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Meet Betsey Kulakowski


Today we’d like to introduce you to Betsey Kulakowski. 

Hi Betsey, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I have always loved books and great stories. I don’t remember learning to read, and I wrote my first book at the age of six — string binding, cardboard cover, crayon illustrations and all. In the 11th grade, my high school English teacher wrote in my yearbook, “I don’t know if you’re gifted or touched; keep writing and find out.” 

Life happened and I became a safety professional working for the Oklahoma Department of Labor. In the background, I was always writing. I ended up being called to serve at several major disasters beginning with the Murrah Bombing, where I was involved in inspecting hundreds of buildings that were badly damaged in the blast. When the World Trade Center occurred, I was asked to serve on OSHA’s National Disaster Response team, focusing on workers’ safety. I also served with OSHA during Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. When tornadoes struck close to home, I was involved in efforts to keep workers safe during the clean-up. 

That lead me to get my degree in Emergency Management and I found that writing was cathartic in dealing with the tragedies I’d seen in my work. I also found that my background in safety and emergency management lead me to study human behavior, which I found helped informed my writing. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The span between the time I wrote my first book, and the time I published my first book was almost 50 years. Maybe I could have published sooner, but the biggest obstacle was my own fear. I was afraid to put myself out there and when you write paranormal there is always a fear of being seen as ‘different’. 

When I stepped outside my comfort zone and got out of my own way, that was when I found my success. 

Six years ago, while I was working on my degree in Emergency Management and the college hosted a writer’s conference. I signed up to go and began learning the craft and business of writing. I went every year and made some connections and pitched some manuscripts to agents – at least one got some serious consideration. 

In 2019, I had a dozen completed manuscripts, but still no clear path. I attended WriterCon in Oklahoma City and in my notes, I wrote, “Within the next year I will do one thing that will get me asked to be a speaker at WriterCon 2020.” I didn’t know what that was, but I was speaking at safety conferences frequently and I knew there had to be a place for me in the writing community. 

At that conference, they announced that there would be a WriterCon cruise in February of 2020. It was a week-long, intensive writer’s retreat, at sea and I knew that was my shot. I convinced my husband to go (not hard), and we signed up. 

I sent in the manuscript for what would become The Veritas Codex – the one book I never expected anyone to ever read. I wrote it for practice, which allowed me to be as outlandish as possible. (I loved it so much I had three more books in the series already written – for practice.) 

On the cruise, we workshopped the book, came up with a marketing plan, and practiced a pitch; putting together everything an author needed to get started, even if they self-publish. We got home just as the pandemic hit in the United States. 

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Within a few weeks, I had a contract to publish the whole paranormal thriller series. 

I fulfilled my goal to speak at WriterCon 2020 and went on to speak at WriterCon 2021… and I’ll be at WriterCon 2022. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
The Veritas Codex Series follows the adventures of scientist, Dr. Lauren Grayson, and her television production team, as they search for the answers to many of the world’s greatest mysteries; from Aliens to Bigfoot, and from the Apocalypse of 2012 to the hunt for missing pages of the Devil’s Codex. 

This series allowed me to tap into my love of history, science, and all things bizarre and unusual. I’ve found a supportive audience in the paranormal community where I am a frequent guest on paranormal podcasts, as well as podcasts on writing and emergency management. 

The Veritas Codex, the first book in my paranormal thriller series, hit #1 on Amazon’s Mover’s & Shaker’s list and, to date, has topped out at #103 of all the books on Kindle, as well as hitting #1 Best Seller in all the categories it was listed in. Now, there are four books in the series that have been published and I’m currently writing #10. 

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
One night when I was four or five, I went with my mother to the landlord’s house to drop off the rent check. He was an attorney, and his house was in an upscale neighborhood. They were having a Christmas party and I remember standing in the entryway and peering into the next room, his office. There were floor-to-ceiling bookcases on three of the four walls, full of books. I remember thinking he must be the richest man in the world to have all those books. Of course, I didn’t know they were all law books, but I didn’t care. I set a goal right then and there, to have a house with bookcases like that. Now, instead of one whole room full of books, I have several rooms with bookcases that I am currently filling with my own books. 

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Image Credits
Ralph Bernhardt

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