puffin, otter, or panda.

"Betty's ability to expose real-time issues as themes in each novel. Subjects include contemporary polygamy, spousal and child abuse, development and abuse of Arizona's environment, Native American rights and cultural displacement, corruption and greed in the art world, and the effects of tourism and homelessness, to name a few."

Investigative reporting, book reviews, and novel writing are not Betty's only Olympic gymnastics in language. In 2000, standing firmly on her investigative and super sloth skills, Betty published The Webb Family of Alabama: Survivors of Change. The venture reveals long ago family roots of the Riddell family's immigration from Scottish aristocrats, benefactors of poet Robert Burns, to the American colonial experiment. Somewhere the Price family came into the picture with a seafaring lad of the Webb family, who settled full circle in Hamilton, Alabama's roots of today. Without a doubt, author Betty Webb is a captivating, thrilling, and witty literary giant of mystery and intrigue, no wonder thousands of fans and followers are eager for the next 'Paris' series to drop. Betty is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Authors Guild, Society of Southwestern Authors, PEN America, National Organization of Press Women, and Scottsdale Society of Women Writers.


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